Our 20 Best Ricotta Recipes

Ricotta-Fava Toasts Recipe
Photo: Eva Kolenko

Our favorite ricotta recipes will take you from breakfast to dessert and everything in between, including quinoa pancakes, crispy tacos, and lemony cheesecake. Ricotta cheese is soft, delicately sweet, and easy to make at home. The word "ricotta" means recooked in Italian, and the cheese is produced by reheating the leftover from making other cheeses like mozzarella and provolone. It originated in Italy, where it could be made from the milk whey of any dairy animal, including cows, sheep, goats, and Italian water buffalo. All varieties bring creamy, spongy goodness to any dish.

01 of 20

Sausage and Ricotta Pizza with Castelvetrano Olives

Sausage and Ricotta Pizza with Castelvetrano Olives

The combination of meaty, briny, vegetal flavors in this pretty pizza hits so many satisfying notes that it's sure to be a hit at your table. Fleshy, bright green Castelvetrano olives offer a refreshing upgrade from the standard canned black olives served at many pizzerias, mirroring the Mediterranean spices in the generous topping of crumbled Italian sausage.

02 of 20

Quinoa Pancakes with Ricotta and Lemon

Breakfast scene with quinoa pancakes, blueberries, syrup
Photo by Antonis Achilleos / Prop Styling by Kathleen Varner / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey

Nutty whole wheat flour, creamy ricotta, and tender cooked quinoa add flavor and texture to these fluffy pancakes that get even lighter thanks to whipped egg whites. Lemon zest, vanilla, and maple syrup add just enough sweetness to balance the slightly bitter quinoa.

03 of 20

Palak "Paneer" with Pressed Fresh Ricotta

Palak "Paneer" with Pressed Ricotta
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

A little extra hands-off pressing time firms up fresh ricotta into a block that can be cut into paneer-like cheese. Fried in ghee, the crispy, cheesy cubes transform into cheese croutons and are a perfect pair for the warm puree of chile and ginger-spiked spinach and cilantro.

04 of 20

Kubaneh Toast with Brown Sugar Ricotta and Berries

Kubaneh Toast with Brown Sugar Ricotta and Berries Recipe
Tara Donne

The molasses in brown sugar is naturally acidic and works to turn milk and cream into ricotta while also leaving behind a sweet caramel flavor. Set up the ricotta and start baking the bread the night before you plan to serve the toast; both will be ready as if by magic in the morning.

05 of 20

Asparagus and Fava Bean Tart with Herbed Ricotta

Asparagus and Fava Bean Tart with Herbed Ricotta
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox / Prop Styling by Christine Keely

Lemon zest and thyme add subtle fragrance to this showstopping tart's ricotta filling, balancing the savory Parmesan and prosciutto. Gently pressing on the par-baked pastry while spreading the filling is key to creating a crisp crust.

06 of 20

Broccoli Rabe and Ricotta Frittata

Broccoli-Rabe and Ricotta Frittata

© Ben Dearnley

Though frittatas are often served cooled as a first course, they make an equally good main dish, either warm or at room temperature. Here, ricotta mellows the bite of broccoli rabe.

07 of 20

Baked Ricotta with Spice-Poached Rhubarb

Baked Ricotta with Rhubarb Recipe | FWCooks
Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food styling by Rishon Hanners / Prop styling by Audrey Davis

This thin pudding-like cake tastes even better when you make it ahead of time. Play around with the recipe by trading in your lemons for orange or lime zest. It's one rhubarb dish you'll want to make year-round.

08 of 20

Ricotta-Fava Toasts

Ricotta-Fava Toasts Recipe
Eva Kolenko

The delicate, milky flavor of fresh ricotta pairs with the grassy, lightly sweet taste of fava beans. Use best-quality cheese, produce, and bread here for a toast that’s more than the sum of its parts.

09 of 20

Crispy Ricotta-Kale Tacos

Crispy Ricotta and Kale Tacos
Victor Protasio

Heat the tortillas in a hot skillet before stuffing them with the savory ricotta-kale mixture. (Warming them up makes them more pliable and less likely to break during the stuffing and cooking process.) Try them with the suggested tomatillo and pistachio salsa for a tart and crunchy kick.

10 of 20

Cornmeal and Ricotta Waffles

Cornmeal-and-Ricotta Waffles
© Frances Janisch

When chef Michael Mina was a boy, his parents used to take him to the now-defunct Four Seasons hotel in Seattle for Christmas brunch, where he always ordered waffles. "They were dynamite," he recalls. This recipe is as close to the one of his childhood as he could get it. Cornmeal makes the waffles crispy; ricotta keeps them moist. 

11 of 20

Delicata Squash and Sausage Crostata with Ricotta and Honey

Delicata Squash and Sausage Crostata with Ricotta and Honey
Justin Walker

In their book Wine Food, sommelier Dana Frank and recipe developer Andrea Slonecker pair funky, bright wines with flavorful, vegetable-forward dishes. They compare crostatas and galettes to pizza, making them the perfect weeknight dinner. This version layers fennel-spiced sausage, chile, delicata squash, and honey for a dinner that pairs well with a northern Italian Dolcetto.

12 of 20

Herbed Ricotta with Grilled Bread

Herbed Ricotta with Grilled Bread
© Abby Hocking

F&W culinary director at large Justin Chapple makes this simple herbed ricotta for almost all of his parties because it's such a crowd-pleaser. It's decadent when spread on toasted bread but also delicious served with crudités.

13 of 20

Honey-Ricotta Mousse with Strawberries

Honey Ricotta Mousse with Strawberries
Photo by Christopher Testani / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner

This velvety-smooth, berry-topped mousse requires very little time to make — it comes together in only 15 minutes and then needs just an hour in the refrigerator to firm up. Ricotta cheese, quickly whipped in a food processor with honey and vanilla, forms the base of the mousse. Folding whipped cream into the ricotta yields a luscious, velvety dessert. 

14 of 20

Spinach and Ricotta Tortelli with Browned Butter

Spinach-and-Ricotta Tortelli with Browned Butter
© John Kernick

The pasta for this tortelli (a larger version of tortellini) is extremely silky and supple, which makes it excellent with the creamy ricotta-spinach filling. If there's any dough left over, cut it into noodles, as chef Marco Canora does, then dry it and store it in bags in the refrigerator to have on hand for last-minute dinners.

15 of 20

Limoncello-Ricotta Cheesecake

Limoncello Ricotta Cheesecake
Photo by Fred Hardy II / Food Styling by Ruth Blackburn / Prop Styling by Christina Brockman

Limoncello — the sweet, potent Italian lemon liqueur made by steeping lemon peel in grain alcohol or vodka — is the star of this silky, creamy dessert. The filling is lightened by the addition of ricotta cheese and boasts citrusy flavors from both the fresh lemon juice and limoncello.

16 of 20

Crespelle with Ricotta and Marinara

Crespelle with Ricotta and Marinara

© Quentin Bacon

In this recipe, adapted from Wine Bar Food by chef Tony Mantuano and his wife, Cathy, lush ricotta-filled crêpes bake in a rich marinara sauce. Naturally, the dish is delicious paired with a Tuscan red blend.

17 of 20

Ricotta and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Pancetta

Ricotta and Roasted Tomato Bruschetta with Pancetta
© Johnny Miller

Peak-season tomatoes make all the difference in this simple bruschetta from cookbook author Susan Spungen. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of soup or a large salad. To turn them into two-bite hors d’oeuvres, simply cut the bruschetta crosswise into strips.

18 of 20

Ricotta Hotcakes with Honeycomb Toffee Butter

Ricotta Hotcakes Recipe
Gregory DuPree

Honeycomb toffee, honey, and salt add a sweet, crunchy bite to the butter that tops these ricotta hotcakes studded with fresh banana. Using an electric griddle helps maintain an even temperature over the cooking time, resulting in fluffy, moist pancakes.

19 of 20

Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles

Ricotta Gnudi with Chanterelles. Photo © Sara Remington
© Sara Remington

These tender gnudi, adapted from Los Angeles chef Nancy Silverton's Mozza Cookbook, are delicious with buttery chanterelles.

20 of 20

Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts

Barley Salad with Parsley and Walnuts
© Kana Okada

Barley is versatile enough to be served warm or at room temperature, as in this terrific salad with walnuts, parsley, and salty bits of ricotta salata cheese in a lemon-garlic vinaigrette. It can be served as a main course or as a side for grilled chicken or pork.

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