Ricotta Cheesecake is a beautifully baked Italian dessert that’s made with delicious ingredients like ricotta cheese, mascarpone, and hints of orange and amaretto all presented on top of a buttery biscotti crust. This homemade cheesecake is wonderfully moist, and super soft and fluffy!
This is one of the most impressive cheesecakes to serve at the end of a fun dinner party with friends! It’s sweet, but balanced with notes of orange from fresh zest and just a hint of nutty amaretto. While it’s a slightly more sophisticated dessert than most other cheesecakes, it’s still very kid-friendly. This is a cheesecake that’s beloved by all, and it’s not hard to see why.
Homemade cheesecakes of all varieties may seem too cumbersome for novice home chefs, but this ricotta cheesecake is well worth the effort. Besides, I’ve provided clear, concise baking instructions that are so easy to follow! The list of ingredients is also fairly short and sweet, so you won’t be surprised by any crazy ingredients that you can’t grab at your local grocery store.
What makes this cheesecake so outright amazing isn’t just the complexity of flavor, but also the dreamy consistency. You will never find a cheesecake this lusciously moist, yet fluffy in a grocery store. My family compares this cheesecake to a soft and fluffy cannoli filling.
This is a centerpiece of a dessert you’ll be proud to serve any holiday!
How to Make Ricotta Cheesecake
Ingredients You Need:
For the crust:
- Biscotti – You can use almond or original.
- Butter – unsalted is best to control the amount of salt. It’s easier to add a pinch when needed.
- Vanilla extract – always try to use 100% pure vanilla extract, not imitation.
For the filling:
- Ricotta Cheese – Make sure to use full fat ricotta and drain off excess liquids.
- Mascarpone Cheese – This velvety cheese does wonders for both the sweet flavor and silky consistency of the cheesecake.
- Sugar – Plain white granulated sugar is the best choice.
- Flour – all-purpose flour works best.
- Vanilla extract
- Orange – You’ll just need the fresh zest.
Drain Ricotta – it is important to drain ricotta first!! This can be done from the day before! Read below on how to do it.
Cold ingredients – Make sure to take all of the cold ingredients out of the refrigerator 30-45 minutes prior to cooking.
Before starting to cook, make sure your ricotta has been drained of excess liquids and your cold ingredients are warmed to about room temperature.
Before you can start baking, you’ll want to preheat your oven to 325°F and grease a 9 inch springform pan.
Make the crust.
Pulse the biscotti in a food processor or blender until it’s reduced to crumbs.
Combine the crumbs with the melted butter and vanilla extract. Spread the biscotti mixture in the bottom of the prepared springform pan.
Make the cheesecake filling.
Beat the mascarpone and gradually pour in the sugar until it’s light and fluffy.
Add in the ricotta, orange zest, vanilla, and Amaretto. Beat until smooth.
Lower the speed and add the flour. Raise the speed back up and add eggs, one at a time, beating a few seconds after each one.
Once the batter is smooth, transfer it to the prepared springform pan and spread it evenly.
Bake the cheesecake.
Bake the cheesecake in a water bath, in the preheated oven, for 85 minutes. Then, turn off the oven and open the door half way.
Let the cheesecake rest for approximately 10-30 minutes in the oven with the door halfway open.
Let it rest and chill.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Remove the foil wrap from the pan and allow the cheesecake to sit at room temperature for an hour.
Cover the pan airtight. Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6 hours.
Before serving, run a greased butter knife along the edge of the cheesecake to separate it from the pan. After that, serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is ricotta cheese?
Ricotta cheese is a famously fluffy Italian cheese that’s used in a number of both sweet and savory recipes like Ricotta Pancakes and Classic Stuffed Shells. While ricotta cheese can be made from sheep or goat milk, it’s most popularly made here in the states from cow milk.
It’s spreadable, smooth, and perfect for mixing into cheesecake filling. In Italian, ricotta translates into recooked and it’s made out of the “whey” that’s left behind after separating the cheese into curds and whey. Most cheeses we know (think Cheddar) are made out of the curd, while the ricotta is actually made out of the tiny pieces left behind in the whey part.
How to Drain Ricotta:
Place a doubled over cheese cloth into a strainer and place the strainer over a bowl to catch the drippings. Add the ricotta cheese to the cheese cloth, then let it drain for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. (You can also do it overnight.)
Storing Instructions for Ricotta Cheesecake:
You can store the cheesecake in the same springform that you baked it in. Make sure to cover it air-tight and keep refrigerated. Properly stored, it should be good for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze Ricotta Cheesecake?
Yes you can! Bake the cheesecake and cool it down to room temperature according to the recipe. Take the side of the springform off. You can freeze it right with the bottom part of the springform or transfer it onto a cardboard bottom (which might actually be hard to do so I recommend to just freeze it with the bottom of the springform baking pan.)
Place the cheesecake onto the cutting board and place it into the freezer. Freeze it open-air for 2-3 hours (set yourself a timer!!) Once frozen, wrap the cheesecake in a layer of plastic wrap and then in one or two layers of aluminum foil. Place into a plastic bag if you want more protection, label, and back in the freezer.
In the freezer, ricotta cheesecake will last for up to 2 months. When ready, take the cheesecake out of the freezer, take the plastic bag off and 1 layer of aluminum foil. Thaw it slowly in the refrigerator overnight or for up to 24 hours.
- 10 to 12 oz almond or original Biscotti crushed
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 32 oz whole milk ricotta cheese drained
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese
- 1 cup white granulated sugar
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp Amaretto
- 1 orange – zest only
- powdered sugar
- whipped cream
- Place a doubled over cheese cloth into a strainer and place the strainer over a bowl to catch the drippings. Add the ricotta cheese to the cheese cloth, and bring the edges of the cloth together to cover the cheese. Let it drain for a couple of hours in the refrigerator. (You can also do it overnight.) Give it a gentle squeeze before adding to the batter if ricotta still seems to have too much liquid.
- Preheat the oven to 325° and grease a 9 inch springform pan.You will need a large roasting pan that’s bigger and longer than the springform pan. (You can even use the aluminum foil disposable ones).If you are not sure about your springform holding up in water, you can wrap the outside of the springform pan in heavy duty aluminum foil from bottom up to the sides. Try to use a wide kind of foil so you would only need to use 1 solid sheet. (I recommend wrapping the outside of the springform in foil before adding the crust and cheesecake batter.)Although, there is a chance that a small amount of water will leak in, this will NOT ruin the cheesecake.
- Pulse biscotti in a food processor until it turns to crumbs.
- Combine the biscotti crumbs with melted butter and vanilla extract until thoroughly combined.
- Spray inside of the springform pan with some cooking spray, making sure you get the sides too.
- Spread biscotti mixture in the bottom of the prepared springform, evenly pressing it over the bottom and about half way up the sides.
Ricotta Cheesecake Filling:
- In a bowl of an electric mixer, start beating mascarpone over high speed and gradually pour in the sugar. Beat a few more seconds until light and fluffy,.
- Add in ricotta cheese, orange zest, vanilla extract, and Amaretto and beat until combined and smooth. Stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the pan.
- On low speed, add flour and then bring the speed back up to medium-high. Beat in one egg at at time, letting each one incorporate before adding another. Make sure all ingredients are well incorporated and batter is nice and smooth.
- Transfer the batter into the prepared springform and spread in evenly.
Baking the Cheesecake:
- Preheat oven to 325°.Place a large roasting pan into the oven and place cheesecake springform inside the roasting pan. Carefully add hot water to the roasting pan, about half way up the side of the springform.
- Bake for 85 minutes. Turn off the oven and open the oven door half way. Let cheesecake rest for 10-30 minutes in the oven. (You can gently touch the center of the cheesecake to make sure it's sprigs back up and not too squishy. If it ripples out, then the center is not cooked through.)
- Take it out of the oven. Take the foil wrap off the pan and cool for an hour on the counter.
- Cover the pan with air-tight wrap and refrigerate for about 6 hours or overnight before serving.
- Before taking it out of the springform, make sure to rub a greased butter knife along the edge of the cheesecake to separate it from the pan.
- You can decorate the cheesecake with fresh berries and powdered sugar.