Ricotta Cookies – A Family Favorite Italian Holiday Dessert Recipe

This simple dessert recipe makes lots of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties.

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These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

These Ricotta Cookies are divine. They’re hands down some of the best cookies I make. I’ve been baking them every year for Christmas since 2008, and it’s a tradition that will definitely keep on going.

This is a perfect recipe to make for the holidays because it makes a ton – I get about 7 dozen out of it, which is plenty to hand out to neighbors, teachers, and friends.

Sometimes I even make a second batch of these since my Italian in-laws’ require a big container of these every year for Christmas dessert.

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

One of my favorite things about this recipe is having my kiddo help out with the baking and decorating.

He really gets a kick out of watching the butter and sugar get nice and fluffy during the 5 minutes of high-speed mixing.

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

Sometimes I have the neighbor kids come over and we have a big ol’ decorating party.

Sprinkles. Get. Everywhere. But it’s so fun!

Speaking of sprinkles, I’ve found that the nonpareil variety hold up best here. Since the cookies are so moist, larger decorations like these tend to get really soggy once they’ve been stored for a few days.

Not ideal.

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

I also like to make these (and most other cookie recipes) using scoops. They come in all sorts of different sizes and help ensure you get consistently sized cookies that are evenly baked. Plus the little squeeze release handle makes faster work of portioning out the dough.

I use a #50 scoop when I make this recipe and usually get about 7 dozen, depending how much of the batter we eat raw on the day.

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

Another thing that I rarely bake without is a silicone baking mat. I use one on each baking sheet and it helps ensure that nothing sticks to the pan, and the cookies release from the sheet easily.

The ricotta makes these cookies incredibly soft and fluffy – it’s nearly impossible to eat just one!

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

While these cookies are great for Christmas, they’re really perfect for any occasion (not that you need an occasion for cookies!).

I make them for Easter fairly often, too. You can jazz ’em up with different colors – red for Valentine’s Day, green for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. And rainbow colored sprinkles are always a hit!

And luckily, my kiddo is usually excited to help with clean up, too 😉

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

You can also check out my Lemon Ricotta Cookie variation a while back. It’s just as delicious but different enough to feel like a totally different cookie.

Looking for more dessert recipes? Check out some of our favorites:

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These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

Ricotta Cookies

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli (adapted from Allrecipes)
  • Yield: About 7 dozen cookies
  • Category: Dessert, Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

This simple dessert recipe makes lots of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties.


Ingredients

For Cookies:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
For Decorating:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk, plus more if needed
  • Sprinkles (I find that the nonpareil style works best)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a in large bowl with an electric mixer), beat together sugar and butter and on low speed until combined. Increase speed to high and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula and stir gently. Add ricotta, vanilla, and eggs and beat on medium speed until combined. Scrape the bowl again.
  3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Return mixer to low speed and continue to beat until dough forms.
  4. Drop the dough by small scoopfuls (I used a #50 scoop) onto the lined baking sheets. Place 12 on each baking sheet, leaving space between each scoop of dough.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until cookies are very lightly golden, about 13-16 minutes (cookies will be soft). Using a spatula, carefully transfer cookies to wire rack to cool before decorating.
  6. When cookies are completely cool, prepare the icing. In small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth. If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar. Spread a little icing over each cookie, then top with sprinkles while the icing is still wet. Allow the icing to dry completely before storing cookies in an airtight container.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.

These ricotta cookies are a simple dessert recipe makes oodles of pillowy soft, tender cookies that are sure to be a family favorite! Perfect for cookie exchanges & holiday parties. They've been a family tradition for years!

Note: This post includes affiliate links for items that I genuinely enjoy. Big Flavors will receive a tiny commission from purchases made through affiliate links on this site at no added cost to you. This allows us to cover site-related expenses and helps to keep us cooking up a storm!

27 Comments

  • Velva says:

    These cookies would definitely be on my try list. I wish I would have seen these ricotta treats earlier, they would have been perfect for the cookie swap (darn).

    Happy New Year to you and your family. I am looking forward to enjoying all your posts n 2011.

    Cheers.
    Velva

  • Ashley says:

    Velva – you won’t be disappointed in these! They’re fluffy and delicious! Cookie swaps are dangerous 😉

    Happy New Year to you as well!

  • katidyd says:

    Lilly and I made these today and they are phenomenal!! They were so good I wasn’t even upset when Lilly spilled sprinkles all over the floor.

  • Ashley says:

    I’m so glad you liked them! They’re really one of my favorites…I bet they’re extra good when you have a little one helping you out 🙂

  • Theresa says:

    These were so good!

  • Thus says:

    These are delicious! This may be a silly question, but do the cookies have to be refrigerated since they have ricotta cheese in them?

  • Katy says:

    Just made these over the weekend… delicious and light and fluffy!!

  • Sue says:

    These cookies are delicious! I made them last year for Christmas and everyone devoured them. Quick question: Can you make the dough a day or two ahead? I want to make the dough today and cook right before Christmas.

    • A friend of mine is experimenting with that (and freezing them!) this year. I haven’t tried either method, so I’m not 100% sure it would work, but I think it would be fine in the refrigerator. Please do report back if you do – I’m making them again this year and would love to know how that works out.

      • Shan says:

        Was there ever a verdict reached on the ability to make the dough ahead of time? I love this recipe and have made it so many times, but would love to get a head start on Christmas baking 🙂

        • I just checked in with her and she said she had planned to do that last year but ended up eating them/handing them all out instead! The original recipe’s notes say that the COOKED dough freezes well, but not raw. So I’d guess you can bake the cookies, freeze those, and then frost them the day of.

          I made a lemon variation of these this year and they turned out SO well!

  • These sound like a winner to me. I am a cheese lover. The fact you have some “young” helping hands is a bonus. Happy Holidays to you and your family.

  • Abby says:

    Confession: I’ve only ever used ricotta in lasagna. Your cookies look to-die-for, though, and they’re adorable for Christmas goodies!

  • oh ricotta cookies! i dont think i had anything like that before. They would be the hit in my family and I bet my friends would love to get introduced to them too in a cookie exchange. 🙂

  • Kate Minor says:

    Oh my goodness. It’s Christmas cookie season and I am obsessed! These look amazing!

  • Julie says:

    I’ve never put ricotta in cookies before! I love all the sprinkles on top – so festive. 🙂

  • prasanna hede says:

    Oh these looks so fluffy and yumm! I had never used ricotta in cookies, looks like a recipe to save for Holidays!

  • Michele! West Via Midwest says:

    I love that I can get 7 dozen cookies out of a recipe… thats a win in my world! adding this to my holiday list to make!

  • I love that this recipe gives you 7 dozen cookies! I always feel like I’m making endless batches to get enough to go around, and this recipe will be a big win in many ways! I can’t wait to make it this year!

  • Carol Borchardt says:

    Your little boy is too cute! These cookies look like they would melt in your mouth! Love that the recipe makes so much! Perfect this time of year!

  • I like using the scoops too — when making cookies or when we make meatballs. That way you get consistency. What a cute little helper you have. Certainly brings back memories. Your cookies look delicious.

  • Monica says:

    I love that this makes a huge batch – definitely necessary during the holidays, when you want to be able to share freely without having to worry about mixing up another batch the next day! I bet they are amazing with the ricotta, too! Pinning to try. 🙂

  • Sweet Silly Sara says:

    These look so pretty! I have never made them, but now I want to!

  • Carole Mason says:

    I want to make these cookies and the Ricotta Cheese Cake, very much.
    I tried to print out your recipes and, not being expert at computers….I ended up printing 5 unwanted pages to get the cheesecake. I didn’t even try with the Ricotta Cookies ~ I saved it and, hopefully I can find a way to print it out for future use.

    • Ashley says:

      Hi Carole – sorry you had trouble with printing! If you scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post (or click the “jump to recipe” button up at the top), you can click on the “PRINT” button right on the recipe card. That should make it so just the recipe prints, and not all of the text and photos from my post. The Ricotta Cheesecake recipe is an older one and it doesn’t have a recipe card like this post does (yet!) but I’ll go in and revamp it soon so that it does. The posts from the past 2-3 years all have the recipe cards embedded, but that’s something that wasn’t available back when I started Big Flavors. Thanks so much for bringing that to my attention!

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