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Italian Ricotta Cookies With Christmas Sprinkles

4.56 from 9 votes
Homemade Italian Ricotta Cookies are wonderfully moist, cake-like cookies topped with vanilla glaze and festive holiday sprinkles.
A plate of homemade Italian Ricotta Cookies are presented on a red table cloth with gold accents next to a couple of pine cone. The Italian Ricotta Cookies are topped with a homemade vanilla glaze and red, green, and white Christmas sprinkles.

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Hi Bold Bakers!

WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE: My Italian Ricotta Cookies recipe will give you the softest, cake-like cookies ever! The thick, creamy vanilla glaze with colorful sprinkles makes for an especially festive look — and they taste absolutely phenomenal!

The holidays are not complete without a plate of delicious cookies — or a couple of plates of my many favorite Christmas cookie recipes! We have many holiday cookie recipes here at Bigger Bolder Baking to choose from, but I’m not afraid to add another delectable recipe to our collection!

This time around, I’ve created my Italian Ricotta Cookies recipe for those of you who want a simple cookie with a lot of payoff. These cookies have rich vanilla and lemon flavors and are topped off with a decadent vanilla glaze and sprinkles.

This recipe has everything you want in a delicious cookie without any complicated steps. Gather your tools and ingredients and get baking!

Table Of Contents

A close-up image of homemade Italian Ricotta Cookies shows a pale cookie topped with vanilla glaze, white, red, and green sprinkles.

What Are Ricotta Cookies?

Italian Ricotta Cookies are moist, cake-like cookies packed with vanilla flavor and a touch of lemon. Unlike other cookie recipes, these Riotta Cookies are made with whole milk ricotta. They are known for their creamy vanilla glaze alongside the classic holiday green, red, and white sprinkles.

Why Add Ricotta To Cookies? Do Ricotta Cookies Taste Like Cheese?

Don’t worry! I can assure you that Italian Ricotta Cookies do not taste like cheese. While other cookies use regular milk or some different kind of dairy, Italian Ricotta Cookies use whole milk ricotta. The cheese, which has a very light flavor, adds a ton of moisture and rich flavor to the dough and is a crucial component of this recipe.

Tools You Need

To Make The Cookies:

To Make The Glaze:

Ingredients You Need To Make Ricotta Cookies

To Make The Cookies:

  • Whole milk ricotta: Whole milk ricotta will make your cookies extra moist. Ricotta cheese is a young cheese, which means it has a very light “cheesy” flavor. Your cookies will not taste like cheese! It’s also super easy to make at home; try my Homemade Ricotta Cheese recipe.
  • Butter: Make sure to soften your butter before use so that your cookies come out tender. I always try to use the best quality butter I can find with high-fat content.
  • Granulated sugar: Granulated sugar or “white sugar” will give these cookies the perfect amount of sweetness in each bite.
  • Lemon zest: The outer peel of the lemon adds a subtle citrusy boost.
  • Eggs: I like to use good quality large eggs in my recipes.
  • Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract enhances the rest of your ingredients. Make Homemade Vanilla Extract here.
  • All-purpose flour: All-purpose flour is great for cake-like cookies.
  • Baking powder: This is what will make your cookies rise while baking.
  • Salt: Just a pinch will bring out the flavors of your other ingredients.

To Make The Glaze:

  • Powdered Sugar: Powdered sugar is white sugar ground up into a powder. Try making your own Powdered Sugar.
  • Butter
  • Lemon juice: Lemon juice will add acidity and balance out the sweetness of the powdered sugar.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Whole milk: Use some full-fat, whole milk for this recipe.
  • Sprinkles: Sprinkles are optional but will give your cookies a pop of color and crunch! You can even make your own with my Homemade Sprinkles recipe. 

How To Make Ricotta Cookies

To Make The Cookies:

  1. In a stand mixer, beat ricotta, butter, sugar, and lemon zest until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping down the sides of the bowl to ensure even mixing.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven, and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Roll dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheets.
  7. Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through.
  8. Let cookies rest on baking sheets before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make The Glaze:

  1. In a small bowl, mix powdered sugar with the melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and milk until smooth. Cover and set aside until the cookies are completely cool.
  2. Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, and return to the wire rack. If using sprinkles, immediately add them before the glaze dries.

Can I Make Italian Ricotta Cookies Ahead Of Time?

Yes, you can make Italian Ricotta Cookies in advance! After making the cookie dough and transferring it to an airtight container, let it firm up in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Make sure to thaw it if you freeze it, and bake it whenever you want!

How To Store Italian Ricotta Cookies

If you have leftover homemade Italian Ricotta Cookies, store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

If you want to freeze your cookies, place them in a freezer bag with parchment paper in between each cookie for up to 3 months. However, I recommend freezing the cookies without frosting because they will gradually form wrinkles.

Four Italian Ricotta Cookies, one with a bite taken out of it showing its cake-like texture, are on a red table cloth with golden accents of holly berries. There is a mug of hot chocolate above them, topped with homemade whipped cream and chocolate shavings.

FAQs

Where can I find whole milk ricotta cheese?

You can find whole milk ricotta in most grocery stores in the dairy aisle.

What is the difference between whole milk ricotta, fat-free ricotta, and part-skim ricotta?

Whole milk ricotta has higher protein and carbohydrate counts than fat-free ricotta. Part-skim ricotta has the same amount of protein but more carbohydrates. Use whole milk ricotta for this recipe to achieve the perfect amount of moisture.

Why are my cookies flat?

A very important step in making these cookies is the chilling process. Let your cookies firm up for about 2 hours or up to 2 days before baking. If you don’t let them chill long enough, they will spread too quickly in the oven and will stay flat.

Do Ricotta Cookies need to be refrigerated?

No, you can store your ricotta cookies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. See my note above about storing Ricotta Cookies for a more extended period of time.

Gemma’s Pro Chef Tips

  • Make sure to whip the ricotta well, or else the cookies will be dense. You want your ricotta Italian cookies to be cake-like.
  • The dough is very soft and can be hard to scoop even if chilled. If you have the freezer space, freeze the dough for an hour to make it easier to handle. Otherwise, you can drop spoonfuls of the dough onto the cookie sheet without rolling.
  • If these cookies are underbaked, they can taste a little gummy. They stay pale on the top, so it can be hard to tell, but you can try a test batch with just one or two cookies to see how long they need to bake in your oven before you bake off the rest.
  • Keep checking the bottoms of the cookies as you bake them, as they can turn quite brown even if the tops stay pale.
  • To make lemon ricotta cookies, increase the lemon zest to 3 teaspoons for the cookie dough. For the glaze, replace the milk and vanilla with 2 more tablespoons of lemon juice. 

Want More Holiday Cookie Recipes? Check Out:

And don’t miss more everyday baking recipes in my NEW Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

4.56 from 9 votes
Homemade Italian Ricotta Cookies are wonderfully moist, cake-like cookies topped with vanilla glaze and festive holiday sprinkles.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 28 cookies
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 13 mins
Homemade Italian Ricotta Cookies are wonderfully moist, cake-like cookies topped with vanilla glaze and festive holiday sprinkles.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 28 cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) whole milk ricotta
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 oz/ 200 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cups (8¾ oz/247 g) all-purpose flour
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Vanilla Glaze

  • 2 cups (8 oz/225 g) powdered sugar
  • tablespoons (¾ oz/21 g) butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons whole milk
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

To Make the Cookies

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or with a medium bowl and a handheld electric mixer), beat the ricotta, butter, granulated sugar, and lemon zest on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times to ensure even mixing.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt, then turn the mixer to low and gradually beat in the flour mixture until just combined.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours or up to 2 days.
  • When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Roll 1½-tablespoon portions of dough into balls and place about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on the prepared baking sheets.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through (the tops will remain pale, but the bottoms can get quite dark, so watch carefully.)
  • Let the cookies rest on the baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

To Make the Glaze

  • In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar with the melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoons milk until smooth. (The glaze should be thick but pourable. If you want a thinner glaze, add the extra tablespoon of milk a little at a time until the desired thickness is achieved.) Cover and set aside until the cookies are completely cool.
  • Dip the tops of the cookies into the glaze, then return them to the wire rack and immediately add the sprinkles, if using, before the glaze dries.
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.
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Kristina
Kristina
1 month ago

What if I need to make and store for longer than 3 days?? Should I refrigerate?

Angela
Angela
1 month ago

Salted or unsalted butter?

Marie
Marie
1 month ago

Any tips for making these gluten free?

Last edited 1 month ago by Marie
Donna Skaggs
Donna Skaggs
1 month ago

I have made these & they’re great!

Pamela
Pamela
1 month ago

Just baked these Ricotta cookies! Yum

Becky Curry
Becky Curry
1 month ago

Can I use cream cheese if I don’t have ricotta?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook