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Italian ricotta cookies are a delicious, soft and fluffy butter cookie with a vanilla glaze and colorful sprinkles. They are a perfect holiday cookie.
This is a simple recipe and is a great new cookie recipe to try for your next holiday cookie exchange!
Italian Ricotta Cookies
This is one of our favorite cookie recipes! They’re a cake-like cookie full of rich buttery flavor, topped with a perfect vanilla glaze and your favorite sprinkles.
The best part about these cookies is how versatile they are. We love them in the spring and at Easter with rainbow or pastel sprinkles, but they are also a very popular Christmas cookie.
Italian Cookie Ingredients
- all-purpose flour
- baking soda
- butter, unsalted
- whole milk ricotta cheese
For the icing:
- confectioners sugar
- butter, unsalted
- nonpareil sprinkles
How to Make Italian Sprinkle Cookies
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
Next, in a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until combined and ingredients are fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, until each is combined.
Then add ricotta, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in small batches until it’s all combined and incorporated.
Cover the batter with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. You can refrigerate overnight as well.
Once the dough is chilled, line a baking sheet with silpat liners or parchment paper and place scoops of cookie dough on baking sheet about 2 inches apart. To get uniform cookies, use a cookie scoop.
Bake at 350 for 12 to 15 minutes until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown. Remove the cookies from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Repeat until all dough is used. Keep the dough chilled while each batch is baking.
Make the icing while the cookies are cooling.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla.
Hold each cookie upside down and dip the top into the icing and return to the wire rack right- side up. Add sprinkles before the icing sets. Repeat until all cookies are iced.
- Whole milk ricotta – don’t use a fat free or less fat version of ricotta. You want the richness of whole milk ricotta.
- Chill time – be sure to allow the alloted time for the dough to chill.
- Make one batch at a time – to keep the dough chilled, wait to scoop the next batch for the oven until you’re ready for them to go in the oven.
- Thick frosting – be sure the frosting is thick enough that it will drizzle down the side of the cookie, but not so much so that it will fall off the entire cookie.
- Store in airtight container – use parchment or wax paper in between layers so the frosting doesn’t stick to the cookies. They’ll last several days at room temperature or up to a week in the refrigerator.
- Sprinkles – use different colored sprinkles for different holidays. We love pastel sprinkles for springtime and Easter, and green and red for Christmas!
- Almond extract – use almond extract in the cookie and frosting.
- Lemon extract – make these a lemon cookie by replacing the vanilla with lemon extract in either the cake or frosting — or both for extra lemon flavor. You can also substitute lemon juice for the milk in the frosting.
What is Italian Ricotta?
Ricotta means refined and in the case of Italian cheese it’s the leftover portion from production of other cheeses. Don’t worry though, it’s a wonderful cheese that helps make this cookie divine!
What are Nonpareil Sprinkles?
Nonpareil sprinkles are the small ball shaped sprinkles that are typically rainbow colored. They can sometimes be confused with nonpareils which is a chocolate candy disk with nonpareil sprinkles on top.
Can You Make Ricotta Cookies Ahead?
Yes, because you need to chill the dough, you can make these up to two days ahead. Just prepare the batter as directed and place, covered, in the refrigerator.
Can Italian Cookies Be Frozen?
You can freeze these cookies, but they won’t be as pretty once thawed. The glaze frosting tends to change consistency when thawing.
What is a Good Substitute for Ricotta Cheese?
Typically you can substitute cottage cheese (an example is in lasagna), goat cheese, or even sour cream. We don’t recommend substituting ricotta in this cookie recipe as the texture and flavor will be compromised.
Want More Cookie Recipes?
- Strawberry Cake Mix Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
- Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
- Candy Bar Sandwich Cookies
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup butter unsalted, room temperature
- 1 3/4 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 15 ounces whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 cups confectioners sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter unsalted, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 tablespoons milk
- Nonpareil sprinkles multi-colored
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until combined and fluffy.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until each is combined.
- Add ricotta, and vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients in small batches until it’s all combined.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours. (It’s easier to work with chilled.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with silpat liners or parchment paper.
- Using a cookie scoop, or two spoons, scoop cookie dough into 1 tablespoon sized balls and place on prepared baking sheets at least 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until bottoms of cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Repeat until all dough is used.
- Make the Icing while the cookies are cooling.
- In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla.
- Hold each cookie upside down and dip the top into the icing and return to the wire rack right- side up. Add sprinkles before icing sets. Repeat until all cookies are iced.