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Orange Ricotta Cookies are a classic Italian cookie that is moist and cake-like with a distinctive orange flavor.

Orange Ricotta Cookies - A Family Feast


Classic Italian foods always seem to make an appearance on our family table at the holidays.  For my husband Jack and his big Italian family – of course, that makes sense!  But for me – coming from a large Polish family – in between the pierogi and the stuffed cabbage that was always served at our Christmas meals, we also had a few Italian foods at the table thanks to my mother’s sister, Bertha.

Cioci Bertha, as we called her (Cioci is “aunt” in Polish), was married to my Uncle Pete – an Italian – so the menu at her house was always a wonderful blend of the best of two culinary worlds!  She made a terrific lasagna (note to self…I must get her recipe!) but I also remember the cookie tray – an exotic (to me) combination of treats including anisette cookies with colorful sprinkles, pizzelle (some with, and some without powdered sugar) as well as some delicious soft, frosted ricotta cookies!

Among my favorites were the ricotta cookies – and a few weeks ago, Jack and I were sharing fond cookie memories from each of our childhoods!  I looked around and found some similar cookie recipes online, then worked to recreate these Orange Ricotta Cookies we’re sharing today!

Orange Ricotta Cookies - A Family Feast


Ricotta cookies are often flavored with lemon, but we liked the more distinctive orange flavor in our version.  We used whole milk ricotta in our orange ricotta cookies – giving them a soft, cake-like consistency and the fresh orange zest gives the cookies wonderful flavor.  The icing also has orange zest as well as orange juice – so there is no mistaking the delicious citrus flavor!

These orange ricotta cookies are really quite easy to make – but a word of caution.  As you mix in the flour, just be sure not to over mix the cookie dough to ensure that your ricotta cookies are light and tender!

You may also enjoy these other Italian cookies:

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Orange Ricotta Cookies - A Family Feast

Orange Ricotta Cookies

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 1/2 dozen
  • Category: cookies
  • Method: baking
  • Cuisine: Italian


For the cookies

  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces fresh whole-milk ricotta (drain any excess liquid, if necessary)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 large orange (about 2 teaspoons)

For the glaze

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt together into a bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the sugar and softened butter and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the first egg to the mixing bowl and mix well. Then add the second egg, and again mix well.
  5. Add the ricotta, vaniila and orange zest and mix to combine.
  6. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until all ingredients are just combined – being careful not to over mix.
  7. Using a small scoop or tablespoon drop the dough onto the baking sheets about two inches apart.
  8. Bake cookies for 20 to 22 minutes, until the cookies are puffed and light golden. (If you are baking both cookie sheets at the same time in the oven, rotate halfway through the baking time.) Remove from the oven and cool completely on wire racks before glazing.
  9. When ready to glaze, in a small, wide bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, orange juice and orange zest and mix into a smooth glaze. Add more powdered sugar if needed to make the glaze thick enough to coat the cookies when dipped.
  10. Holding the cookies with your fingers, dip the top of the cookies in the glaze and then immediately turn back over and place on a wire rack to dry.
  11. Allow cookies to dry for about 2 hours until completely set before storing.

Keywords: Orange Ricotta Cookies



Orange Ricotta Cookies

Orange Ricotta Cookies


Featured in this Orange Ricotta Cookie post

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  • Linda Demers wrote:

    the orange ricotta cookies are srump-diddly-isous!

    • Martha wrote:

      LOL – thanks Linda!

  • Audrey wrote:

    Do you use fresh orange juice or store bought?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Audrey – Either will work – although you would want to buy a better-quality store bought brand.

  • Jennifer wrote:

    This is my new favorite recipe. I make Christmas cookie trays for friends and family every year. My mandarin tree is just loaded with fruit so I found this recipe to use them in. These are the absolute best! The flavor is just amazing. My oven is finicky and I found I only needed to bake about 18 min. I also discovered that they are even more amazing after letting them rest with that glaze for a while, even overnight! They have been a favorite this year which says a lot because I put some pretty amazing things on these trays! Thank you so much for the recipe. I’ll make regularly for sure!

    • Martha wrote:

      Wow Jennifer – thank you so much! Merry Christmas!

  • MJ wrote:

    Haven’t tried making the cookies yet (they look fab!) but wanted to mention that the Polish word for “auntie” is ciocia.
    The Polish word for aunt is “ciotka” (and aunts plural is “ciotki”).

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Fran Banister wrote:

    To anyone out there: can these cookies be made ahead and stored and for how long.

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes – but we would suggest that you wait to frost the cookies, freeze them if you are waiting to serve them for more than a day or two. Then frost them until after you’ve thawed them.

  • olivia wrote:

    Love this recipe ! I found the orange flavour to actually be quite light. I mixed the zest and the sugar together with my fingers (this brings out all the oils) first and then added it to the butter. I also used blood orange zest in the icing and it made a really beautiful colour. These took closer to 16-18 minutes to cook. I found 20 actually got too dark (for my oven). So I might suggest others check theirs a little earlier in case their oven runs hot like mine. Thanks!!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Olivia – great suggestions!

  • Jennifer S. wrote:

    I made this with part skim ricotta and added mini chocolate chips. Excellent!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Jennifer!

  • Emily wrote:

    Can you freeze these?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes – but we would suggest that you wait to frost the cookies until after you’ve thawed them.

  • Allysha A. wrote:

    I’ve been making these cookies for the past two years, during the holiday season. It will be a recipe I continue to make for many years to come. I serve them for a Christmas cookie tray and for gifting to some. EVERYONE raves about these cookies! I love that this recipe is an easy one. The only thing I change is the citrus. I replace it with almond. Thanks so much for this awesome recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Almond sounds delicious Allysha! So glad the recipe is a hit!

  • Karen wrote:

    This has been in my Christmas cookie repertoire for several years now!
    Can I make the dough and refrigerate for a couple of days before baking?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Karen – We’ve never tried that…I’d worry that the baking powder won’t interact and rise after a few days in the fridge (but not sure – if you try it, please let us know how it works out!). As an alternative, you could bake the cookies and freeze them unfrosted. Then thaw and frost before serving.

  • Kelly Bain wrote:

    A favorite at my office. Thx for sharing

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Kelly! Happy holidays!

  • Terry wrote:

    Since finding this recipe, it has become a staple for the holidays. The recipe is easy and produces consistently good results; and, when I serve these cookies, there are always requests for the recipe. These cookies are seriously good and the only way I have found to make them even better is by using homemade ricotta – while not necessary, it does make for an even more tender cookie.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Terry! So glad you are enjoying the cookies!

  • Michelle Carlson wrote:

    These are grsat cookies, I just made them tonight. I have a question though. Are they supposed to taste a little “floury” or did I not mix them well enough? I got nervous about over mixing and hope I didn’t ruin them. The consistency looks great but they taste a bit bland and not too sweet…and the glaze adds a nice sweetness. Did I mess them up?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Michelle – You are correct in noticing that these aren’t super-sweet cookies, but the glaze is sweeter and should hopefully balance out the flavors. I’m not sure I would describe the taste as floury but you may have just been expecting a sweeter cookie batter overall. I suppose you could try bumping up the sugar a bit in the batter but without testing that out, it may impact the texture. Hope that helps!

  • Mechele wrote:

    Thank goodness for the glaze; because these are some of the most boring cookies I’ve ever made.

    • Martha wrote:

      Merry Christmas Mechele!

  • Maddy wrote:

    Great recipe, turned out well. I did add flori di siclia for an added citrus note. Delicious

    • Martha wrote:

      Great idea Maddy! The flori di sicilia is a perfect (and probably even more authentically Italian) choice! I’m going to borrow your idea the next time we bake these cookies! 🙂

  • Elaine wrote:

    The best recipes!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Elaine!

  • Ann Cardello wrote:

    I made the orange ricotta cookies but cookies were flat! Not puffed up!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ann – When cookies flatten it can sometimes be caused by baking powder (or other leavening) not being fresh, or an oven that is hotter which will cause the dough to spread. Either way, we’re sorry you didn’t seen the same results.

  • Necia Kaffenberger wrote:

    Hi! Can these be frozen? I am baking while I still have time to bake before Thanksgiving and Christmas. Love all your recipes. Thanks.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Necia! Yes – I’d suggest baking and freezing the cookies but waiting to add the glaze until you thaw and are ready to serve.

  • Renie wrote:


    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you!

  • Kathy Garrison wrote:

    Thank you for sharing this recipe. The cookies came out great. They look like your picture and they are very tasty. I did add some orange extract to both the cookie and the icing. Don’t know if it helps but I don’t think it hurt. Again, thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re welcome Kathy! So glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  • Wendy Campbell wrote:

    I am making these cookies for the first time, do they need to have a glaze on them? also do they freeze well?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Wendy – The glaze adds extra sweetness but you can leave it off if you’d like. They do freeze well – just be sure to wrap them as air-tight as possible. Enjoy!

      • stephanie wrote:

        That “wrap them as air-tight as possible” thing? First freeze the cookies on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, put them in a ziplock bag. Squeeze out as much of the air as possible without crushing the cookies but leave just enough to provide some cushion when you use your vacuum sealer to seal them up. The internal ziplock bag will keep them from being crushed and they will be seriously air-tight. I am about to make these cookies and am pretty darn excited about them!!!

        • Martha wrote:

          Great idea Stephanie! (Especially if you have a vacuum sealer!) Thanks for the suggestion!

  • Diane Hoffman wrote:

    Didn’t try recipe yet ..although I do make ricotta cookies regularly but not citrus ones …might make for a citrus themed baby shower for my daughter ( she never goes with standard ideas) anyway …I’m confused about sizing of cookies …you talk about using tablespoon but reading through comments you say you used a small scoop which for me is a teaspo. Also how many does this make? Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Diane – I just measured the scoop we used for these cookies – it holds 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons which I believe is a medium OXO scoop like this: – Hope that helps!

  • Camille wrote:

    They were absolutely delicious and my parents could not stop raving about them. They even claimed that these cookies could put a bakery we know that sells ones just like them out of business because of how much better these were. They were super easy and super good. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much Camille! So glad you all enjoyed the cookies!

  • Britt wrote:

    Although it’s been a few weeks since I made these over the holidays, I wanted to say that I made two batches of these cookies and people are still raving about them. Unique and delicious flavor, a nice standout from the more traditional x-mas cookies. The recipe was so easy to follow. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us Britt! We’re so glad yo enjoyed the recipe!

  • Cheryl Hoffman wrote:

    I’m planning to make these but can I use part skim ricotta?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Cheryl – We’ve only made this recipe as written. I would imagine the fat in the full fat ricotta helps create a nice, moist cookie – I’m not sure how much of a difference you’ll see using part skim. Please let us know how it comes out!

  • SueB wrote:

    These are delicious!!! The cookies are so moist and have a delightful orange flavor. My husband is not a big fan of sweets, so I was amazed when he asked me to make these again.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Sue! We’re so glad you (and your husband) enjoyed the recipe!

  • Mariute wrote:

    These cookies are wonderful, follow the recipe and you will enjoy delightful light fluffy cookies with a tang of orange, and I’ve me them with lemons -also are just as yummy. I found baking them at 375 was quicker for 22 minites, the ricotta is dense and they stay puffy this way… As opposed to 325 this left them flat and took at least 10 minutes more. Thank you for a lovely recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Mariute! Sounds like our ovens may be a little different in temperature – but either way, we’re glad you found a way for the recipe to work! Thank you for writing to us today.

  • Natalie S wrote:

    Loved the recipe, very easy! Wish it had mentioned though that in order to get them to look like the picture, you need to form them a bit with your hands into balls. Keep that in mind. Otherwise, great!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the feedback Natalie! We used a small scoop ourselves but you’re right – if using a regular tablespoon, you will want to roll the dough a bit to get a more rounded shape.

  • cloey wrote:

    I plan to bake this one and we usually like our cookies soft so I always underbaked them like 8m but noticed this one requires 20m to bake so wonder if anyone baked this one with less time. Thanks!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Cloey – I don’t know! But feel free to do a small test batch baking them less time or check the cookies partway through the baking time to see if they are cooked through and as soft as you’d like them to be! These cookies are sort of a firm, cake-like consistency as written. Hope that helps!

  • Ruth wrote:

    Do these cookies have to be Refrgerated after their cookies. Because of the ricotta.always wonder about it .sa very very good cookie,there gone in a second. Made them for my granddaughter ‘s wedding and I put color glaze for her wedding colors,when over big. Love all the great recipes.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Ruth – That’s a great question! We haven’t refrigerated them ourselves (but they were also eaten fairly quickly and didn’t last longer than a day!). I found this forum online – they suggested refrigerating them only if you want them to last longer. If you have them more than a day or two it probably would be a good idea to refrigerate them!

  • Mary wrote:

    Just made these with my son as our “Santa” cookies this year. So easy and these may be the best cookies I’ve ever made. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You’re very welcome Mary – and thank you for taking the time to write to us! We’re very glad you enjoyed the recipe and I hope Santa does too!

  • Jill wrote:

    These remind me of cookies my grandmother made. She also made a chocolate cookie with orange flavor (that I remember), how much cocoa would I add to this recipe because this seems the closest to what she made thanks!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jill – We haven’t made this recipe with cocoa so I’m really just guessing! I’d suggest cutting back a bit on the flour (maybe to two cups) and then adding in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cocoa powder depending on how chocolatey you want the cookies. You might also need to adjust the sugar too if you are using unsweetened cocoa. Hope that helps – let us know how they come out for you!

  • Trish wrote:

    Hi – How long do these cookies stay fresh? My sisters and I are making cookies tomorrow for our own Christmas cookie trays so they probably won’t get eaten until Christmas Eve or so. Do you think that would be okay? They look scrumptious!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Trish – If you are making these cookies so far in advance, I’d probably recommend baking the cookies – but hold off frosting them. Then freeze them (well wrapped) until a day or so before you are ready to serve them – frosting them once they have thawed. They are good for a few days but will probably not be so good baked this far in advance!

  • Leigh wrote:

    I made the Orange Ricotta Cookies for part of a platter to take to my little sister’s Christmas play… simply amazing! They were gone so quickly! My mom also tried them (she’s my guinea pig since I’m allergic to so many things and couldn’t try them myself… not that I had to twist her arm haha) she said they were delish and that we’d be adding them to our yearly baking list. The recipe was easy to make, ingredients were easy to find… and thy baked up beautifully. Will be making more of these for Christmas day… maybe Easter too since they are so delish! Mom also noted that the cooler they were the more you could taste the Ricotta… not that that’s a bad thing. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Leigh – we’re so glad you enjoyed the cookies!

  • Teresa wrote:

    Just made these today, yum! However, I did have a lot of glaze leftover (I had 29 cookies, well 28 after quality control), so next time I’ll start with a half-recipe of the glaze. I added some almond extract in addition to the vanilla and the flavor is awesome.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for the feedback Teresa!

  • Kimberly wrote:

    This recipe sounds lovely! I want to make a batch for this Christmas. Do you think it’ll still come out good if I make the batter a few days before serving them, and refrigerate? Thanks for sharing!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Kimberly – I’d recommend baking the cookies and storing them in the freezer for a few days if you need to make them ahead of time. Then glazing them the day you plan to serve them. I’m not sure that uncooked batter will bake up correctly if it’s left to sit in the refrigerator for a few days. Hope that helps! Enjoy the recipe!

  • anna wrote:

    If I triple this recipe, do I triple each ingredient?

    • Martha wrote:

      Yes Anna – I would follow it exactly and triple all ingredients!

  • monica wrote:

    I love this recipe and plan to try it. I was jotting down all the ingredients and noticed you have vanilla extract list but I don’t see where you would add it. I’m thinking maybe when you mix the sugar and the butter? Since I work with a large group of people, I’d like to make this for work. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Oh my gosh – thank you Monica! We appreciate you letting us know about the error in the recipe! You would add the vanilla extract along with the ricotta and orange zest. Thanks again and I will update the recipe right now.

  • Gretchen wrote:

    My five year old son and I made these cookies today. They are delicious, and so easy! What a great find on Pinterest 🙂 I’m sure we will be making three regularly. Thank you!

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe Gretchen! Thanks for visiting us today!

  • Toni wrote:

    Hi Tanya,
    Ricotta cookies are among my favorite also and are part of my wonderful childhood memories. Last Christmas I made chocolate/orange ricotta cookies (reminiscent of that segmented-orange, foil-wrapped candy that came in the blue box–sorry can’t remember the name.) Wonderful! Enjoy the cookies and your Christmas!

    • Martha wrote:

      I know exactly what you are talking about Toni – I love the combination of orange and chocolate together! (Will have to try that the next time we make ricotta cookies!) Merry Christmas and thanks for visiting today!

    • 2 collies wrote:

      Terry’s chocolate orange!!!

  • tanya wrote:

    I love ricotta cookies, I think they are so soft and so versatile! Beautiful Martha! Oh and it would be Christmas if my mom didn’t make stuffed cabbage too!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank so much Tanya! There are definitely those certain foods (and smells) that really make a family holiday!! Thanks for stopping by today!

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