Open Arms of Minnesota

Weekly Recipe #263: Open Arms Lemon Ricotta Cookies

By Stephanie Mork, Open Arms Photojournalist Intern

Open Arms Pastry Manager AnnaMarie Rigelman gets butter ready for a giant batch of cookies for our clients.

If you’ve been to the Open Arms building when there are lemon ricotta cookies out, you’ll know that they don’t last long. These cookies have been a volunteer, staff, client, intern, everyone favorite, especially in the summer with the fresh lemon taste – it’s almost as if you are eating a citrus fruit instead, with just a little sugar.

Made from scratch by our very own talented bakery experts, the cookie is buttery and flaky while the frosting is tangy and creamy. Could you ask for more in a cookie?
Now you can make these yummy little treats at home so you don’t have to try and snag them from the treat bowl at Open Arms before they are gone. They make great treats for parties, potlucks, you name it.

Open Arms Lemon Ricotta Cookies

(Yields about 6 dozen)


  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 15 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups confectioners sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Using an electric mixer, cream 2 sticks butter with sugar until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add ricotta, lemon zest and 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape the sides of the bowl down with a rubber spatula, then beat in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover dough and chill for at least 2 hours and up to a week.
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees and line several cookie sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners. Shape tablespoons of dough into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets and bake until pale golden on the bottom, about 15 minutes. Let cool on wire racks.
  3. Melt remaining tablespoon butter. Whisk confectioners’ sugar to break up any large lumps, then whisk in melted butter, lemon juice, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla and enough milk to make a spreadable icing. Spread icing on cooled cookies, then let set for at least 20 minutes before serving.

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