Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Cool/Set: 60 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 48 servings
Yields: 48 cookies

These bright and flavorful lemon ricotta cookies are the perfect ending to an Italian meal or accompaniment for afternoon tea. They are light and delicate but also so satisfying. Adding ricotta cheese to the cookie dough ensures that they stay soft and fluffy.

The lemon flavor comes from freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice in both the cookies as well as the glaze. For best results, use organic or home-grown lemons, since they won't have a waxy coating on the peel. The addition of a dash of lemon extract takes the citrus flavor to the next level.


  • For the Cookies:
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

    Lemon Ricotta Cookies ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

    Lemon Ricotta Cookies dry ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy.

    Butter and sugar in a mixing bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.

    Egg added to the butter and sugar mixture

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, zest, and extract. Stir to combine.

    Ricotta cheese and lemon added to the mixing bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine.

    Dry ingredients added to wet ingredients in mixing bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until slightly golden at the edges.

    Lemon Ricotta Cookies ready to be baked

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  8. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

    Lemon Ricotta Cookies on cooking rack

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  9. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze. In a medium bowl, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Stir until smooth.

    Glaze ingredients in a bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  10. Spoon some of the glaze over each cookie, spreading to the edges and allowing to drip down the sides.

    Lemon Ricotta Cookies on cooling rack with glaze on the side

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  11. Allow the glaze to harden and set at room temperature for at least an hour before serving. Enjoy!


This recipe calls for lemon zest and lemon juice in both the cookies and the glaze. When working with whole lemons, here are a few tips:

  • Always zest the lemons before juicing them.
  • Choose a lemon with unblemished skin. Lemons with thicker skins tend to be easier to zest than those with thin skins.
  • Rinse the lemon well with water and dry it with a paper towel before zesting.
  • Be careful not to get the pith, or white portion of the lemon, with your yellow peel as you zest. The white portion is very bitter.
  • Use a small, fine zester such as a Microplane.

Recipe Variations

If you don't have a fresh lemon on hand, there are a few options for lemon zest substitute. Try:

  • Lemon extract
  • Lemon juice
  • Dried lemon peel
  • The zest of another citrus fruit

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