Italian Ricotta Cookies


Italian Ricotta Cookies recipe are incredibly soft with a tender texture, delicious, and absolutely perfect for any holiday, not just for Christmas.  They will be a new favorite holiday tradition and everyone will ask you for the recipe!

Italian Ricotta Cookies recipe are incredibly soft with a tender texture, delicious, and absolutely perfect for any holiday, not just for Christmas. They will be a new favorite holiday tradition and everyone will ask you for the recipe!

These cookies have been done a million times and in a million ways before, but this is my own personal take on them and what I think tastes the best!  Mr. Wishes’ Grandmother used to make all of the Italian cookies for each of the holidays before she passed away.  I like to keep her traditions alive which is why the past few years I have tried my hand at more Italian holiday cookies (like these Italian Anisette “S” cookies) and even her Italian lasagna recipe!

I’m so glad you’re here! Follow along on Pinterest for more inspiration

A winning recipe for Italian Ricotta Cookies that are cake-like, moist, and perfect for your Christmas cookie trays!

Most of you probably have had Italian Ricotta Cookies at one point in your life whether you are Italian or not (if not, I’m sorry you have been so deprived). They have a cake-like consistency and are not dense like you would normally expect in a cookie.  I can never have enough of these bad boys!  The best part is that you can make them for any holiday: color the icing to match the holiday you are making them for and switch up the sprinkles however you want.  Isn’t that just the best?

These cookies are so good that I’m willing to get fat for them.  Heck, that’s any Christmas cookie.  Who am I kidding?  Enjoy!

A winning recipe for Italian Ricotta Cookies that are cake-like, sweet, and perfect for your holiday baking!

Italian Ricotta Cookies
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: about 4 dozen
Italian Ricotta Cookies recipe are incredibly soft with a tender texture, delicious, and absolutely perfect for any holiday, not just for Christmas.
  • Cookies:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened to room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ounces full-fat Ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest (or fresh)
  • 4 and ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Glaze:
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Cookies:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar medium speed.
  4. Add eggs and beat those in, as well.
  5. Add Ricotta cheese and mix until smooth and fully incorporated. Add vanilla extract and orange zest and blend.
  6. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour with baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  7. Gradually add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients (one cup at a time) on low speed until a dough is formed.
  8. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto an ungreased baking sheet (they will puff up while baking). Bake for 10-12 minutes (this will depend on size of cookies and your oven so keep an eye on them). Cookies will just be started to get lightly golden around the bottom edges. You want them to remain soft and not get too over-baked.
  9. Remove from baking sheet and place on a cooling rack to cool completely before putting on the glaze.
  10. Spoon glaze onto cookies, add sprinkles of your choosing before glaze dries, and allow it to fully set before storing.
  11. Glaze:
  12. Mix together melted butter, powdered sugar, heavy cream, vanilla extract in a bowl until smooth and no lumps remain. Add additional splashes of milk or cream to get the desired consistency. You don't want it to be so thick that it's not spreadable, but also not too runny.

The best recipe for Italian Ricotta Cookies that are cake-like, sweet, will be great for a Christmas cookie exchange!

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These are a few of my favorite things: cooking, baking, Broadway musicals, cruises, Disney World, Christmas, thunderstorms, 80's and country music, and my favorite pastime has ALWAYS been baseball. Go Yankees!

21 Responses to “Italian Ricotta Cookies”

  1. December 17, 2015 at 7:46 AM #

    I am so deprived! I have never had Italian ricotta cookies – that I know of! These look so pretty!! Love them.

  2. December 17, 2015 at 8:34 AM #

    These look so soft and fluffy, Ashley! Love that you can customize them to your tastes and color preferences! 🙂

  3. December 17, 2015 at 11:12 AM #

    Mmm Yumm…these look fabulous Ashley! So soft and decadent!

  4. December 17, 2015 at 12:54 PM #

    Oh these just make me think of home! We always had these growing up! I need to make some myself!

  5. December 17, 2015 at 2:44 PM #

    Love ricotta cookies! We make them every year with the kids and they bring back so many childhood memories!! Yours are so pretty, Ashley!

  6. December 17, 2015 at 3:09 PM #

    our family has a version of these too!

  7. December 17, 2015 at 3:19 PM #

    What a fantastic Christmas cookie! Great job, can’t wait to try. You have been pinned! 🙂

  8. December 17, 2015 at 5:25 PM #

    Oh my goodness, these remind me of growing up! We always had these cookies and they were always my favorite! Your pictures look wonderful and I want these NOW! 🙂

  9. December 17, 2015 at 6:25 PM #

    I love these! Such a great texture with all that ricotta!

  10. December 18, 2015 at 10:41 AM #

    So, I’m totally in love with the glaze and little sprinkles on these! I love that you’re keeping your husband’s grandmother’s traditions alive! I think keeping traditions alive like that are so, so important!

  11. December 19, 2015 at 8:07 AM #

    These sound so delicious — I am trying to figure out if I’ve had them before or not. But either way, I want to try making them!

  12. December 19, 2015 at 8:22 AM #

    I can’t believe with all of my Italian friends that I’ve never had a ricotta cookie. I used to live near a sweet Italian grocery store that baked ricotta cookies daily, but I never did try them because I couldn’t see beyond the canoli and fresh bread! I’ll have to give these a whirl, if for no other reason that to play with the sprinkles.

  13. December 19, 2015 at 12:41 PM #

    Almost too cute to eat…almost! 🙂

  14. December 19, 2015 at 3:37 PM #

    Oh, how I love Italian ricotta cookies! So moist and soft. So good!

  15. Heidi
    December 22, 2015 at 7:10 PM #

    I wasn’t able to find any full fat ricotta, is part skim ok? And also, with the orange zest, the recipe says “orange zest or fresh” what is the or fresh part?

    • December 22, 2015 at 7:16 PM #

      Hi! Yes, the part skim will work fine! By the orange zest – you can buy it in the spice aisle dried or you can use fresh orange zest that you actually grate yourself with a zester 🙂 I have done it both ways before.

      • Heidi
        December 22, 2015 at 7:19 PM #

        Ok perfect! Lol I didn’t know they made orange zest in the spice isle. I love to cook but not so much of a baker lol. Thank you so much

        • December 22, 2015 at 7:24 PM #

          Yeah they sell orange zest and lemon zest! I have used it before when I’m in a hurry 🙂 I don’t ever notice a difference in taste. Sorry for the confusion!

  16. January 20, 2016 at 12:02 PM #

    Ashley, I must try these! I have no cookie recipes from MY Italian grandmother,although I make my mother’s cookies often.
    These look heavenly!

  17. Donna
    January 28, 2016 at 6:52 PM #

    Thanks so much for posting and introducing this delicious recipe to so many that may have been deprived if not for you. I was wondering if these freeze well. If so, would you recommend adding the glaze before freezing or after defrosting?

    • January 28, 2016 at 6:56 PM #

      I froze these and have to be honest that they were way better fresh! They were still good, but a little more “wet” texture. I would make the dough and freeze it before baking…and also you can make the glaze and freeze that separately. Hope that helps!!

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