Cakes/ Cheesecakes/ Dessert

Ricotta Cheesecake

February 16, 2018

This recipe for easy Italian ricotta cheesecake is similar in style to American cheesecake, but the ricotta cheese gives this cake a unique flavor, and makes it light and fluffy. 

Ricotta Cheesecake

If I had to choose a dessert that wasn’t made of chocolate, I would probably go for the creamiest, heaviest, tallest piece of cheesecake imaginable. But not everyone is me (which in this case,  is probably a good thing), and some of you have asked me for a cheesecake recipe that is lighter and less dense than my classic cheesecake.

Using ricotta cheese makes for a cheesecake that’s not only lighter, but also has a different taste. If you’ve ever been to Italy and tried a classic Italian torte, the flavor is quite reminiscent (although tortes are made differently). If you love ricotta cheese and you love light cheesecakes, then you’re going to love this ricotta cake.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta and cream cheese cheesecake

Other than ricotta, I use cream cheese to add some creaminess and flavor. This is how I like it, but an authentic Italian recipe calls for ricotta cheese only. You can play with the quantities by adding less cream cheese and increasing the amount of ricotta cheese accordingly.

Drain the ricotta cheese. You don’t have to do it, but I highly recommend it, especially if the cheese is watery. Place the cheese in a fine-mesh sieve lined with two layers of paper towels, and place the sieve over a bowl. Leave it to drain for several hours, or even overnight, before using it. The result is thicker cheese, and better, creamier texture. Too much liquid in the cake will affect its texture.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Make it more Italian style

If you’ve ever tried authentic Italian or Sicilian ricotta cheese cakes and loved them, then this cake is already similar in taste and texture, but there are a few other things you can do to make it even more Italian:

  • Replace ½ of the crust crumbs with Italian amaretti or biscotti cookies.
  • Leave out the crust. Some classic, authentic recipes don’t use a crust at all.
  • If you prefer a taller cake, you can increase the amount of ingredients (baking time will be longer).
  • Add 1 tablespoon of Amaretto liqueur to the filling.
  • Separate the eggs to get an airy and even lighter texture (I like doing it but it’s a matter of personal taste). Add the egg yolks when the recipe calls for whole eggs, then after all the ingredients are combined, whip up the egg whites to soft peaks and fold it into the batter. The cake will look airy on the outside with that rustic look of an Italian torte.

Rather than serving this cake plain, I prefer it with fresh berries, figs, or berry sauce.

Ricotta Cheesecake

More Cheesecake Recipes:

4.84 from 6 votes
Ricotta Cheesecake
Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe
YIELD: 9 -inch/23cm cheesecake
 

Ingredients
Crust:
  • 1 cup (100g) graham cracker or digestive biscuits crumbs*
  • 3 tablespoons (40g) unsalted butter, melted
Filling:
  • 8 oz. (225g) full-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 540 g/19 oz whole-milk ricotta cheese , drained**, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs , at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with one large piece of foil, then repeat with another piece. This will ensure that water from the water bath doesn’t seep into the cake.
  2. In a medium bowl mix crumbs and melted butter until evenly combined and moistened. Press mixture into pan. You can use the bottom of a glass to press it into an even layer. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before adding the filling. Meanwhile, prepare the filling.
  3. Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and lump-free, 1-2 minutes. Add ricotta and sugar and beat until combined and cheese is smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary. Add cornstarch, vanilla extract, and zest, and beat just until blended and smooth. Pour batter over cooled crust and spread evenly.
  4. Place pan inside a large roasting pan, then pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cake pan. Place carefully in the oven and bake for 60-70 minutes or until sides of the cheesecake are set but the center is still slightly wobbly.
  5. Transfer pan to a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Cover cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours to set. The cake will taste best a day after it’s made.
  6. Cake can be kept in the fridge, well covered, for up to 5 days.
Recipe Notes

*To make crumbs, pulse cookies in a food processor or blender until finely ground.
**Ricotta cheese is watery and must be drained for several hours. Place the cheese in a fine-mesh sieve lined with two layers of paper towels, and place the sieve over a bowl.

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Victoria @ Pleasant Kitchen
    June 20, 2016 at 10:49 am

    These look amazing! Definitely a naughty but nice treat!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    March 18, 2018 at 6:45 am

    I tried this recipe and it came out amazing, I got compliments from all my guests.

  • Reply
    Ali
    February 4, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Great cheesecake! I used 2/3 cup sugar and it was still wonderful. Very easy with perfect results.

    • Reply
      Sharon
      June 22, 2019 at 11:47 am

      Did you grease the springform pan? Also cool in the pan? Thanks.

  • Reply
    Debra
    August 3, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    This baked cheesecake was beautiful. I mixed in some crystlized ginger and used ginger cookies for my base. Yum yum yum

  • Reply
    Kat
    December 23, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I made it once according to the recipe and it was great!
    Now I’m tempted to modify. Do you think it would be ok to add canned peaches inside?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      December 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

      I’m glad you like it 🙂 It depends on how you add them. Canned peaches might add liquid to the cake (even if you strain the peaches) so it will change the texture of the cake and the cake might be too watery.

      • Reply
        Natasha Singh
        April 23, 2020 at 6:28 am

        Hi can I use cream ricotta cheese

        • Reply
          Shiran
          April 26, 2020 at 5:08 am

          Hi Natasha, I’m not sure what cream ricotta cheese is?

  • Reply
    Mary Beth Scalici
    January 18, 2020 at 11:39 am

    I’m making this recipe today – one question – when you take it out of the oven to cool do you take it out of the water bath? This is my first attempt at Italian Cheesecake!

    • Reply
      Shiran
      January 19, 2020 at 6:35 am

      Hi Mary. I take it out after baking, but because the pan is hot, you can leave it for a while before removing once it’s easier to handle.

    • Reply
      Anthony
      April 20, 2020 at 1:21 pm

      Made this with the option of splitting the egg whites and yolks. It baked for about 80 minutes. After chilling over night and trying, it appears it still did not set as expected and still runny in the middle. The flavor it still really good though.

      What should be the time adjustment on baking with this option?

      • Reply
        Shiran
        May 11, 2020 at 5:32 am

        It should be enough baking time even with that option.

  • Reply
    Simon
    February 11, 2020 at 1:14 pm

    I like the mild lemon/orange zest flavor. I came out great looking and has a good creamy texture.

  • Reply
    dee
    May 7, 2020 at 10:25 am

    I don’t own a spring form pan so can I use a ready made graham cracker crust for this recipe?

    • Reply
      Shiran
      May 11, 2020 at 4:33 am

      Sure, you can 🙂

  • Reply
    Gemma Wilford
    May 11, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    I’ve just made this, and I substituted the crackers for ginger nut biscuits. I also swapped the vanilla essence for orange essence. Yummy yummy

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