Ricotta Cheesecake – Just 3 Ingredients

This magic Italian ricotta cheesecake is similar to the classic cheesecake, it’s light and soft and calls for just 3 ingredients.

This crustless Italian ricotta cheesecake is halfway between the classic New York cheesecake and the popular Burnt Basque cheesecake. 

The main difference is that this easy gluten-free cheesecake doesn’t call for cream cheese.

But do not worry, ricotta cheese makes this cake super fluffy, creamy, and light! So, if you’re looking for a healthier cheesecake, that’s the one.

Italian ricotta cheesecake topped with fresh berries and confectioner's sugar.

I made this recipe without a crust, but if you prefer some added crunch, I’ve left a few crust recipes suggestions below.

I love my cheesecake plain topped with fresh berries, but if you like, serve it with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or strawberry compote.

Ingredients

This Italian ricotta cheesecake is proof that you don’t need many ingredients to make a delicious dessert. In fact, you just need three!

  • Fresh ricotta cheese
  • Eggs
  • Sugar

Ricotta, eggs and sugar. That’s it! I told you, it’s magic!

In case you haven’t tried it yet, ricotta cheese is a popular creamy Italian fresh cheese.

Ricotta is so-called because, in Italian language, it literally means “re-cooked”, and it’s made with milk and whey.

It’s light, spongy and fluffy and absolutely delicious.

You can easily find it in large grocery stores, and in Italian delis, where you can find good quality ricotta from the cheese counter.

You can even make homemade ricotta cheese at home!

In Sicily, we use ricotta for both savoury and sweet recipes. From stuffed pasta or vegetarian lasagna, to the famous cannoli and cassata.

I love swapping cream cheese with ricotta in lots of recipes, and one of the most delicious ways to make the most of it is definitely this Italian dessert.

Italian ricotta cheesecake topped with fresh berries and confectioner's sugar.

It’s very similar to the New York cheesecake but the ricotta adds such an amazing flavour, and a very unique and light texture.

Instructions

This magic 3-ingredient gluten-free baked cheesecake recipe is truly one of the easiest!

ricotta cheesecake recipe step-by-step collage: first image shows cake batter mixed with hand mixer, second image shows the batter poured into the cake pan.
  1. Simply mix all of the ingredients together in a large metal bowl – you can use a whisk or electric mixer. Make sure to mix until you reach a creamy batter, but don’t overmix it.
  2. Line a springform cake pan with parchment paper, pour in the batter, and bake for about 50 minutes.
  3. Let the cake cool completely, refrigerate for a few hours, decorate with powdered sugar and fresh berries if you like, and serve.
slice of ricotta cheesecake, topped with a blueberry.

Add-ons

I love the simplicity of this baked ricotta cheesecake, but here are some suggestions to make it extra special:

  • Lemon zest – instead of orange zest, you can use lemon zest or a mix of the two.
  • Chocolate chips – You can add a handful of dark chocolate chips into the batter (freeze them for 30 minutes for best results).
  • Vanilla – For extra flavour, add a scraped vanilla pod into the batter (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract).
  • Berry sauce – Top the cake with homemade berry sauce for a delicious note.

Variations

If you want some extra crunchiness, add a base or crust to your ricotta cake.

Pasta frolla (sweet shortcrust pastry) or a classic cheesecake base made with crushed graham crackers or digestive biscuits are all great options.

  • Pasta frolla – Roll it out with a rolling pin until it is about 3 millimeters thick, then place it over the base of the cake tin. Make it adhere perfectly to the edges and prick it with a fork. Pour the cake batter and bake following the directions.
  • Graham Crackers – Follow this super easy 3-ingredient graham crackers crust recipe. Bake it for 10 minutes, leave it to cool, pour the cake batter and continue to bake following the directions.
  • Digestive Biscuits – Mix 200 g finely crushed digestives with 100 g melted butter, spread the mixture over the base of the cake tin. Bake for 10 minutes, leave it to cool, pour the cake batter and continue to bake following the directions.

See my New York Cheesecake recipe instead if you’re looking for a classic cheesecake.

Equipment

You don’t need any professional equipment to make this easy ricotta cake, here are the kitchen tools I use:

  • 7-inch springform cake pan – a small cake pan makes a taller cheesecake, but you can also use a larger one, although it won’t result in a tall cake. You may double up the ingredients in this case, and bake the cake for 15-20 minutes longer.
  • Hand mixer – You can also use a stand mixer or a simple whisk. Just make sure to not overman the batter.

Storage

Let the cheesecake cool completely, then wrap it with cling film and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

You can safely freeze a baked cheesecake. Cut it into individual slices, place them on a tray and freeze for 30 minutes, then transfer them into individual ziplock bags.

You can safely store cheesecake slices in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Italian ricotta cheesecake topped with fresh berries and confectioner's sugar.

Baking tips

The recipe is pretty straight-forward but these useful baking tips will ensure the best results:

  • Drain the ricotta cheese over a fine-mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth. Leave it to drain for a few hours before using it. This will result in a thick and creamy cheese texture. Watery ricotta will affect the cake texture.
  • Not necessary, but if you want a lighter texture you can add the eggs in two steps. Add the yolks following the recipe, then whip the eggs whites until soft peaks form and fold them into the batter.
  • Although not necessary, you can bake the cheesecake in a water bath (bain-maire).
  • The cheesecake should be taken out of the oven when the edges are set but the center is still jiggly, the middle should wiggle like Jell-O.
  • You can check whether the cheesecake is ready, with an instant-read thermometer. When the cheesecake inside reaches 65°C/150°F, it’s ready.
  • Let the cheesecake cool completely before removing the cake from the pan.
  • Cover the cake and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day!

HOW TO MAKE A WATER BATH FOR CHEESECAKE

Double wrap the bottom and sides of the cake pan with two pieces of foil.

Place pan inside a roasting pan, then pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to cover halfway up the sides of the cake pan. 

Bake the cheesecake for about 60 minutes at 170°C/340°F.

Note: Baking the cheesecake in a water bath will help you to avoid cracks over the surface.

I often just bake this cake without bain-marie and have the same result, but it highly depends on the oven you have.

To be on the safe side, I suggest going for the water bath method.

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram tag @thepetitecook!

Looking at your pictures always makes me smile *and super hungry*!

This magic Italian ricotta cheesecake is similar to the classic cheesecake, it’s light and soft and calls for just 3 ingredients.

Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time50 mins

Total Time55 mins

Course: Dessert

Cuisine: American-Italian

Serving: 12

Calories: 152kcal

Ingredients

  • 600 g fresh ricotta cheese well drained
  • 150 g confectioner’s sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbsp fresh orange zest (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C with the fan option off. Arrange the baking tray onto the middle shelf of the oven. Line with parchment paper a 7-inch springform cake pan.

  • Using a hand mixer, beat the drained ricotta cheese on medium-low speed until smooth and lump-free, 1-2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until fully combined and you reach a creamy lump-free batter. Do not overmix.

  • Pour the batter over the prepared cake pan. Bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes. The cheesecake should be taken out of the oven when the edges are set but the center is still jiggly You can check whether the cheesecake is ready, with an instant-read thermometer. When the cheesecake inside reaches 65°C/150°F, it’s ready.

  • Let the cheesecake cool completely before removing the cake from the pan. Cover the cake with cling film and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. It tastes even better the next day!

Notes

Baking tips:

  • Drain the ricotta cheese over fine-mesh sieve lined with a cheesecloth. Leave it to drain for a few hours before using it. This will result in a thick and creamy cheese texture. Watery ricotta will effect the cake texture.
  • If using a fan-forced oven, as a general rule, drop the temperature by 20°C to imitate conventional.
  • Although not necessary, you can bake the cheesecake in a water bath (bain-maire).

Troubleshooting:
If the cheesecake surface cracks, it may be because you overmixed the batter, you opened the oven door during the baking time, or you overbaked the cheesecake.
It could also be that the oven temperature was too high, when in doubt, use the bain-marie method.

Nutrition

Calories: 152kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 58mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 284IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 111mg | Iron: 1mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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