Ricotta cookies are classic Italian cookies usually served at Christmas, Easter and other special occasions.
These soft, easy ricotta cookies are so light and moist almost like eating a soft sponge cake. Not only are these light in texture, these are light in calories too!
With only 66 calories in each cookie, there’s no need to feel guilty when you sneak in that extra piece.
With this easy ricotta cookies recipe, you can make lemon ricotta cookies, orange ricotta cookies and even lime cookies, just like the ones you see pictured on this page. All you need to do is substitute the citrus fruit juice and zest in the recipe.
If you don’t like citrus flavoured cookies make vanilla ricotta cookies instead. Replace the citrus juice with about 2 teaspoons vanilla extract and don’t use the zest.
These easy ricotta cookies don’t taste like cheese, in fact the cheese gives the cookies a lovely texture rather than flavor. You can buy ricotta or make your own using my homemade ricotta cheese recipe – you will need to make a double batch if you do.
How to Make These Easy Ricotta Cookies
As I said before ricotta cookies are easy to make, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind when making them;
Refrigerate the cookie dough overnight
It’s important that you chill this cookie dough overnight or for at least four hours. This will allow the dough to firm up and stop the cookie dough from spreading out too much when baked. And don’t worry, this ricotta cookie dough will not become too hard and impossible to work with.
Make sure the cookies are even in size
Use a cookie scoop or kitchen scales to get even sized cookies. Having the cookies an even size not only makes them look nice once baked, it ensures even baking. I use a cookie scoop and they each weigh about 24 – 26 grams each.
Shape the cookie dough into balls
Once you have scooped or weighed the cookie dough, roll it into balls and don’t flatten them, leave them as balls when on the baking trays.
Placing the cookies balls on the trays
You will need to allow room between the cookies, because they will spread when baked. If you have made them the same weight as I did 24 – 26 grams and the dough is well chilled, they will spread out to about 6 cm in size.
Cookie dough getting too soft before baking
If you notice the dough getting soft when you are shaping the balls, place them back into the fridge to firm up before baking. Having the dough well chilled before baking will give you a cookie that is thick and dome shaped like the ones below.
If the dough is warm and soft before baking, the cookies will spread considerably more making them flat and thin.
Decorating The Cookies
These Italian ricotta cookies taste great with or without icing. If you like your ricotta cookies with icing there are three ways you could apply the icing:
The first way is to just spoon the icing over the top of the cookies. Place the cookies on a cake rack over a baking tray, then spoon over the icing, any excess icing will drip into the baking tray.
The second is to dip the top cookies into the icing, I actually don’t like this method, it’s messy and crumbs can fall into the icing.
The third way is to dust the tops of the cookies with powdered icing sugar. Lay the cookies in a single layer on a baking tray, then add 1 -2 teaspoon of powdered icing sugar to a small fine meshed sieve, gently shake the sieve over the cookies. This is best done just before serving.
How To Store These Easy Ricotta Cookies
These cookies can be left out a room temperature for up to three days. However, if you live and a hot and humid climate, they would be best stored in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cookies?
These easy ricotta cookies freeze well after baking, so if you find that you have too many cookies, put some in the freezer. Freeze them without the icing. When you need some allow them to thaw at room temperature, then add icing and enjoy.
Easy Ricotta Cookies
- 375 grams (13.22 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 115 grams (4 ounces) salted butter at room temperature
- 280 grams (9..87 ounces) sugar
- 1 lemon zested (or zest of 2 limes, or zest of 1 small orange)
- 2 large eggs at room temperature
- 425 grams (15 ounces) ricotta cheese bought or homemade
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon (or zest of 1 lime, or zest of 1 small orange)
- In a medium bowl sift together the flour and baking powder and add the salt. Put aside.
- Place the butter, sugar and zest into a large mixing bowl, using an electric mixer beat on medium speed for 5 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition.
- Add the ricotta cheese and lemon juice, mix until well combined.
- Gradually mix in the flour until well combined.
- Cover the bowl with plastic food wrap and refrigerate the dough overnight.
- Use a cookie scoop or kitchen scales to divide the dough into 55 even sized cookies, shaping each into a ball.
- Place the cookie dough balls (spaced well apart) onto two trays lined with baking paper, and DON’T FLATTEN them. If the cookie dough has softened while shaping, chill them in the refrigerator before baking.
Preheat the oven to 190°C
- Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the tray for 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to a cake rack. Then bake the remaining cookies.
- Allow the cookies to cool completely before icing.
- Sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, mix in lemon juice and zest until smooth.
- Icing the cookies
- Place the cookies on a cake rack which is on top of a baking tray, spoon about half a teaspoon of glaze over each cookie, and gently spread over the cookie. Allow the glaze to harden for about 2 hours before storing in an air tight container.
Adapted from Giada De Laurentiis