These dreamy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are made from scratch and filled with the taste of sunshine! Light and fluffy with a hint of lemon zest, perfect for a sweet weekend breakfast.
Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Recently I found myself with an abundance of lemons and a carton of leftover Ricotta, and naturally, inspiration led me to my favorite breakfast obsession: pancakes. If having too many pancake recipes is wrong, then I refuse to be right. And this citrusy take on the classic is one of our very favorites.
I love this straightforward yet luxurious recipe for spongey lemon pancakes with an Italian twist, thanks to the addition of ricotta cheese. The sweet citrus flavors are just so fresh and bright, like a burst of summer that you can whip up any time of the year! Enjoy these fluffy little pancakes topped with maple syrup, dressed up with lemon curd, or sprinkled with blueberries – whatever you choose, you’ll be hooked!
Why Add Ricotta to Pancakes?
Ricotta cheese is a classic Italian staple that can be used in so many ways, sweet and savory. When added to recipes like pancakes, there’s no sign of cheesy flavor here – just unbelievable moisture for a melt-in-your-mouth texture. Ricotta lemon pancakes are the perfect way to use up leftover ricotta cheese.
What You’ll Need
The ingredients for this recipe are mostly basic pantry items! You can find ricotta in the refrigerated cheese section of most grocery stores. Be sure to pick out fragrant, brightly-colored lemons for the best flavor. Avoid wrinkly or dull lemons.
- Eggs: 3 large eggs with two extra yolks!
- All-Purpose Flour: All-purpose flour will get the best rise out of these pancakes in my experience. Alternatively, a fine-ground flour alternative like oat or almond flour can be used for a gluten-free recipe.
- Ricotta Cheese: The addition of Ricotta Cheese brings an indescribable moist and buttery texture to this recipe. If you haven’t tried it already, prepare to be amazed!
- Butter: Unsalted butter, melted and then cooled.
- Lemons: For the zest that gives this recipe the most fresh and wonderful lemon flavor!
- Vanilla Extract: Pure vanilla extract has the best and most natural flavor.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar that’s been divided, to use when whipping the egg whites and egg yolks separately.
- Baking Powder and Baking Soda: Using both together helps create lightness in the pancakes.
How to Make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Grab a couple bowls and a whisk and let’s get busy!
First Bowl: In a medium mixing bowl whisk to combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
Second Bowl: In a second large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the milk, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla and lemon extract.
Combine: Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk to combine. If lumps remain, that is fine. Don’t over mix the batter.
Cook the Pancakes In a Skillet: Pour rounds of batter onto a preheated non-stick skillet using a ladle or measuring cup. Let pancakes cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the edges appear cooked and the bubbles in the center of the pancake have begun to burst. Flip the pancake over and let cool for another 1-2 minutes. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter.
The easiest way to tell if your pancakes are ready for flipping is to watch for bubbles – once bubbles are forming, flip and continue to cook until both sides of the pancake are evenly browned. Place finished pancakes in the oven to keep warm, and repeat the process until all the batter is finished.
Enjoy! Serve a stack of these delicious pancakes warmed from the oven with your choice of toppings.
Tips for Success
This vibrant and unique pancake recipe is easy and well-worth the detailed mixing instructions. For more helpful tips on making lemon ricotta pancakes, check out these helpful tips:
- Improvise the Amount of Ricotta As Needed: If you don’t have a full 16 oz of Ricotta, don’t let that deter you — the recipe still turns out great with slightly less. You can also leave it out altogether in a pinch, and enjoy regular lemon pancakes sans the special ricotta texture.
- Don’t Over-mix the Batter: This is a seemingly small but very important detail that is the difference between cooked pancakes that are soft and fluffy (yay!), or chewier and tougher (ick!); pay attention when mixing the batter and stop when all the ingredients are just combined. Some small clumps here and there are better than chewy pancakes!
- Mixing Dry Ingredients Separately Will Prevent Clumps: Whisking the dry ingredients before combining them with the wet ingredients will eliminate most lumps from the batter.
- Give the Pan a Wipe Between Batches: To prevent any extra batter residue from burning. If you’re using a bit of butter or oil to coat in the pan, this also serves as a clean slate between rounds of pancakes.
Variation & Topping Ideas
Where to begin with variation ideas? These pancakes can be mixed, drizzled, sprinkled, and topped with a variety of different ingredients. So many flavors pair so nicely with the lemon! Here are some ways to mix up your pancake batter:
- Stir in a half cup of White Chocolate Chips
- Sprinkle in a handful of Fresh Berries for Raspberry or Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes
- Swap out the Lemon Zest for Orange Zest
- Mix in a pinch of Cinnamon or Nutmeg for a hint of warmer flavor
Pancake Topping Ideas
Along with the classic maple syrup and/or butter combo, here are more suggestions to dress up these Lemon Ricotta Pancakes:
- Fresh Berries (Blueberries, Raspberries, Strawberries)
- Candied Lemon Slices
- Lemon Curd
- Chantilly Cream or Whipped Cream
- Chocolate Chips
- Berry Coulis
- Fruit Jams & Marmalades
- Chopped Nuts (Walnuts, Macadamias, Pecans)
- Cinnamon Sugar or Powdered Sugar
How to Store and Reheat Extras
Store leftover pancakes in the fridge for up to 5 days, wrapped tightly or sealed in an airtight ziplock bag or container. If storing leftover pancake batter, use an airtight container and keep the batter in the fridge for up to two days. For an extra layer of protection, you can place a layer of plastic wrap over the container before closing the lid.
To reheat cooked pancakes, you can follow the below techniques:
- Microwave: Heat the pancakes on a microwave-safe dish for a few seconds at a time until they’re warm all the way through.
- Oven: Reheat pancakes in the oven, wrapped in foil and at a low temperature until heated through.
How to Freeze Pancakes
Cooked pancakes can be kept frozen for up to 2-3 months. To freeze pancakes, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until the pancakes are solid. Transfer the frozen pancakes to a zip top bag or freezer-safe container and store in the freezer.
Let frozen pancakes thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat them using the oven or microwave.
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Lemon lovers, meet the breakfast of your dreams! These soft, fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are light and flavorful and super easy to make from scratch. Topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit, they are irrestiable!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 cups whole milk
- 16 oz ricotta cheese
- 1⁄3 cup lemon juice
- 3 eggs + 2 yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest or lemon extract
- Maple Syrup
- Powdered sugar
- Lemon slices
- Lemon Curd
- In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and baking powder.
- In a separate mixing bowl combine milk, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, eggs, vanilla and lemon extract and mix until combined.
- Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture and whisk to combine. If lumps remain, that is fine.
- Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Once the pan is hot, spray with non-stick spray or butter.
- Spoon about 1⁄2 cup of batter onto the center of the heated pan. Let cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until the edges appear cooked and the bubbles in the center of the pancake have begun to burst.
- Flip the pancake over and let cool for another 1-2 minutes, until cooked through. Repeat the cooking process with the remaining batter.
- Top pancakes as desired with any of the optional toppings you desire!
Storage: Pancakes may be stored in an airtight container or baggie in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 172Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 6g
More Sweet Breakfast Ideas
- Berry Stuffed French Toast
- Chocolate Pancakes
- Cinnamon Roll Waffles
- Easy Pumpkin Pancakes
- Easy Homemade Cinnamon Roll
- Brown Sugar Banana Bread
- Fluffy Pancakes
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[…] Lemon Ricotta Pancakes […]
Yummy lemon pancakes for a great breakfast! Tasty!!
I learned at my mother’s knee to separate the eggs and to fold in the whites at the end. She did it with buttermilk pancakes…to die for. I went looking for the lemon-ricotta recipe because of some yum cakes we had at the Sheraton in Sacramento, served with blueberry compote, and your recipe and the one from CHOW look the best. But I do take issue with the amount of vanilla you listed. I love vanilla but it can be ovrpowering, and I’m thinking of leaving it out altogether. I think the lemon and the cheese should shine, especially with the blueberry sauce.
These are light and fluffy! I only used zest of one lemon. Really good.
I want these pancakes in my belly like RIGHT NOW! They’re so pretty!
Are you crazy? The more pancakes the better! Bring it pancake girl…
I’ve tried blueberry ricotta pancakes and loved them! I will definitely be trying this lemon recipe.
These look great, I’ve made them before with another recipe and love them. But oh, this recipe takes so many bowls!!!!
There can never be too many pancakes! These are just amazing!!!
These look absolutely incredible, Jessica! Will you be at BlogHer Food this weekend? I hope to see you there!
Ok, first, you can never have enough pancake recipes! There’s just no such thing! Second, these look amazinnnggg!
Oh, these looks magnificent! Lemon & ricotta is amazing together.
These look awesome! Can’t wait to try…think I may toss in some blueberries too….oooohhhh…or blueberry syrup!!
These are my favorite!!
These are dreamy!! And there are never too many pancake recipes – yours are my favorite!!
I love Julie & Julia! Such a great movie. I don’t think I’d ever to be able to whip anything by hand–I have ZERO arm strength! Looks like you did a great job!
I can’t believe I missed pancake day! Especially since I’ve been eating them most everyday of my pregnancy! These look and sound so good. Thank you for sharing them with us.
These pancakes are almost too pretty eat. ALMOST……
I can’t believe you beat them by hand! I know I’m too much of a wimp. Your pancakes are gorgeous!
I am so impressed by your whipping SKILLZ. I always give up midway through. Always.
Lemon and ricotta sound heavenly together in pancake form!
Oh my goodness gracious, holy gorgeousness! These could make my weekdays mornings infinitely brighter, Jessica. Great recipe!
There is no such thing as too many pancake recipes! I definitely need to get my hands (teeth?) on these tangy lemon beauties. :)
No such thing as too many pancakes!!!
The first thing I saw was the title and I said to myself, “wow, this girl really likes pancakes.” I won’t break up with you for it though. I just hope you are using real maple syrup (we live in New England and make the stuff). ;)
Jessica you can never ever have too many pancake variations!! If I could eat pancakes for breakfast lunch and dinner every single day I promise you that I would. I will have to try these lemon ricotta ones, they look delish!
Break up with you for too many pancakes?? Never!! These look absolutely incredible!
I had a recipe that said to whip cream by hand, and I did. It took forever and my arm was killing me, too! Soft peaks should not take that long. It’s been the stand mixer ever since. Your pancakes look SO tasty!!
These look amazing and mouthwatering! Beautiful photos!
Love these pancakes and the photos are just beautiful! Makes me want to lick the screen! LOL
For beating with a whisk I separate my arm into two parts, one uses the lower muscles and one uses the shoulder muscles. This way I keep up the speed!
Love the pancake combo. Anything is good with pancakes right?
I’ve had to whip egg white and whipped cream by hand before. I switch arms a lot and don’t use any discernible pattern. Just keep swishing stuff around until it’s done. I felt like I was in heaven when I finally had a stand mixer again and could just switch it on and walk away. These pancakes look divine. I’d love to try them.