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Last Updated on July 7, 2024 by Kiersten James

The best Italian ricotta cookie recipe you’ll ever find. Light enough for a summer treat but fancy enough for holiday parties, this is a 10/10 crowd pleaser!

plate of italian ricotta cookie on a blue tablecloth

If you’re looking for the best Italian ricotta cookie recipe straight from a New York home kitchen – you’ve found it.

Although I’ve been baking these for nearly forever, we had 100% confirmation that this was, in fact, the BEST Italian ricotta cookie recipe when Kiersten’s Italian mother-in-law baked these cookies to bring to three separate parties in a span of two weeks.

This is highly significant because she grew up in the Arthur Avenue neighborhood of the Bronx surrounded by some of the best Italian bakeries and food in America.

Light and airy, not too sweet, not too “cheesy”, the dough can be made days ahead of time, AND they store for almost a week without a problem.

I literally cannot think of a more perfect combination.

Best Italian Ricotta Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups all purpose flour 
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • Icing:
  • 1 cup Powdered sugar 
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons of milk 

Topping Ideas for Ricotta Cookies

The options for ricotta cookie toppings are truly endless. Some of our favorites are:

  • Dried lavender flowers
  • Crushed dried rose petals
  • Chocolate shavings
  • Chopped nuts
  • Festive sprinkles
  • Lemon zest and poppy seeds
  • Orange zest with chocolate sprinkles

Contrary to a lot of the images floating around Pinterest, traditional Italian ricotta cookies are not topped with rainbow sprinkles. In fact, the only cookies that ever had sprinkles growing up were the Struffoli honey balls.

Instructions:

Cream butter and sugar together for a few minutes until light and fluffy on high speed. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating.

Next, add the sour cream and ricotta on low speed. Mix only until incorporated. 

Add the flour, salt and baking powder in intervals until mixed. Be careful not to over mix the dough or the cookies will turn out dense after baking.

Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap or transfer to an airtight container. 

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Make teaspoon-sized drops of dough onto the sheet spaced 2” apart. The cookies will puff up while they bake.

Bake the cookies for for 20 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Keep an eye on them to make sure the bottoms don’t get too dark. 

Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack with a spatula. They will be very soft until they cool completely.

When cooled, mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with milk (adding 1 tablespoon at a time until you get to an icing consistency). 

Drip icing onto the cookies and immediately add your choice of topping instead of icing all of the cookies first and then adding the toppings after. The toppings won’t stick once the icing hardens!

Storage and Making the Dough Ahead of Time

The dough for this Italian ricotta cookie recipe can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator in an air-tight container or bowl covered in plastic wrap for 3 to 4 days without a problem.

Store baked Italian ricotta cookies at room temperature in a covered container for up to 5 days. The texture will decline in quality after that point but I doubt they’ll last that long!

More Easy Cookie Recipes

Sourdough Chocolate Chip Cookies

Amish Sand Tarts Recipe (Pennsylvania Dutch)

Amish Raisin Filled Cookie Recipe (Step by Step With Pictures)

Italian Rainbow Cookie Cakenot a cookie, but sooo delicious!

plate of italian ricotta cookie on a blue tablecloth

Best Italian Ricotta Cookie Recipe

Yield: 24 cookies
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Additional Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 15 minutes

The best Italian ricotta cookie recipe you'll ever find. Light enough for a summer treat but fancy enough for holiday parties, this is a 10/10 crowd pleaser!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of milk
  • Cookie toppings: dried lavender, crushed nuts, sprinkles, etc.

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together for a few minutes until light and fluffy on high speed. 
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and continue beating.
  3. Add the sour cream and ricotta on low speed. Mix only until incorporated. 
  4. Add flour, salt and baking powder in intervals until mixed. Be careful not to over mix the dough.
  5. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight until ready to bake. Cover with plastic or keep in an airtight container. 
  6. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350F
  7. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper
  8. Make small drops of dough (about teaspoon sized because they puff up) spaced 2” apart. 
  9. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges start to brown. Be careful the bottoms don’t get too dark. 
  10. Remove the sheet from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes on the sheet before transferring to a wire rack with a spatula.
  11. When cooled, mix 1/2 cup of powdered sugar with milk (add 1 tablespoon at a time until you get to icing consistency). 
  12. Drip icing onto the cookies and immediately add your topping as you go instead of icing all of them and adding toppings after. The toppings won’t stick once the icing hardens.

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