Food & Drink

Best From-Scratch Lemon Ricotta Cookies Recipe with Icing | What’s Cooking

Best from-scratch lemon ricotta cookies recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.

I love lemons. Seriously. I even wrote a poem about them in a college poetry writing class. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to share it here.) So, when I saw this Nordstrom Lemon Ricotta Cookies recipe in our Family Table Cookbook, I was into it. Real into it.  Then I read the recipe and saw it called for the zest of six lemons in the dough–plus more for sprinkling on top. All that bright lemon flavor packed into a cookie? I got excited. Then I made them, and now I’m hooked.

Lemon zest

Closer in texture and tenderness to a cake than a cookie, these moist and almost cheesecake-y lemon ricotta cookies are perfect little winners. The tablespoon of salt seemed like a lot, but it adds just a trace of savoriness (think salted caramel)—the perfect foil to all that citrusy sugariness. Bonus: our recipe requires portioning and freezing the dough, which will keep for weeks in the freezer and be ready whenever the mood for a ridiculously good, soft lemon cookie strikes.

Once you’re ready to bake, be careful not to leave the frozen dough out to thaw too long, as I did. The cookies ended up pooling together slightly, which looked a bit of a mess, though they were still delicious! I actually baked a second batch without waiting at all for them to defrost, and they turned out beautifully with a few additional minutes in the oven.

Nordstrom Lemon Ricotta Cookies recipe ingredients.
Nordstrom Lemon Ricotta Cookies

(Makes 18 cookies)

Lemon Ricotta Cookies
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 pound whole-milk ricotta cheese
Grated zest of 6 lemons
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice


  1. At least a day before baking the cookies, make the dough. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl. Beat the butter and granulated sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs. With the mixer on low speed, in three additions, beat in the ricotta, then the lemon zest and juice. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated. Do not overmix the dough; it will be very soft.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using a 3-ounce-portion ice cream scoop, portion 18 balls of dough onto the baking sheet. Freeze, uncovered, until solid, at least 12 hours. (To store the frozen dough, remove from the baking sheet and transfer to a lock-top freezer bag. Squeeze as much air as possible from the bag, seal and freeze for up to 2 weeks.)
  3. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the frozen dough balls among the prepared baking sheets, spacing them about 2 inches apart. Let stand at room temperature until the dough is slightly thawed, but still cold and firm, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, position the racks in the top third and center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. Bake the cookies, switching the positions of the pans from the top to bottom and front to back halfway through baking, until the edges of the cookies are lightly browned, about 22 minutes.
  5. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool completely. (The icing will melt if the cookies are warm.)

Lemon Icing
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon

Lemon icing recipe for lemon ricotta cookies.

  1. To make the lemon icing, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the lemon juice and continue mixing until the icing is smooth and about the consistency of cake frosting.
  2. Leave the cookies on the wire racks. Use a tablespoon to spoon the icing over the cookies, spreading it in an even, thick layer over three-quarters of the cookie, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edge. Grate lemon zest over the center of each cookie. Let the icing set. (Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days, no longer.)

Best from-scratch lemon ricotta cookies recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Best from-scratch lemon ricotta cookies recipe from Nordstrom. Photo by Jeff Powell.

Try these recipes and others at a Nordstrom restaurant near you, and find more recipes to make at home in our What’s Cooking series and Nordstrom cookbooks (available in selected Nordstrom restaurants and Ebars).

Have a favorite dish or beverage from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

—Jeff Powell (Photos and Intro)