Sweet Ricotta Pie is a creamy and irresistible traditional Italian dessert that's perfect for Easter or any time you crave a sweet treat with a delicious hint of orange and chocolate.
Some of my family's Easter traditions are coloring eggs, going to church on Easter morning, and often taking in the NYC Easter parade. I love to spend the day celebrating with my family, but another tradition is making this sweet ricotta pie. It is such a nice simple dessert that really can be served any time of the year. I like to add it to my Thanksgiving and Christmas dessert table too.
What is Italian Ricotta Pie?
Italian ricotta pie is a dessert pie made from sweetened ricotta cheese with a simple crust. It is much lighter than cheesecake. There are both savory and sweet varieties of ricotta pie, but this one is a dessert pie and goes perfectly with a cup of coffee.
My nana made a really simple version, and I continue her tradition. This pie is not super sweet, and I like to add mini chocolate chips to mine and a simple topping of fresh fruit.
What Ingredients are Needed to Make this Ricotta Pie Recipe?
- Pie Crust - For simplicity, I used packaged pie crust, but you can make your own if you are a crust connoisseur. Or try this flaky pie crust recipe via Sally's Baking addiction.
- Eggs - For best results, allow the eggs to come to room temperature before making this pie.
- Ricotta Cheese - This grainy cow's milk cheese is available in most grocery stores. Whole milk ricotta will produce a creamier pie.
- Sugar - A touch of granulated white sugar gives this ricotta pie recipe a sweet flavor.
- Vanilla - Use pure vanilla, not imitation vanilla or vanilla flavoring.
- Orange Zest - I love the orange flavor in this pie, but I think my husband and daughter would prefer it without the orange zest. So add it to your taste preference. You could also change the flavor profile a bit and use lemon zest instead.
- Cinnamon - This spice adds a hint of warmth.
- Mini Chocolate Chips - Maybe not traditional, but I love a touch of chocolate chips in this Easter ricotta pie. Sometimes I add them and sometimes I don't. You could try a swirl of Nutella or, if you prefer, leave out the chocolate altogether.
Tips for How to Make Ricotta Cheese Pie
After many years of making this pie, I can almost make it with my eyes closed. Over the years, I've discovered a few tricks that help it to come out perfectly every time.
- Room Temperature Ingredients - Allow the eggs and the ricotta cheese to come to room temperature for at least 30-40 minutes before mixing and baking. Room temperature eggs will combine much easier and will bake more evenly.
- Drain the Ricotta - Have you ever opened a container of ricotta to see a puddle of liquid on top? Excessive moisture in ricotta can make this pie heavy, so you may want to drain out the liquid. Pour the ricotta into cheesecloth and tie it tightly. Allow it to drain over a bowl overnight in the fridge.
- Serve at Room Temperature - Although leftovers should be refrigerated, this Easter ricotta pie tastes best served at room temperature. Set it out when you sit down to eat and it will be perfect when you are ready for dessert.
More Sweet Ricotta Desserts
- Strawberry Puff Pastry Tart with Ricotta and Chocolate
- Apple Galette with Ricotta and Almonds
- Grilled Apricots with Cinnamon, Ricotta and Honey
- Cannoli Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries
- Chocolate Hazelnut Ricotta Pillows
- Easy Ricotta Cookies from Recipe Pocket
This ricotta dessert reminds me somewhat of a cannoli, but it is much more dense than creamy. It was perfect to have a small slice after eating a big dinner. Because we always must have dessert!
Do you have any Easter traditions?
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Sweet Ricotta Pie
- one 9 inch refrigerated unbaked pie crust at room temperature
- 3 large eggs beaten
- 16 ounces ricotta cheese
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- the zest from one orange
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon divided use
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place pie crust in a nine inch pie plate.
- Beat together eggs, ricotta cheese, sugar, vanilla, orange zest and ½ teaspoon cinnamon until creamy. Mix in chocolate chips if desired.
- Sprinkle the top with the remaining ½ teaspoon of cinnamon.
- Bake pie for 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
First Published March 2013; Updated February 2021