Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

This Italian Ricotta Cheesecake a mix of cream cheese and ricotta make for a wholesome cheesecake that is sweet but not too sweet. It’s perfectly rich and delicious and topped with mascerated raspberries.

Three slices of cheesecake on white plates with a small bowl of raspberries.

All about Italian ricotta cheesecake

Cheesecake is supposed to be super rich and creamy, and this version of it totally is. But what I love most about it is the ricotta is incredibly wholesome and hearty and adds such a fabulous texture to each fabulous bite.

It’s like a rustic take on the New York style cheesecake we all know and love. And let me tell you, you don’t have to choose between the two. I am totally smitten with both NY style and this Italian ricotta, it just depends on what mood I’m in.

The Italian ricotta cheesecake is less sweet but just as rich. I only use 3/4 cup of sugar in the recipe on purpose – I want to enjoy the loads of real vanilla extract and vanilla bean I scraped into the batter rather than it be overly sweet.

It’s truly a blessing to sometimes (read: often) use less sugar in dessert.

But what I didn’t change from the NY style is the crust. It’s made with graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and a tiny bit of sugar.

Plus, I loaded each piece with mascerated (smashed) raspberries and truthfully, I could’ve eaten the entire bowl of them because they’re so good.

And they’re even better on this Italian ricotta cheesecake.

A whole cheesecake on a wooden cake stand.

Step-by-Step Baking Instructions

  • Before you get started, it’s important to be sure your cream cheese is at room temperature. That means about 2-3 hours before you plan to start baking, take the block out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for awhile. If you forget, submerge the block (inside the foil wrapping) in hot water and let it sit for about 30 minutes or until very soft. If the cream cheese is cold when you go to mix it, you’ll have lumps in your batter.
  • First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Next, wrap the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with several pieces of aluminum foil. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large high-sided roasting dish. The foil keeps water from seeping into the bottom of the springform pan. We don’t want a soggy crust, now do we?!
  • With your springform pan still inside of the roasting dish, fill the roasting dish halfway up with hot water (do not fill the water higher than the aluminum foil). The water will help the cheesecake bake evenly.
  • Speaking of the crust, it’s time to make it! In a bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of the springform pan. I like to use the bottom of a dry measuring cup. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, just until it’s lightly browned. Let it slightly cool while you work on the cheesecake mixture.
  • Toss the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large glass mixing bowl. Use the stand mixer with the paddle attachment or use a hand mixer and beat the cream cheese until it’s soft and fluffy. Add the ricotta cheese and continue beating until fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, one at a time until thoroughly mixed. I like to crack the eggs into a small bowl and pour them in one by one. This allows me to check for any pieces of egg shell that may sneak in when I crack them.
  • As you continue to beat, pour in the sugar. Your mixture should look smooth and creamy with a bit of body from all of the mixing.
  • Add the fresh lemon juice (I do not recommend bottled), the vanilla extract and the vanilla bean. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, use a bit more vanilla extract (maybe an additional 1/2 teaspoon). You can also use vanilla bean paste if you have some.
  • Also thoroughly mix in the flour or cornstarch and a pinch of salt. Without the flour or cornstarch, your cheesecake might crack as it bakes.
  • Pour that mixture into the springform pan. Bake 55 minutes-1 hour 10 minutes or until just slightly jiggly if you gently shake the pan. Shut the oven off, close the door and let the cheesecake sit in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven, let cool on the counter and then refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Once the cheesecake is cooled, run a knife around the edge in between the cheesecake and the pan, then remove the sides of the springform pan. Use a sharp knife to cut into slices, rinsing the knife in between swipes (for perfect pieces!).
  • To make the raspberry topping, mash the raspberries using the back of a fork and stir in the granulated sugar.
  • Dollop the mashed raspberries on top of each slice and serve. YUM!
Slices of cheesecake on a plate with a small bowl of raspberries.

Ingredient Substitutions and Alterations

  • Instead of ricotta, try plain or vanilla Greek yogurt. I’d suggest using full fat for that rich cheesecake texture.
  • Try vanilla bean paste instead of vanilla extract for richer vanilla flavor.
  • Use any berry for the topping. Try blueberries, strawberries or blackberries. You can also use frozen berries – simply let them thaw before mascerating.
  • For a gluten free cheesecake, you could try using almond flour or almond meal instead of graham cracker crumbs and use cornstarch instead of all-purpose flour in the filling.

Storage Instructions

  • Store the cheesecake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Store the berry topping separately in an airtight container. It typically lasts 2-4 days.
A slice of cheesecake with a bite missing on a white plate.

Chef’s Tip

To get the beans out of the vanilla bean pod, use a sharp paring knife to slice lengthwise down the bean. You will have two long pieces of vanilla bean.

Then, use the paring knife to scrape the beans from each sides of the pod. Vanilla bean is rich in flavor and gives your cheesecake those beautiful vanilla bean flecks!

You may find this video helpful if you’re working with vanilla beans for the first time.

Three plates with slices of cheesecake and a small bowl of raspberry topping.

Other Delicious Dessert Recipes

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Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

Creamy, wholesome cheesecake made with ricotta and cream cheese.

  • Author: Julie Andrews
  • Prep Time: 15-20 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins-1 hr 10 mins + 20 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins-1 hr 50 mins
  • Yield: Serves 10 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian, American

Ingredients

Scale

Graham Cracker Crust:

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup salted butter, melted

Cheesecake:

  • 8-ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups whole milk ricotta (or plain or vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • Pinch coarse salt

Berry Topping:

  • 1-pint fresh berries
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap the bottom of of an 8-inch springform pan with several pieces of aluminum foil. Place the foil-wrapped springform pan in a large high-sided roasting dish.
  2. To make crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter in a medium bowl. Press into an even layer in the bottom of the prepared springform pan using the bottom of a dry measuring cup.
  3. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Let slightly cool. Fill the roasting dish halfway up with hot water (do not fill the water higher than the aluminum foil).
  4. To make the cheesecake filling, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Add the ricotta and beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the sugar until mixture is smooth. Beat in the lemon juice until smooth, then add the vanilla extract, vanilla bean, flour or cornstarch and salt until thoroughly incorporated. Pour batter over the crust into the springform pan and bake 55 minutes-1 hour 10 minutes or until barely set. Turn the oven off and cool cake in oven for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  5. Use a sharp knife to separate the edges of the cheesecake from the springform pan. Carefully remove the edge of the springform pan. Use the sharp knife to slice the cheesecake into wedges, rinsing the knife with hot water in between slices.
  6. To make the raspberry topping, place the berries and sugar in a small bowl. Use the back of a fork to mash the raspberries and stir to mix in the sugar. Top cheesecake slices with raspberry topping. Serve.

Notes

Storage Tip: Cheesecake will last up to 4 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Store the raspberry topping in a separate container.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 401
  • Sugar: 24g
  • Sodium: 308mg
  • Fat: 24g
  • Saturated Fat: 11g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 13g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Cholesterol: 138mg

Keywords: Baked, easy, tasty, ricotta, holidays, make ahead, creamy

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