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Italian Christmas Cookies

A single batch of these ricotta cheese cookies is never enough. I usually make one to give away and two more to keep at home. The ricotta cheese makes the morsels extra moist. —Doris Marshall, Strasburg, Pennsylvania
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 15 min./batch + cooling
  • Makes
    7 dozen


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 carton (15 ounces) ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 to 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons 2% milk
  • Colored sprinkles


  • Preheat oven to 350°. In a bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and vanilla. Combine flour, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture.
  • Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  • In a large bowl, cream together butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies and immediately decorate with sprinkles. Store in the refrigerator.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • For extra texture and flavor, top cookies with chopped nuts.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Taste of Home recipes are tested with lightly salted butter. Unsalted, or sweet, butter is sometimes used to achieve a buttery flavor, such as in shortbread cookies or buttercream frosting. In these recipes, added salt would detract from the buttery taste desired.
  • If you forgot to set your butter out to soften, here's how to do it quickly.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 cookie: 92 calories, 3g fat (2g saturated fat), 16mg cholesterol, 74mg sodium, 14g carbohydrate (9g sugars, 0 fiber), 1g protein.
    Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.


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    Average Rating:
    • Dawn
      Feb 15, 2021

      I made these for my orthopedic doctors practice and one of the doctors Dr. R loved them. He saw me in the downstairs lobby and said Dawn those cookies you made with the colored sprinkles were delicious. I had some leftover for our church coffee ann and they loved them.

    • Gary
      Dec 30, 2020

      Best ricotta cookies I've ever had! Got great feedback from everyone I gifted! They freeze and thaw very well too!

    • vickybilski
      Dec 16, 2020

      I married into an Italian family and have one cousin who doesn't eat sweets. We got him to try these and he said it reminded him of a cookie his grandmother use to make. I have requests for these at Christmas when I make all my different cookies. Vicky

    • Pat
      Dec 8, 2020

      VERY disappointed. Soft cake like cookie but no flavor. I had almond flavoring in pantry so I added it to the frosting for some flavor. I won't make these again.

    • Erzhena
      Dec 25, 2018

      No comment left

    • walkerjo
      Jan 28, 2018

      Nice texture, flavor from my old neighborhood.

    • Dawn
      Dec 9, 2017

      Quick and easy, family and friends loved them.

    • burgerwoman
      Feb 18, 2017

      How much anise would you use in this recipe?

    • Kim0827
      Dec 17, 2016

      A nice sweet soft cookie. I expected them to come out rounder and not spread as much as they did. I used 4 cups of Confection sugar and had to add a bit more milk. The recipe does not state that the frosting needs to be beaten with a beater but that was what I did and it worked out well. Had some left over after icing the cookies. Not a hard recipe but time consuming mostly because it makes so many cookies. And the icing and sprinkling takes awhile.

    • Sallie
      Nov 11, 2016

      Made these cookies yesterday and they are so good. Used real butter and followed the recipe except for the frosting. Used 4 cups of confectionery sugar, 6 tbs of butter and added milk until correct spreading consistency and a good quality vanilla. Do not use low fat ricotta cheese. May try lemon zest in cookies next time for variation.