These Lemon Ricotta Cookies are silky soft, bursting with lemon flavor and are topped with a lemon glaze. 

Ricotta is a smooth and creamy cheese that is actually very low in sodium. Because of this, it’s the perfect addition to sweet and savory dishes. I use this ingredient in many of my recipes such as my zucchini ricotta pasta recipe, lasagna soup with herbed ricotta, and my skillet lasagna recipe.

Glazed Lemon Ricotta Cookies on a wire rack surrounded by sliced lemons.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Like Giada lemon ricotta cookies. Have you ever had the famous Giada lemon ricotta cookies? They are so pillowy soft and bursting with lemon flavor. This recipe brings those amazing textures and flavors into your own kitchen! 
  • Packed with delicious (and nutritious) ricotta cheese. Did you know that ricotta cheese is high in calcium, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids? It also provides additional vitamins and minerals such as zinc and Vitamin A. This creamy cheese is naturally low in sodium and can be paired with sweet or savory dishes. 
  • Ultimate lemon flavor. These lemon cookies with ricotta have a prominent lemon flavor. This is thanks to using lemon juice and lemon zest! The lemon zest helps brings out the lemon flavor in the cookies. The glaze also uses both, and with the fresh zest in the glaze you get a beautiful lemon flavor right when the cookies touch your mouth! 

Ingredient Notes

Lemon Ricotta Cookie ingredients on a bronze baking sheet.
  • Flour: A previous version of this recipe had less flour. I’ve reworked the recipe and added more flour to help the consistency of the cookie dough be better. 
  • Baking Powder: The baking powder is the leavening agent for these lemon cookies with ricotta. When baked, the cookies will puff up a bit and have a light, fluffy texture. 
  • Unsalted Butter: If using salted butter instead of unsalted, reduce the amount of salt 1/4 of a teaspoon per 1/2 cup of butter in the recipe. 
  • Eggs: Use room temperature eggs to help them incorporate into the cookie dough better. 
  • Ricotta Cheese: Let the ricotta cheese come to room temperature to help it incorporate into the cookie dough better.
  • Powdered Sugar: Add more or less powdered sugar to the lemon glaze to get the consistency you want. It isn’t a frosting (although you surely could make it thick enough to be frosting like), so you want it to run off the sides of the cookies. 
  • Lemon Juice: The lemon juice will be used in the lemon cookie with ricotta and the lemon glaze. 
  • Lemon Zest: Adding lemon zest (in addition to the lemon juice) will help the lemon flavor really come through! 

Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Combine dry ingredients. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. 
  2. Cream together wet ingredients. Cream the butter and sugar on medium speed (using a hand or stand mixer) until well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  3. Add the ricotta and lemon. Add in the ricotta cheese, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until combined. 
Four photos illustrating how to make lemon ricotta cookies: sugar and butter in a glass bowl, creamed butter and sugar with an egg, and the resulting mixture.
  1. Add in the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredient mixture to the wet ingredients mixture. Mix until just combined.  
  2. Bake. Using a 2 tablespoon-sized cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Bake at 375ºF for 13-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are barely golden and the centers gently spring back when touched. 
  3. Remove and let cool. Remove the cookies from the oven and let them cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Four photos showing the end process of making Lemon Ricotta Cookies, the dough in a bowl and then portioned in balls on a baking sheet, and then baked cookies.
  1. Make the lemon glaze. Once the cookies are cooled, whisk the ingredients for the glaze together until smooth.
  2. Glaze the cookies. Set the wire rack over the baking sheet or on top of parchment paper and top the cookies with glaze. The glaze should run off the sides of the cookies onto the parchment paper or baking sheet. 
A bowl with lemon glaze in it, and a spoon drizzling lemon glaze over Lemon Ricotta Cookies.

Recipe Tips

The lemon ricotta cookie dough will be softer than a traditional chocolate chip cookie dough. 

Be careful not to over mix the cookie dough when adding the dry ingredients to the wet. Over mixing at this stage will create a tough structure within the cookie dough which will affect the bake and texture of the cookies. 

Nestle a cooling rack over a baking sheet; place the cooled cookies on the rack and then gently spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of the glaze over each cookie. Having the baking sheet underneath the rack makes the clean up easy.

Allow the cookies to sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours so that the glaze can set.

Make Ahead, Storing, and Freezing

To make the dough ahead of time, cover the bowl of dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until ready to use. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days. When ready to bake, remove the dough from the fridge and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Scoop onto baking sheets and bake as directed.

Don’t make the lemon glaze in advance. It will begin to set, so do it after the cookies have been removed from the oven and have already cooled.

Store the lemon cookies with ricotta in an airtight container. Glazed cookies will stay fresh at room temperature for 2 days and up to one week if stored in the refrigerator.

To freeze the cookies, freeze before glazing. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container or Ziplock bag. The cookies will stay in the freezer for 1-2 months. For better results, wrap each cookie in plastic wrap prior to storing in the container or bag. 

Recipe FAQs

Can you make these ricotta cookies without the lemon?

Yes. Don’t add the lemon juice or lemon zest. Instead, replace the lemon juice with milk and omit the lemon zest completely. You could substitute the lemon zest for orange zest if you’d like (if you use orange zest add double the amount of orange zest as it isn’t as strong of flavor as lemon, or you can add an additional teaspoon or two of vanilla extract or even almond extract. Heck, if you’re a coconut lover you could use coconut extract and then make a simple glaze (replace the lemon juice in the glaze with milk) and top the cookies with the simple glaze and shredded coconut. Options are endless!

Why is my cookie dough really soft?

This lemon ricotta cookies recipe will produce a really soft cookie dough. That’s expected. If you’d like, you can chill the dough to help it hold its shape a bit better and reduce the risk of over spreading (it isn’t necessary but it’s an option). 

Can you use homemade ricotta? 

Yes. Whether you want to use homemade ricotta cheese or use store-bought, the cookies should turn out delicious either way! 

Can you freeze lemon ricotta cookies? 

Yes. Best to freeze the cookies without the glaze. Store the cookies in an airtight container or ziplock bag. When ready to eat, place the cookies in the refrigerator to thaw. Glaze before eating.

A bite taken out of a Lemon Ricotta Cookie that's on a wire cooling rack.

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Glazed Lemon Ricotta Cookies on a wire cooling rack.
Print Review
4.5 from 6 votes

Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Light and fluffy cookies loaded with fresh lemon juice and lemon zest! These cookies are moist and perfect for spring and summer.
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 13 mins
cool time: 15 mins
Total Time: 33 mins
Servings: 32 cookies

Ingredients
 

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter - softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs - room temperature
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest - from about 1 large lemon

Lemon Glaze

  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon lemon zest

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  • In medium bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. 
  • In a large bowl or using the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on medium speed for 2-3 minutes. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Mix in the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat until well combined. 
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. 
  • Using a 2 T sized cookie scoop, scoop the dough onto the baking sheets. 
  • Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges are barely golden and the cookie gently springs back when touched. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool for 15 minutes on the baking sheet.
  • Transfer cookies to a wire rack. Set the wire rack overtop of one of the baking sheets. Once cool spoon the glaze over the cookies. Store in an airtight container. 

Lemon Glaze

  • Whisk the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.

Notes

Don’t make the lemon glaze in advance. It will begin to set, so do it after the cookies have been removed from the oven and have already cooled.
Nestle a cooling rack over a baking sheet; place the cooled cookies on the rack and then gently spoon about 1-2 teaspoons of the glaze over each cookie. Having the baking sheet underneath the rack makes the clean up easy.
recipe adapted from Food Network

Nutrition

Calories: 166kcal (8%)Carbohydrates: 33g (11%)Protein: 2g (4%)Fat: 3g (5%)Saturated Fat: 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 19mg (6%)Sodium: 78mg (3%)Potassium: 36mg (1%)Fiber: 1g (4%)Sugar: 24g (27%)Vitamin A: 106IU (2%)Vitamin C: 2mg (2%)Calcium: 11mg (1%)Iron: 1mg (6%)
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Did you make this recipe?Leave a star rating and review on the blog post letting me know how you liked this recipe! Take a picture and tag @saltandbaker on Instagram and Facebook so I can see what you’re making!

 

This recipe was re-tested and adjusted March 22, 2022. I made adjustments to the amount of flour used in the dough, and reduced the amount of powdered sugar used in the glaze. I also eliminated the instruction to “chill” the dough prior to baking. It doesn’t need it!