Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies

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Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies are soft and tender with a cake-like consistency. Change up the sprinkles for any occasion and makes these the hit of the party!

Looking for more lemon treats? Try my Lemon Shortbread BarsLemon Sugar Cookies, or the Best Blueberry Lemon Scones!

A closeup on a large plate of lemon ricotta cookies with sprinkles.

Lemon Ricotta Cookie Recipe

I’m a sucker for anything lemon, and the combo of lemon AND ricotta puts these cookies OVER THE TOP! Trust me. You will love them!

This Italian style cookie is soft and tender with a cake-like consistency thanks to the presence of real ricotta cheese in the dough. 

No worries, cookies with ricotta as an ingredient do NOT taste like cheese. Nowhere close, I promise. Instead, these cookies have a cake-like texture with a lemony vanilla flavor with buttery notes. 

Why we LOVE these Cookies:

  • SIMPLE – These are simple to make with basic ingredients. The lemon and the ricotta are a little extra but these cookies can be prepped pretty quickly.
  • MINIATURE IN SHAPE – I love the small size of these little bites of heaven. Easier to have two and not feel guilty!
  • DELICIOUS – These are just plain delish. I’ve already made them multiple times and I’m not one bit sad about it. 

While I used an anytime sprinkle combination, you could make these for the Christmas holiday season by using red and green sprinkles or another combo for any occasion!

A small plate of lemon ricotta cookies with sprinkles.

What You’ll Need:

  • Unsalted Butter
  • Granulated Sugar
  • One Large Egg
  • Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • One Large Lemon – Freshly squeezed lemon juice plus lemon zest
  • Vanilla Extract and Almond Extract
  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Kosher Salt

For the icing, you’ll need just four ingredients – powdered sugar, milk, almond and vanilla extracts. Oh – PLUS sprinkles!

How to make Italian Lemon Sugar Cookies:

Step 1
Cream butter and sugar. In the bowl of a large standing mixer, add the softened butter and sugar and mix on a medium speed until creamy.

Step 2
Add remaining wet ingredients. Add the egg, ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest, and the vanilla and almond extract. Mix again until all the ingredients are combined and smooth.

Step 3
Add dry ingredients. Then add the flour, baking powder, and salt – and mix at a low speed until the ingredients are just combined. Don’t over-mix.

Step 4
Form cookie balls. Use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to form 30 small cookie dough balls. Add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover dough with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour to chill.

Step 5
Prep for baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place about 8 cookie balls on the baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.

Step 6
Bake. Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, or until the cookies barely start to brown on top. Let cookies cool a few minutes on the pan, and then use a spatula to remove cookies to a wire cooling rack.

Step 7
Mix up the icing. In a small bowl, combine the sifted powdered sugar, the milk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Use a hand mixer to blend until smooth.

Step 8
Add icing. Spoon the delicious glaze over the cooled cookies. Add sprinkles, if desired.

Measure and Sift Ingredients

  • Measure ingredients properly. Make sure you use the spoon-and-level method when measuring flour, or weigh on a digital scale. “Scooping” flour will often result in too much flour in your baked goods, which causes them to be dry. I’ve recently started weighing the ingredients (the flour, especially), and it’s worth the time.
  • Sift the powdered sugar. Powdered sugar often clumps up, so sifting it will make for a smoother icing.
A wire rack with Italian ricotta cookies with lemon.
A Freaky Friday banner.

Freaky Friday Blog Hop

Why is today so special you ask? Well, that is because today is Freaky Friday, hosted by Michaela at An Affair from the Heart! No, not the movie where the mom and daughter switch places, but a good old fashioned blog hop with some of my favorite food blogger friends!

We secretly get assigned a blogger from our group, and then we all reveal who we had and what we made on the same Friday, and that is today! See below for ALL the fun Freaky Friday recipes created by my blog hop pals!

Side view of a large plate of lemon ricotta cookies, one with a bite out.

Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog

I was thrilled to have been assigned to Kathryn’s blog for the second time! Kathryn is from Monterey, California and is married with a one-year old little girl. She focuses on simple recipes with a healthy twist and believes in creating recipes that anyone can make.

Kathryn has so many delicious recipes on her blog, but this Freaky Friday round is centered on cookie trays. I narrowed my search down to her Chocolate Chip Pretzel CookiesChocolate Chip Cookie Dough TrufflesGingerbread Men Cookies, and these!

Oh, and I CANNOT wait to make her Grinch Cookies (made with a cake mix!) and her Cut Out Sugar Cookies!

I chose Kathryn’s Lemon Ricotta Cookies because I’m a lemon LOVER and have never used ricotta in cookies. This recipe is also a perfect one for a cookie platter because they are tiny and so easy to adapt to any occasion. If making these for Christmas, get those red and green sprinkles out!

A plate of cookies on a gray napkin.

Cookie Baking Tips:

  • Use room temperature butter and eggs to up your cookie game. This allows the ingredients to form an emulsion which traps air. While baking, this trapped air expansionists to produce a fluffier cookie. Using cold ingredients will prevent this magic from happening.
  • Chill dough. This will allow the fat in the cookies to chill and firm up. When baking, this chilled fat will prevent an over-spreading of the cookies. The resting time will also allow the flour to soak up the liquids in the dough. When the cookies are fully-hydrated, they brown better, bake more evenly, and have a more complex flavor.
  • Bake your cookies to YOUR preference. If you like your cookies darker, bake them longer. If you like them gooey, then slightly under-bake them. You do you!
  • Bake one batch at a time. If using a regular oven, baking one batch at a time is recommended for more even baking. If using a convection oven, you can bake two batches at a time with cookie sheets on two racks.
A stack of three lemon ricotta cookies with a plate in the background.

Storing and Freezing Lemon Ricotta Cookies:

  • STORE cookies in an airtight container on your countertop for several days. They are also great cold if you want to store them in the refrigerator as well.
  • FREEZE cookies in a cookie tin covered with a freezer bag. I prefer using disposable tins to store my cookies.

OTHER Holiday Cookies:

While lemon flavor doesn’t always coincide with thoughts of Christmas, I’m here to change that with these cake-like cookies. Lemon lovers unite! But if you’re looking for something else, I’ve got that covered too. 

A plate of Italian ricotta cookies with sprinkles.

See all of our 2022 Freaky Friday Holiday Cookie Exchange Recipes

Hosted by – An Affair from the Heart

  1. An Affair from the Heart – Scotcheroo Pinwheels
  2. Best Cookie Recipes – Christmas Magic Bars
  3. Family Around the Table – Snickerdoodle Bars
  4. Feast + West – Lemon Drop Cookies
  5. The Foodie Affair – Christmas Oreo Balls
  6. Fresh April Flours – Hot Cocoa Cookies
  7. Hostess at Heart – Chocolate Bark
  8. Kathryn’s Kitchen Blog – Cookies and Cream Cookie Recipe
  9. Life Currents – Almond Meltaways Cookies
  10. The Speckled Palate – Snowball Cookies
  11. Sue Bee Homemaker – Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies 
  12. Take Two Tapas – Avalanche Cookies 
  13. The Wimpy Vegetarian – Easy Christmas Butter Cookies

xoxo ~Sue

A small plate with three lemon ricotta cookies, one with a bite out.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies are soft and tender with a cake-like consistency. The ricotta cheese in these Italian-style cookies adds incredible flavor and will make these the hit of your party!
5 from 17 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Italian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
chill time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 27 minutes
Servings: 30 cookies
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the cookies:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter – sotened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 7.5 oz. whole-milk ricotta
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest – zest from one large lemon)
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • sprinkles – optional

For the glaze:

  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 2-3 Tablespoons whole milk – or to right of consistency
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a large standing mixer, add the softened butter and sugar and mix until creamy.
  • Add the egg, ricotta cheese, lemon juice and zest, and the vanilla and almond extract. Mix again until all the ingredients are combined and smooth.
  • Then add the flour, baking powder, and salt – and mix until the ingredients are just combined. Don't over-mix.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon to form 30 small cookie dough balls. Add to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for at least an hour to chill.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place about 8 cookie balls on the baking sheet, spaced evenly apart.
  • Bake cookies for 11-12 minutes, or until the cookies barely start to brown on top. Let cookies cool a few minutes on the pan, and then use a spatula to remove cookies to a wire rack.
  • Mix up the icing. In a medium bowl, combine the sifted powdered sugar, the milk, vanilla extract and almond extract. Use a hand mixer to blend until smooth.
  • Spoon the icing over the cooled cookies. Add sprinkles, if desired.

Notes

STORE cookies in an airtight container on your countertop for several days. They are also great cold if you want to store them in the refrigerator as well.
FREEZE cookies in a cookie tin covered with a freezer bag. I prefer using disposable tins to store my cookies.
TIPS:
  • Measure ingredients properly. Make sure you use the spoon-and-level method when measuring flour, or weigh on a digital scale. “Scooping” flour will often result in too much flour in your baked goods, which causes them to be dry. I’ve recently started weighing the ingredients (the flour, especially), and it’s worth the time.
  • Sift the powdered sugar. Powdered sugar often clumps up, so sifting it will make for a smoother icing.

Nutrition

Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 18mg | Sodium: 48mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 136IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

20 Comments

  1. I am not a master baker like you and appreciate all of your guidance. These cookies were easy to make and are so delicious. Love the lemoniness of them!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks for letting me know, Shari! 🙂

  2. susan | the wimpy vegetarian says:

    Lemon ricotta cookies have been on my list to make for years now!! This recipe looks perfect, and I’m making them this weekend!!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      I’m glad you’re giving this one a try, Susan!

  3. These were so very divine! I love the vanilla-almond frosting!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Yay! We love this one!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      They are truly DELISH!

  4. These are so pretty and festive! And I love anything lemon! Putting this recipe in my “to try” file.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      We love the lemon flavor of these cookies!

  5. These are slo light and fluffy I can’t take it! I ate half the batch myself!

  6. Soft and perfect a way a cookie should be! Such an easy recipe too.

  7. Gosh, you cannot beat a lemon cookie, and I love the addition of ricotta in these! They are simply PERFECT.

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks so much Erin!

  8. I’m a lemon lover too and the ricotta made these cookies so moist. They’ll really dress up my cookie tray too.

  9. Not only do these cookies sound delicious, they look amazing. I can see why you chose them, and I feel the need to make them soon!

  10. You nailed these cookies and the photos are just stunning! I can’t wait to make a batch next week when I do some holiday baking!

  11. Michaela Kenkel says:

    Sue, these cookies are gorgeous! I am a fan of all things lemon, too! A great choice for the cookie round. I loved baking from your blog this month. I hope that you and your family have an amazing holiday!

  12. Impressive! A cookie with the feel and taste of a cake!

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