Fresh, fluffy and light, ricotta is the perfect way to add a touch of creaminess to your cooking without making it heavy. Its mild, delicate flavour means that it works just as well in savoury and sweet dishes, so it can be combined with herbs to make a savoury stuffing for pasta and pancakes, or mixed with sugar and other sweet things to make a cannoli filling. Discover more ways to use this versatile ingredient with these seven sweet and savoury ricotta recipes.
A little ricotta goes a long way, and if you buy some for one project, you’ll likely find yourself with some left over at the end. Luckily, there are so many things you can do with ricotta that it shouldn’t be hard to find something delicious to make with your leftovers, but if you need some inspiration, we’ve selected a few of our favourite ricotta recipes.
Some of our choices use a lot of ricotta, and some just a little, so however much you have left, there should be something that uses it all. And with a good mix of sweet and savoury dishes, there’s something here for everyone.
Leftover ricotta cheese recipes
When it comes to using up leftover ricotta, the options are endless. With creamy pasta dishes, quiches and frittata, pancakes, waffles and more to choose from, you may find yourself wishing you had more leftovers.
Lemon ricotta pancakes: zesty lemon is the perfect match for creamy ricotta, and these light, fluffy pancakes from Simply Recipes make the most of this winning combination. Enjoy one of these pancake stacks for brunch, or as a dessert, and serve with fresh raspberries or a drizzle of maple syrup.
Ricotta lemon and blueberry waffles: another ricotta and lemon brunch favourite, this time from My Recipes. These waffles have a subtly creamy, tangy flavour, and taste great topped with a sweet blueberry sauce.
Sweet pea crostini with ricotta: this light summer appetiser from My Recipes is the perfect mouthful of crunchy crostini, sweet garden peas, creamy ricotta and fresh mint. The recipe even shows you how to make your own ricotta, but using leftovers makes it even simpler.
Ricotta and asparagus quiche: this tasty vegetarian quiche has a rich filling made with ricotta, egg and Parmesan with tender spring asparagus. Perfect for brunch or supper.
Brussel sprout quiche with ricotta and dried tomatoes: another vegetarian friendly quiche, with Brussels sprouts and dried tomatoes encased in ricotta, gruyère and a golden pastry crust.
Ricotta and herb filled crepes: impress your guests with this simple but elegant appetiser, made from crepes stuffed with creamy ricotta, parsley and basil.
Pasta with spinach, artichokes and ricotta: this quick and easy pasta dish from Simply Recipes is the perfect mixture of fresh green vegetables and creamy ricotta, all topped with crunchy panko breadcrumbs, and ready in just 30 minutes.
Mint and ricotta stuffed shells: this satisfying pasta dish from Simply Recipes is made from giant pasta shells stuffed with creamy ricotta and mint, baked in a rich tomato sauce with Italian sausage. Perfect for family meals and potlucks.
Spinach and ricotta balls with Parmesan: this Italian-inspired appetiser takes just 20 minutes to make, and showcases another classic flavour combination.
Summer squash frittata with herbs: this tasty summer brunch recipe from Bon Appetit is packed with tender squash and herbs, with a rich, creamy batter made from eggs, crème frâiche, ricotta and Parmesan.
Fig, ham and ricotta pizza: this gourmet pizza recipe from My Recipes is the perfect balance of sweet figs, salty ham and creamy ricotta.
Cheesy zucchini and eggplant bake: a simple but satisfying Mediterranean vegetable bake from Bon Appetit, made with roasted eggplant, zucchini and cherry tomatoes in a creamy ricotta and mozzarella sauce.
Plum tart with ricotta and Greek yoghurt: this light, fluffy tart from Happy Foods Tube has a deliciously sweet plum filling, and makes the perfect partner for your cup of coffee.
Blueberry ricotta bars: this sweet, creamy dessert from The Unlikely Baker is a little like a cheesecake, but softer and lighter. Chill in the refrigerator for a day before eating to allow the flavours to develop.
How to store ricotta cheese
Once opened, ricotta cheese will keep for four to five days. It should always be kept refrigerated, and must be replaced in the refrigerator as soon as you’ve taken what you need. It should also be kept sealed, so if the original packaging is not resealable, spoon the remaining ricotta into an airtight container for storage.
Freezing ricotta can cause it to lose some of its flavour and take on a dry, crumbly texture, so it won’t be suitable for certain dishes after it’s been frozen. Use frozen and thawed ricotta for cooked dishes like sauces or soups, where the difference will be less noticeable, and avoid using it where the recipe specifically calls for fresh ricotta.
Ricotta should keep for two to three months in the freezer, but should not be re-frozen once thawed. Try freezing it in an ice cube tray so you can take what you need without thawing out the rest. To thaw, simply extract as many ricotta cubes as you need and leave them in a bowl in the fridge overnight. Stir well once thawed for a smoother consistency. Once thawed, the ricotta should keep in the fridge for two to three days.
Find out more about ricotta and where it comes from with our guide to the history of ricotta.