Creamy and with just a light touch of lemon, this Italian ricotta pie recipe is one of the most surprisingly easy desserts to make with just a handful of ingredients. The filling comes together in 10 minutes, and if you take the shortcut of using a refrigerated pie crust, it also gets into the oven in 10 minutes. This has become one of my go-to desserts when I just have no time or energy to spare.
Ricotta pie is lovely on its own, without any adornment. Or, serve it with any fruit sauce you like — blueberry, strawberry, or raspberry would all be amazing.
If you use a gluten-free pie crust, then this is a gluten-free dessert!
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Ricotta Cheesecake: Creamy, sweet, and fluffy, this Italian-style cheesecake takes 10 minutes to pull together (thank you store-bought crust!). A simple, perfect ending to a holiday meal.Tweet This
What Is Ricotta Pie?
Ricotta pie is, simply put, an Italian version of cheesecake starring ricotta cheese in the filling. It’s a different type of dessert than NY-style cream cheese-based cheesecake. The texture is a bit more granular while still creamy (as is ricotta cheese itself).
Overall, it’s a sweet dessert pie. In many cases, lemon makes itself known as the main flavoring, and sometimes there is vanilla (as in this recipe) or almond extract added. The sweetness comes from sugar, but a moderate amount, so it’s not an excessively sweet pie. The filling is quite moist, creamy, and light and has the gentle flavor and texture of ricotta cheese.
Ricotta Pie Ingredients
The ricotta pie recipe comes together quickly with a pretty short list of ingredients:
- Store-bought pie crust – If you buy a frozen pie crust, make sure to defrost it before using it.
- Eggs – Give the pie structure and help it set into a custard-like consistency in the oven.
- Sugar – This pie is subtly sweet with a perfect amount of sugar to bring out the flavor of the ricotta.
- Vanilla extract – Use pure vanilla extract if possible.
- Lemon zest – You’ll be surprised how much lemon flavor you can get just from the zest. The oils in the zest are actually where a lot of the flavor in a lemon is stored.
- Salt – Brings out the flavor of everything else.
- Ricotta cheese – Use whole milk ricotta, as the lower-fat options have a different texture.
- Raisins – Raisins are common in this pie, but you can also use semisweet chocolate chips in their place. I used dried cherries during one test and dried cranberries in another. Some people use diced candied fruit instead.
- Confectioners’ sugar – Creates a beautiful dusting on the top of the pie for serving.
What Kind of Ricotta to Use in Pie
Fresh ricotta cheese is amazing, a real treat compared to the supermarket options. However, supermarket ricotta is just fine in this pie! But if you find fresh ricotta, which tastes, well, fresher, you will definitely see the difference.
If your fresh ricotta seems very loose, put it in a mesh strainer suspended over a bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight. Discard any liquid that collects in the bottom of the bowl and use the ricotta, which should be a bit firmer. I have tried it with both packaged and fresh ricotta cheese.
How to Make Ricotta Pie
- Prepare to bake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and set the pie crust out to come to room temperature.
- Make the filling: Whisk the eggs, then add the sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add in the ricotta and raisins and fold to combine with a spatula. Pour the finished filling into the pie shell.
- Bake: Bake for about 50 minutes or until just barely set. Cool on a wire rack.
- Refrigerate: Place the cooled pie in the refrigerator and let it chill for at least 6 hours. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and serve!
Ricotta pie should be completely cooled before refrigerating and well covered with plastic wrap. It will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The pie can be left at room temperature for up to a day, but after that, it should be refrigerated.
The main ingredient in ricotta pie is — you guessed it — ricotta! The ricotta is sweetened with sugar and mixed with eggs, which helps the mixture set in the oven. The pie also usually has some flavorings, including vanilla extract and lemon zest. Lastly, there is some kind of mix-in, traditionally raisins.
The main difference between ricotta pie and cheesecake is the texture. Because of the looser texture of the ricotta, ricotta pie has a slightly lighter texture and appears more grainy. Cheesecake is made with cream cheese instead of ricotta and has a completely smooth and uniform texture. Another major difference is the crust. Ricotta pie usually has a dough-style crust, while cheesecake usually has a crust made from crushed graham crackers.
What to Serve With Ricotta Pie
More Pie Recipes
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- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- Remove the premade pie crust from the fridge and let it sit while you prepare the filling.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and whisk to combine. Add the ricotta and raisins and blend with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon, blending and folding the mixture gently so that the fluffy texture of the ricotta remains. Scrape the filling into the pie shell.
- Bake for about 50 minutes until just barely set; the middle will still be a bit jiggly when you gently shake the pan but will firm up as it cools. Cool completely on a wire rack. Once the pie has come to room temperature, chill the pie for at least one hour before serving. You can keep the pie in the fridge for up to 4 days, covered with plastic wrap. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.
- Fresh ricotta cheese is amazing, a real treat compared to the supermarket options. However, supermarket ricotta is just fine in this pie! But if you find fresh ricotta, which tastes, well, fresher, you will definitely see the difference.
- If your fresh ricotta seems very loose, put it in a mesh strainer suspended over a bowl and leave it in the fridge overnight. Discard any liquid that collects in the bottom of the bowl and use the ricotta, which should be a bit firmer. I have tried it with both packaged and fresh ricotta cheese.
- Ricotta pie should be completely cooled before refrigerating and well covered with plastic wrap. It will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The pie can be left at room temperature for up to a day, but after that, it should be refrigerated.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.