Looking for a quick and easy appetizer for your next dinner party? This creamy whipped ricotta recipe features ricotta cheese, olive oil, cream, and a touch of honey blitzed together in a food processor until smooth, fluffy, and light. It's incredibly simple and comes together in less than 10 minutes!
Have you ever tried whipped ricotta before? It's creamy, fluffy, and milky; its simple flavors make it the perfect base for experimentation. But do you know the best part? You can do this at home in just about 10 minutes. Yup, seriously, 10 minutes, and you're golden.
I first tried a version at the restaurant Misi in Brooklyn, NY. Misi is a popular restaurant focusing on simple Italian cuisine. At the restaurant, they pipe whipped ricotta into large squiggles onto a piece of crusty bread with flakes of sea salt and olive oil. It's beyond delicious!
What is Whipped Ricotta?
If you're unfamiliar with whipped ricotta, it's essentially just ricotta cheese processed in a food processor or hand blender. Olive oil or heavy cream are typically added to help thin out the cheese, yielding a luxuriously creamy and smooth texture.
This is a perfect vessel for dipping carby items like pita chips or toast. I also love layering it on a plate as a base and topping it with marinated peppers, roasted beets, or grilled fruit. Alternatively, make my blistered tomato pasta and spoon a big dollop of it on top!
Make it a Dip
Once you've processed the cheese into a fluffy, creamy texture, you can easily serve it as a dip. Drizzle some olive oil, flaky salt, and black pepper on top, and it's good to go!
Oh, and if you have some time for a weekend project, I highly, highly recommend serving this alongside some warm homemade focaccia or fresh vegetables, like carrot sticks or radishes.
Serve on Toast
Perhaps my favorite way of enjoying this creamy spread is in toast form. Grab a baguette from the grocery store, slice it into ½-inch pieces, drizzle them with some olive oil and bake in the oven at 400°F until nice and toasty. Alternatively, grill the bread in a grill pan on the stove top with a bit of olive oil.
You can either spoon the ricotta on crostini and spread it with a knife, or pipe it like at Misi.
How to Pipe Ricotta
- Transfer the ricotta to a piping bag (or a large Ziploc bag). Place a larger circular piping tip in the bottom corner of the bag, and snip off the end.
- Pipe the cheese in squiggles from one end of the toast to the other.
For best results, use high-quality simple ingredients in this recipe.
- Whole milk ricotta cheese: Opt for whole milk ricotta for the silkiest texture. Lower-fat ricotta can be a little watery, so I don't recommend this. If you really want to go all out, I have a recipe for making fresh ricotta from scratch! As for store-bought ricotta, I recommend Calabro.
- Heavy cream: Heavy cream helps achieve a smooth texture. The amount you need will depend on how watery your ricotta is, so you can add a little bit at a time and adjust as needed.
- Salt and black pepper: Because ricotta is pretty mild in flavor, a little bit of salt and pepper can really transform the flavor.
- Honey: A drizzle of honey on top is the perfect balance to the creamy ricotta and flaky salt.
Optionally, if you feel the dip needs a little acidity, a squeeze of lemon juice will do the trick!
For a full list of ingredients and quantities, refer to the recipe card.
- Best: Food Processor. A food processor is the easiest way to achieve a fluffy, smooth consistency.
- Hand Blender: I've also used a hand blender with success, though it doesn't produce as fluffy of a texture.
- Hand Mixer or Stand Mixer: You can also use a whisk attachment with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Again, it may not be as smooth, but it will still taste great. You may need to add more heavy cream or olive oil here to get things going.
How to Make Whipped Ricotta
Like I said, making whipped ricotta is super easy! It's done in just a few easy steps.
Step 1 - Place the ricotta in a food processor or in a blender cup with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil, lemon zest, and heavy cream.
Step 2 - Pulse (or blend) until light, fluffy, and creamy. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.
Step 3 - If desired, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice for a bit of acidity, or add a bit more olive oil or heavy cream to thin it out.
Step 4 - Transfer to a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil, flaky salt, and a little honey.
If serving the whipped ricotta as a dip, you'll want to keep it on the thicker side. For toast, it should be spoonable, but not runny.
Ideas for Customization
Here are some fun variations on this dip:
- Hot honey: Drizzle or swirl in some hot honey. You can also make your own hot honey by heating up honey with a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cool the liquid, then drizzle atop the creamy ricotta!
- Pesto: Spoon some pesto on top of the ricotta.
- Marinated and/or pickled peppers: Top the dip with marinated or pickled peppers.
- Fresh herbs: Add some freshly chopped mint, basil, or parsley.
Store ricotta in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 - 4 days.
Over time, the cheese might release excess liquid. Feel free to drain it off (or give the ricotta a little mix) and you should be good to go!
Remove the ricotta from the fridge before serving to take the chill off. For best results, serve at room temperature.
I can't recommend dairy-free ricotta as I haven't tried it myself, but Galbani Cheese makes a great lactose-free version that whips up well.
Runny ricotta can occur for a couple of reasons:
1) Your ricotta was already watery to begin with. If this is the case, I recommend straining the cheese over a cheesecloth before whipping it up.
2) You added too much liquid (either from the olive oil or heavy cream). If this happens, you can add more ricotta to thicken it up.
The ricotta might not be smooth for a few reasons. If you use a grainy ricotta (or one lower in fat), it may not be as smooth. If the mixture feels very dense, you might need some heavy cream to loosen it up and smooth out any textured parts.
To avoid grainy ricotta, make sure to select a high-quality whole milk version that is rich and creamy. Dry or low-fat versions won't whip up properly. A little bit of liquid, such as cream or olive oil, will help smooth everything out.
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Whipped Ricotta Recipe
- Food processor or blender
For the whipped ricotta dip:
- 1 ½ cups high-quality whole milk ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for topping
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more if needed
- 1 medium lemon, zested, plus a squeeze of juice (optional)
- Salt and black pepper
- Flaky Salt, optional, for topping
- Honey, for drizzling
- Toast, crackers, or crudites
Make the whipped ricotta dip:
- In a food processor or blender, process 1 ½ cups high-quality whole milk ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons heavy cream, and lemon zest until light, fluffy, and smooth, about 1 - 2 minutes. If needed, add in an additional teaspoon of heavy cream at a time to smooth it out. Note: If serving as a dip, keep the ricotta relatively thick, but still creamy. If piping onto toast, make very spoonable, but not runny.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Optionally, squeeze a bit of lemon juice if needed.
To serve as whipped ricotta dip:
- Top with Flaky Salt (if using), squeeze a drizzle of olive oil and honey onto the ricotta, and serve alongside Toast, crackers, or crudites.
To serve as whipped ricotta toast:
- Once the whipped ricotta is ready, transfer it to a piping bag. If you're using a piping tip, attach it securely to the bag. If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a Ziploc bag and snip off a small corner.Meanwhile, toast the slices of bread until they reach your desired level of crispiness. I like to grill the bread on a stovetop grill pan with a bit of olive oil until crispy on the outside.Hold the piping bag over one slice of toast and gently squeeze to pipe the whipped ricotta onto the bread. Start from one edge of the toast and move in a swirling motion towards the other edge. Top with flaky salt, olive oil, and/or honey.
- Honey: Sometimes honey can make the ricotta look slightly watery. It doesn't change the flavor or texture, but if you're worried about this you can blend it in the food processor instead of drizzling on top.
- Tip: To avoid grainy ricotta, make sure to select a high-quality whole milk ricotta cheese (such as Calabro) that is rich and creamy. Dry or low-fat versions won't whip up properly. A little bit of liquid, such as cream or olive oil, will help smooth everything out.
- Serving ideas:This is a perfect accompaniment to carby things like crackers, toast, or pasta. I also love layering it on a plate as a base and topping it with marinated peppers or roasted beets.
- Storage: Store ricotta in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 - 4 days. Just note that the mixture might weep a bit of water; feel free to drain it off or mix in and you should be good to go! Before serving, allow the ricotta to come to room temperature.