Italian Ricotta Cookies

Italian Ricotta Cookies are little perfect little bites of cake. They are soft, with a mild flavor, and topped with colorful sprinkles!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Italian Ricotta Cookies Are A Classic Cookie!

I will be totally honest with you…those Italian cookie platters at the holidays have never been my most favorite. They all just seem kinda…I dunno…boring?

Maybe it’s because I didn’t grow up in an Italian household where I love them because they’re nostalgic.  I feel like they’re all the same cookie in different shapes. Like a whole tray of the EXACT same cookie, made to look different because some have sprinkles and others have jam. Kinda like the cookie version of pasta…ALL THE SAME, but different shapes. I’m sensing a theme here, Italians! jkjk.

I mean, just because I don’t love them doesn’t mean there isn’t a whole word out there that does. I get it…kinda. I mean, my husband included IS Italian, with an Italian mother. So basically I am about to be shunned from Christmas Eve.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

My Italian Cookies Are Sweet, Soft, and Delicious!

I decided to throw my hand in the ring and see if I could make an Italian Cookie that I like! And mission accomplished! I certainly don’t think I’ve reinvented the wheel here, but I tweaked a classic recipe enough that these are totally classic and delicious.

The dough comes together so quickly and they bake up pretty perfect, if I do say so myself!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Why Add Ricotta?

Here’s the deal with these. They are soft and cakey, so if you’re not into cakey cookies these might not be for you. BUT the ricotta cheese gives them such a yummy texture. I am all about how these turned out. 

The ricotta cheese adds richness, while keeping the cookies soft and tender.

Do Italian Cookies Have Anise?

They can, sure! But Anisette Cookies aren’t my favorite, so I used vanilla extract in these as well as almond extract in the glaze icing. This gives them a subtle almond flavor that I think it perfect!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

How To Ice These Cookies…

I find that dipping the cookies in the glaze icing works best! You can drizzle it on top as well, but dipping gives you a uniform coating and is fast!

And then you have to have sprinkles!

Italian Ricotta Cookies

I feel like I’ll give Italian cookies another shot. Maybe.

Italian Ricotta Cookies

Print

Italian Ricotta Cookies

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield Yield: 36 cookies 1x

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 cups flour

Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 34 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix together the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, ricotta cheese, vanilla, salt, baking powder, baking soda and mix for an additional minute until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Turn the mixer to low and add in the flour, mixing until a dough forms. Portion out the dough using a medium (2 tablespoon) cookie scoop. Roll into balls and place on prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 8-10 minutes until the edges are lightly golden.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack.
  6. In a medium bowl, whisk the powdered sugar, almond extract, and milk, together until smooth. Spoon the glaze over warm cookies or alternately, dip the cookies into the gaze, and sprinkle with colored candy sprinkles.

Notes:

Store airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days for best freshness.

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Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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Laura
October 19, 2020 4:19 pm

I do have one question. I haven’t tried to make these yet but was given almost this exact recipe from an italian family. My first reaction was… why is there both baking powder and soda? both accomplish the same task but one is used with acid and liquid one is used with just liquid bc it already has the acid. So i guess i just was wondering the science of it. Other than that I would say this is probably a perfect recipe and im super excited to make it! i

Nina
January 19, 2020 2:50 pm

Love this recipe! Thank you! The cookies look festive, taste delicious and always turn out beautifully,

Nina

Audrey S Hopkins
December 20, 2019 11:29 pm

The dough was very sticky, and I ended up adding another whole cup of flour. This was even after I drained the ricotta. I used part skim milk ricotta, too. The dough was still sticky to roll in my hands but I solved that problem by keeping some softened butter close by that I used to grease my hands with. I ended up baking them for 15 minutes, until the bottoms were just browned and I could smell them. My oven runs cold, so this might just be a personal adjustment. Other than all that, they came out like I… Read more »

Minerva
July 6, 2019 7:36 pm

Oh, Sweetie! You certainly didn’t grow up in an Italian household. My mother (full-blooded Italian) used to put on a cookie spread at Christmas that would make any bakery jealous. NONE of them looked or tasted like the others; there was nothing boring about them. They used special tools (such as a pizzelle iron), special ingredients (such as anise oil, not extract), and special skills (such as singeing and pocket-forming). All the relatives looked forward to enjoying her cookies at Christmas, almost as much as I think she enjoyed making them.

Chillicia
October 18, 2019 12:12 am
Reply to  Minerva

This is such an obnoxious comment. It sounds like you’ve got your cookies locked down. Are you just looking for recipes that don’t meet your specific standards so you can neg them in the comments?

Theresa Taylor
December 28, 2018 5:15 pm

Made these for our Christmas cookie bake that my daughters and I do yearly. They were by far my favorite. Not too sweet and I loved the texture. We did the same glaze, but also did lemon and some with a drizzle of chocolate. I read the reviews but didn’t have the issues others were. I did notice that if I didn’t give just enough room for the slight spread that they need. *Also I did not drain my ricotta cheese*

November 15, 2018 3:01 pm

Make sure that you drain your ricotta before you mix it into the batter. Too much moisture is what causing the cookies to flatten or be raw. I haven’t tried this recipe yet but it happened with other recipes that I didn’t drain it in. Will try this one.

Josh
November 9, 2018 3:03 am

Followed all of the instructions but these just taste like raw dough. Not a fan sorry

SILENE
November 2, 2018 10:15 am

Ricotta cookies have been a ‘thing’ for ages…one of the best/easiest cookies to make in general. Congrats on putting together a recipe for people to try:) Just a word about different cuts of pasta from your original post…there are different cuts to be used with different sauces. Italians would never use a bolognese with an angel hair pasta (the sauce is too heavy), for example. There is a method to our madness:)

Laura
October 29, 2018 11:06 pm

I have made these type of cookies a bunch of times before but this is the most perfect batch I’ve ever made! Recipe was perfect…needed 10 minutes to be golden brown on bottom. So light and fluffy!!! My son and I made them for his Halloween party and we will be decorating them tomorrow with a cream cheese frosting and Halloween sprinkles!

Elaine Anderson
August 20, 2018 3:31 pm

Just finished baking these and am very pleased! Only problem was they did not stay as round . Next time I will refrigerate balls before baking. Texture is AMAZINGLY light and moist!

Emily
January 7, 2018 5:49 pm

As a kid, anytime I had these they were always anise flavored. Blech! My aunt made some for Christmas a few years ago but used a lemon glaze – I almost stuffed them all in my pocket Napoleon Dynamite style! Sooo good! I’m sad I missed this recipe before Christmas but I think some almond and lemon ricotta cookies are in my future.

Julie
January 2, 2018 6:23 pm

I just made these today. Great recipe- thank you! I decided to make one almond icing and another lemon and dip the cookies in one or the other. Can’t decide which I like better!

Karen T
December 22, 2017 8:14 am

Followed the recipe…total fail…never screw up anything…not sure what happened…even used whole milk ricotta….oh well…threw it all out. First batch spread and very flat and had to keep increasing the time…not worth the aggravation…will find another recipe for same type cookie.

Linda
December 18, 2017 12:35 pm

I made these yesterday as directed, and baked them for even longer than recommended and some appeared to still be “wet” on top on one cookie on the pan totally went flat on the pan during baking. But, once they cooled the other 11 cookies seemed just fine and delish. Any suggestions? Thanks again, I’m loving all your recipes!

Nicole
December 17, 2017 8:39 pm

Just made these, delicious! The dough kept sticking to my hands while I was rolling, would you recommend keeping flour on hand?

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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