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How to make lemon ricotta cookies

Lemon ricotta cookies are soft, fluffy, cake-like cookies. Topped with a sweet-tart lemon glaze, they are a great addition to holiday dessert platters. They are perfectly lemony, soft and fluffy cookies. The lemon glaze on top is an absolute must.

You may also be interested in my soft ginger molasses cookies and my Christmas sugar cookies recipes. For ease of browsing, you can find all of my cookies recipes in one place.

I’ll give you variations and substitutions where I can, plus helpful tips and tricks for success. Read on for this info as well as the recipe. If you’d like to skip straight to the recipe, use the jump to recipe button at the top of the post.

Lemon ricotta cookies on white plate with sprinkles.

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Lemon ricotta cookies

These are hands down, the best lemon ricotta cookies I’ve ever made. This recipe has been tested over and over to yield a perfectly fluffy cookie that does not spread.

Inside of cookie with green and red sprinkles.

There is something about the sweet-tart of lemon desserts that I honestly can’t get enough of. If you are not a fan of heavy desserts, these are the cookies for you. 

Ingredients

This recipe uses common pantry ingredients. The only items you may have to shop for would be the ricotta and possibly a lemon or two. I tend to like my lemon desserts very lemony, so I will get 2 lemons for that extra punch.

Ingredients for ricotta cookies on gray background.
  • Butter – Use unsalted butter so you can control the amount of salt in your baked goods.
  • Lemon – This recipes uses the zest and the juice.
  • Ricotta cheese – I used full fat for this recipe.
  • All-purpose flour – Weighing your flour is the most accurate way to measure.  
  • Vanilla – Gives baked goods that familiar flavor we all love.
  • Sugar  – Provides just enough sweetness + a little extra for the tops .
  • Egg – Provides moisture and structure to the dough.
  • Salt – All baked goods need salt.
  • Baking powder and baking soda – baking powder gives the cookies just a tiny bit of lift, while the baking soda helps the cookies spread just the right amount.

I am NOT a baker, but I tried these for a cookie exchange and fell in LOVE! They are SO good!

– Taci

How to make

First, sift your dry ingredients – flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, into a medium bowl and set aside. Then, beat butter and sugar together until creamy, then add eggs and ricotta.

Step by step photos for lemon ricotta cookies.

Add dry ingredients and mix together until it forms a uniform dough. Scoop dough and refrigerate. After dough has chilled, bake cookies and let them cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, mix together all of the ingredients for the glaze. Add as much or as little lemon juice to get the desired consistency.

Spreading lemon glaze on cookies.

Use a small offset spatula to spread the icing on the cookies and top with sprinkles. The easiest way to do this is over a baking sheet to catch any drips for easy cleanup.

Putting sprinkles on cookies.

Lemon ricotta cookies Q&A

Can I freeze these cookies?

Yes. You can freeze the cookies and the dough. If freezing the cookies, place pieces of parchment paper between them so they don’t stick when you want to remove just a few cookies.
To freeze the dough, let it chill overnight, then toss in a zip-top freezer bag and store in the freezer.

Can I make them ahead?

Yes! The shelf life on these cookies is about 3 – 4 days.

Why should you rest cookie dough?

Resting cookie dough allows the flour to fully hydrate, plus it allows the flavors to develop. This gives you a better tasting cookie. Additionally, we are chilling the dough to allow it to firm up, which gives us a thick & fluffy cookie instead of one that has spread thin.

Check out my post on how to ship cookies without breaking for helpful tips and tricks to send treats to family and friends.

Chef tips for success

  • Chill the dough – I tested this recipe over and over. For me, the sweet spot was chilling the dough for 4 hours. That’s when I got the perfect cookie. If you don’t have that much time, chill for at least 2 hours.
  • Use parchment paper – I had the best results when the cookies were baked on parchment-lined baking sheets. A Silpat also gave me good results, but I preferred the parchment paper.
  • A small offset spatula makes spreading the glaze on the cookies a snap.
  • Use full fat ricotta cheese. Don’t buy fat-free, it won’t give you the same results and you’ll be disappointed.
  • Don’t make cookies too big. A small cookie scoop (1 tbsp.) makes the perfect size.
The perfect lemon ricotta cookie.

Variations and substitutions

Try this recipe with any citrus – lime, orange, tangerine, or even grapefruit, for a seasonal variation.

Learn how to make sanding sugar and top the lemon ricotta cookies with colored sparkling sugar instead of nonpareils.

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Yield: 60 small cookies

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Pillowy soft and perfectly lemony, lemon ricotta cookies are sure to be a hit.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Bake Time 14 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 29 minutes

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour // 390 gr
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter // 1/2 cup // 113 gr
  • 2 cups sugar // 400 gr
  • 2 eggs
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese // 425 gr
  • 1 lemon, zested (about 1 - 1 1/2 tbsp.)
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

For the Glaze

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar // 175 gr
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 3 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp. sprinkles, if desired

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.
  4. Add ricotta cheese, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, beat until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.
  5. Mix in dry ingredients until thoroughly incorporated, but do not overmix.
  6. Line baking sheets with nonstick silicone liners or parchment paper. Using a tablespoon (1/2 ounce) scoop, portion dough onto baking sheets, leaving two inches between them.
  7. Wrap baking sheet tightly with plastic wrap and chill dough for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours.
  8. Preheat oven to 325°F with convection fan // 350°F without fan // 180°C // Gas mark 4.
  9. Remove plastic wrap and bake cookies straight from the fridge for 12 - 14 minutes, until edges begin to brown.
  10. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.
  11. Mix all ingredients for glaze together and gently spread on top of cookie. Top with sprinkles, if desired. Let glaze harden for at least 2 hours.

Notes

To spread icing:


Use a butter knife or a small offset spatula to spread icing on top of cookies


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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

60

Serving Size:

1 cookie

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 13mgSodium: 80mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 2g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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Thanks for stopping by! Have a delicious day 🙂

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Originally published 9/24/13.

7 Comments

  1. I feel the same way about lemon desserts! I am always looking for new lemon sweets recipes. These do sound divine, and I have no intention of waiting for Christmas!!! Thank you for sharing!

  2. I made these today! They are delicious. Very easy recipe to follow. I’m thrilled with the way they turned out. Thank you so much for perfecting these delicious lemon cookies. These will be a regular on my Christmas cookie tray!

    1. Thank you so much, Sherry!!! You have absolutely MADE MY NIGHT! I appreciate this so very, very much and I’m thrilled that you loved the recipe! 🙂

  3. I have two questions for you 1st how do you store these and for how long second, is the dough supposed to be very soft and sticky to roll? Otherwise for taste these are wonderful and soft which is how I like my cookies. I give you 5 stars

    1. Hi Kathy, I store them in an airtight container on the counter. They usually last a few days, but after 4 or 5 days are less delightful than they were when first baked. The dough is a bit sticky, but you don’t have to roll them, I use a cookie scoop to portion the dough and it gets dropped right onto the baking sheet and then chilled in the fridge.

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