Cardiff dominated the early exchanges and on-loan Ricketts converted a simple chance on 26 minutes after an awful fumble from Palace keeper Gabor Kiraly.
Cameron Jerome then missed the target from close range before Ben Watson blazed over Palace's first effort.
Wayne Andrews and Tom Soares spurned chances to haul the visitors level as Cardiff lived dangerously at the end.
Crystal Palace boss Iain Dowie:
"We had plenty of possession but never hurt them, though how we haven't got anything from the game I don't know.
"I wasn't happy with our first-half performance but our display after the break was spot on, apart from not getting the goal we deserved.
"We have to make sure we hang on in there but there are a lot of positives to be taken out of this game."
Cardiff: Alexander, Weston, Purse, Loovens, Barker, Cooper (Parry 80), Whitley, Ledley, Koumas, Jerome, Ricketts.
Subs Not Used: Cox, Ardley, Lee, Margetson.
Goals: Ricketts 26.
Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Butterfield, Fitz Hall, Ward, Borrowdale (Hudson 88), Watson, Riihilahti (McAnuff 59), Hughes, Soares, Macken (Andrews 76), Morrison.
Subs Not Used: Speroni, Togwell.
Booked: Soares, Morrison, Fitz Hall, Watson.
Ref: P Dowd (Staffordshire).