Ricotta Cheesecake

Ricotta Cheesecake is New York Style Cheesecake’s light and airy Italian sibling.  Substituting ricotta for cream cheese results in a lighter, less dense but still delicious cheesecake.  Making the recipe with stevia instead of sugar will greatly reduce the carbohydrates count, which we estimate to be around 5 or 6 grams per serving without any topping; either way you choose to make it, Ricotta Cheesecake is delicious.

While many recipes call for using a bain marie or water bath when baking a cheesecake, we find it cumbersome.  For most home bakers, it is difficult to execute properly and if you get a leak between the spring-form pan and the bain marie, you have a soggy disaster on your hands.  While the water bath method is supposed to result in less cracking of the top crust, that has not been my experience.  That said, we actually like some light cracking in the cheesecake’s top crust; it adds character and the small crevices serve as wonderful reservoirs for any fruit sauce topping you may choose to use or for the liquor, see the last step below, when serving the Ricotta Cheesecake.

Ricotta Cheesecake

Prep Time: 1 hour, Total Time: 3 hours, 20 minutes Yields one 9 or 10-inch cheesecake of 8 servings.

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  • 1 ½ pounds Whole-Milk Ricotta cheese
  • 8 oz Sour Cream
  • ¾ cup granulated Sugar or Stevia
  • 6 large Eggs, separated
  • 2 Tbs Cornstarch
  • ¼ tsp fine Sea Salt
  • Finely grated zest of 1 Lemon
  • 2 Tbs Vanilla extract
  • Unsalted Butter at room temperature for the spring-form pan


Ricotta Cheesecake


  1. Spoon the ricotta into a fine mesh sieve placed over a bowl and allow it to drain, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine the drained ricotta, sour cream, sugar or stevia, egg yolks, cornstarch, sea salt, lemon zest, and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
  3. Using an electric hand mixer with the two mixing attachments, mix these ingredients together until mostly smooth; some small ricotta curds may remain which is fine as it will add to the cheesecake’s texture.
  4. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and grease the spring-form pan generously with the unsalted butter.
  5. In a separate bowl, use the electric hand mixer with the whisk attachment to whisk the egg whites until stiff, peaks form.
  6. Use a rubber spatula to gently fold half the whipped egg whites into the ricotta batter until lightly combined, then fold the remaining whipped egg whites into the batter taking care not to overly mix the batter.
  7. Pour the batter into the spring-form pan slowly and give the pan a gentle shake to evenly settle batter in the pan.
  8. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake on a centered rack in the oven for 1 hour and 20 minutes at which time the cake’s center will appear firm and the top a deep golden-brown color.
  9. This step is mission critical! Turn off the oven, pop the oven door open a few inches, most ovens have a catch in the door mechanism to permit this, and let the cheesecake cool in-place for a minimum of 1 hour to 1 ½ hours. Do not remove the cheesecake from the oven.  There will be some settling as the cheesecake cools which is normal.
  10. Remove the cheesecake in the spring-form pan and baking sheet from the oven and set the baking sheet aside.  Place the spring-form pan on the counter and run a blunt-tipped knife around edge of the cheesecake to release it from the pan and allow it to continue to cool for 30 minutes.
  11. Using the lever, release sides of the spring-form pan and use the blunt-tipped knife once again to release any spots of the cheesecake’s sides which may still be stuck to the pan. Remove the spring-form pan sides and allow the ricotta cheesecake to continue to cool completely.
  12. This recipe will yield 8 servings; you can cut thinner slices but I don’t recommend it as they will likely fall apart when serving.  We enjoy ricotta cheesecake on its own without any fruit sauce.  If you do want to serve ricotta cheesecake with a sauce, serve it on the side on the plate or allow guests to add their own or not. 
  13. For a special, adult version of ricotta cheesecake, you can do as Vito’s maternal grandmother, Concetta, would and pour a shot glassful of “brown goods” (rye or blend whiskey, rum or brandy or a combination of them as she only drank wine at dinner) over the cooled ricotta cheesecake and let the cake absorb the liquor, which will take a few hours.  Grandmother would repeat this process two or three times prior to serving the ricotta cheesecake; naturally, you would have to bake the ricotta cheesecake at least one day prior to serving it to accommodate this process.  The end result is a subtly-flavored ricotta cheesecake for the adult palate.  Enjoy!

Ricotta Cheesecake

One response to “Ricotta Cheesecake”

  1. Maureen Fowles says:

    This looks so delicious