5 from 10 votes
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Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies (Valentine Themed Recipe)

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Learn how to make these Italian ricotta cookies for your Valentine’s Day dessert. These are homemade buttery melt-in-your-mouth cookie that is made with simple ingredients. I added a powdered sugar glaze and some festive Valentine’s Day sprinkles. This cookie offers a sweet lemon twist for delicious cookies with colorful sprinkles. Try these Valentine’s Day cookies today.

White frosted cookies with sprinkles on a white plate with a bowl of sprinkles on the side.

Cake-like cookies are such a classic dessert served for parties and all types of special occasions. You can change up the sprinkles to fit any holiday season you would like. This recipe is also great for a cookie exchange.

Try my chocolate brownie cupcakesred velvet cookies, or even this Valentine’s day whoopie pie recipe. These are all Valentine’s Day themed desserts.

  • Italian ricotta cookies are a perfect Valentine’s Day treat, created at home with simple ingredients.
  • These cookies have a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture and are finished with a powdered sugar glaze and colorful Valentine’s Day sprinkles.
  • The cookie recipe incorporates a delightful lemon twist, making them a fun and festive dessert option.
  • The popularity of these cookies stems from being one of the best and most traditional Italian recipes, their delicious glaze, unique lemon flavor, and festive toppings of red, pink, and white sprinkles.
  • The cookies are covered with a straightforward glaze and have a tender texture, adding to their appeal.

Ingredients For Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Ingredients for Italian ricotta cookies including butter, egg, and vanilla extract.
  • All Purpose Flour – Scoop the flour into the measuring cup and then level off the top.
  • Baking Powder and Baking Soda – You will use both for helping create the fluffy texture.
  • Butter – I used unsalted butter, but if you use salted butter, just know it can add a bit of a salty taste.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar is used to sweeten the cookies.
  • Ricotta cheese – I used whole milk ricotta for this recipe; it helps to add depth and flavor to the cookies.
  • Egg – I used a large egg; room temperature egg is recommended.
  • Vanilla and Lemon Extract – I used lemon and vanilla extract for this recipe to add a sweet but citrus-flavored cookie.
  • Powdered Sugar – This is the base of the powdered sugar glaze.
  • Milk – You will use milk to thin up the glaze to your preference.
  • Sprinkles – Now, I used Valentine’s Day sprinkles, but you are welcome to use any color of sprinkles you would like.

The complete list of ingredients, quantities, and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.

How To Make Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Collage of mixing Italian Ricotta cookie dough in a bowl.
  • Mix butter and sugar until smooth in a large bowl or with a mixer. Then add ricotta cheese, egg, and extract. (Photos 1 & 2)
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones in a medium bowl. Mix on low speed. (Photos 3 & 4)
  • Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
Collage of baking and decorating Italian ricotta cookies.
  • Use a cookie scoop to place the dough a few inches apart on a baking sheet. (Photo 5)
  • Bake the cookies as instructed, then let them cool on a rack. (Photo 6)
  • Mix the milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract until a smooth glaze. (Photo 7)
  • Spoon the over the cookies, and add sprinkles. (Photos 8)
Pile of Italian ricotta cookies on a plate.

Expert Tips 

  • Chilled dough is a must; otherwise, you will not get the proper texture of cookies you would like.
  • If you use a small cookie scoop, you will bake the cookies for a shorter time.
  • The cooled cookies with glaze will set up after about an hour or two.
  • You can swap almond extract with the lemon if you are not a lemon lover.
  • If your confectioners’ sugar is lumpy, you will use a sifter to remove the lumps.
  • I recommend placing the cookies on a wire rack for cooling.
  • If you don’t have an electric mixer, you can use a whisk and mix by hand.

Storing Tips 

The ricotta Italian cookies need to be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. They will store for up to three days. Now, if you would like, you can freeze the cookies as well. Place in a sealed freezer bag or freezer container. Freeze the cookies for 2-3 months, and thaw in the fridge overnight.

I use parchment paper or wax paper between the layers to prevent the cookies from sticking. The sweet glaze can cause the cookies to stick together.

What To Serve With Italian Ricotta Cookies

Italian Ricotta Cookies are delightful on their own, but if you want to create a full dessert experience, serve them alongside a steaming cup of coffee or tea. Their sweet, buttery flavor and light texture pair wonderfully with the bitterness of coffee or the subtle flavors of tea. 

For a truly indulgent treat, these cookies can also be served with a scoop of vanilla gelato or a slice of creamy cheesecake. If you aim for a more festive spread, accompany these cookies with other Italian pastries and sweets, such as cannoli, tiramisu, or panna cotta.

Recipe FAQs

My ricotta cookies stuck to the wire cooling rack; what happened?

If your cookies are stuck to the cooling rack, it means your cookies might have been underbaked. The cookies need to be baked a minute or two longer.

Can I use low-fat ricotta cheese for this recipe?

Yes, you can use low-fat ricotta cheese if you prefer. However, keep in mind that it may alter the texture and richness of the cookies slightly since whole milk ricotta cheese has a higher fat content.

Can I freeze the dough for later use?

Absolutely, you can freeze the dough for later use. Just shape the dough into a disk, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then place it in a freezer-safe bag. It will keep for up to three months. When you’re ready to use it, defrost it in the refrigerator overnight.

Why are my cookies turning out flat?

There could be a few reasons why your cookies are turning flat. It could be that the dough was not chilled sufficiently before baking; this is a crucial step as it helps the cookies maintain their shape during baking. Another possibility is that you may be using too much butter or not enough flour. Make sure you’re measuring your ingredients accurately to avoid this problem.

What can I use as a substitute for the lemon extract?

If you don’t have lemon extract, you can substitute it with the same amount of fresh lemon zest. Alternatively, you could use a different type of extract such as almond or vanilla for a different flavor profile. 

Can I use a different kind of cheese?

While it is possible to use a different kind of cheese, it’s important to note that ricotta cheese is used in this recipe for its specific texture and flavor. Using a different type of cheese might result in a cookie that tastes good but is different from the original recipe. If you do want to experiment, cream cheese could be a viable alternative, but the results will vary.

White frosted cookie with a bite on it sitting on a white countertop in front of a plate of cookies.

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Pile of cookies with white frosting and sprinkles on top sitting on white plate.
5 from 10 votes

Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookies (Valentine Themed Recipe)


Author: Kim Schob
Course: Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Refrigerator: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
Whip up a batch of these Italian ricotta cookies that are Valentine's Day themed. This is a homemade ricotta cookie that is holiday themed. These are a lemon flavored ricotta cookie with a cake-like texture.

Ingredients 

Cookies

  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 stick unsalted butter softened
  • ½ – ¾ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • 8 oz (226 ⅘ g) ricotta cheese made with whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon extract

Glaze

  • 1 ½ cup (180 g) powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons (3 tablespoons) milk
  • Sprinkles of choice

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  • Mix butter and sugar until smooth in a large bowl or with a mixer. Then add ricotta cheese, egg, and extract.
    1 stick unsalted butter,½ – ¾ cup granulated sugar,8 oz ricotta cheese,1 large egg,2 teaspoons vanilla extract,2 teaspoons lemon extract
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones in a medium bowl. Mix on low speed.
    2 cups all-purpose flour,½ teaspoon baking powder,½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Chill the cookie dough in the fridge for 2 hours or overnight.
  • Use a cookie scoop to place the dough a few inches apart on a baking sheet.

Glaze Instructions

  • Mix the milk, powdered sugar and vanilla extract in a small bowl until a smooth glaze.
    1 ½ cup powdered sugar,3-4 tablespoons milk,1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Spoon the over the cookies, and add sprinkles.
    Sprinkles of choice

Notes

  • Chilled dough is a must otherwise you will not get the proper texture of cookies you would like.
  • If you use a small cookie scoop then you will bake the cookies for a shorter amount of time.
  • The cooled cookies with glaze will set up after about an hour or two.
  • You can swap almond extract with the lemon if you are not a lemon lover.
  • If your confectioners’ sugar is lumpy, you will use a sifter to remove the lumps.
  • I recommend placing the cookies on a wire rack for cooling.
  • If you don’t have an electric mixer you can use a whisk and mix by hand.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 90kcal (5%) Carbohydrates: 17g (6%) Protein: 2g (4%) Fat: 1g (2%) Saturated Fat: 1g (6%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.4g Trans Fat: 0.002g Cholesterol: 10mg (3%) Sodium: 37mg (2%) Potassium: 23mg (1%) Fiber: 0.2g (1%) Sugar: 10g (11%) Vitamin A: 48IU (1%) Vitamin D: 0.1µg (1%) Calcium: 25mg (3%) Iron: 0.5mg (3%)

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9 Comments

  1. The recipe instructions list the powdered sugar as being added to the cookie. I made them made them this way and they didn’t turn out. Must be an error on the instructions.

    1. Lynn first, I need to apologize you are correct the powdered sugar is for the glaze not the cookie. I have updated the recipe card to reflect that again I apologize. Thank you for catching it.

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