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Italian Ricotta Cookies Recipe

Italian Ricotta Cookies are incredibly moist, sweet cookies with a cake-like texture. If you like traditional Italian cookies like Pignoli, Anginetti, Pizzicati Jam Cookies or Italian Butter Cookies, you will love this simple tender cookie recipe. In fact once you try these, you will find it hard to stop at just one cookie!

A pile of white drop cookies with white glaze frosting and colorful sprinkles.

These sweet ricotta cookies are a staple in Italian households, especially during the holiday season. This is a great make ahead recipe perfect for any occasion, party or just to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea.

Classic Italian Ricotta Cookies

I don’t think you can attend an Italian celebration and not find these ricotta cheese cookies. This is a very easy recipe that consistently results in delicious cookies. If you have ever felt a little intimidated about trying your hand at baking, this is the recipe to start with.

There are only a few basic ingredients in this recipe and the ricotta cheese makes the cookies incredibly moist and gives them a cake-like consistency. Once cooled, the cookies are coated in a simple sweet glaze and then topped with festive sprinkles.

All of the ingredients for making ricotta cookies with labels on a black background.

Ingredients You Need to Make Ricotta Cookies:

The ingredients for this cookie recipe are very basic. To make them you will need all purpose

  • All Purpose Flour: Measure the flour by using the spoon and level method. This will keep you from using more flour then you need for the recipe.
  • Baking Powder: This helps the cookies puff up. Check the expiration date to make sure that your baking powder is fresh.
  • Salt: Is is best to use table salt.
  • Unsalted Butter: Softened to room temperature.
  • Large Eggs: At room temperature
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese: If the ricotta is watery, strain the ricotta so that you remove the excess liquid.
  • Confectioners’ Sugar

Step by Step Instructions For Making Ricotta Cookies

  1. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if using a electric mixer. Beat until the mixture is pale yellow and creamy.
  2. Add the eggs, ricotta and vanilla and beat at medium speed until the ingredients are well combined
  3. Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and then add the flour mixture to the ricotta mixture. Beat on low speed until the flour has been completely mixed in to the cookie batter.
  4. Using a small cookie scoop, drop the ricotta cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Leave a couple of inches between the cookies on the cookie sheet so that they have room to expand while baking.
  5. Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes in a preheated 350F degree oven. When the cookies are done they will still be pale in color but the bottoms of the cookies should be golden brown. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.
  6. Combine the glaze ingredients in a small mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and creamy. The glaze should be pourable but not liquidy. If the frosting is too thick, add an additional teaspoon of milk until you get the consistency you want. If you find that it is too runny then add a powdered sugar, a tablespoon.
  7. To frost them, hold the cookies upside down and dip them into the frosting. Then set them on the cooling rack to set. You can decorate the cookies with colorful sprinkles or nonpareils before the glaze sets

Baking Tips For Making the Best Ricotta Cookies

  • The eggs and butter should be at room temperature before you add them to other ingredients. This will help them emulsify better creating a tender cookie.
  • Mix the dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients. This will distribute the baking powder and salt evenly throughout the batter.
  • Measure the flour by adding a spoonful of flour at at time to the dry measuring cup. Once the measuring cup is full, use the back of a knife or another flat utensil to level the flour off. This ensures that you don’t add more flour then you need by compressing the flour in the measuring cup when you scoop it.
  • After you have dropped the dough onto the cookie sheet, place it in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before baking. The chilled dough will help the cookies maintain their shape while baking.
a pile of drop cookies with white frosting and one is broken in half.

Variations

This is a wonderful recipe that can be easily adapted to change the flavor

  • For lemony ricotta cookies, add lemon zest to the dough and use lemon juice or lemon extract in place of the vanilla in the glaze.
  • These cookies are also delicious with almond flavoring. Replace the vanilla extract in the cookies and the frosting with almond extract.

How to Store Ricotta Cookies

At room temperature: The cookies can be placed in an airtight container in a single layer and left at room temperature for 2-3 days. If you want to layer them, place sheets of waxed paper between the layers of your frosted cookies.

In the refrigerator: The cookies will stay fresh for about a week if stored in an airtight container and placed in the refrigerator.

In the freezer: Frosted ricotta cookies can be frozen for several months if placed in an airtight container and then wrapped in plastic wrap. Let them come to room temperature before serving.

A pile of drop cookies with white frosting and festive sprinkles.

FAQ’s

Why are my ricotta cookies flat?

This is a soft cookie dough so it needs to be refrigerated in order to maintain it’s shape. If the dough is too warm it will spread out while baking. A short rest in the refrigerator will cool them so they stay puffed up in the warm oven. You can either place the whole bowl of dough in the refrigerator before you scoop them out on to the baking sheet (about 30 minutes) or you can place the individual cookies on the baking sheet in the refrigerator (about 15 minutes) before baking them.

What makes a cookie puffy rather then flat?

Room temperature butter will help your cookies rise. The warm butter will cream better with the sugar and it will create more air bubbles which are then released while baking. This will result in a puffier cookie.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Ricotta cheese makes these cookies moist and pillowy. The perfect cross between a cookie and a cake!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Cookies, Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 60 Cookies
Calories 108 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • cups Flour All purpose
  • 2 tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1 cup Butter unsalted, room temperature
  • cups Sugar
  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 Eggs large, room temperature
  • 15 oz Ricotta cheese Whole milk

Glaze Frosting

  • cups Confectioners' Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Instructions
 

  • Pre-heat oven to 350°. Mix flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  • In a large bowl beat the butter and sugar until pale yellow and creamy.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and ricotta cheese to the butter mixture and beat until combined.
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture and mix well. The dough will be soft.
  • Using a tablespoon sized scoop, drop the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are golden brown. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cook completely before frosting them.

Glaze Frosting

  • Combine the Confectioners' sugar, milk and vanilla extract in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. The frosting should be pourable but not liquidy.

Nutrition

Serving: 60cookiesCalories: 108kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 2gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.1gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 67mgPotassium: 20mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 136IUCalcium: 27mgIron: 0.4mg
Keyword ricotta cheese, frosted cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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2 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I love these so much. They are a favorite in my family. Going to take them to a shower this weekend!

    1. Wende I am so glad that you love these cookies! They are one of my favorites for sure and they would be lovely for a shower! Enjoy!

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