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Italian Ricotta Cookies
These traditional Italian Ricotta Cookies are light, moist, and delicate. They’re also so pretty and can easily be decorated for any holiday or special occasion. Of course, Christmas is the time that these cookies really have an opportunity to shine. It’s a good thing that they’re so easy to make, they’ll disappear in a hurry!!!
What You’ll Need for Italian Ricotta Cookies:
Quality ingredients matter, especially in a delicate cookie like these Ricotta cookies. Choose a quality whole-milk ricotta as well as pure vanilla extract and you’ll be rewarded with the very best tasting cookie.
For the Cookies
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- kosher salt
- granulated sugar
- whole-milk ricotta cheese
- vanilla extract
For the Icing and Decorating:
- powdered sugar
- almond or vanilla extract
- colored sugars or nonpareils
Tips for Making Italian Ricotta Cookies
These cookies are very delicate, so you probably won’t want to mail them. On the other hand, for serving at home or to bring on a cookie platter to holiday gatherings, Italian Ricotta Cookies are absolutely perfect. They are so pretty, they’ll be a hit on any holiday table.
Make sure to line baking sheets with parchment paper. This helps ensure the cookies don’t stick.
If you’re having trouble rolling balls of dough, try chilling it in the refrigerator for an hour or so. I also like to keep the dough in the refrigerator between batches.
These cookies need to sit on the baking sheet for several minutes after baking. I typically use two baking sheets, while one is cooling, the other is in the oven. It makes it quick and easy to get the cookies baked in a short time.
If you’re not a fan of almond flavor, you can substitute vanilla and these Italian Ricotta Cookies will still be delicious!
Ricotta cookies are soft, meaning they have more moisture than a crispy cookie. If possible, ice and decorate shortly before serving. After a couple of days, the icing and nonpareils (paid link) can start looking a little less impressive.
If you really want to get organized for the hectic Christmas season, form the balls and freeze. Once the dough balls are completely frozen, transfer them to a zip top bag or freezer safe container. You can bake up the balls straight from frozen and you’ll be enjoying fresh baked cookies in minutes!
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 8 Tbsp. butter, unsalted, softened, (1stick)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, large
- 1 cup ricotta, whole milk, drained
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Icing and Decorations
- 1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 4-5 Tbsp. milk, + more as needed
- 3/4 tsp. almond extract, or vanilla if you prefer
- pinch salt
- colored sugar or nonpareils
Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, add the softened butter and sugar; beat on low until mixture is creamed. Add eggs, ricotta, and vanilla extract; beat on medium speed until well combined. On low speed, stir in the flour mixture until well combined.
- Scoop balls of dough, placing about 2-inches apart on parchment lined baking sheet. Go back and roll scoops into smooth balls. Bake about 8 – 10 minutes, just until cookies are set and golden brown on the bottom. Leave cookies on sheet pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Make the Glaze and Decorate:
- In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar, milk, almond extract, and salt. Whisk until smooth. Add a little more milk, if necessary. It should not be a stiff icing, but not as loose as a thin glaze.
- Once the cookies are cooled, carefully dip the top of the cookie in the glaze. Place back on wire rack and sprinkle with colored sugar or nonpareils. Don't wait until the glaze dries or the sprinkles won't stick to the cookies.