30 Delicious Recipes That Use Up That Tub of Ricotta

published Mar 5, 2024
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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Jesse Szewczyk

Ricotta cheese is an incredibly versatile ingredient. While we all love an easy lasagna recipe, ricotta can be used in a variety of dishes, from breakfast to dessert and everything in between. Don’t have a tub of ricotta on hand? You can make a batch of fresh, creamy homemade ricotta with just two ingredients.

Add ricotta to fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes or stuff it into French toast for breakfast. Make classic Italian American bakery-style ricotta cookies or cannoli dip with waffle crisps for dessert.

Or go the savory route! Smear ricotta on toast and top it with braised butternut squash for a satisfying lunch, or make some tender homemade ricotta gnocchi for dinner. 

From hearty pastas to sweet desserts, here are 30 of our favorite recipes that use ricotta cheese.

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Creamy Ricotta Pasta with Broccoli

Combine lemon juice and ricotta in the food processor for an ultra-creamy and flavorful sauce perfect for pasta. If you’re not a broccoli person, swap in peas, arugula, or cherry tomatoes. Or try a protein — leftover rotisserie chicken or Italian sausage are good additions.

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Lemon Ricotta Stuffed French Toast

These cloud-like slices of brioche or challah are filled with creamy ricotta cheese flavored with fresh lemon juice and zest and cooked until golden-brown. It’s the classic French toast you know and love, only amped up with a decadent center that makes it fit for a celebration.

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Lemony Ricotta Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Burst Tomatoes

This vibrant pasta dish is packed with bursting cherry tomatoes and tender asparagus, and tossed in a bright, lemony ricotta sauce.

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Easy, Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

If you have some extra ricotta in your fridge, these light and fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes are a must. The Italian cheese lends a mildly creamy and rich flavor to your short stack, while making the insides of the pancakes almost custardy.

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Easy Ricotta Gnocchi

Ricotta gnocchi is easier than classic potato gnocchi when you're making dinner on a weeknight. Pair the freshly made pasta with a simple herb brown butter sauce.

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5-Ingredient No-Boil Baked Ziti

Aside from ricotta and olive oil, you only need four other ingredients for this baked ziti. Plus, you dont need to boil the pasta before baking. Tightly covering the baking dish in aluminum foil forces the pasta to steam-cook in the marinara sauce, which eliminates the need to pre-boil the noodles. Win-win!

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Brûléed Ricotta

A fast and easy dessert recipe for honey-sweetened ricotta that's brûléed and finished with fresh fruit.

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White Lasagna

Unlike lasagnas made with marinara, you won’t find a drop of red sauce in sight. Here you get layers of hearty pasta, ricotta, mozzarella, Italian sausage crumbles, and an entire pound of fresh spinach.

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Turkey Ricotta Meatballs

The secret to incredibly light and tender meatballs? Ricotta! Also, baking the meatballs instead of frying them is less messy and so easy.

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Spinach Pizza

Do you love pizza and spinach dip? Then this is the recipe for you. This has all the best parts of spinach-artichoke dip on a crispy-crusted pizza pie.

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Eggplant Casserole

With layers of herbed ricotta cheese; quick homemade marinara; meaty yet super-creamy and tender eggplant; and a gooey, cheesy top, this comforting casserole is a must-make dinner.

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Gnocchi Aglio e Olio

This crispy, pan-fried gnocchi is tossed with spicy garlic oil and arugula to make a complete one-pan meal. A dollop of ricotta on top makes it feel extra special.

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Ricotta Cookies

When we think of Italian American bakeries, we envision piles of biscotti, rainbow cookies, cannolis, and trays and trays of an array of cookies decorated with colorful sprinkles —including ricotta cookies. These are super soft and cakey, thanks to the ricotta cheese in them.

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Cheesy Spinach-Artichoke Pasta Bake

What happens when you cross spinach-artichoke dip with baked pasta? You get this gooey, ultra-comforting cheesy spinach-artichoke pasta bake.

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Lemony Ricotta Pasta with Basil

The best part about this pasta? The quick no-cook ricotta sauce that's flavored with lots of lemon and fresh basil.

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Spinach Stuffed Shells

These cheesy vegetarian stuffed shells can be made with either fresh or frozen spinach, depending on what is convenient for you.

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The Best Spinach Lasagna

This easy, cheesy spinach lasagna is total comfort food for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

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White Pizza

We fully support classic margherita pizza and pepperoni pizza, but we also believe pizza bianca (Italian for “white pizza”) deserves just as much attention.This rustic white pizza is showered with Parmesan and mozzarella, and dolloped with ricotta. Its golden-brown crust is slicked in garlicky olive oil.

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Ricotta Gnudi

At first glance, you might confuse the light, fluffy dumplings with potato gnocchi. But gnudi are their own delicious dish entirely, and one that’s well worth getting to know. Here's our easy recipe for Italian ricotta gnudi with tomato sauce and Parmesan cheese.

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One-Pot Corn Pasta

This quick and easy one-pot pasta is packed with vegetables and tossed with a light & creamy no-cook sauce.

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Cannoli Dip

Paired with waffle crisps, this deconstructed Italian pastry may be even better in dip form.

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Spanakopita Stuffed Shells

A brightened-up version of the classic comfort food, featuring the flavors of Greek spanakopita: spinach, feta cheese, fresh dill, and lots of lemon.

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Lemony Baked Ricotta Dumplings with Asparagus and Pea Pesto

Veggie pesto joins forces with fluffy ricotta dumplings and crunchy pistachios for a light yet cozy meal.

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French Onion Stuffed Shells

These beautiful stuffed shells feature a caramelized onion ricotta filling, a Gruyère cheese sauce, and a cheesy breadcrumb topping.

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One-Pot Creamy Zucchini Pasta

Whole-milk ricotta cheese is the secret to this extra-luxe and lemony zucchini pasta.

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Creamy White Lasagna Soup

Lasagna is an obvious choice to use up ricotta, but did you ever think of soup? This recipe is creamy and satisfying without any of the fuss. Inspired by white lasagna, this soup trades tangy marinara sauce for cheesy, creamy white sauce, and is made with sliced mushrooms, shredded chicken, and wilted spinach.

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Savory Babka with Pesto, Ricotta, and Sun-Dried Tomato

A savory twist on classic chocolate babka, featuring store-bought pesto, creamy ricotta, and sun-dried tomato.

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Ricotta Toast with Cider-Braised Squash

Butternut squash is braised with apple cider, whole grain mustard, vinegar, and a pinch of brown sugar until tender, then piled atop ricotta toast for a sweet bite.

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Baked Barley Risotto with Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

This cozy risotto-like dinner swaps whole-grain pearl barley in for the usual arborio rice.

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Seafood Lasagna

The perfect make-ahead dinner for when you're craving seafood and lasagna.

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