Did you know you can make amazing cookies using Ricotta cheese? Soft and sweet Ricotta Cookies get dipped in icing and covered with sprinkles for an Italian cookie you’ll want to make over and over again.
If you love cookies, try some of our reader favorites, including Butter Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, and of course these easy Cake Mix Cookies! All can be decorated for the holidays or any time of year.
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What Are Ricotta Cookies?
This Italian style cookie is super soft with a cake-like crumb thanks to the presence of real ricotta cheese in the dough. A simple and sweet glaze and a few sprinkles make them complete!
Don’t worry, Ricotta cookies do NOT taste like cheese. Not even close.
Instead, these italian ricotta cookies have an aromatic vanilla flavor with buttery notes. You can make these for the holidays with red and green sugar sprinkles or change them up for different occasions.
If you want something different than a classic Sugar Cookie that still has a soft, buttery taste and frosting, you’re going to love this Ricotta Cookies recipe. Perfect for Christmas celebrations AND all year long!
- Ricotta cheese – I use an entire 15 ounce container of ricotta to make these. Be sure to buy extra so you can make a lemon ricotta cake and of course classic lasagna.
- Sprinkles – To make them Christmas themed, I went with red and green sugar crystals. Rainbow colored jimies or nonpareils would be great choices for other times of year!
- Vanilla Extract – Make your own vanilla extract for the best vanilla flavor! You can also mix up the flavor by substituting lemon, anise or orange extract for one of the teaspoons of vanilla. Almond extract is also QUITE delicious in ricotta cookies.
Make the cookie dough. Like most delicious cookies, these start by beating sugar and butter together, then adding wet ingredients followed by the dry ingredients.
To ensure the cookies stay soft and cake-y after baking it’s important to avoid overmixing the batter. I change the speed on my mixer to low before gradually incorporating the flour, stopping when ingredients are just combined.
Bake until the cookies are light golden brown on the bottom and let them cool completely before frosting.
Frosting. I’ve had success using two different methods for frosting Ricotta Cookies:
- Spread the icing on to the cookies with the flat side of the knife.
- Dip the tops of the cookies directly into the icing.
Personally, I prefer just dipping the cookies in the icing. Be sure to wait until they are completely cooled so they don’t fall apart.
Sprinkles. After adding the glaze, immediately sprinkle the cookies with red and green sugar crystals, or other festive sprinkles.
Let the cookies set for a few minutes before digging in!
Tips & Tricks
- Decorating tip: This icing will harden quickly so I recommend dipping just a few cookies in the glaze at a time, then adding sprinkles right after before it sets.
- Icing: The icing should be thin and easy to spread but not so runny that it drips off the cookie. If your icing is too watery, add more powdered sugar a spoonful at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
- Bake completely: These cookies should be soft but not gooey, runny or doughy when you take them out of the oven. If they’re under baked, they will break easily and may fall apart when dipped in the icing.
- Lemon. Give these cookies a lemon twist and bake a batch of lemon ricotta cookies instead!
On darker baking sheets, the cookies will brown faster. If you’re using a dark pan, reduce the baking time to 11 minutes and then check the cookies for doneness. On a light baking sheet, you’ll need 15 to 16 minutes to get them browned on the bottom.
When ricotta cookies stick to the wire rack, it usually means the cookies were underbaked and not brown at the bottom. If sticking occurs, use a metal spatula to release the cookies. Alternatively, line your cooling rack with parchment paper before transferring the cookies off the baking sheet to cool.
Store ricotta cookies in an airtight container with a lid for up to 4 days. Place a layer of parchment or wax paper between layers of cookies to keep them from getting stuck together.
Freeze cooled ricotta cookies BEFORE frosting for best results. Thaw the frozen cookies overnight before dipping in fresh icing and sprinkles.
More Cookie Recipes
- Cannoli– not a cookie, but a great use of ricotta!
- Soft Molasses Cookies
- Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies
- Christmas Shortbread Bites
- Kolache Cookies
- Cheesecake Cookies– light and fluffy like today’s recipe!
For the Cookies
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 container ricotta cheese 15oz
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 Tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Icing
- 2 ¼ cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tablespoons milk
- Red and green colored sugar rainbow non parelis or rainbow jimmies for everyday
For the Cookies
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter with a hand mixer until blended. Beat on high for about 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
- Beat in ricotta, vanilla extract and eggs on medium speed until combined.
- Reduce speed to low and add flour, baking powder and salt. Continue to mix until the dough holds together. Don’t overmix.
- Drop by level Tablespoons (or use a small cookie scoop) onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving about 2 inches between cookies.
- Bake 15 minutes or until cookies are slightly golden brown around the bottom edges. Cookies will remain soft. Carefully transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack.
For the Icing
- In a small bowl, add the milk to the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until you get the desired consistency.
- Once cookies have cooled completely, spread icing on the cookies or dip the tops of the cookie in the glaze. Decorate with rainbow sprinkles or red and green sugar.
- Set cookies aside and let icing set up for about 1 hour.
- FLOUR- Be sure to spoon and level flour, following my easy tips on how to measure flour. This helps prevent tough cookies.
- Icing Tips: The icing should be spreadable, but not so runny that it doesn’t stay on the cookie. The icing will begin to harden fairly quickly. I dipped 3-4 cookies and then decorated them before the icing got too hard.
- STORAGE: Store cookies in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Use parchment or wax paper between the layers of cookies to prevent them from sticking together.
- COOKIE SHEET: On a dark cookie sheet, these tend to brown quickly on the bottom. Cook time closer to 13 minutes. On a shiny cookie sheet, your cook time will be near 15-16 minutes. If they don’t get browned on the bottom slightly, they will stick to the cooling rack. They need to be done. If the reader has this happen, they can use a metal spatula to help release the cookies from the rack, or line cooling rack with parchment paper.
- Cook Completely. If the cookies are underdone, this can cause problems with dipping as they are easily broken. Icing can be spread on top if this happens.
- FREEZE: After cooling, freeze unfrosted cookies in airtight container. Thaw overnight then frost.
- FLAVOR: Change up the flavor and use almond, lemon, anise, or orange extracts. Replace 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon of flavor.
The soft, delicate taste of Italian Ricotta Cookies keeps everyone coming back for more. With so many ways to change up the flavors and sprinkles, you’ll love making these treats any time of year!