Sourdough Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Sourdough Lemon Ricotta Cookies are soft, tender, and melt in your mouth amazing. Using ricotta and discard sourdough starter, results in ultramoist cake-like cookies with the perfect balance of sweet and tart.

ricotta cookies on a wire rack with slices of lemon

If you’ve never had ricotta cookies, this recipe is a great place to start. I discovered this recipe from the book Artisan Sourdough Made Easy – Sourdough Key Lime Ricotta Cookies by Emilie Raffa, she has some amazing recipes including these Ricotta Cookies.

Ricotta is a mild-tasting soft cheese that adds moisture to all kinds of baking, and these lemon cookies are no exception!

Making them doesn’t take any more time and effort than your average cookie recipe. The additional ingredient of the discard is all you need to take these from lemon ricotta cookies to elevated sourdough cookies. It’s a great way to reduce waste when making homemade sourdough-starter.

Light and fluffy cookies with a delicate sweetness and a burst of citrus so mouthwatering they’ll be gone in seconds. The simple sweet glaze on top is just icing on the…cookie!

What is Sourdough Starter Discard?

Making sourdough isn’t hard by any means but it is a process. To begin, you need to start by fermenting the dough (flour and water) naturally over a period of days in a warm area. Eventually, you will discard about half of the starter to leave room to add more flour and water and continue the process. The discarded half can then be used for all kinds of delicious recipes, like this one.

unglazed ricotta cookies on a wire rack

How to make them

Whisk together the all-purpose flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat in the softened butter, and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and continue beating. Then, while still beating, add the discard, ricotta, zest, and vanilla. Continue until fully combined.

dry ingredients whisked in a bowl and ingredients in the mixing bowl

Lower the speed and add in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate everything. You don’t want any flour left at the bottom of the batter that hasn’t been mixed in. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

wet mixture mixed in the bowl and mixed into a dough

Towards the end of the hour, preheat the oven and prepare two cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the fridge and using a spoon or cookie scoop, drop the batter by spoonfuls. These cookies don’t spread too much, but you still need to leave room in between each one.

cookies before and after baked

Bake until lightly golden and allow to cool on cookie sheets before moving to a wire rack.

In a medium bowl whisk together the icing sugar, lemon juice, and zest. Once cookies are completely cooled, drizzle the top with the glaze. The glaze is totally optional. Feel free to add just a dusting of powdered sugar if you prefer.

How to store them

If they haven’t all been eaten by the end of the day, you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. They also freeze well for up to 3 months, keeping in mind the glaze may not be the same consistency it once was, so it is best to freeze them unglazed. Thaw them overnight at room temperature.

ricotta cookies on a wire rack with slices of lemon

Can I use another citrus flavour?

Yes! These can be made using lemon, lime, and even orange. In fact, switch it up once in a while. Maybe on special occasions, add some sprinkles on top!

What if the glaze is too thick?

If you find the glaze too thick, add a little more lemon juice or milk. If you find it too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

You can never have too many simple delicious cookie recipes. Whether it’s for the holidays, a special occasion, or just because the mood strikes, keep this recipe handy. Try them out and let me know what you think!

cookies on a wire rack with icing
ricotta cookies on a wire rack

Sourdough Lemon Ricotta Cookies

Rosemary Molloy
Sourdough Lemon Ricotta Cookies are soft, tender, and melt in your mouth amazing. Using ricotta and discard sourdough starter.
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Biscuits / Donuts / Scones, Snack
Cuisine American/Italian
Servings 24 cookies
Calories 80 kcal



  • cups all purpose flour (195 grams)
  • teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ¼ cup butter (softened) (56 grams)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
  • 1 large egg (room temperature)
  • ¼ cup sourdough discard (56 grams)
  • cup + 1 tablespoon ricotta cheese (100 grams)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla


  • cup powdered/icing sugar (40 grams)
  • ½-1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • zest of ½ – 1 lemon if desired



  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the stand up mixer or large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy 3-4 minutes. Then add the egg and beat together (speed 2), while still beating add the discard, ricotta, zest and vanilla and combine.
  • On low speed add the flour mixture and beat just until combined. Scrape the bowl down, make sure there is no flour under the batter that hasn't been mixed in. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F (180C). Line 1-2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Remove the dough from the fridge and drop by spoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheets, bake for 15-17 minutes until lightly golden. Let cool for about 3-5 minutes on the cookie sheets then move to a wire rack. Drizzle the cookies with the glaze when completely cool if desired. Or dust with powdered sugar.


  • In a medium bowl whisk together the icing sugar, juice and zest. If too thick add more lemon juice or milk, if too think add more powdered sugar.


Calories: 80kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 2gFat: 3gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 47mgPotassium: 16mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 86IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 22mgIron: 1mg
Keyword cookies with ricotta, lemon ricotta cookies
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


  1. 5 stars
    These are wonderful. The first time I made them, I left the dough in the fridge overnight. They were deliciously lemony. I enjoyed some with the glaze, and some without. Making another batch now. Definitely a keeper. Thank you

  2. 5 stars
    I really enjoyed this recipe! I skipped the glaze so now I can justify serving them as “scones” for breakfast with a little jam or something. They are lightly sweetened and super tender. Will definitely make again.

  3. 5 stars
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe! I made it just as written and they were perfect. Absolutely delicious! It’s a keeper!

  4. 5 stars
    These were the best. I doubled the recipe for the first try because I had starter and ricotta that needed to be used. GLAD I did, it’s been two hour and they are half gone. Thank you!

  5. 5 stars
    These cookies are absolutely decadent!! I did a couple substitutions (white whole wheat flour and applesauce for the AP flour and butter). They are soft and lemony (my favorite flavor!) These will be one of my go to recipes from now on! Thank you for sharing it!

  6. Thank you so much for this recipe–I’m Italian and love this cookie! I understood everything except for Day 8 of the Sourdough Starter Recipe:
    Stir the starter, remove 55 grams and add the flour and water to it, mix well. Let sit 12 hours. Again remove 55 grams and add the same amount of flour and water, let sit 3-4 hours, the starter will be ready to use. If you don’t want to use it, then refrigerate it.

    Would you be so kind and explain the last process?

    1. Hi Tressa, on day 8 after the 12 hours, remove 55 grams of the starter (with this you could make the cookies), then the remaining starter add the same amount of water and the same amount of flour, for example if you have 100 grams remaining then add 100 grams of water and 100 grams of flour, stir it up, let it sit 3-4 hours and then you can make sourdough bread for example or refrigerate it until you want to use it. I hope that helps.

      1. On Day 8 (today), I made the mistake of discarding the 55 grams instead of holding it back for the recipe, and then adding back 2/3 C of flour and 11 teaspoons of filtered water and now it’s doughy–is there any way to salvage this to make the cookies?

      2. Hi Tressa, I don’t quite understand, if it’s too doughy, then add a bit more water, let it sit then the next day remove the discard and either feed the remaining or refrigerate it for later use. Let me know.

    1. Hi Lisa, I don’t see any reason why you can’t leave them longer in the fridge, you could probably make them in evening and refrigerate overnight. Thanks I hope you like them. Let me know.

      1. I just finished these cookies… (they are decadent by the way!). I refrigerated them for six hours and they were just fine!

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