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Ricotta Cheesecake

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Ricotta cheesecake is topped with fresh berries for a beautiful red, white, and blue dessert! This light, subtly flavored cheesecake is a lovely change of pace from a traditional cheesecake.

White plate with a slice of ricotta cheesecake that is topped with rows of raspberries and blueberries.

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If you’ve been a regular reader of My Baking Addiction for pretty much any length of time, you’re probably very well aware of the fact that I absolutely love cheesecake. It’s one of my favorite desserts to bake and of course – eat!

I know summer weather doesn’t often scream cheesecake, but I’m telling you a chilled piece of cheesecake topped with fresh summer fruit really hits the spot after a meal on the barbecue. 

From sweet and tart lemon cheesecake and no-bake frozen cheesecake to this delicious ricotta cheesecake, I promise – I have the perfect cheesecake recipe to help you celebrate summer!

Ricotta cheesecake topped with rows of red and blue berries.

WHAT IS RICOTTA CHEESE?

Ricotta is an Italian fresh cheese known as “whey cheese.” This means that the cheese is made of whey, which the liquid left after the production of other cheese.

Ricotta is very moist and has a mild flavor. While most ricotta available in American grocery stores is made from cow milk whey, it can also be made from sheep or goat milk whey.

You can also make homemade ricotta very easily! Everyone should try it at least once; it’s a fun project and the flavor is so much better than most ricotta you buy in the stores here in the States.

Ingredients for ricotta cheesecake arranged on a light gray countertop.

Can ricotta be used for cheesecake?

Even though I have what probably feels like an infinite number of cheesecake recipes using cream cheese, you can make an incredible cheesecake using ricotta cheese, too!

While there are some recipes that use a mix of ricotta and cream cheese, this recipe uses only ricotta cheese. The result is a cheesecake with a lighter texture and a slightly more subtle flavor than a traditional vanilla cheesecake

This ricotta cheesecake is a great alternative any time you want to enjoy cheesecake and are looking for something a little different! 

Graham cracker crust in a springform pan on a gray countertop.

HOW TO MAKE RICOTTA CHEESECAKE

In many ways, ricotta cheesecake is actually a bit easier to make than a cream-cheese-based cheesecake such as pumpkin cheesecake.

Ingredients you’ll need

I like to use a traditional graham cracker crust for the base of this cheesecake, but you can use any crust you happen to love most. 

For the filling, you will need:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest 
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

I prefer to use whole milk ricotta cheese for this recipe, but have used part-skim ricotta successfully as well. 

Batter for ricotta cheesecake being stirred with a spatula in a white mixing bowl.

Cheesecake pan

Cheesecake is traditionally baked in a springform pan. This allows for those beautiful straight sides that are so classic to cheesecake.

This ricotta cheesecake recipe uses a 9-inch springform pan. Since this recipe is not baked in a water bath, you won’t have to worry about wrapping the bottom of the pan in foil.

Unbaked ricotta cheesecake in a springform pan, ready to go in the oven.

Making this recipe

Start by making the crust: mix together the crust ingredients and then press them evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the springform pan. 

I try to get the crust at least ½-inch up the sides of the pan to accommodate all of the filling, although you may still have some filling come above the crust in some areas. This is totally ok!

Bake the crust for about 7 minutes, then let it cool while you make the filling.

I like to start the filling by rubbing the sugar and lemon zest together until the sugar is moist and fragrant. This extra step really infuses the oils from the lemon zest throughout the cheesecake filling.

Baked ricotta cheesecake on a countertop next to bowls of raspberries and blueberries.

Use an electric mixer to mix the ricotta cheese, vanilla, and salt with the lemon sugar, then add the eggs one at a time. 

Once the filling is smooth, it’s time to add it to the crust!

This is a pretty liquidy filling, so you will want a steady hand to transfer the pan back into the oven after adding the filling to the crust. 

If that sounds like a lot for you, you can pull the oven rack out a bit, then set the pan on it and pour the filling into the pan while it’s on the oven rack. Then you only have to gently push the rack back into position and close the oven door.

Ricotta cheesecake does take a while to set up; this cheesecake will bake for around 75-80 minutes. Bake it just until the center is set, then let it cool completely before chilling for several hours.

Ricotta cheesecake on a cake stand, topped with rows of raspberries and blueberries.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS

I think the mild flavor and light texture of this ricotta cheesecake is perfect when paired with fresh berries. 

To make this extra summery and seasonal, I like to pair strawberries and/or raspberries with blueberries for a red, white, and blue dessert. 

Make sure not to add the berries until just before serving. If you want to give them some extra sheen, like you’d see on a strawberry tart, simply brush the berries with a bit of warmed apricot jam. 

You can also top the cheesecake with your favorite fruit sauce instead of fresh berries. Some of my favorite options are:

Slice of ricotta cheesecake topped with red and blue berries on a white plate.

STORAGE AND FREEZING

Store leftover ricotta cheesecake in the refrigerator, well wrapped, for up to 3 days.

If you’d like to freeze the cheesecake for longer storage, place the whole cheesecake or individual slices on a sheet pan in the freezer until they are solid. 

Wrap in two layers of plastic wrap or a layer of foil and place in a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Let the cheesecake thaw in the refrigerator overnight. If you have frozen individual slices, you can also gently thaw them in the microwave any time you get a craving for ricotta cheesecake.

Fork taking a bite from a slice of ricotta cheesecake on a white plate.
Plated slice of ricotta cheesecake, topped with raspberries and blueberries.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Yield: 10-12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Chill Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 35 minutes

Ricotta cheesecake is topped with fresh berries for a beautiful red, white, and blue dessert! This light, subtly flavored cheesecake is a lovely change of pace from a traditional cheesecake.

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 1 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

For the Filling

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 32 ounces ricotta cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature

For the Topping

  • 1-1/2 cups fresh strawberry slices and/or fresh whole raspberries
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/4 cup apricot jelly, heated slightly

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Combine crust ingredients; mix well. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake crust for 7 minutes in preheated oven. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
  3. While crust is cooling, prepare the filling. 
  4. Place the sugar and lemon zest in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large mixing bowl. Use your fingertips to rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is moistened and fragrant.
  5. Add the ricotta cheese, vanilla, and salt. Mix with the stand mixer’s paddle attachment or with an electric hand mixer. Add eggs, one at a time; blend until smooth.
  6. Pour batter into prepared crust. 
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes (75-80 minutes) or until center is just set. Remove to cooling rack. Cool completely; chill 6 to 24 hours.
  8. Arrange strawberries and/or raspberries and blueberries on cooled cheesecake. Brush jelly over fruit; chill at least 30 minutes to set glaze.

Notes

  • I prefer to use whole milk ricotta for this recipe, but have used part-skim ricotta successfully as well.
  • Do not top the cheesecake with the fresh fruit until the day you are serving. The fruit will not have the same fresh appeal and will add a bit of moisture to the top of the cake.
  • The apricot jam is not necessary for the fruit topping, it simply adds a little sheen to the fruit.

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Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1 slice
Amount Per Serving Calories 310Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 5gCholesterol 96mgSodium 207mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 2gSugar 29gProtein 12g

Did you make this recipe?

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Shelby P.

Sunday 19th of December 2021

This was the best ricotta cheesecake I ever had. It’s my mothers favorite and she wants it every birthday. I made it plain for her and used whole milk ricotta and heavy cream instead of half and half. It was soooo good! Everyone raved about it!

Jamie

Wednesday 22nd of December 2021

So happy to hear you enjoyed the cheesecake, Shelby! Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your feedback. -Jamie

Maria

Monday 30th of May 2016

What is half-and-half?

Jamie

Thursday 2nd of June 2016

Hi, Maria! Half-and-half is a mixture of equal parts milk and cream. Let me know if I can answer any other questions for you!

Candy

Saturday 21st of February 2015

Thank you for sharing. I had Ricotta and some Mexican crumbled cookies. So I used that instead of graham cookies. I used orange zest because that's all I had. It turned out delicious!!. Great idea

Jamie

Tuesday 24th of February 2015

Candy- I'm so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for visiting.

-Jamie

Pam

Wednesday 9th of April 2014

Ricotta Cheesecake is an Italian cake. It is traditionally made at Easter time, but not with all the fruit in it or on top of it. It is a very light cheesecake and if made right will taste wonderful.

Kathryn

Friday 3rd of May 2013

I was just wondering if you knew of any substitution for the flour. I'm gluten intolerant, so I would probably be (read: will be) making this over the summer with GF graham crackers and such. It looks like a FANTASTIC recipe :) Thanks for sharing it!!

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