Ricotta is a widely beloved cheese — although it's not a cheese in the conventional sense, as it's made from whey, which is a watery liquid byproduct of cheesemaking. It has a soft but almost crumbly texture that can be used in a surprisingly wide variety of dishes, ranging from savory meals, like lasagna and pizza, to desserts, such as cheesecake and cookies. Because of ricotta's versatility, we've collected some of our favorite ricotta cheese recipes, all in one place, to make it easier for you to use this iconic dairy product.
Whether you've got some leftover ricotta hanging out in the fridge that you need to find something to do with or you're just trying to come up with new ways to use it, we've got you covered. These ricotta recipes are sure to please every cheese lover around your dining table, whether they're partial to savory or sweet dishes — or both!
Read more: 13 Unexpected Ingredients To Elevate Lasagna
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
How are you going to make any ricotta dishes if you don't happen to have any ricotta on hand? Luckily, it's easier to make ricotta from scratch than you may assume — and you don't have to be an expert cheesemaker to do it.
Try this recipe for Homemade Ricotta Cheese, and you'll be able to make your favorite ricotta-heavy dishes anytime you're craving them. You won't believe how fresh and delicious the cheese from this recipe truly is.
Recipe: Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Baked Ricotta Cheesecake
There are few things in this world more glorious than cheesecake, which is why we're such huge fans of this recipe for Baked Ricotta Cheesecake. In this recipe, otherwise crumbly ricotta cheese is used to make a smooth, creamy cake that provides the perfect counterpoint to the thick crust.
Top this cheesecake with some berries for a slightly sweet tang. The colors from the fruit will make this cheesecake look just as good as it tastes.
Recipe: Baked Ricotta Cheesecake
Sheet Pan Ricotta Gnudi
It's hard to beat the combination of basil, tomatoes, and cheese, which is why this recipe for Sheet Pan Ricotta Gnudi is destined to be a hit at the dinner table. Gnudi are ricotta-based dumplings that are similar to potato-based gnocchi, but they're looser, creamier, and cheesier.
Don't be intimidated by this recipe if you're never made gnudi before. They may look fancy, but they're surprisingly easy to throw together. Once you combine them with fresh pesto and juicy, plump cherry tomatoes, the dish will come together in perfect cheese-centric harmony.
Recipe: Sheet Pan Ricotta Gnudi
White Lasagna With Sausage And Ricotta
Everyone loves lasagna, but what happens when you want to ditch the red sauce in favor of something a bit creamier? That's where this recipe for White Lasagna with Sausage and Ricotta comes in.
The ricotta in this recipe keeps things at least somewhat traditional and makes the layered pasta dish feel more substantial. Instead of using a red marinara sauce, this recipe calls for a white sauce. The fattiness from the sausage works to pull all of those flavors together in one delicious, memorable dish.
Heirloom Tomato And Ricotta Tart
If you want to make a dish that's sure to wow your guests just by the appearance alone, you have to try this recipe for an Heirloom Tomato and Ricotta Tart. This summery pie-adjacent treat gets its creaminess and heft from a generous serving of ricotta. But, there's an element of freshness too, which comes from the tomatoes and basil.
When all of these flavors come together, you have an indulgent, albeit light, side dish or main course that pairs beautifully with a salad on a warm summer's night.
Recipe: Heirloom Tomato and Ricotta Tart
Tuscan Spinach And Ricotta Crespelle
Are you a fan of crepes? If so, you're in luck, because crespelle are very similar. Treated more like pasta, crespelle tend to lean toward the savory end of the spectrum. This recipe for Tuscan Spinach and Ricotta Crespelle does just that, and we couldn't love it more.
The batter for the crespelle is incredibly easy to make, so all you really have to worry about is the filling. Spinach and ricotta join forces to create a creamy, but light, filling that's especially enjoyable in this application.
Cranberry Ricotta Cake
You know how some cakes always seem to come out dry and crumbly? That's definitely not going to be the case when you use ricotta in the batter, which is exactly what you'll do when making this Cranberry Ricotta Cake.
We love the combination of creamy ricotta with tart, slightly-sweet cranberries. The two ingredients team up to create a cake that's not overwhelmingly sweet. Rather, you get to enjoy a wider range of flavors that capitalize on the tang of both the cranberries and the ricotta. What's not to love?
Recipe: Cranberry Ricotta Cake
Indigenous-Inspired 3 Sisters Whipped Ricotta Toast
Squash, beans, and corn, known here as the "three sisters," work well in a wide variety of applications, but we especially love them in this recipe for Whipped Ricotta Toast. As the name suggests, whipped ricotta is spread over toast, creating a creamy bed of bread for the veggies you'll put on top. Once the squash, beans, and corn are all mixed together and seasoned, spoon them onto the toast.
You can then eat them as open-faced sandwiches. Could there be a more delicious way to get your vegetable quota for the day?
Roasted Pumpkin And Sausage Ricotta Pizza
We love pizza in all its forms, but sometimes you have to take a break from the typical cheese and pepperoni pies you grew up. If you're looking for a new pizza recipe to try, you may want to consider making this Roasted Pumpkin and Sausage Ricotta Pizza, which offers a fall-forward flavor profile you won't be able to get enough of.
The roasted pumpkin adds a touch of sweetness to the dish, but it's tempered by both the ricotta cheese and sausage. Don't forget to add some extra herbs on top for more flavor.
Lemony Spinach Pistou Lasagna
Lasagna is a fan favorite, but it's a heavy dish that may not feel right during the warmer months of the year. If you're looking for a lighter alternative, look no further than this Lemony Spinach Pistou Lasagna. Instead of béchamel, you'll use ricotta for a lighter, almost tangy, flavor that complements the brightness of the lemon.
Pistou is a sauce made from basil and olive oil, and it lends a lovely fragrant, floral note to the finished dish. Eat this with some bread or a side salad, and you have a new weeknight pasta favorite.
Recipe: Lemony Spinach Pistou Lasagna
Classic Baked Ziti
Sometimes, it pays to stick to the classics, which is why we keep coming back to this Baked Ziti recipe time and time again. There's no swaps or gimmicks here — it's all about that intensely flavorful red sauce, creamy, melted ricotta, and al dente ziti coming together to create something special.
Although this recipe may look impressive, it's actually incredibly easy to make, requiring just five minutes of prep time. After you've gotten all the ingredients in place, just cook for 40 minutes, and you'll have a hearty dinner on the table.
Recipe: Classic Baked Ziti
Surprisingly Light Herb And Cheese Croquettes
Croquettes can be heavy, but that doesn't mean every single croquette on the market is going to land like a bomb in your stomach. As the name suggests, this recipe for Surprisingly Light Herb and Cheese Croquettes offers a simple snack or appetizer that anyone would enjoy noshing on.
Ricotta is a huge player in this recipe. Although it does have a slight sweetness and tang to it, it's not an overpowering cheese, so it mainly plays a textural role and really allows the flavors of the herbs to shine.
Egg Yolk And Ricotta Filled Ravioli
You've probably had plenty of ravioli in your life before, but there's a good chance you've never had anything like these Egg Yolk and Ricotta Filled Ravioli. This recipe is truly a pasta and cheese lover's dream come true.
You'll add flavor to the creamy ricotta with some Meyer lemon and an array of herbs. Then, if it weren't already decadent enough, you'll top it all off with an egg yolk that will cook as you boil the ravioli. This isn't the easiest recipe to make, but it's seriously worth the time and effort.
Fig And Caramelized Onion Whipped Ricotta Dip
If you're the kind of person who loves when savory and sweet ingredients join forces in one coherent dish, then you'll go crazy for this Fig and Caramelized Onion Whipped Ricotta Dip. It was a subtle sweetness from the figs, and the caramelized onions heighten that sweetness even more while adding a distinctly savory flavor.
Using whipped ricotta is important here, as it'll yield that ultra creamy texture we're going for. Eat this dip with chips, veggies, or whatever else you have on hand.
Mixed Mushroom Lasagna
If you're looking for something similar in structure to typical lasagna, but with a different flavor profile, check out this recipe for Mixed Mushroom Lasagna. Mushroom lovers — this recipe is for you.
It utilizes an array of different types of mushrooms, which all lend slightly different flavors and textures to the finished dish. Ricotta cheese is there to add an essential and decadent element of creaminess.
Recipe: Mixed Mushroom Lasagna
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Trying to cut down on the amount of pasta you eat on a weekly basis? If so, you may be looking for pasta alternatives, and spaghetti squash is one of them. But it's not just a replacement for pasta — spaghetti squash is delicious in its own right, especially when it's put in lasagna form.
By using ricotta in this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna, you get a nice mix of lighter ingredients (like the squash) and heavier, more substantial ones (like the ricotta), which evens things out. You're left with a veggie-forward dish that even pasta lovers will enjoy.
Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
It can seem difficult to work a lot of greens into your diet, especially if you're the kind of person who doesn't want to eat salads on a regular basis. But by adding greens to the foods you already enjoy, you can get more veggies into your weekly food rotation.
One recipe that will help you increase your intake of greens? This Kale Lasagna. The leafy green, and somewhat bitter, vegetable is tempered by the creamy consistency and flavor of ricotta.
Recipe: Kale Lasagna
White Spinach And Artichoke Lasagna
When was the last time you had a lasagna that truly seemed like something creative? If you want to expand your lasagna horizons, you don't have to look further than this recipe for White Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna. It's also great for people who are sensitive to the acidity of tomatoes.
Spinach, artichoke, and lasagna come together to create a flavorful, veggie-forward filling that features the signature creaminess you love in lasagna. Pair with a salad or some fresh bread.
Deconstructed Lasagna Soup
Don't have the patience to make a whole lasagna from scratch? We don't blame you — it can be a time-consuming process. But you can still harness those flavors with this recipe for Deconstructed Lasagna Soup.
You'll use most of the same ingredients from a traditional lasagna, but you're building a brothy base. A dollop of ricotta cheese works as a creamy topper for the soup that mixes in perfectly with the other ingredients.
Recipe: Deconstructed Lasagna Soup
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
Spaghetti squash is one of the easiest types of squash to cook, and it's at its best when it's doused with a ton of tomato-forward ingredients. That's exactly what you'll get when you make this recipe for Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats. It may sound fancy, but it's actually incredibly easy.
Since you're adding your ricotta cheese and other lasagna ingredients right into the halved squash, it's very quick to put together. You may never go through the process of making regular lasagna again.
Recipe: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats
Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
Buffalo chicken is one of the most beloved flavor combos, but it probably seems more at home in a dip than it does in a pasta dish. Yet, believe us when we say that this Buffalo Chicken Lasagna is an incredible way of harnessing those same buffalo chicken flavors you love.
In this recipe, ricotta acts as a binder for the other ingredients and also adds a hint of creaminess to the dish. It pairs beautifully with buffalo sauce for an ultra flavorful finished product.
Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna
Baked Stuffed Shells
We love all pasta, but there's perhaps no pasta quite as fun as shells. We're not talking about the miniature shells you put in a pasta salad. No, we mean the big ones, stuffed with cheese and other ingredients until they're practically bursting.
If you're looking for a solid recipe for shells, you have to try these Baked Stuffed Shells. Ricotta, of course, plays a starring role in this recipe, as do spinach, sausage, and Parmesan cheese.
Recipe: Baked Stuffed Shells
Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells And Burrata
Looking for a stuffed shell recipe that's perfect for those chilly nights when you just want to tuck into something comfortable? Give this Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells and Burrata recipe a try. They're stuffed with butternut squash, of course, but also plenty of ricotta and burrata.
The finished dish features flavor and textural contrasts that keep things interesting. The lemon in the ricotta adds some acid to an otherwise creamy, and somewhat fatty, dish, and the soft melted cheese plays well with the crispy edges of the baked shells.
Sausage And Spinach Stuffed Shells
Ricotta cheese makes the filling of these shells nice and creamy, which is why cooked spinach works so well in these Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells. Though this recipe looks sophisticated once you plate it, it's actually incredibly easy to make.
It requires about 15 minutes of prep time and around an hour to cook. It's perfect for those cozy weeknights when you're craving something warm and comforting.
Stuffed pastas come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some types you see more than others. Ravioli is relatively easy to come by, for instance, but what about manicotti? Despite its deliciousness, it's often overshadowed by its more popular cousins. Not anymore.
Manicotti deserves its moment in the limelight, which is why this recipe for Classic Manicotti should be on your must-make list. The ricotta cheese filling adds some extra weight and texture to the tomato-heavy dish.
Recipe: Classic Manicotti
Cannoli Thumbprint Cookies
You don't have to make cannoli from scratch to get that classic cannoli flavor we all know and love. Instead, just try making this Cannoli Thumbprint Cookie recipe. These cookies are indented in the middle and filled with a ricotta-based cannoli filling that you'll want to eat straight out of the bowl.
A fun dessert for an Italian-themed dinner party, they're also great to have out during the holidays. Enjoy them with a cup of coffee for maximum deliciousness.
Recipe: Cannoli Thumbprint Cookies
Want to capture the flavor of a cannoli in a whole different form of dessert? Just try making these Cannoli Cupcakes. They're simpler to make than cannoli — especially if you're used to making cupcakes — and they're sure to please every sugar lover.
You'll decorate the vanilla and cinnamon flavored cupcakes with a ricotta frosting that's dotted with tiny chocolate chips. How good does that sound?
Recipe: Cannoli Cupcakes
Who says you can't have cannolis for breakfast? Certainly not Jessica Morone, who dreamed up this indulgent recipe for Cannoli Pancakes. This dish utilizes all the flavors you'd usually find in a cannoli and instead puts it into pancake form. Ricotta cheese makes the base of the frosting topping, which is then covered with chocolate chips.
Is this the kind of breakfast you want when you're trying to eat your healthiest? Maybe not. But it's perfect for those special occasions when you really want to put an impressive breakfast on the table.
Recipe: Cannoli Pancakes
Squash Blossom Ricotta Pie
We love pie in all its forms. But when you want to make a pie recipe that'll look impressive on a dinner table, you have to try this Squash Blossom Ricotta Pie. The squash blossoms create a gorgeous topping for this pie which relies heavily on ricotta for richness and texture.
This dish is perfect for springtime parties. It's sophisticated, savory, and a ricotta-focused recipe we'll never get tired of.
Recipe: Squash Blossom Ricotta Pie
Creamy Corn Pudding
Forget the same old boring corn on the cob recipe you always make. Instead, turn your corn into an exciting side dish by making this Creamy Corn Pudding. Sure, it may require a bit more work than your typical grilled ear of corn, but once you taste the creamy, cheesy casserole, you'll understand why it's worth the work.
Corn may be the star of the show in this dish, but ricotta does some heavy lifting by adding both creaminess and some weight to the pudding. You'll add in some cheddar cheese for flavor as well.
Recipe: Creamy Corn Pudding
Sweet And Savory Italian Salad Pizza
Tired of the same old pizza you always make? It's time to switch things up and go for a more flavorful route, which is why we're such big fans of this recipe for Sweet and Savory Italian Salad Pizza. The sweet part of this dish comes from nectarines, while the savory element is the prosciutto.
Those ingredients are important, but ricotta may be the most crucial factor, as it creates the cheesy base for this creative pizza.
Sweet Potato Gnocchi
You don't have to choose between potatoes and pasta when you make gnocchi because gnocchi is a type of pasta made from potatoes. In this case, though, you're going to use sweet potatoes, which give a hint of sweetness. By cooking them in brown butter, you'll get a rich, savory flavor that's hard not to love.
It's not all about the pasta itself, though. Take this recipe to the next level by spooning a generous serving of ricotta over the dish.
Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Fluffy Dutch Baby
There are few dishes that look more impressive than a Dutch baby, and this recipe for a Fluffy Dutch Baby is no exception. By using ricotta in the batter, you can make a more rich, flavorful pastry that holds whatever fillings you choose.
This recipe calls for fresh berries, which add a lovely tartness to the otherwise sweet dish. A sprinkling of powdered sugar on top gives it a nice aesthetic touch and hint of additional sweetness.
Recipe: Fluffy Dutch Baby
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