What to do with ricotta? There are are so many tasty ricotta cheese recipes to try: pizza, lasagna, simple toasts, and more!
What to do with ricotta? Let us count the ways! Ricotta cheese is a creamy Italian cheese with a mild flavor. It’s most famously used in lasagna recipes: perhaps you’ve grabbed a container to make this classic Italian pasta dish. But it’s got all sorts of other uses: smear it on toast, swirl it into pasta, dollop it into scrambled eggs or even spread it onto a pizza.
The great thing about ricotta is that you can use it in sweets, too! Use it to make the topping for a fruit cobbler, or a cake or cookies. There are so many recipes using ricotta cheese…let’s get started!
And now…the best delicious ricotta cheese recipes!
More sweet ricotta recipes
Want some more sweet ricotta inspiration? Here are a few recipes with ricotta cheese to try:
- Whipped Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake Cheesecake is a common way to use this tasty cheese! It makes a super creamy filling.
- Raspberry Ricotta Cake Here ricotta keeps this cake moist and light, and berries cut the sweetness.
- Lemon Ricotta Cookies Ricotta cookies are a traditional Italian dessert.
- Cannoli The most famous Italian dessert with ricotta cheese is cannoli! Pastry rolls are injected with a sweetened cheese filling.
- Ricotta Cobbler Biscuits Add this sweet biscuit dough to top your favorite fruit cobbler.
This classic lasagna recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The easy spinach and ricotta cheese filling is classic and creamy.
For the tomato sauce (or substitute 4 cups of your favorite marinara sauce)
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, fire roasted if possible
- 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce, fire roasted if possible
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (or oregano)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
For the lasagna
- 10 to 12 lasagna noodles (8 ounces, gluten-free as necessary)*
- 5 ounces baby spinach** (or 8 cups chopped spinach)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 16 ounce (2 cups) ricotta cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
- 3 cups (12 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Boil the noodles*: Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the noodles until just before al dente, according to the package instructions, stirring often. Drain the noodles, then drizzle a baking sheet with a bit of olive oil. Lay the noodles flat onto the sheet, then turn them over so they become coated with olive oil to prevent sticking.
- Prepare the tomato sauce (or skip with purchased marinara): Mince the garlic. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté, stirring frequently. Once the garlic is fragrant after about 1 or 2 minutes, turn down the heat and carefully add the tomatoes (avoid any momentary spitting), tomato sauce, basil, tarragon or oregano, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Remove 1/4 cup of the sauce and stir it with the cornstarch, then add it back to the pan (this helps to thicken the sauce). Simmer on low heat while making the remainder of the recipe, at least 15 minutes. When ready to use, remove the pan from the heat.
- Wilt the spinach: In a large skillet, mound the greens and 1/4 cup water in the skillet and cook, stirring often, until completely wilted and reduced, about 3 minutes (the greens significantly reduce when cooking; if necessary, sauté in batches.) Sprinkle with 2 pinches of kosher salt and stir, then remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Once cooled, use your hands to squeeze out all excess liquid and discard. Roughly chop the spinach.
- Prepare the cheese filling: Destem the thyme, then roughly chop the leaves. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons thyme to a medium bowl and reserve about 1/2 tablespoon for topping the lasagna. To the bowl, add the lemon zest, nutmeg, ricotta cheese, 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Layer the lasagna: In a 9” x 13” baking dish, spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then top with 1 layer of noodles, half of the cheese mixture (in dollops then spread it out), half of the greens, and about 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Repeat again: 1 layer of noodles (you may need to cut a noodle in half for the side, depending on your pan), the remaining cheese mixture, the remaining greens, and 1 cup of the tomato sauce. Finally, top with noodles (again, you may need to cut a noodle in half for the top layer), then the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce. Sprinkle the entire top with the remaining 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, and 1/2 tablespoon thyme.
- Bake the lasagna: Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes, until bubbly and browned. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving (this allows the lasagna to set). Leftovers can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days and reheated in a 375°F oven.
*If you use fresh lasagna noodles, they don’t need to be boiled.
**You can also substitute 3/4 cup frozen spinach. Defrost it and squeeze of excess liquid: you can skip the cooking step.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Ricotta cheese recipes, ricotta recipes, recipes using ricotta cheese
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.