If you’re a fan of airy, cakey cookies or luscious lemon pound cake, these lemon ricotta cookies are for you! Whip up a batch for a tea time straight out of Italia. Molto bene!
Lemon ricotta cookies are famous for being pillowy-soft, delicious, and easy to throw together. What more could you ask for? (I suppose you could ask for Giada herself to come bake them for you while the ghost of Dean Martin serenades you both—but hey, if you make them yourself, you don’t have to share your cookies with either Italian icon.)
So get out your zester, put on your apron, and in your best Dean Martin voice, dance around your kitchen and sing “Every time I bake, I bake…pillows from heaven.”
Pictures don’t really do justice to the texture of these cookies. Think spongy lemon loaf. Think springy, cake-like muffin tops. Think light, delicate, melt-in-your-mouth tea cookies that make you want to bake a giant version of them so you can curl up and take a nap on them. They’re that soft.
Honestly, the texture is more akin to bread than a cookie, so if you like fluffy citrus tea cakes, don’t miss out on these lemon ricotta cookies!
If crunchier cookies are more your style, check out this post on three ways to make shortbread lemon tea cookies!
The cookies are delicious on their own, but if you’d like to zazz them up a bit, glazes are a great way to play with flavors!
Enhance the lemon profile with a simple powdered sugar and lemon juice glaze. Add a twist of raspberry or elderflower by adding a splash of Chambord or St. Germaine. Pull in tea flavors by mixing powdered sugar with a tablespoon or two of your favorite blend.
A Little Tea in Little Italy
You can’t go wrong pairing any of your favorite teas with these cookies!
To lean into the lemon flavoring, consider Raspberry Revitalizer Lemon Mate tea. It’s a bright and zippy blend, well balanced with earthy mate, refreshing lemongrass and lemon peel, and a pop of hibiscus and raspberry essence.
For a softer cuppa that will pair perfectly with your cookies (and make a delicious bedtime snack), try Evening in the Garden herbal tea. A delicate blend of elderflower and rose is pepped up with a pop of lemon, and rounded out with a hint of vanilla essence. So soothing!
I happened to be drinking Hope Blend Jasmine tea the first time I made these lemon ricotta cookies, and I must say I was very pleased and surprised by the combination! The delicate body of the green tea complemented the zesty cookie without overpowering it, and the floral notes of jasmine played very nicely with the cookie’s citrus and vanilla flavor profile.
In the end, whatever tea you pair with your lemon ricotta cookie is sure to be a hit. Put the kettle on, pull your freshly baked cookies from the oven, and I dare you not to sing “That’s amore” as you take that first heavenly bite…the world will shine, bells will ring, and you’ll dance with a cloud at your feet, for sure. Vitta bella, indeed!
Italian Lemon Ricotta Cookie Recipe
- 1 and 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 stick (8 ounces) of butter (room temperature)
- 1 tub (15 ounces) of ricotta
- Zest of 1 lemon (1 ~ 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons)
- Juice of 1 lemon (2 ~ 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice)
- 2 eggs (room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
- 2 and 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. (If using a hand or stand mixer, allow to run for 2-5 minutes.)
In a separate bowl, whisk or sift flour, salt, and baking powder. Set aside.
Add eggs to the creamed butter, one at a time, mixing at low speed. Increase speed to medium-high and add ricotta, vanilla and almond extracts, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Mix until combined.
On low speed, add dry ingredients in 3 batches, mixing until just combined.
Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes, up to 3 days. (Also freezes well.)
Drop 1 Tablespoon of dough at a time onto an ungreased cookie sheet. For a rustic look, bake as-is. For a rounder cookie, roll each Tablespoon of dough into a smooth ball with slightly moistened hands (to prevent sticking).
Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Allow to cool for several minutes on the cookie sheet, then remove to cooling rack.
Top with glaze or powdered sugar, if desired.
Serve with your favorite tea, and enjoy!
Optional Glaze of Choice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 scant Tablespoons* lemon juice or liquid of choice for desired flavor (tea, milk or cream, rose water, orange blossom water, flavored liquor, etc.)
- Splash of vanilla
Combine ingredients. Drizzle or pipe over cooled cookies.
*Use slightly more for a thinner, runnier glaze. Use slightly less for a thicker, gloopier glaze.