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Soft, fluffy, cake-like Italian Ricotta Cookies are flavored with vanilla and a hint of almond and topped with an easy almond glaze. They’re lovely on a Christmas cookie tray or year-round; just swap out the sprinkles for whatever fits the occasion!

almond ricotta cookies recipe

If you’re a fan of pillowy soft cookies, meet your new favorite. Italian ricotta cookies have a sweet vanilla almond aroma to lure you in, and then a cakey texture to keep you coming back for more!

The first time I had these cookies, they reminded me of Madeleines. They’re similarly cake-like little pillow cookies. The main difference I noticed is that Madeleines are a bit drier, while Italian ricotta cookies have a moist crumb.

easy ricotta cookies

These cookies are easy to make and perfect for any time of year. Of course, they’re a classic Christmas cookie! Just look how pretty they are decked out in red and green sprinkles.

italian christmas cookies

But don’t wait for Christmas to make these! You can swap out the sprinkles and make them any time of year.

And I know the question in your head: Do ricotta cookies taste like cheese? I’m happy to report a very enthusiastic no! They don’t taste like cheese at all. The ricotta gives them a soft, cake-like, fluffy, moist texture, and the flavor comes from the extracts or flavorings you use.

Here we use mainly vanilla extract with a touch of almond extract. You can use more almond extract and less vanilla extract if you prefer almond ricotta cookies. And for lemon ricotta cookies, just add fresh lemon zest!

italian ricotta cookies with description

The Best Italian Ricotta Cookies Recipe

Italian Ricotta Cookies Ingredients

Cookies:

ingredients for ricotta cookies recipe
  • Unsalted butter
  • Granulated sugar
  • Egg
  • Ricotta cheese
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Salt

Glaze:

glaze ingredients for italian ricotta cookies
  • Powdered sugar
  • Unsalted butter
  • Almond extract
  • Milk

How to Make Italian Ricotta Cookies

how to make italian ricotta cookies
  1. Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat until well-combined.
  2. Beat in the egg.
  3. Then beat in the ricotta, vanilla extract, and almond extract.
  4. It’s ok if the batter looks a little lumpy.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Beat until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes (or chill in the fridge for 2 hours).
  7. Use a 1-tablespoon scoop to measure out the dough. Arrange the dough balls on parchment or silpat-lined baking trays, leaving about 2 inches between each dough ball.
  8. Bake until the cookies are set along the outside and light golden on the bottom, about 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway though. Let the cookies cool to room temperature before glazing.

How to Glaze Italian Ricotta Cookies

how to glaze italian ricotta cookies
  1. When the cookies are cooled, make the glaze. To do so, add all ingredients to a medium bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. This is how I like the glaze for these cookies. You can add more milk if desired to thin out the glaze. Or add more powdered sugar if you want the glaze thicker.
  4. Assemble everything you’ll need; the cookies, glaze, and sprinkles. Place a wire rack over a baking tray.
  5. Dip the top of each cooled cookie in glaze. Place it on the wire rack.
  6. If you want to top with sprinkles, add them before the glaze sets. (Depending on the weather, sometimes it only takes a couple minutes for the glaze to set, so don’t wait to add sprinkles if you’re using them.) Let the glaze set before serving.

Storage

Once they’re glazed, store these cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or up to 1 week in the fridge.

ricotta cookies with bite

Variations on This Recipe

  • Make lemon ricotta cookies. To do so, omit the almond extract and add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest (lightly packed).
  • Or play with the vanilla/almond extract ratio. As written, this recipe has a vanilla flavor with a hint of almond. You can adjust the amount of vanilla and almond extracts to suit your tastes. If you want almond to be the stronger flavor, I would add up to 1 teaspoon almond extract, but not more (almond extract is stronger than vanilla extract).
  • Make a fluffy frosting instead of a glaze for topping. To do so, use room temperature (not melted) butter. While beating with a handheld electric beater, add the milk a little at a time until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Change the sprinkles to dress these up for any occasion. These soft, cakey cookies are perfect for any time of year. Red and green sprinkles are perfect for Christmas!
italian christmas ricotta cookies

Tips for Making Italian Ricotta Cookies

  • Room temperature butter and egg. Get your butter and egg out an hour before you want to make these cookies so they have time to come to room temperature. This helps make sure the cookie batter will mix well.
  • Chill out. Don’t skip chilling the dough. I let it chill for 15 minutes in the freezer, but you could do it for 2 hours in the fridge.
  • Be careful not to over-bake. These cookies will stay a pale yellow color on top, even when they’re done. The bottoms will turn a light golden color.
italian ricotta cookies graphic

Ricotta Cookies FAQs

Do Ricotta Cookies Taste Like Cheese?

No! I’m happy to tell you, these cookies don’t taste like cheese at all. These cake-like cookies are soft and pillowy, flavored with vanilla and a hint of almond. The buttery almond-scented glaze is a beautiful finishing touch. And there’s no flavor of cheese!

homemade ricotta cookies

Are Italian Ricotta Cookies for Christmas?

Ricotta cookies are a Christmas classic! But they’re way too delicious to only make them once a year!

You can easily change the look of these cookies by changing the color of the sprinkles. That way, they’re perfect for any holiday.

Do I Need to Chill the Dough for Ricotta Cookies?

Yes! Chilling the dough for these cookies helps make sure the cookies don’t flatten too much when baking. Italian ricotta cookies should have a round, puffed shape.

Hand Holding Bitten Italian Ricotta Cookie

How Do I Know When These Cookies Are Done Baking?

These cookies are done when they look set along the outside and are a light golden color on the bottom. The tops of the cookies should still be pale.

Can I Freeze Ricotta Cookies?

Yes, these cookies freeze well!

To freeze ricotta cookies:

  1. Bake the cookies, but don’t glaze them.
  2. Let them cool to room temperature, and then store them in an airtight container layered between pieces of wax paper.
  3. When you want to serve them, let them thaw overnight before glazing.
ricotta cookies recipe

More Festive Cookie Recipes to Make

italian ricotta cookies recipe

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Italian Ricotta Cookies

Prep Time40 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Other Time35 minutes
Servings: 50 servings
Soft, fluffy, cake-like Italian Ricotta Cookies are flavored with vanilla and a hint of almond and topped with an easy almond glaze. They’re lovely on a Christmas cookie tray or year-round; just swap out the sprinkles for whatever fits the occasion!

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Ingredients
 

Cookies:

Glaze:

Instructions
 

For the Cookies:

  • Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl. Use a handheld electric mixer to beat until well-combined. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the ricotta, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and beat until the dry ingredients are incorporated.
  • Cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and freeze for 15 minutes (or chill in the fridge for 2 hours).
  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Use a 1-tablespoon scoop to measure out the dough. Arrange the dough balls on parchment or silpat-lined baking trays, leaving about 2 inches between each dough ball.
  • Bake until the cookies are set along the outside and light golden on the bottom, about 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the trays once halfway though.
  • Let the cookies cool to room temperature before glazing.

For the Glaze:

  • Make the glaze when the cookies are cooled.
  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and stir to combine. You can add more milk if desired to thin out the glaze.

To Glaze the Cookies:

  • Dip the top of each cooled cookie in glaze. Place it on a wire rack positioned above a baking tray.
  • If you want to top with sprinkles, add them before the glaze sets. (Depending on the weather, sometimes it only takes a couple minutes for the glaze to set, so don’t wait to add sprinkles if you’re using them.)
  • Let the glaze set before serving.

Notes

  • Recipe Yield and Serving Size: This recipe makes about 50 cookies. The nutrition information given is for 1 cookie.
  • Storage: Once they’re glazed, store ricotta cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or up to 1 week in the fridge.
  • Lemon Version: Make lemon ricotta cookies if you prefer. To do so, omit the almond extract and add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon zest (lightly packed).

To Freeze Ricotta Cookies

  1. Bake the cookies, but don’t glaze them.
  2. Let them cool to room temperature, and then store them in an airtight container layered between pieces of wax paper.
  3. When you want to serve them, let them thaw overnight before glazing.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cookie | Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 12mg | Sodium: 40mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Ricotta Cookies, Ricotta Cookies, Ricotta Cookies Recipe

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Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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One Comment

  1. These cookies taste fantastic. Very light and flavorful.

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