It was time for our annual neighborhood cookie exchange and these festive Italian Ricotta Cookies with almond icing and holiday sprinkles were perfect for the occasion.
Made with whole milk ricotta cheese, these soft Italian Christmas cookies were soft, tender and irresistible!
Italian Ricotta Cookies
My family loves the traditional frosted sugar cookies, but there’s not always time for the rolling, cutting, and decorating. These Italian Christmas cookies are simply made by scooping dough out onto parchment paper, baking, then topping with an easy powdered sugar frosting. And Bill, the frosting loving husband, raved about these even before they were iced!!! FYI, his hearty endorsement included the frosted cookies, too.
Tips for Making These Italian Christmas Cookies
Though I’m not sure the origin of these cookies is really Italy or if this is an Italian-American contribution, they are a Christmas classic for many families across the US. Often flavored with lemon or anise, I went with vanilla in the cookies and almond extract in the frosting. Feel free to add the flavorings you and your family prefer.
- As with all cookies, have your butter and eggs at room temperature. The butter shouldn’t be so soft that it looks greasy, us soft enough to make it blend easily with the sugar.
- PRO-Tip: Use a cookie disher/cookie scoop to make consistent sized cookies. I used a smaller scoop for some (my preference) and a medium scoop for the rest. Just adjust the baking time. I also rolled the dough balls between my palms to help make them rounder.
- Bake on parchment lined baking sheets for easy cleanup. I reuse my parchment for subsequent batches of the same cookie.
- Let cool completely before icing. And while the frosting is still wet, add sprinkles in colors to match the season or event. You can also decorate these Italian Christmas cookies with colored sugar or candied cherries.
- I stored my cookies in the refrigerator. If you want to store them at room temperature, do not put them into a sealed container as the glaze will get soft and run.
- Baked Italian ricotta cookies freeze well. The unbaked dough does not freeze well, though the dough can be made a day ahead of time and stored, covered, in the refrigerator.
These were perfect for a neighborhood holiday cookie exchange. I also brought my rosettes, which were a novelty among my friends! Other favorite holiday cookies include these cranberry cream cheese bars, chewy gingersnaps and Noel nut balls.Print
Italian Ricotta Cookies
A sweet, soft Italian sugar cookie made festive with frosting and sprinkles!
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 minutes
- Total Time: 32 minutes
- Yield: 8 dozen small cookies 1x
- Category: Dessert, Cookies
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian, Italian-American
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
1 carton (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese (I removed 1 tablespoon from a 16 ounce container)
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
3 to 4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 to 4 tablespoons milk
Colored sprinkles or sugar
In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in ricotta and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda, then gradually add to the creamed mixture.
Scoop out rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
In a large bowl, cream butter, powdered sugar, almond extract and enough milk to reach your desired consistency. Frost cooled cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles or colored sugar. Store in the refrigerator.
Adapted from Taste of Home.