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Lemon Ricotta Cookies

These homemade Lemon Ricotta Cookies are the perfect little treat, where the tang of fresh lemons meets the richness of ricotta in a delightfully soft, sweet treat that’s as perfect for a cozy afternoon as it is for a festive gathering.

Frosted lemon ricotta cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet.

The Ingredients

This is an “old school” Italian recipe that was very popular in the Italian neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

These cookies come together so quickly and consist of 8 ingredients including butter, sugar, eggs, ricotta cheese, vanilla, flour, salt, and baking soda. You’ll probably have most of these on hand, with the exception of ricotta, which I don’t normally keep on hand (but you may?).

This recipe also uses a lemon icing that is a bit different than the glaze used in my Italian wedding cookies, which do not use ricotta and are flavored with anise or almond extract.

Ingredients for the lemon ricotta cookies on a grey background.
Ingredients for lemon ricotta cookies and icing: Flour, sugar, ricotta, butter, salt, lemon, eggs, vanilla and confectioners sugar.

How to Make

Begin by making the dough. Cream the butter and sugar, add egg followed by the ricotta and vanilla.

Adding eggs to the batter in a glass bowl.
Unmixed wet ingredients for lemon ricotta cookie dough in glass bowl.

Add flour and then mix. I like to refrigerate all my cookies doughs as it reduces spreading and improves results. Then portion and bake until very lightly golden.

Ingredients for lemon ricotta cookies in glass bowl.
Tray of unbaked lemon ricotta cookies.

Remove cookies from oven, and make the lemon icing by mixing the powdered sugar, lemon juice, butter, milk, vanilla, and salt.

Tray of baked lemon ricotta cookies on parchment lined cookie sheet.
Bowl of frosting for lemon ricotta cookies with whisk.
Pouring frosting over lemon ricotta cookies.

Frost your cookies, and enjoy!

Baking Tips for Ricotta Cookies

The cookies bake up quick! They are done in 15 minutes and are a very pale yellow when finished. I think the most challenging part of baking this cookie is that the dough is quite sticky. I use a cookie scoop to address this challenge. The use of a cookie scoop works like a charm and helps to make all your cookies a consistent size.

Other ways to work with sticky cookie dough like this one include using a pastry bag to pipe small mounds for each cookie, using cooking spray on your hands to reduce stickiness, adding a bit of powdered sugar or flour to your hands, or even wetting hands helps!

Plate full of lemon ricotta sugar cookies with lemon slices.

Tips and Storage

Before Baking:

  • Refrigerating dough before baking will help prevent spreading.
  • Refrigerate from 30 minutes to 24 hours (in bulk or shape and place on a cookie sheet).
  • For thin, crispy cookies, refrigerating the cookie dough is not recommended.


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📖 Recipe

Close view of lemon ricotta cookies frosted with lemon slices scattered about.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Makes about six dozen (72) lemon ricotta cookies, light and tender, topped with lemon icing. These will vanish quickly!
5 from 6 votes
Author: Marie
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting after Icing 20 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Servings 72 cookies
Calories 115 kcal


For the cookie dough

  • 3 large (3 large) eggs
  • 1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter cubed
  • 2 cups (400 g) sugar
  • 1 pound (453.59 g) ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 4 cups (500 g) all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon ) salt
  • 1 teaspoon (1 teaspoon ) baking soda

For the Icing

  • 1 pound (453.59 g) powder sugar plus more if icing is too thin
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1/4 teaspoon ) salt
  • 1 tablespoon (56.75 g) unsalted butter melted
  • 1 teaspoon (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (61 g) milk Up to 4 tablespoons

For decorating (optional)

  • lemon zest


For the Cookie Dough

  • In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream sugar and butter together until combined. Add eggs and continue to mix until well combined
  • Add ricotta and vanilla and mix for another minute
  • Add flour, baking soda, and salt and mix until just combined
  • OPTIONAL: Although you may bake right away, refrigerating the dough in an airtight container for one hour or up to a few days, will reduce spread, make the dough easier to handle, and improve flavor.

To Bake the Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place rack in center of oven
  • Drop cookie dough or roll into balls (my preference) onto an ungreased cookie sheet (use parchment paper if you have it) and bake for 15 minutes. (if you refrigerated the dough, allow the dough to warm up just enough so it is easy to shape/handle.
  • Do not overbake! cookies will be very light in color 

For the Icing

  • Place powdered sugar in large bowl and whisk to break up any clumps.
  • Add salt, melted butter, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and whisk until smooth.
  • Add the milk, one tablespoon at a time, until the icing is smooth yet still quite thick.
  • Adjust accordingly by adding more powdered sugar if it is too thin.

To Decorate

  • Wait until cookies are completely cooled before icing or the icing will melt off.
  • Before icing dries, feel free to decorate with additional lemon zest if you'd like.


  • After icing, let stand for 30 minutes to firm up the icing before storing.


Store these cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 days or so. I’ve frozen mine and they keep well for at least a month.


Calories: 115kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 1gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 65mgPotassium: 19mgSugar: 11gVitamin A: 140IUCalcium: 17mgIron: 0.4mg
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