Easy, delicious lemon ricotta cookies made with ricotta and fresh lemon! This is a great recipe for all lemon lovers and cookie fans. These Italian style cookies are moist and soft in the middle and topped with a delicious fresh-tasting lemon glaze. Sweet and tart, in one bite they’ll have you hooked. And if you want to make them a little more festive, you can add sugar sprinkles which adds an extra a pop of colour!
These lemon ricotta cookies require a few basic ingredients. The secret ingredient is using quality ricotta cheese, lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice. The rest is pretty standard for most basic cookie recipes; butter, eggs, flour, sugar.
Elevated with lemon and ricotta
What makes these cookies special is the light flavour and soft texture thanks to ricotta. Ricotta adds moisture and gives these cookies their typical cake-like texture. And then there is the lemon. In this recipe, both lemon zest and freshly squeezed lemon juice is used. It gives the cookies a fresh taste with a little citrusy zing, which makes them a bit sweet and tart. You can also swap it with orange zest and freshly squeezed orange juice, if you like. Most importantly, choice unwaxed organic lemons (or oranges), if possible.
Lemon ricotta cookie ingredients tips & substitutions
You won’t believe how easy these lemon ricotta cookies are! For this easy cookie recipe, you need the most simple ingredients:
Flour: I typically like to bake using spelt flour, however you could also use all-purpose white flour.
Salt: Just a pinch help give the flavours a boost.
Butter: Unsalted butter is ideal. However, if you only have salted butter on hand, you can simply leave out the added salt.
Sugar: Organic beet sugar, raw cane sugar or standard white sugar is ideal for these cookies.
Eggs: Large eggs. Pro tip, if your eggs are at room temperature they incorporate into the batter better, which results in fluffier cookies.
Ricotta: Ricotta gives these cookie their cake-like tenderness and moistness.
Lemon: You will need both freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest of the lemon for the optimal flavour. This could easily be traded out for orange or even lime.
Powdered sugar: Finely ground icing sugar is what creates the perfect, melt in your mouth glaze.
How to make Italian ricotta cookies with lemon
This is a quick overview of how to make ricotta cookies with step-step pictures:
STEP 1 – Mix the ingredients
You’ll need two bowls. One for the dry ingredients and one for the wet ingredients. Beat the eggs, sugar and zest, add the ricotta and lemon and then gently fold in the flour mixture.
STEP 2 – Rest the dough
Chilling the dough is important so that the dough doesn’t spread too much when baked in the oven. We want tender, fluffy cookies.
STEP 3 – Form the cookies
Use your hands to form small balls (1 tablespoon) and arrange them on a baking tray, with 5 cm space between them. Try not to handle the dough too long, warming the dough will make them spread more. If needed, you can refrigerate the cookies for 15 minutes on the tray in the fridge before baking them.
STEP 4 – Bake the cookies and glaze them.
The cookies should be fully cool before glazing them so that the glaze can set. Otherwise, warm cookies with melt and liquify the sugar.
Lemon ricotta cookie preparation tips
Chill the dough: this is a crucial step to ensure that the cookies do not overspread. Be sure to chill it in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before baking. If you don’t, the dough will spread too much and you will have flat, pancake-like cookies.
Cookie size matters: carefully measure out 1 tablespoon of cookie dough per cookie. This is easiest done by using a 1 tablespoon measuring spoon, as measuring with a heaping full soup spoon will yield too much dough. Anything larger than will result in flatter cookies.
Looking for more lemon cookie recipe ideas?
Try one of these favourite cookies:
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
For the cookies:
- 325 g white spelt flour (Type 630)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder (phosphate-free)
- pinch of sea salt
- 125 g butter, at room temperature
- 130 g organic beet sugar or raw cane sugar
- finely grated rind of 1 organic lemon (avoiding white pith)
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 250 g smooth ricotta
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
For the lemon glaze:
- 1 cup powdered sugar (150 g)
- 2,5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Sprinkles, for decorating (optional)
For the cookies:
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment , or using an electric mixer combine the butter, sugar and lemon zest. Beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl once or twice during the mixing process. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping the sides of the bowl, as needed.
Finish the batter by hand using a spatula. Add the ricotta and lemon juice to the butter mixture and stir until incorporated.
Gently fold in the flour mixture until a dough forms. Do not over mix! Using your hands bring the dough together in a ball. The batter will be wet, however if very sticky, add 1 tablespoon more flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for minimum 1 hour (up to overnight).
Preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C (160°C fan-assisted) with the oven rack in centre position. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Working in two batches, roll 1 tablespoon of the chilled cookie dough into a ball, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat till HALF of the dough is used, leaving 5cm between each cookie, as they will spread. Place remaining dough in fridge until ready to start second batch. TIP: Cookies should be no larger than 1 tablespoon in size, anything larger than 1 tablespoon will yield flatter ricotta cookies.
Bake in preheated oven until set and cookies begin to brown slightly on the edges. (15-18 minutes).
Let cool on the baking sheet for 2-3 minutes; then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
When the first batch is half way done, repeat the process with remaining cookie dough.
For the glaze:
In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. The glaze should be somewhat thick, rather than runny. If the glaze is too thin, add more sugar; if the glaze is too thick, add a little more lemon juice.
Dip the top of each cookie into the glaze and return to the wire rack, top side up. Add sprinkles and let rest until glaze sets.
Serve and enjoy!
- Be sure to use the sprinkles or zest while the glaze is still wet, otherwise they will not stick.
- Allow the glaze to fully harden before storing the cookies. Placing them in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes can help speed up the process.
- Lemon ricotta cookies can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for 3-4 days and up to 1 week in the refrigerator.
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