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Close up of stack of three glazed lemon cookies on a wooden board. Grey beige background.

Lemon Ricotta Cookies (soft and easy)

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These Italian lemon cookies are melt-in-your-mouth good and soft from the ricotta cheese. Bursting with zesty lemon flavor, they're topped with a sweet, sugary glaze and more fresh lemon zest. A recipe for all the lemon lovers out there that will bring raves.

  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: about 30 cookies

Ingredients

Units

For the ricotta cookies:

  • 250g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • Zest of 1 lemon

For the lemon glaze:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

For the soft ricotta cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 320ºF/160ºC.
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl, beat soft butter with sugar and vanilla.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well.
  5. Add the lemon zest and mix.
  6. Add flour and baking powder and integrate without overtaxing.
  7. Stir in the ricotta until well incorporated. If the ricotta is too chunky, you can whip it slightly first before adding it. 
  8. Drop teaspoonfuls onto the baking sheet, leaving space between them, as they will spread while baking.
  9. Gently flatten the tops if they are too high and bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until they start to turn golden. They should not sink when gently pressed with a finger.
  10. Let them cool slightly on a rack, and carefully remove them from the sheet with a spatula.
  11. Cool completely before glazing.

 For the lemon glaze:

  1. Mix powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice in a small bowl. If it's too thick, add a few drops more juice until it has a slightly very thick honey-like consistency.
  2. Spoon small amounts into the center of the cooled cookies and spread it slightly so that it runs to the sides.
  3. Grate lemon zest on top of the wet glaze and let it dry on a cooling rack.

Notes

  • Baking time: consider that all ovens and pans are different, even if they look similar. The baking time in my recipes is as accurate as it can be, but it might take you more or less time. You can use a thermometer(like the OXO oven thermometer) to check that your oven is at the right temperature. I recommend you keep track of how your oven works and what tiny details you might need to adjust. 
  • Do a test run. I always recommend baking two or three cookies to find your sweet spot regarding baking time and texture. Check the time to ensure you don't over or underbake them. Also, see how much they expand and adjust accordingly if needed so they don't touch during baking.
  • Room temperature storage: keep the cookies in a well-sealed, airtight container like a cookie tin or Tupperware-type container. Stored properly, ricotta cookies will be good for 2-3 days.
  • Author: Paula Montenegro
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 minutes
  • Category: Cookies
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: International