Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies made with a quick lemon infused sugar and dipped in a lemon glaze for a delightful all around citrus scent. They’re all dressed up in gold nonpareils and ready to grace any holiday cookie platter with some merry cheer!
While some people are dreaming of a white Christmas or even getting an early start to a flurry of holiday shopping, I’m living and breathing cookies in all shapes and forms. Shopping is pushed to the sidelines in anticipation of the glorious sweet treats begging to come to light.
What better way to ease into holiday baking then with these adorable Lemon Ricotta Cookies! They’re extremely popular in Italian households especially around the holidays with each family having their own unique way of decorating these citrusy morsels.
These cookies are extremely soft to the bite. They also have a very cake like texture which are sure to appeal to all you die hard cookie fans!
Lemon Ricotta Cookies with Lemon Glaze
These Lemon Ricotta Cookies are inspired by Canadian Living Magazine’s ricotta cookie from their latest holiday issue. I’ve made a few switch ups which will definitely appeal to all lemon lovers.
To achieve an all around citrus taste in the cookie dough, I added lemon zest and made a quick lemon sugar by pulsing together the lemon zest with the granulated sugar in my mini food processor. Alternately, if you don’t have a food processor simply beat the butter, sugar and zest all together.
I omitted the baking soda altogether and increased the baking powder from 1/4 teaspoon to a full teaspoon as this yielded a plumper cookie which did not spread out overly much. They resembled these perfect little round soft and fluffy pillows.
Also for uniformly round cookies I used a 1 1/2 inch round cookie scoop but you can just as easily measure the dough out with a rounded tablespoon.
I opted out of the cream cheese icing and decided to make a luscious lemon glaze.
“A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand” Barbara Johnson
Lemon Sugar Glaze
You can customize the thickness of the lemon icing or glaze to your taste. Adding less lemon juice to the icing sugar will result in a thicker glaze. Or, if you prefer a thinner glaze try adding a little more lemon juice.
Do keep in mind though that these cookies absorb quite a bit of the icing, especially a day after. So if you want that white glaze appearance make sure the icing is not overly thin.
Can You Freeze Lemon Ricotta Cookies?
I had full intentions to test out whether these ricotta cookies would freeze well because I’m all for baking ahead during the holidays.
However, they lasted 1 full day in my freezer because greedy hands quickly devoured the cookies! They’re that delicious!
Here is what I recommend!
- If baking and freezing ahead do freeze the cookies without the lemon glaze.
- Thaw and then glaze the cookies the same day you plan to serve them for best appearance.
How to store Italian Ricotta Cookies
- Store the cookies in an air tight container and keep in a cool dark place.
- They’ll be at their freshest for about 5 days
- Or freeze unglazed cookies and then defrost and glaze them on the day you plan to serve them.
Bake them today and tag @marisasitaliankitchen on Instagram so I can see your creation!
Lemon Ricotta Cookies
For The Cookie Dough
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
- 1 large egg
- 8 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt I used fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- sprinkles or nonpareils for decorating
For The Lemon Glaze
- 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
- zest from 1 lemon
- 4 to 5 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line 3 cookies sheets with parchment paper as this will make for easy release of the cookies and set aside.
- Pulse the granulated sugar with the lemon zest in a food processor for about 1 minute so as to infuse the sugar with the lemon scent.
- Place the lemon sugar and the softened butter in a large bowl and beat until fluffy.
- Beat in the egg, ricotta cheese and the vanilla until well combined.
- In a medium sized bowl whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder and stir this into the ricotta mixture.
- Using a small cookie scoop of about 1 1/2 inch in size, scoop out the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing them about 2 inches apart so that they have room to expand. Or simply measure out a heaping tablespoon if you don't have a cookie scoop.
- Bake in the preheated oven for about 12 to 14 minutes or until the bottoms are golden in color.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and in the meantime prepare the lemon glaze.
- FOR THE LEMON GLAZE
- Place the icing sugar and lemon zest in a medium sized bowl and whisk in the lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time, until a desired consistency is achieved.
- Dunk the top of the ricotta cookies into the lemon glaze and place on a wire rack with a tray underneath to catch any drippings.
- Sprinkle with nonpareils of your choice and then allow the lemon glaze to set before serving.