Italian (Ricotta) Cheesecake

"This is the recipe I have used for years to make "Italian" cheese cake. It is a wonderful, basic cheese cake which easily lends itself to "variations"."
photo by Dee514 photo by Dee514
photo by Dee514
photo by leslie l. photo by leslie l.
photo by StitchedPigeon photo by StitchedPigeon
photo by StitchedPigeon photo by StitchedPigeon
photo by StitchedPigeon photo by StitchedPigeon
Ready In:
1hr 40mins
1 12inch cheese cake




  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Butter bottom and sides of a 12-inch springform pan.
  • Sprinkle bottom and sides of well buttered pan with Graham cracker crumbs.
  • In a large bowl, beat drained ricotta until very smooth.
  • Gradually add 1 1/2 cups sugar and egg yolks, beating after each addition.
  • Beat in flour, lemon rind, and vanilla.
  • In a small bowl, beat cream until cream holds its shape, but is not too stiff.
  • In a smaller bowl, beat egg whites with remaining sugar until stiff; combine with whipped cream and fold into ricotta mixture.
  • Pour mixture into prepared pan.
  • Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Lower oven temperature to 350°F and bake 1 hour.
  • Turn off heat and allow cake to cool in oven with door closed (about 3-4 hours).
  • Remove cooled cake from oven, carefully remove sides of pan, store cake (well wrapped) in refrigerator.
  • Before serving, lightly sprinkle top of cake with Confectioner's (powdered, 10X) sugar.
  • Cake may be served chilled or at room temperature.
  • Note: Center of cheese cake will be lower than the sides when it is cooled.
  • This is not a defect!
  • It is supposed to be this way (makes it easier to hold the topping if you choose to use one).
  • VARIATIONS: Add raisins, chopped citron or chopped maraschino cherries to the batter.
  • Top cheese cake with crushed sugared strawberries or cherries before serving.
  • Cover bottom of crumbed pan with drained, sweetened crushed pineapple, applesauce or sliced apples before adding batter to pan.
  • Pie crust pastry may be used instead of Graham crumbs to line pan.

Questions & Replies

  1. Just a question - where'd you get this recipe? It is almost word-for-word the recipe my grandma wrote down many years ago. The difference is that she uses quite a lot more heavy cream - 1 full pint rather than a 1/2 cup and calls specifically for powdered sugar. Also no lemon zest. Besides those, the ingredients and procedure are exactly the same!
  2. Is4 hours in the oven evough time fo cheese cake ro cool?
  3. How would I make this using no crust? Thanks
  4. I love this cheesecake but I’d like to try a gluten free flour. Can I use almond flour or just a gluten free flour and do the flour measurements change at all? Thanks!
  5. Any idea how I would alter this to fit a 10" spring form?


  1. Thank you for this recipe. My sister used to make this years ago, but stopped now. This year my family is not going up to New York for Easter, so I needed this recipe, and she told me to use an Amercican cream cheese recipe and to sustiute ricotta. Luckely, we found your recipe. Thank you again, and we wish you a Buona Santa Pasqua. Joe Pedicini and Family.
  2. This is the best Italian Cheesecake recipe there is! Most ricotta cheesecakes are grainy and gritty in texture, but this one is light, creamy and fluffy. I am sure it is because of the special egg treatment: separating the eggs, whipping the eggwhites till stiff, and adding the yolks to the cheese, along with LOTS of electric mixing, give the texture a beautifully creamy consistency. Most other recipes just stir in whole eggs into the cheese, and don't use as many, so you end up with a heavy, grainy texture.<br/><br/>The lemon zest is bright and lovely. I want to try it with orange zest sometime as well. If only my Sicilian dad were alive to taste this, I know it would have made him so very happy!!!! I make this for my father-in-law everytime he is in town because it is his favorite. Thank you for a fantastic recipe!!!
  3. The cake turned out lovely and delicious (though I might have let it get a little too brown on top). The flavor was great! The texture was a little grainier than a cream cheese cheesecake, but according to what I've read, that's how ricotta cheesecakes are supposed to be. This recipe's definitely a keeper!
  4. Wish I could give this more stars!!! ************* I have been making this recipe for 20 years. Its THE BEST ever. I also got the original recipe from my mom's Polly-O cookbook. This was on our Christmas table every year. My family alwasy wanted citron in ours so thats how I still make it.
  5. I've made this twice now. Forgot to save it the first time and was stuck searching the internet far and wide for this recipe. This is the only one that uses JUST ricotta and not cream cheese and mascarpone! It is SO delicious, all the other desserts don't stand a chance to this cheesecake. If made the right way, it's sure to please. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!! It's my new go-to.


I'm married (53 years to the same lucky guy) and have 2 kids, a daughter 47, a son 43, and 2 beautiful grand daughters (11 yrs and 14 yrs). I have always enjoyed cooking and baking, especially breads :)
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