Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Breakfast and BrunchPancakesRicotta

Ricotta cheese adds a creamy richness to these pancakes without making them dense, and lemon brightens the batter. Whip the egg whites separately for an extra-fluffy stack! Perfect for a special weekend brunch, Mother's Day, or Father's Day.

Photography Credit: Sally Vargas

Lemon and ricotta are a match made in heaven. You will find the pairing in many Italian desserts like cheesecakes, tarts, and torta di mandorle (lemon, ricotta, and almond cake), but with pancakes, you don’t have to wait until after dinner to enjoy this winning combination.

Unless, of course, you are “a pancakes-for-supper” kind of gal like me. There’s nothing like pancakes to help make the stresses of just living in this world feel a little bit lighter.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

Ricotta adds richness without making the pancakes heavy or dense, and lemon adds a perky flavor that dances in your mouth when you take the first bite.

While the step of separating the eggs and beating the whites by themselves does take a little extra time, this is about quality of life, people! The beaten egg whites lend an extra lightness to these delicately flavored pancakes. Make them for a special occasion, and enjoy the process.

Because of the beaten egg whites, the batter of these pancakes is both thick and light. Once you drop a ladleful onto the hot pan, spread it out with the back of the spoon to make a smooth circle of batter that is about five inches wide. Serve them with the usual suspects (a.k.a butter and real maple syrup) and a spoonful of fresh berries.

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

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  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings, about 12 pancakes

If you have any leftover pancakes (highly unlikely, but just in case), the pancakes can be frozen. Spread them on a baking sheet between layers of parchment paper and freeze until firm. Then stack them between parchment squares and place in a heavy plastic freezer bag. The pancakes will keep well for about 1 week.

Ingredients

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 pinch for beating the egg whites
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
  • Butter or vegetable oil, for the griddle
  • Fresh berries, to serve
  • Maple syrup, to serve

Method

1 Separate the eggs: Carefully separate the eggs, placing the yolks and the eggs in separate bowls.

2 Beat the egg whites: In a squeaky clean mixer bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt at high speed until very frothy. With the mixer still on high, slowly add 1 tablespoon of sugar. Continue beating until stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

3 Mix the dry ingredients: In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt until blended. Set aside.

4 Make the ricotta mixture: In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar together. Add the ricotta, lemon zest, and lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Stir in the milk until blended.

Ricotta Pancakes Lemon

5 Make the batter: Add the flour mixture to the egg yolk mixture and stir with a spatula just until combined. Fold in one-third of the beaten egg whites to lighten the batter. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold until only a few streaks of white remain.

Recipe for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes mix in the flourLemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe lighten the batter with egg whites

6 Cook the pancakes: Set a griddle, cast iron pan, or non-stick skillet over medium-low heat and brush with oil. When the pan is hot enough that a flick of water sizzles on contact, use a 1/2-cup measure to scoop the batter and drop onto the pan. With the back of a spoon, spread the batter of each pancake into a 4- to 5-inch round.

Keep the temperature of the pan at medium to medium-low. Cook each pancake for 2 to 3 minutes, or until bubbles form on top. Flip and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer, until the pancakes are cooked through.

Serve each batch immediately or transfer the pancakes to a sheet pan in a warm oven to keep warm until ready to serve.

Lemon Pancakes Ricotta make the pancakes

7  Serve: Serve warm with butter, maple syrup and fresh berries.

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Sally Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas is a freelance writer and the author of three cookbooks (Food for Friends, The Tao of Cooking, Ten Speed Press, and The Cranberry Cookbook). She currently writes the column The Confident Cook for The Boston Globe along with seasonal recipes for the Wednesday Food Section.

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6 Comments / Reviews

No ImageLemon Ricotta Pancakes

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Crab Dynasty

    I make a similar pancake recipe but with cottage cheese which is higher in protein. So good!

  2. Alida @My Little Italian Kitchen

    Today I made pancakes for the children, they simply love them as a snack when they come back from school. Next time I want to try your recipe with ricotta, it looks fab! Thank you!

  3. Skiely

    My husband wanted “Brinner” and I had ricotta in the fridge and lemons on a tree. Perfect with some compote made with frozen berries!

  4. Marta Rivera

    These have to be THE fluffiest pancakes I’ve ever made or tasted. They are delicious!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  5. Doris

    This looks so YUM!

  6. Marcella

    Sounds like a delightful way to start a day.

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes RecipeLemon Ricotta Pancakes