Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

5 from 6 votes
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These light and fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes are made with pantry-friendly ingredients and are bursting with flavor. Plus, ricotta cheese pancakes contain more protein than regular pancakes, and are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert!

Three ricotta panckes dusted with sugar topped with strawberries

Do you know what’s crazy? My blog doesn’t have a single “regular” pancake recipe. Sure, I’ve got an American pancake “cake”, spinach crepes, thick fluffy Japanese-style pancakes, and little Danish blueberry pancake balls (aebleskiver).

And, sure, this lemon ricotta pancakes recipe isn’t exactly “regular” either. But once you taste them, I wouldn’t be surprised if they become your go-to on weekend mornings (and every other day!)

These pancakes with ricotta cheese are almost impossibly tender and fluffy. They’re as light as air after puffing up on the griddle/pan. And yet, they are denser than regular pancakes, thanks to the addition of ricotta cheese. I know that might not make sense, but just taste them, and you’ll see what I mean!

For the best lemon ricotta pancakes recipe, I paired the ricotta cheese pancakes with lemon zest for a delicious tart but sweet flavor combination. Want to use lime or orange zest instead – sure. Add some berries, chocolate chips – of course. Keep reading for all my favorite add-ins, variations, and toppings!

Three freshly made ricotta pancakes on a pan

Why Use Ricotta In Pancakes?

If the idea of adding cheese to your morning pancakes isn’t sitting well, don’t panic. Ricotta has a very subtle flavor, and you won’t be able to taste it in the best lemon pancakes. Instead, what it does is add moisture and a little protein boost to the pancakes.

The resulting ricotta lemon pancakes not only have a super tender and melt-in-the-mouth texture. But they’re more nutritious than your regular American pancakes. Even better, the batter for this pancake comes together in minutes, and the entire recipe requires just four simple steps.

Want more pancake inspiration? You might enjoy these oatmeal spinach pancakes, Lebanese pancakes, mini pancakes, or gingerbread pancakes!

What Are Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Made of

These lemon ricotta pancakes aren’t too different from regular pancakes. They rely on same pantry strapless, plus ricotta, lemon, and a pinch of cinnamon. Delicious!

Ingredients for ricotta pancakes

The Dry Ingredients

  • Flour: I use white all-purpose flour, though whole wheat flour should also work. Alternatively, use an all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (like Bobs Red Mill or King Arthur’s) if necessary.
  • Leavening agents: These fluffy ricotta cheese pancakes rely on baking powder and baking soda to achieve the correct consistency.
  • Sugar: I use regular white sugar, but you could make these lemon ricotta pancakes refined sugar-free with coconut sugar or raw cane sugar. You could also use a sugar alternative like erythritol.
  • Salt: Just a pinch to enhance the flavors.

Alternatively, you can substitute all the above ingredients for one cup of pre-made/homemade pancake mix.

  • Cinnamon: (Optional) added to taste.

The Wet Ingredients

  • Ricotta: You can use whole or low-fat ricotta when making pancakes with ricotta cheese. I don’t recommend fat-free as it won’t be as “creamy”.
  • Butter: Use dairy or dairy-free lightly salted butter.
  • Milk: Use dairy or dairy-free milk OR buttermilk.
  • Eggs: I recommend using room-temperature eggs when making any pancakes.
  • Lemon: You’ll need the zest from one lemon. Lime or orange zest would also work.
  • Vanilla extract: Use natural vanilla extract to avoid artificial flavors.

How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Making this lemon ricotta pancake recipe couldn’t be much more straightforward and follows just four simple steps.

Add all the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk/mix to combine.

Then, sift in the flour, baking powder, and the other dry ingredients. Stir to combine, but be careful not to over-mix it. The batter should be slightly lumpy; this is normal.

Steps for preparing ricotta pancakes batter

Heat a large pan/skillet over medium-low heat and add butter. Once melted, make pancake “mounds” using a 1/4-1/3 cup of the pancake batter, leaving plenty of space between each pancake.

Allow the pancakes to cook for 3-4 minutes per side until fluffy, cooked through, and lightly browned on each side. Adjust the heat if you find they’re browning too quickly/not quickly enough.

Three scoops of pancake batter on a pan

Use a large skillet to cut down on how many batches you’ll need to do. If you have a griddle, even better!

What to Serve with Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

There are plenty of ways to serve these lemon ricotta pancakes:

  • Any leftover ricotta you might have, along with blueberry syrup.
  • A pat of butter, candied lemon, and syrup,
  • A drizzle of maple syrup or honey, or a squeeze of lemon juice.
  • Lemon curd,
  • A quick berry compote,
  • Whipped cream OR Vegan whipped coconut cream and berries,
  • Greek yogurt (or vegan yogurt) with berries,
  • A scoop of ice cream,
  • Powdered sugar.

To keep the lemon pancakes warm when feeding a crowd, place them on a baking sheet in the oven at its lowest temperature until you’re ready to serve.

Nine ricotta pancakes resting on a grill

How to Freeze Ricotta Pancakes

Allow the pancakes to cool, and then spread them across a large tray, not touching. Flash-freeze the pancakes until solid. Then transfer them to an airtight container or Ziplock bag with parchment paper/wax paper between the layers. Freeze them for up to 2 months.

Allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or even reheat from frozen.

How to Preheat Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

You can reheat the ricotta pancakes from frozen or chilled in a:

  • Microwave – 1-2 minutes from frozen. 30-40 seconds from chilled.
  • Toaster – defrost setting from frozen or same setting as toast for chilled.
  • Oven – wrap or cover with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC.

FAQs

When to flip the pancakes?

They’re ready to flip when you notice bubbles on the top of the pancakes, and the bottoms are golden brown.

Could I make whole-wheat ricotta pancakes?

I’d recommend using a 50/50 combination of whole wheat and white flour. Whole wheat alone will have a strong flavor and not be as fluffy. You could also experiment with white whole wheat flour, though I haven’t tried it.

Could I substitute the ricotta cheese?

This recipe should also work with cottage cheese, though I haven’t tried it, so I can’t guarantee results.

More Easy Breakfast Recipes

If you try this easy lemon ricotta pancakes recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

5 from 6 votes
By: Samira
These light and fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes are made with pantry-friendly ingredients and are bursting with flavor. Plus, ricotta cheese pancakes contain more protein than regular pancakes, and are perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 9 pancakes

Ingredients 
 

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup All-purpose flour use a gluten-free all-purpose flour if preferred or 50/50 whole wheat and white
  • 1/2 Tbsp sugar or a sugar alternative
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Or instead of the dry ingredients, use 1 cup homemade pancake mix.

    Wet Ingredients

    • 1 cup ricotta cheese full fat or low fat, but not fat-free
    • 1/2 cup milk or buttermilk (dairy or dairy-free)
    • 2 eggs at room temperature
    • 2 Tbsp butter unsalted (dairy or dairy-free)
    • 1/2 Tbsp lemon zest (of 1 lemon) or adjust to taste
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon powder optional

    Instructions 

    • Add all the wet ingredients to a large mixing bowl and whisk/mix to combine.
    • Sift in the dry ingredients and stir to combine, but be careful not to over-mix it. The batter should be slightly lumpy; this is normal.
    • Heat a large pan/skillet over medium-low heat and add butter. Once melted, make pancake "mounds" using a ¼-⅓ cup of the batter, leaving plenty of space between each pancake.
    • Allow the pancakes to cook for 3-4 minutes per side until fluffy, cooked through, and lightly browned on each side. Adjust the heat if you find they’re browning too quickly/not quickly enough.
      Use a large skillet to cut down on how many batches you’ll need to do. If you have a griddle, even better!

    Storage Instructions

    • Make ahead: You can prepare the pancake batter 1-2 days in advance (minus the leavening agents). Then, when you want to use it, bring it back to room temperature for 15 minutes, mix in the baking powder and baking soda, and cook the pancakes as usual.
      Alternatively, prepare the wet and dry mixtures separately and then combine them just before making the pancakes.
      You can also meal prep this lemon ricotta pancakes recipe by cooking a large batch in advance and storing them in the fridge (for 3-4 days) or in the freezer.
      Freeze: Allow the pancakes to cool, and then spread them across a large tray, not touching. Flash-freeze the pancakes until solid, then transfer them to an airtight container or Ziplock bag with parchment paper/ wax paper between the layers. Freeze them for up to 2 months.
      Allow them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or even reheat from frozen.
      Reheat: You can reheat the ricotta pancakes from frozen or chilled in a microwave (1-2 minutes from frozen. 30-40 seconds from chilled), toaster (defrost setting from frozen or same setting as toast for chilled), or oven (wrap or cover with foil and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350ºF/180ºC).

    Notes

    • Be careful not to over-mix the pancake batter: Lumps are actually good in any pancake mix, and it means you haven’t overworked the gluten and will have wonderfully fluffy pancakes. If you’re worried you’ve overworked the batter, leave it to rest for 15 minutes.
    • Adjust the lemon zest to taste: We all have our preferred levels of lemon flavor, so adjust it to taste. I recommend making a test pancake, tasting, and increasing the amount of zest if preferred.
    • For a more robust lemon flavor: Replace a tablespoon of milk with lemon juice.
    • For even fluffier pancakes: Whip the egg whites separately and then fold the beaten egg whites back into the batter. However, I usually skip this step since using ricotta cheese renders it pretty unnecessary (in my opinion).
    Ingredient variations: As with all pancakes, there are plenty of ways to add to or vary this lemon ricotta pancakes recipe, including:
    • Poppy seeds: Add a tablespoon to the batter for little flecks and a slight crunch.
    • Fresh blueberries OR raspberries: I like to press a few fresh berries into each pancake as I cook them.
    • Chocolate chips: Swap the lemon zest for orange and add a handful of chocolate chips into the batter.
     
    Check the blog post for serving recommendations and answers to top FAQs!
    Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
    Cuisine: American
    Freezer friendly: 2 Months
    Shelf life: 2-3 Days

    Nutrition

    Calories: 146kcal, Carbohydrates: 13g, Protein: 6g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 58mg, Sodium: 250mg, Potassium: 78mg, Fiber: 0.4g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 269IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 96mg, Iron: 1mg

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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