how to make lemon ricotta pie recipe

Recipe for How to Make Italian Lemon Ricotta Pie

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Learn how to make Italian lemon ricotta pie with this simple recipe. If you are not familiar with what a lemon ricotta pie is or have never made one yourself, don’t worry, either had I until a few years into my marriage. 

This is in my opinion one of the easiest Italian dessert recipes I know of and I encourage you to give it a try.

How to Make Italian Lemon Ricotta Pie

I provide step by step instructions below as well as a video.  However, the video omits the lemon zest – but just add the zest to the other ingredients when mixing… it’s all in the instructions below.  😉

lemon ricotta pie

Like all my Italian recipes I share, this lemon ricotta pie is very easy and simple. Do not be intimidated!  This is a wonderful dessert that is perfect for any holiday or really, any time of the year! 

The lemon is not overpowering, but subtle and very refreshing.   

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What Does Lemon Ricotta Pie Taste Like?

A ricotta pie is somewhat similar to a cheesecake in texture and form. 

Don’t get confused with a ricotta cake which is more like regular cake made with lots more flour. 

If you like lemon flavored desserts, you should check out my Italian lemon cake recipe too!

You can see my original photo from over 10 years ago (taken with a basic point and shoot, but at least you’ll see what it looks like without filters, enhancing etc!).   

how to make lemon ricotta pie

Is Ricotta Pie Easy to Make?

This is a traditional Italian recipe (very popular at Easter and Christmas time) and very simple to make. The most unique ingredient would be the ricotta cheese and confectioners sugar which you can easily get at any grocery store.

Basically, you mix all the ingredients together, except the egg whites. 

You whisk the egg whites until they have stiff peaks. 

Then you blend those in gently and pour into the spring form pan or cake pan. 

Bake it, then let it cool and add the confectioners sugar prior to serving.   

Yes, it’s that easy…. if I can do it, so can you!! If you look at my profile image on this site (at the time of this writing), I’m actually holding a ricotta lemon pie!

Is Dough Used with this Recipe to Make a Crust for Lemon Ricotta Pie?

The answer is no.

Many people think that there is supposed to be a crust for the pie, but for a ricotta pie there is no crust.

How to make lemon ricotta pie

So although it is similar to a cheesecake as I mentioned above, there is no dough – no crust.

The pie will still hold it’s shape.

How Much Lemon Zest to use in a Ricotta Pie?

In my recipe I use fresh lemon zest of a whole lemon. This comes to about one tablespoon.

Simply add the lemon zest to the other ingredients.

Surprisingly the lemon zest does not overpower the full recipe. It adds a subtle flavor that makes this desert bright and flavorful.

Toppings to Use on the Ricotta Pie

Toppings for Lemon Ricotta Pie

When making this easy recipe, you can add additional toppings besides just confectioners sugar.

Try to use fresh fruit such as:

  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • blackberries

Some people even top with chocolate, although I have not.

Where’s the Lemon in my Ricotta pie Video?

Unfortunately the video below shows the recipe without lemon, but you can still follow the video just make sure to add in the lemon zest per my instructions. 

Note:  the video does not mention the pan size I used.  I used a 9 inch for the video.  

Enjoy!

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italian lemon ricotta pie easy recipe
4.75 from 4 votes
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Italian Lemon Ricotta Pie Recipe

Lemon ricotta pie is an easy Italian dessert I received from my Italian husband. It is a great dessert recipe for the holidays or parties. Easy and simple to make! Enjoy!

Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Keyword italian lemon ricotta pie recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Cooling time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lb ricotta cheese (whole milk) (20oz or approx 2 1/2 cups)
  • 3 tbsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp white flour
  • pinch salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • grated zest of 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375F

  2. Combine the ricotta, sugar, flour, salt, lemon zest and egg yolks (only the yolks), in a large mixing bowl until very smooth without lumps or clumps

  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks.  If you have an electric mixer, use the whisk that came with it.

  4. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the ricotta mixture.

  5. Spray the cake pan or spring form pan with cooking spray or butter and dust with some flour.  Once even coated dump any excess into the sink by simply tapping the sides.

  6. Bake for 35 minutes uncovered

  7. Let cool for 1 hour to allow pie to set and settle (it will deflate)

  8. Before serving, top with confectioners sugar (don’t be shy).  If you have fresh blueberries or other fruit, add these either on top or as a side dish.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

For this recipe you will need a handheld or electric mixer and a cake pan or spring form pan (preferred). 

original post Nov. 2015

Recipe for How to Make Italian Lemon Ricotta Pie

61 Comments

  1. This is a question: 35 mins. Is the TOTAL baking time, right?
    Pie is in the oven, so please answer quickly if possible.
    Thanks!

  2. Thanks! I figured it out and the pie turned out good. It just needed a little more sugar to my taste, so I am making a slightly sweeter version tonight with the remaining ricotta I have.

  3. The recipe said 1 lb. ricotta. In the video you say 1 1/4 pound ricotta. Which is it. Also, in the video you do not mention the lemon zest.

  4. Hi Linda, yes the video is for the recipe without the lemon, the recipe is near identical. I mention it in the text (not the same I know!). Hopefully I can get another video done. I’ve updated the recipe to read 1 1/4. Thanks for pointing that out!

  5. Hi Joanna, that is a great question and I honestly have never frozen it, so I’m not sure. I would be afraid it would change the texture. If you do try it let me know what the results are! Sorry I couldn’t give a better answer for you.

  6. This looks delicious and easy! Can I substitute part-skim ricotta for whole milk ricotta as it is all I have?

  7. Hi Maria, yes you can, but the texture won’t be the same. I tried the part-skim once and I much preferred the whole milk. If I recall, the skim-milk had a more gritty texture due to the lack of fat. Hope that helps and I hope you enjoy the recipe!! Thanks!

  8. I am trying a 8×10 pan. Should I still let it bake for same amount of time? How will I know when it is fully cooked?

  9. Hi Crystal, I’ve never made it in an 8×10 pan but I would think the time would be about the same to bake. You’ll know it’s ready when the inside is not runny – probably use a toothpick to check, that’s what I would do. You can see in my video it will be a little brown on top when done.

    Let me know how it turns out!

  10. Hi Lynn, that is a great question but I am not sure. I havent made it gluten free and not sure which type of flour would be best. I have seen many baking recipes with almond flour but not sure of the ratio.

    If you try one and it turns out let us know!

  11. I so looked forward to Easter when my MEma would make this cake. She would put a lattice top on the cake.

  12. 5 stars
    Delicious!!! Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks for sharing. I used a 6 in springform pan. Baked at 350 for 1hour.

  13. It doesn’t say what size spring form pan…I used the one I had and will taste my cheese cake later it looks a little thinner than I would like. We’ll see. It was easy to make. No crust surprised me…

  14. Can you use orange zest, and about how much sugar to make it sweeter? On curfew and lockdown here. Can’t get to store. Don’t want to waste my Ricotta 👍

  15. Hi Jane, sorry for the late reply. I wish I had a specific amount for you but to make it sweeter comes down to personal taste. I would probably add two more Tbsp. However you could always just add more powdered sugar on top if it isn’t sweet enough. 🙂 Stay safe during the lock down. We just got a Stay at Home directive from our Governor.

  16. Hi ,I’m making today ,In lockdown in Australia no visitor, so can I freeze the leftover is any !!
    Cherrs pamela

  17. I hope it turned out! If you have left overs and want to freeze it I would do it. There is debate over freezing anything with ricotta but I’d rather freeze it than let it go to waste. Let me know how it turned out!

  18. I will be making this for the first time this Sunday for Easter. In the text before the recipe you mention using confectionary sugar but the recipe only calls it “white sugar.” Can you please clarify granulated or confectionery should be mixed into the pie?

  19. 5 stars
    Love this recipe. Made it multiple times. I’ve tried with lemon, lime and orange zest. All came out great. I did use a water bath and 12″ spring form pan. This gave me a thinner pie. After the release and cool down, I used 1″ cookie cutter to make dot pies. This was a hit over by the local firehouse last week. And I got to eat the remains with family. Thanks for the recipes.

  20. How do I know it’s cooked right at 35 minutes it was shaky and still looked like mixture?

  21. 4 stars
    This was fantastic. I only had 1 pound of ricotta so substituted the other 1/4 pound with cream cheese. Can’t wait to try it again with all ricotta. Also used Monk fruit instead of sugar. Thanks for a yummy and easy dessert!

  22. 5 stars
    Just made and eaten. Divine! Thank you for the recipe. I adapted it to what I had on my fridge (chanco cheese instead of ricotta) and added some almonds to the recipe. Otherwise just followed your fantastic instructions! Super yummie!

  23. This is delicious. I added extra lemon extract. The pie didn’t rise more than 1/2”. But the taste was amazing!

  24. Hi,

    It’s cooling right now and the whole house smells wonderful! Longest hour ever waiting for it!

    After it has cooled, and I’ve served some, how should the rest be stored? Refrigerator? Room temperature? Covered with plastic wrap, tinfoil, airtight container?

    Hope to get a reply very soon.

    TY

  25. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe. Where has this pie been all my life? I love how it uses very little sugar and flour. We are on WW and I have no problem fitting this into my point out. Only 6 points per serving for any other dieters out there. I made it just as directed and was thrilled with the results. Thank you for making your recipe so user friendly. Looked up on google how to beat egg whites correctly and with that knowledge this pie was so easy to accomplish. I am subscribing to your web site and hope to try many more of your Italian recipes. Grazie

  26. Hi, I am looking forward to making this great sounding dessert, however, perhaps because I am later getting it, recipe ingredients were missing. First they were covered by advertisements, when they left, nothing was there?!🤪

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