Lemon Ricotta Cookies from the Nordstrom Cafe

Living in the Northwest my entire life, I grew up shopping at Nordstrom and eating at the Nordstrom cafe.  To this day, one of my favorite dishes to get is still the kids grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup.  If you haven’t ever experienced Nordstrom’s creamy, slightly space tomato soup – you must try it. I have so many amazing memories being a little girl and cruising through the little girls department with my mom shopping for the latest in Guess Jeans and Esprit sweatshirts after devouring my luscious lunch.

In recent years I have come to love more than just the grilled cheese and have found their Lemon Ricotta cookies.  Nordstrom came out with a  cookbook called the Family Table Cookbook and once while waiting for my takeout order I picked up the book and noticed that the recipe for these delectable cookies were in there.  I was sold!  I purchased the cookbook and the rest was history!  These cookies are so soft and delicious it is almost like having a cake in cookie form.  As you can see from the pictures these are not crisp cookies.  They are soft, creamy and luscious. See inside one…

Now I have to warn you – PLEASE read the directions for these cookies.  The first time I planned on making these cookies I made sure I had all the ingredients but had no idea all the steps you had to take with the dough prior to actually putting them in the oven.  Unfortunately these are not cookies that you can easily whip up in one afternoon – these take planning due to having to let the dough rest, then freeze, etc.   On the plus side, these can be made in advance and you can bake them the day of and have a fresh treat that people will be in awe of.

I hope you try making these cookies.  They are delicious minus the frosting – but if you are a frosting lover like me, frost them and you will find them OUTSTANDING!
Makes about 18 – 48 cookies (depending on size)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 T. baking powder
1 T. kosher salt
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 c. sugar
2 large eggs
16 oz. whole-milk Ricotta cheese
Grated zest of 6 lemons
1 T. lemon juice

1 stick unsalted butter
3 c. confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/4 c. lemon juice
Grated zest of 1 lemon

As mentioned above, at least 1 day before baking the cookies, make the dough.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a medium bowl.  Beat the butter and 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, the the lemon zest and juice.  Gradually add the flour mixture and mix just until incorporated.  Do not over mix the dough.  It will be very soft.  Cover the dough with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Using an ice cream scoop (or two spoons) drop balls of dough onto the baking sheet.  (Nordstrom’s cookbook recommends a 3-ounce scoop which would make 18 cookies, however I prefer to make smaller cookies and I get about 3-4 dozens generally.)  Freeze, uncovered, until solid.  (The cookbook states this should be done for 12 hours, however I froze mine for 6 and they turned out great.)   A note provided from the cookbook – states that once frozen, the cookies can be removed from the baking sheet to a freezer bag and stored up to 2 weeks in the freezer.  Update: One of my readers left a comment regarding putting them in refrigerator vs. the freezer.  I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference but she thankfully let me know that it does make a difference and you need to freeze them.  Thanks so much Kelley! :-))

Remove the dough from the freezer and let them thaw for 30 minutes until cold – but not still frozen.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper.  Bake for about 20-22 minutes. If the cookies look like they are baking unevenly, rotate pans half way through the cooking process.  Let the cookies cool on the plans for 5 minutes and transfer cookies to a wire rack and cool completely.

To make the 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.

Frost the cookies, spreading it in an even, thick layer over 3/4 of the cookie and then sprinkle with lemon zest.

The cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.



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  1. love spell | 25th Jul 17

    Hi there,I check your new stuff named “Lemon Ricotta Cookies from the Nordstrom Cafe” like every week.Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work! And you can look our website about love spell.

  2. GRCP | 6th Apr 16

    The chef at Nordstrom told us to the key to getting the consistency of their cookie is to make sure the butter is very cold and chopped into small pieces when you add it. The directions above say room temp. I’m sure both work, but just passing on what he told us.

    • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 7th Apr 16

      Hi there! I actually checked the recipe to see what was written and it says room temperature. I actually took a couple of snapshots from the book and inserted it at the bottom of the post. I am sure that if the chef uses cold butter then that would great as well.

      Thanks so much!

  3. Simone | 10th Feb 16

    Just had this cookie for the first time today at Nordstroms. I can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you!

    • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 5th Mar 16

      They are so yummy, one of my absolute favorites!

  4. Kelley H. | 16th May 15

    Getting ready to make these and just have a question. I have NO room in my freezer (it’s a drawer beneath the fridge and it’s jam packed). Do you think it’s essential to freeze them since they have to thaw anyway? If I just left them overnight in the fridge? Thanks for your comment in advance. 🙂

    • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 17th May 15

      Although I haven’t used the fridge for these I am sure that would work fine. I would check to make sure they are done before taking them out of the oven though. 🙂 Good luck!

      • Kelley H. | 17th May 15

        Needs the freezer. They really spread when I just put them in the fridge. Had the dough in over night, then put about 9 on the cookie sheet and they spread into one another. Then froze the dough between baking and did only 6 at a time and they came out great. Just FYI, on another site, a comment by someone who said they baked these at Nordstroms, had both the baking soda and salt at the original Tablespoon. I compromised and used 1 T baking soda and 1t salt. 🙂 These came out delicious!

        • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 17th May 15

          Thanks so much for letting me know about the refrigerator vs. the fridge. That is so useful and I will update the blog to let people know. I am so glad that you liked them – they are one of my favorites! 🙂

  5. jodi | 31st Mar 15

    Is this recipe calling for 1 Tablespoon of baking powder, 1 Tablespoon salt etc…. Just want to be sure I am not putting too much salt in. Thanks

    • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 10th Apr 15

      The recipe is for a teaspoon of baking powder and salt. My apologies for any confusion. Thanks!

      • Michel | 26th May 15

        Is it officially a teaspoon of baking soda? The recipe above still says a tablespoon… Just making sure before I begin making them. And thank you for posting the recipe. These are one of my favorite cookies of all time.

        • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 26th May 15

          Yes, it is a Tablespoon of baking powder. I have double checked the recipe from the cookbook (Nordstrom Family Table Cookbook) where I got this recipe. 🙂

          • Cg | 17th Mar 16

            Hi, sorry to beat a dead horse, but just found this recipe and can’t wait to make these delicious cookies. I couldn’t help but notice in reviewing the comments that on April 10 you stated the “The recipe is for a teaspoon of baking powder and salt.” Then on May 26 said “Yes, it is a Tablespoon of baking powder. I have double checked the recipe from the cookbook” So, I’m wondering…is it a TABLESPOON or TEASPOON of baking powder? Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

          • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 18th Mar 16

            It is a tablespoon, I double checked again. 🙂 Good luck making these, they are AMAZING!

  6. Katie | 1st Mar 15

    Excellent post. Excellent recipe. Useful and appreciated warning note about following directions exactly. So happy I found your blog. Other folks have posted their adapted versions of the Nordstrom recipe but they have either left out critical instructions or actually list the wrong quantities of ingredients. I’ve never had a Nordstrom Lemon Ricotta cookie but now I don’t have to try one! The cookies turned out absolutely perfect and they are highly addictive, even for a crisp cookie lover. Thank you for sharing. If I blog about it, I hope I can refer to your blog. One quick twist for you. I saved a small amount of the luscious lemon frosting in the mixing bowl and added a few fresh raspberries (if you’d like to try a fresh lemon and raspberry frosting sometime). Also fresh and bright tasting ~ and naturally pink! Thanks again!

    • cathubbard@hotmail.com | 2nd Mar 15

      Thanks so much for the comment! I love the idea to add raspberries – lemon and raspberries are such a great flavor combination and what’s not to love about pink frosting!? I checked out your blog and love it – can’t wait to try out some of your yummy recipes. Take care!

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