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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:
    • 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.

    • Inessa1103
      Jan 1, 2016

      I made them a few times and added lemon zest to the mix and to the glaze and they tasted fantastic!

    • karinmair
      Dec 20, 2015

      The only good thing about these cookies is the texture. The flavor is quite bland. Will probably not make again.

    • redcottagechronicles
      Dec 1, 2015

      These moist, cake-like cookies were flying off the cooling rack before they were even frosted! Makes a nice big batch and freeze well too.

    • kimbojones
      Nov 15, 2015

      I lost my great-grandmother's recipe for ricotta cookies, and have been looking for something similar...these are as close as it comes! Nonna always used almond or anise flavoring, so I added 2 tsp almond emulsion. As soon as they were out of the oven, it was like I was in Nonna's kitchen again! So good! I'll try the anise next time. Thank you so much for posting this recipe and giving me the opportunity to reconnect with the past!