The first time I tried a ricotta cookie I thought I had died and gone to heaven. It was surprising, actually. Simple, unassuming and – let’s be honest – not the flashiest thing on a dessert table by a long shot, ricotta cookies are easily overlooked. But once you’ve tried one of these pillowy, melt-in-your-mouth cookies, you’ll never be the same.
And, you know me. If I can add lemon to something, lemon is being added. And so we have Lemon Ricotta Cookies that get a double dose of lemon, both in the cookie and in the frosting. Even my brother-in-law, who literally lives to tease me about my lemon fetish, went in for seconds and thirds of these cookies.
Oh, and they’re the easiest holiday cookie you’re going to make this year. Let’s get into it!
What are ricotta cookies?
Italian ricotta cookies are an absolute classic. I have only ever been served these cookies by Italian women who have a generations-old family recipe for them. It’s the copious quantities of butter and ricotta cheese that makes them super soft, moist, and fluffy.
Most commonly, you’ll find Italian ricotta cookies made with almond extract instead of, or in addition to, vanilla. Almond flavor also traditionally appears in the frosting.
If you love the flavor of almond, try the following modifications to this recipe:
- Swap out the vanilla extract for almond extract in the cookie batter and omit the lemon zest
- Replace the lemon juice with almond extract in the frosting
But if you love lemon…. stick with me, my friends.
How to make Lemon Ricotta Cookies
Making these holiday beauties couldn’t be easier. Mix your butter, eggs, ricotta, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in one bowl. Then, mix your flour, salt and baking powder in another. Put ’em all together and drop the batter in big spoonfuls onto a baking sheet.
No chilling, no rolling, no cutting into shapes. Told ya it was easy.
You can choose to dirty a stand mixer for the frosting, but if you’re like me, you’ll just grab a whisk. The frosting will be loose, so instead of trying to spread it onto the cookies, I like to dip the tops of the cookies into the bowl of frosting. Then just let it set for a few minutes.
The recipe for these Lemon Ricotta Cookies makes dozens of them – perfect to bring to a cookie exchange or to wrap as gifts. One thing is for sure – everyone who is lucky enough to try them will love them!
If you make these Lemon Ricotta Cookies, I’d love to hear what you think! Leave a comment or drop a rating below. Happy baking!
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
- 4 cups all purpose flour
- 4 sticks unsalted butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 lb. ricotta cheese
- 3 eggs
- 1 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 cups confectioner's sugar
- 4 Tbsp. milk
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat butter and sugar together on high speed until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, ricotta and lemon zest.
- In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture into the ricotta mixture until combine.
- Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop the cookie dough in heaping spoonfuls onto the baking sheets, leaving 1 inch of space between them. Bake 20 minutes. Cool.
- To make the frosting, whisk all ingredients together in a shallow bowl. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the frosting. Set onto a wire rack to let dry.