This authentic Italian Ricotta Pie recipe yields a light (but rich), sweet, and velvety smooth pie filling inside a crispy homemade pie crust. Ricotta Pie is traditionally savored in Italy and around the world on Easter and other special holidays. I highly recommend making it for your holiday table!
A Beloved Family Tradition in the Form of a Pie
I love recipes that are handed down from generation to generation. This authentic Italian Ricotta Pie is one such recipe. While I don’t have a drop of Italian blood running through my veins (that I know of anyway!) my sister married into an Italian family chock full of excellent cooks and bakers. That has come to mean wonderful things in the kitchen for all of us through the years. One Italian dessert we’ve all come to love is this Italian Ricotta Pie.
Even if you didn’t grow up with ricotta pie, you’ll adore this easy recipe. Traditional ricotta pie often includes chocolate chips or lemon zest, but this old family recipe uses neither. Instead, I garnished it with fresh lemon slices, whipped cream and lemon zest.
Make this authentic Italian Ricotta Pie for an easy and delicious traditional Italian dessert on holidays or any day of the week. Your friends and family will thank you!
Ricotta pie is not to be confused with traditional cheesecake. The texture of ricotta pie is lighter and more “eggy” than cheesecake, similar to a thick custard. The delicate flavor of ricotta pie with a hint of cinnamon reminds me of rice pudding, though rice is not an ingredient in this Italian Ricotta Pie recipe.
This authentic Italian ricotta pie recipe is twofold — the ricotta filling and the crispy, sweet pie crust. Let’s start with arguably the best part … the filling!
- 2 pounds Italian ricotta cheese (Please use high-quality ricotta! It’s the star ingredient for this dish.)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups granulate sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk (I recommend whole milk, but you can use whatever you have on-hand; dairy-based or plant-based will work.)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Now, full disclosure: you can buy a store-bought pie crust. *Gasp!* I know, but you really can. I get that it’s often easier, especially if you’re making this as a component to a big (and stressful) holiday meal. But if you would like to make the pie crust from scratch, here’s what you’ll need:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter (chilled)
- 2 eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Whipped cream and lemon zest (for an optional garnish)
How To Make This Italian Pie
- First, prepare the ricotta filling by whisking together the ricotta and eggs until smooth and virtually lump free. Next, add the vanilla extract, heavy cream, milk, and cinnamon. Stir to incorporate, and then set aside to allow the flavors to marinate.
- After you have prepared the ricotta pie filling, it’s time to make the homemade pie crust. To make your own easy sweet, flakey pastry, start by cutting the cold butter into dry ingredients until it resembles coarse crumbs. Then, stir in the lightly beaten eggs and vanilla. Separate dough in half and form into two balls. Wrap in plastic and chill. Refrigerate for a minimum of thirty minutes to overnight before rolling out.
- Roll on the thinner side, and fit into two prepared 9″ pie pans. The pie dough tends to be crumbly, so leave it rustic ,and don’t flute the edges.
- Then, fill the unbaked pie shells with the simple ricotta pie filling, and bake for 30 minutes with foil. Then, bake for an additional 30-45 minutes without foil, until the crust is golden and a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the pie to cool completely on a wire rack, and then refrigerate before serving. Garnish with whipped cream, fresh mint, and lemon zest, if desired, for serving. And, most of all, enjoy!
Storage, Freezing, and Reheating Instructions
- Store this homemade Italian ricotta cheesecake covered in your fridge for up to 4 days. Press plastic wrap onto the exposed parts of the pie that have been sliced to prevent a skin or rind from forming from being in contact with the air.
- Freeze this ricotta pie whole or by the slice for up to 3 months wrapped securely in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container or plastic bag.
- Reheat this pie simply by letting it thaw in the fridge and serve chilled.
- If you want a more pronounced lemon flavor, you could add lemon zest to the ricotta filling and/or the pie crust. You could also add lemon extract to the homemade whipped cream for serving, along with a lemon slice or wedge.
- You could also serve this Italian ricotta cheesecake with a chocolate ganache instead of the lemon zest. Dark chocolate works especially well with the super sweet filling and pie crust.
- Instead of whipped cream, serve this Italian ricotta pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lemon sorbet.
- Or, keep things simple by preparing an easy lemon glaze with powdered sugar and lemon juice to drizzle atop each slice before serving.
- Garnish with my favorite coffee whipped cream and omit the lemon zest and mint.
- Serve with beverages like my Godiva chocolate martini, maple pumpkin spice tea latte, or honey chai cardamom latte.
More Dessert Recipes To Try
- Bakery Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins
- Blueberry Pound Cake
- Carrot Cake Cupcakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
- Chewy Oatmeal Cookies
- Old-Fashioned Strawberry Shortcake
- Candied Lemon Cheesecake
Authentic Italian Ricotta Pie
- 2 pounds good Italian ricotta cheese
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Sweet Pie Crust (or you can easily use a pre-made crust!)
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons butter chilled
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: whipped cream and lemon zest for garnish.
- Preheat oven to 325°.
- Stir together ricotta and 6 eggs until smooth.
- Stir in sugar, vanilla, heavy cream, milk and cinnamon.
- Set aside filling.
- In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar.
- Cut in butter with pastry blender until chunks resemble coarse crumbs.
- Mix in lightly beaten eggs and vanilla extract just until incorporated.
- Divide dough in half, wrap tightly in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out dough to fit into 2 greased pie plates.
- (Not too thick though, because this dough will expand due to the baking powder and eggs.)
- The dough is crumbly so I don't suggest fluting the edges.
- Pour the ricotta filling evenly into both pie pans.
- Shield edges of crust all the way around with foil and place pies in the oven.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove foil and rotate pies if needed so they cook evenly.
- Bake an additional 30 - 45 minutes, until crust is golden and a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely, then refrigerate before serving.
- Optional: garnish with whipped cream and lemon zest if desired.
Michelle | A Dish of Daily Life says
I have never had ricotta pie. My mother in law is Italian…I’ll have to ask my husband if he had it growing up. Anyway, your pie looks delicious!
Jordan Anderson says
I love simple, sophisticated desserts like this. They’re almost always a crowd pleaser.
This pie sounds similar to the filling in a cannoli. My boys love cannolis. I think this is what I will make for dessert for Easter! I’ll try it with chocolate chips in one and the other one like you made. If I didn’t want to make the crust (to make this go a bit faster) would I buy a plain pie crust like the pillsbury pie crust or a dessert type of crust? I can see ricotta pie on the Easter menu for years to come! Thank you Allie!
Ooooo….cannolis!!! Now that sounds delicious Tracy. Ummm…my sister makes her pie with an organic crust from Whole Foods. (Did the new WF open yet?) Anyway, she doesn’t make it in a dessert type crust and it really does taste great that way too. So I’ve had it both ways and either works fine. Happy Easter my friend!
I had this pie for the first time ever this easter..my neighbor made it and it’s my absolute new favorite! Im a cheesecake freak but this outweighs it by far! Im going to try my hand at making it myself tomorrow I cant wait!!
So glad to hear you tried this over Easter – I’m a big cheesecake fan too, but love the simplicity of this ricotta pie. Hope yours comes out great! Thanks so much for dropping by!
Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary says
I have never had an Italian Ricotta Pie… even though my husband is part Italian! Clearly he has been holding out on me! 😉 This looks seriously delicious, Allie! Loving how thick and custard like the filling is! This looks dangerously delicious, my dear! Cheers and warm wishes for a fabulous Easter!! xoxo
Jennifer @ Show Me the Yummy says
Oh. My. Gosh. This looks ridiculously creamy and delicious! I need this ASAP.
Sherri @ Watch Learn Eat says
Do you take orders for shipping? LOL 🙂 Love the look of this ricotta pie Allie! I can almost taste it through the screen! YUM! Happy Easter!
Florian @ContentednessCooking says
This looks amazing! Fantastic recipe.
April J Harris says
I love old family recipes – no matter whose family they come from 🙂 Your Italian Ricotta Pie looks delicious – really light and flavourful!
Aunt Pinkie says
Looks great! Will.have I try it ‘one of these days’ 🙂
Shashi @ RunninSrilankan says
Oh Allie – I don’t even know where to start! That custard-like filling with ricotta and eggs and cream and a pinch of cinnamon – oh me oh my! I think they must serve this in heaven! Last Christmas I used Bob’s red mill pie mix to make a jolly good gluten free pie – think I might have to pick me up another packet and give this recipe a go – though I cannot trust myself to not eat the whole thing if it was just my daughter and I at home – we need company – wanna drive down? 🙂
Happy Thursday my friend. Tomorrow is Friday! YAYYY!!
Sarah @ The Chef Next Door says
I’ve got one word for you…YUM! This pie looks so delicious and creamy. I’ve never had ricotta pie, but I love anything and everything Italian. I can’t wait to try this recipe!
J’adore la ricotta et le citron, donc cette tarte est faite pour moi ! Je te souhaite une très belle weekend des Pâques Allie ! Je pars à la campagne ce weekend chez mes beau parents pour feter Pâques avec toute la famille! Bisous xoxo
Patty Haxton Anderson says
I have never had this pie ever but it sounds so so delicious! Love the photos and I love that rustic look too.
Anu - My Ginger Garlic Kitchen says
Thank you so much for this authentic Italian pie recipe my dear Allie. This is perfectly suited for this time of year! Goodness – I love the explosion of colors and textures here. Have a lovely weekend, my friend! <3
Hello chère amie,
je vais définitivement essayer cette recette. J’adore le citron dans les desserts! Merci encore pour la recette et Joyeuse Pâques à toute ta famille. Bisous 🙂
Platter Talk says
Breathtaking and gorgeous piece of work you’ve created here, Allie! Thanks for sharing this ricotta pie, I would love a piece (or two) right now!
Kathy @ Beyond the Chicken Coop says
This looks so delicious…especially with lemon! Lemon makes everything taste so fresh and delicious! Happy Easter to you! 🙂
Karen Espalin says
Mmmm. Looks yummy!
I think I’ll make ricotta with all of the extra goat milk I have and give this a try.
Dear Allie, your Ricotta pie is beautiful! This is one of my favorites…it has a deliciously creamy and light texture which I love and the warm cinnamon ties it altogether. I wish I had a slice of this right now….it’s just marvelous.
I hope you and yours had a beautiful and blessed Easter! Hugs to you dear. xo, Catherine
Looks wonderful, I love ricotta cheese. Nettie
Del's cooking twist says
I love ricotta. This pie is simply stunning!!
Laila asmar says
Found this recipe today and just made it. It’s sooooo easy and delicious! My husband and kids loved it…as did I! I’ll add the lemon zest next time for some extra flavor. But it was a hit!
Hi Laila, so glad to hear from and that the ricotta pie was a hit at your house. It’s one of my favorites too. Thanks so much for dropping by!
Hi! Could I make this ahead and freeze it for traveling or do you think it will sweat?
Hi Melanie – I’ve not frozen this pie yet, but I freeze so many things I make and have so few problems. My freezer is like my best friend!:) It may sweat, but I would just gently lay a paper towel or two on top to absorb the excess moisture before serving. If you decide to do it, would love to here how it goes. If I freeze one ov these pies first, I’ll come back here and comment to let you know how it went. Thanks for dropping by and happy baking!
Thank you for the quick reply! I’m traveling tomorrow and will see my dad on the way. His birthday is Saturday and Ricotta Pie is his all-time favorite. He’s Italian and it reminds him of his childhood! It takes 3 hours to get there, so I’m going to try it and I’ll let you know on Saturday. If it’s not good, let’s hope the thought counts, right? 😊
Theresa Shea says
This is a great pie my parents made it my grand parents made it…try adding some cooked rice to it its amazing!!!..during holidays we add the rice and eat this for not just dessert but breakfast!! be sure to keep it nice and cold.
Hi Theresa – I have had this for breakfast too – AMAZING!!! Will have to try it with the rice. Thanks so much for dropping by and Happy New Year!
Theresa Shea says
Allie as I said my grand mother made it she was making it the way her mom did….so how old was their recipe….and grand ma gave it to my mom and I make it and it was always with whole milk and rice and the rest as you have it here…and yes we ate it for breakfast…I think…that many many years ago the rice was added as it was originally in Italy and that they did not have much to eat and the protein of the cheese helped and the rice was to fill them up as they did not get many meals…so fast forward to now..I am 64 and I have always made it not like grand ma but like a dessert which is what I believe yours is…so, I was looking to make sure as I had altered grand mas recipe I wanted to see if I was closer to a dessert and I found yours. So, I made this last nite…I did it your way but…I beat half the egg whites till stiff with half cut of sugar then I add in the heavy cream and whip..in another bowl I did the Ricotta and all other ingredients you have but I leave out a few egg yokes so after it bakes its a little lighter so to speak….I added a little more vanilla and a little less cinnamon…I would use more cinnamon if I add the rice as my grand mom and mom did…but for this I use less and …I have fresh fruit or sometimes I use the can blue berry or cherry on the side…but for today…..I made these last nite and I double the batch and made 6 pies and everyone on my street got a pie today…and I just had some!!! It was delish!!!…..Happy New Year and thanks again I like that you thought like me and thats how I found you I wanted to make this a dessert more than the dessert and breakfast and heavy pie my relatives made….and this was good as I said I just had a sliver of a piece lol the rest is for the new year thanks again!
Wow!!! That is incredible Theresa. I loved hearing all your tips. Your neighbors are so lucky. What a great way to start the New Year!!! Hope it is a wonderful one for you and your family.
Theresa Shea says
Happy New Year!
How far in advance can I make this? I’m doing an afternoon tea for 40 people with Italian recipes, and I would love to have this as one of the recipes.
Hi Greer – what a fabulous tea! I’d be fine making this a couple days in advance and covering very well (so it doesn’t absorb other flavors in the fridge) and refrigerating. You might want to take the pie(s) out an hour or so ahead of serving. It will probably sweat a little – condensation on the surface. I would gently blot w/a paper towel on the surface to collect that moisture. Then it should be good to go. I hope everything goes great – what lucky guests. Enjoy and happy baking! xo
After almost 2 hrs the center of my pie still isn’t firm!
What do I do!!??
Uh oh Deb – just seeing this now. And I see you commented about 9 hours ago…. It does firm up a bit in the refrigerator once it cools. I hope you have found that to be the case!
Daniel Cerami says
Never liked ricotta pie growing up because it tasted dry and coarse. Coming from Italian families on both sides, I tried many of these pies and always dissatisfied The only reason I tried making this recipe is because I had leftover pot cheese that was about to expire. Boy am I glade I made this receipt. We loved it. I give it 5 stars plus.
Hey – I’m so glad Daniel. I’ll definitely tell my sister’s sister-in-law Louise, who kindly allowed me to share the recipe here. I haven’t made one in a while. Just thinking about it is making me hungry. Many thanks for dropping by.
Hi! This recipe calls for so much more liquid (milk and heavy cream) than my mother-in-law’s recipe. How would this compare? I don’t want to disappoint my husband. He loves his mom’s ricotta pie!
I just always feel like her pie is missing something!
lois bil says
can i make this into one big pie i love this pie and if so how would i bake it and can i use a 9 inch spring pan
Hi Lois, I’ve only made it as two separate pies, so would be hesitant to give instruction about using a springform pan or how long it should bake as one big pie. You’d have to do some experimenting to tweak it….