Italian ricotta cookies are soft cakey little cookies that almost melt in your mouth. They are covered in a sweet glaze and usually topped with sprinkles or citrus zest. Don’t worry they don’t taste like cheese at all!!
I know it sounds strange to put ricotta in cookies. I was a little nervous when making these because I was worried they would come out tasting like cheese!
No offense to cheese but I just didnt think it belonged in cookies. But after recipe testing and trying these cookie I am here to tell you that they dont taste like cheese at all!
So why should you make these?
Because they are almost like soft little cakes instead of cookies. The cheese adds so much moisture to the cookie that it just about melts in your mouth! They are topped with a sweet vanilla glaze that you can add sprinkles or zest to.
Ingredients for this recipe
- Ricotta cheese– Surprise you need ricotta! I used whole milk ricotta but you can also used in with reduced.
- Lemon– I topped the glaze with lemon zest but you can skip it
- Sprinkles– usually I say sprinkles are always mandatory but in this case it is optional. Traditional ricotta cookies use sprinkles though.
Using anise in the cookies
I am NOT an anise fan. Traditional Italian ricotta cookies use anise though, and if it is something you like, add in 1/2 tsp ground anise to the batter with the dry ingredients. Alternatively you can substitute the vanilla for anise extract.
How to make Italian Ricotta cookies
These are super simple to make. You can make them by hand in a medium sized bowl or by using a hand or stand mixer.
Step one: Make the dough
In a medium sized bowl either mixing by hand or use a stand or hand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until a paste forms. Add the egg, ricotta, and vanilla, and mix again. Add in the dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
Step two: Chill the dough
Chill the dough in the bowl for 1-2 hours until firm. Then scoop out the dough using a small cookie scoop and line them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Step three: Bake and glaze
Bake the cookies for 12 mins on 350° F. Make the glaze in a small bowl by whisking confectioners sugar, and milk until a loose glaze forms. When cool, dip the cookies in the bowl or spoon it over and sprinkle the sprinkles or zest on top.
- The glaze hardens quickly so make sure to have your sprinkles or zest ready to sprinkle them on when the glaze is still wet. Otherwise they wont stick!
- Substitute the vanilla extract for anise extract or lemon extract for more flavor.
- You can scoop out the cookie dough first and then chill them if you prefer to do it that way.
How to store the cookies
I stored them in the fridge because I found that they kept better that way. On the counter they just got a little mushy. They stay fresh for about 3-5 days.
More holiday cookies:
- Crispy Gingersnap Cookies
- Eggnog Snickerdoodles
- Gingerbread Biscotti
- Double chocolate peppermint cookies
Italian Ricotta Cookie Recipe
For the cookies:
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg large
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
For the glaze:
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tbsp milk or cream
- Sprinkles optional
- Lemon zest optional
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
- In a medium sized bowl or in the bowl of a hand or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the 1/2 cup butter with 1 cup sugar until a thick paste forms. Add in the egg, 1 cup ricotta, and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- In a small bowl or on a piece of parchment paper combine the 2 cups flour with 3/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 tsp salt. Mix to combine. Add the dry mixture into the ricotta mixture and mix until a thick dough forms.
- Chill the cookie dough in the bowl for 1-2 hours in the fridge. Then scoop out the dough using a small cookie scoop or a large tablespoon kitchen spoon. Shape into a ball and place on a cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake for 12 mins until the bottom of the cookies are golden brown.
- In a small bowl combine the 1 cup confectioners sugar and 2 tbsp milk or cream. Whisk until the lumps disappear and a thin glaze forms. When the cookies are cool, dunk the cookies in the glaze or spoon or drizzle it all over the cookies. Quickly sprinkle the cookies with sprinkles or citrus zest. Let the glaze harden.