Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (2024)

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Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft, cake-like little cookies with lovely flavor and a tasty icing on top! They are easy to make and perfect for any holiday – especially Christmas!

Looking for more Christmas cookie ideas? Try my buttery Spritz cookies recipe, these easy gingerbread cookies or these classic snowball cookies.

Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (2)

Table of Contents

  • Italian Ricotta Cookies
  • Ingredients in Italian Ricotta Cookies
  • How to make Italian Ricotta Cookies
  • Get the Recipe

Italian Ricotta Cookies

If you’ve never had Italian Ricotta Cookies before, it’s definitely a cookie you need to try. It’s funny because if you haven’t had one before, it’s hard to imagine what they would taste like. I mean, does it taste like cheese? Nope!

These cookies actually have a very light, yet wonderful flavor to them. They are very vanilla, but these also have a little lemon zest as well, giving them a wonderfully refreshing flavor. And then with their cake-like texture, it’s like eating tasty little pillows!

I seriously couldn’t stop eating these. They are far too addicting! It’s probably good the recipe makes quite a few. You’ll snag several before these even make it onto your cookie tray – and that will be ok!

Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (3)

Ingredients in Italian Ricotta Cookies

These cookies contain ingredients you should mostly have on hand with a couple exceptions.

  • All purpose flour
  • Baking soda – Some recipes use a combination of baking soda and baking powder, but I must prefer all baking soda. I generally prefer that in cookies and it definitely applies here. I find that it gives a more moist and tender cookie that stays softer for longer. I find that adding in baking powder makes them more dense, which I don’t prefer.
  • Salt, Vanilla extract – For Flavor.
  • Butter, Eggs, Sugar
  • Lemon Zest – While you could leave this out, the cookie flavor might be a little dull without it. The cookies taste ever so slightly of lemon. It’s not super obvious, but it’s there and very tasty!
  • Ricotta cheese – As I said before, these cookies don’t taste like cheese. But the ricotta does lend a light flavor to the cookies and adds to their texture, making them moist and soft.
Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (4)

How to make Italian Ricotta Cookies

These cookies are simple and straight forward to make, which is great during a busy holiday season!

  1. Cream your butter and sugar together. You want to do this for 3-4 minutes. You’ll actually notice the change in color and texture. This step helps add air to the cookie dough that’s important for your cookies to rise properly.
  2. Add your eggs one a time. Adding them one at a time helps them incorporate evenly.
  3. Time for the vanilla extract and Ricotta cheese. Mix them into the cookie dough until well combined.
  4. Dry ingredients. Add them to the mix and mix together just until combined. Don’t over mix or you could end up with tough cookies.
  5. Scoop out your cookies and bake them. You could refrigerate the dough if you want to make it ahead, but you don’t need to. The cookies bake great either way. Just be sure to scoop out balls that are no larger than one tablespoon or the cookies could end up spreading too much.
  6. Make the icing. It’s a simple combination of powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla extract. Just whisk it all together!
  7. Dip the cookies in the icing and add sprinkles! Turn the cookies upside down and dip them. Shake of the excess icing, then add sprinkles. The sprinkles do tend to bleed from the moisture of the icing after sitting overnight, so if you want them to look nicer I’d suggest icing and adding sprinkles shortly before serving.
Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (5)

These cookies are truly great for any time you feel like a cookie. While often popular at Christmas, they’d be great any time. You can swap out the sprinkles for any festive mix you like. You could even swap out the vanilla and lemon flavor of these for some almond or coconut extract. The options are endless and no matter how you make them, they are sure to be soft little cakey pillows of awesomeness. I hope you enjoy them!

[adthrive-in-post-video-player video-id=”OHvgnYoX” upload-date=”2019-12-09T10:00:00.000Z” name=”Italian-Ricotta-Cookies” description=”Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft, cake-like little cookies with lovely flavor and a tasty icing on top! They are easy to make and perfect for any holiday – especially Christmas!” ]

Read transcript


Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (6)


Italian Ricotta Cookies

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 4 reviews

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 36 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 36 minutes
  • Yield: about 48 cookies
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


Italian Ricotta Cookies are soft, cake-like little cookies with lovely flavor and a tasty icing on top! They are easy to make and perfect for any holiday – especially Christmas!



  • 3 3/4 cups (488g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 3/4 cups (362g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 15 oz (1 3/4 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese


  • 2 cups (230g) powdered sugar
  • 45 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
2. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl and set aside.
3. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest together in a large mixer bowl on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until light in color and fluffy. You should be able to see the change in color and texture happen and know it’s ready.
4. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until well combined between each addition.
5. Add the vanilla extract and ricotta and mix until well combined.
6. Slowly add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
7. If you’d like to chill the cookie dough (which makes it a easier to work with), cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or up to two days. You don’t have to chill the dough though. It doesn’t really change the outcome.
8. Drop tablespoon sized balls (no larger or they will spread too much) of cookie dough onto the cookie sheet and gently shape into a ball shape.
9. Bake for 9-12 minutes or until the bottoms of the cookies are lightly golden.
10. Cool cookies on the cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.
11. To make the icing, whisk the powdered sugar, milk, butter and vanilla extract together in a small bowl.
12. Turn the cookies upside down, one at a time, and dip the tops of them into the icing.
13. Turn the cookies over and add sprinkles. Allow to dry. The icing will crust over, but doesn’t dry hard.
14. Store the cookies in an airtight container. The sprinkles will likely bleed after sitting overnight, so if you want the presentation to be nice, I’d suggest adding the icing and sprinkles shortly before serving. The icing also starts to wrinkle after a day or two. Cookies are best for about 4-5 days.


  • Serving Size: 1 cookie
  • Calories: 143
  • Sugar: 12.3 g
  • Sodium: 100.5 mg
  • Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 20.1 g
  • Protein: 2.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 24.4 mg


  • Christmas
  • Cookies
  • Holidays
  • Recipes
  • Recipes with video
  • Sweets and Treats
Italian Ricotta Cookies - An Easy Christmas Cookies Recipe! (2024)


What is the most popular Italian cookie? ›

Most Popular Italian Cookies
  • Amaretti. These lovely almond-flavoured biscotti were supposedly first made during the Middle Ages. ...
  • Ricciarelli. ...
  • Baci di dama. ...
  • Chocolate-Pistachio Biscotti. ...
  • Savoiardi. ...
  • Canestrelli. ...
  • Biscotti al Cocco. ...
  • Pizzelle.
Oct 22, 2020

Do Italian ricotta cookies need to be refrigerated? ›

They do not need to be refrigerated. Can You Freeze Ricotta Cookies? Baked unfrosted Italian ricotta cookies freeze well. The unbaked dough does not freeze well, though the dough can be made ahead of time and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for a few days.

Why did my ricotta cookies go flat? ›

If your cookies repeatedly turn out flat, no matter the recipe, chances are your oven is too hot. Here's what's happening. The butter melts super quickly in a too-hot oven before the other ingredients have firmed up into a cookie structure. Therefore, as the butter spreads so does the whole liquidy cookie.

What is a popular Italian cookie? ›

Amaretti cookies are a celebrated Italian classic known for their unique crunchy exterior and soft, almond-rich center. Often flavored with amaretto or almond extract, they offer a delightful taste experience. Amaretti di Saronno cookies come with an enchanting legend: Roll the cookie's wrapper.

What is the number one cookie in the world? ›

Oreo is the best-selling cookie in the world. It is now sold in over 100 countries. Oreo was first produced in 1912 by the National Biscuit Company, now known as Na-Bis-Co.

Where did ricotta cookies originate? ›

Ricotta cookies are a soft, almost fluffy drop cookie topped with a simple glaze. My understanding is they are Italian in origin, although I mostly think of ricotta cookies as something that's made around the holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

How do you keep Italian cookies fresh? ›

To keep your cookies fresh, you need to keep air out. For that reason, we suggest storing cookies in an airtight container—here are our picks for the best cookie storage containers. Make sure nothing gets in the way of the container and its lid, and double-check that the seal is tight.

Can you freeze homemade Italian cookies? ›

For baked cookies:

Wait for the cookies to cool completely, then transfer them to a reusable freezer-safe bag or container lined with wax or parchment paper. I like to place them in a single layer to avoid any cookies breaking. Cookies will keep well for up to 2 months.

Should I use baking soda or baking powder in cookies? ›

Baking soda is typically used for chewy cookies, while baking powder is generally used for light and airy cookies. Since baking powder is comprised of a number of ingredients (baking soda, cream of tartar, cornstarch, etc.), using it instead of pure baking soda will affect the taste of your cookies.

How can I make my cookies fluffier instead of flat? ›

Try using baking powder instead of baking soda. Baking soda encourages spreading while baking powder puffs the cookies up. If your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of baking soda, you would use 3 to 4 teaspoons of baking powder.

How do you store ricotta cookies? ›

How to Store Ricotta Cookies. Store the cooled cookies in a single layer in an airtight container for up to three days at room temperature. They'll last up to a week in the refrigerator.

Is ricotta cheese just whipped cottage cheese? ›

The key distinction between the two really comes down to moisture content and texture: ricotta is smooth and spreadable with extremely fine (almost imperceptible) curds, whereas the preparation of cottage cheese results in a soupy and lumpy finished product with a higher moisture content.

What are lady finger cookies made of? ›

Ladyfinger (biscuit)
Alternative namesSavoiardi, sponge fingers, boudoir
Region or stateDuchy of Savoy
Created by15th-century official cuisine of the Duchy of Savoy (may antedate in vernacular cuisine)
Main ingredientsFlour, egg whites, egg yolks, sugar, powdered sugar
4 more rows

What are penguin cookies? ›

These adorable treats are enough to bring out the kid in anyone. The classic Oreo® is covered in rich white and milk chocolate and carefully decorated to look like an adorable penguin. Absolutely the cutest way to enjoy milk and cookies, and they make a memorable dessert or holiday gift for the kid in all of us.

What cookie originated in Italy? ›

Today, I want to share a little bit about Italian cookies called Biscotti. Biscotti, also known as cantuccini or mandelbrot (Mandel bread), are traditional Italian cookies with a long history and rich cultural significance.

What are the best cookies to bring home from Italy? ›

Regional Cookies: Italy has so many amazing cookies to offer such as baci di dama, savoiardi, cantuccini, buranelli, ricciarelli and amaretti di saronno, just to name a few. If you pack them in a hard container or tin, which they will sometimes come in, they pack even better!

What is the name of the Italian cookie? ›

This is the proper name for the biscuit we know as biscotti, which in Italian just means “cookies.” Twice-baked and sliced, these ultra-crunchy, not-too-sweet biscuits are usually studded with nuts and simply beg to be dipped in coffee, tea, or a glass of vin santo.

What are the traditional Italian cookie brands? ›

Traditional and Artisanal Brands like Lazzaroni, Sapori, Dolciaria Monardo, Chiostro di Saronno, or Corsini are known for their traditional Italian recipes and artisanal cookie-making approach. They often focus on classic Italian cookie names (think of Amaretti, Cantucci).

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