Super-Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

April 25, 2021
8 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food stylist: Drew Aichele. Prop stylist: Sophie Strangio.
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • makes 25 to 30 small pancakes, or 12 to 14 larger ones
Author Notes

I am not sure it isn’t heresy to say I am not a big pancake fan. I love whisper-thin crêpes with a few drops of lemon juice and a dusting of sugar, but many other pancakes I have had are just a little too heavy for me. That is until I discovered lemon ricotta pancakes.

These beauties have some of the same ingredients as regular buttermilk pancakes; flour, eggs, milk, and baking powder. But the magic comes with the ricotta cheese used in the recipe.

Ricotta, of course, is a creamy cheese made as a byproduct of regular cheese-making. In this process, milk is separated into the curds (the solids for the cheese) and whey, the leftover liquid. The whey is recooked with a little whole milk and an acid, usually lemon or vinegar. The liquid thickens, and hey presto, you have another cheese, this time one which is soft, creamy with a lovely gentle tang. And, as the name ricotta is Italian for "recooked," suddenly all makes sense.

Adding the ricotta into the pancake makes them thicker than the average buttermilk-style, but still light and fluffy with a deliciously squidgy center. This is why I like to make them a bit smaller, so they can puff up fully on the inside and get a nice golden-crisp exterior. Besides that, the tang from the cheese and lemon means they are less sweet, so that you can pile on all your favorite toppings. —Elaine Lemm

What You'll Need
Watch This Recipe
Super-Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolks, ricotta, and whole milk until thick and creamy.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or in a medium-size mixing bowl with electric hand mixer, whisk the egg whites until foamy. Add one teaspoon of the lemon juice and continue to whip until you reach stiff peaks, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix until combined. Add half the ricotta-milk mixture to the flour and stir just to combine with a flexible spatula. Repeat with the second half of the ricotta mixture, also adding the lemon zest and remaining juice at this time. Be careful not to over-mix at this stage; some lumps in the batter are fine.
  4. To this batter, add 2 tablespoons of the beaten egg whites combine to loosen the batter and incorporate the egg whites. Then, carefully fold in the remaining egg whites, taking care not to lose too much air.
  5. Heat a griddle, crêpe pan, or nonstick skillet to medium-high and smear with butter to coat. Once the pan is hot, drop tablespoon-size dollops of batter onto the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until bubbles start to rise to the surface of the pancakes. Flip the pancakes over and cook on the other side for another minute or so. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in a low-heat oven until you have used up the batter.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Beth Ann Tesluk
    Beth Ann Tesluk
  • Céline Leroy
    Céline Leroy
  • spooncwru
  • Elaine Lemm
    Elaine Lemm

10 Reviews

Victoria April 2, 2023
These were ok. If I were to make them again, I think less salt and a bit of sugar would have helped these.
LG July 5, 2021
I’ve made this recipe a few times for my 9mo daughter and she loves it. I love that there’s no added sugar it’s perfect for her and I love having them with her too.
hshinkevich May 4, 2021
Where does the melted butter go in the recipe?
Beth A. May 2, 2021
These were good, but I think next time I will add a little sugar to bump up the lemon, or maybe raspberries or blueberries.
galebv May 9, 2021
I agree - but once we added some sweet strawberries, an extra squeeze of lemon and a bit of maple syrup, it all came together. Also just a light sprinkle of powdered sugar.
drc002 April 26, 2021
Your recipe came out wonderful, making it the first recipe I needed to review!
Céline L. April 25, 2021
I really like your recipe! here we love pancakes.
The combination of ricotta and lemon is delicious
Elaine L. April 25, 2021
That is so lovely to hear Céline, thank you .
spooncwru April 25, 2021
This is a great recipe! I scaled up by 50% and used a 1/2 cup measuring cup to make full-size pancakes. If you love lemon, you’ll love these pancakes.
Elaine L. April 25, 2021
Great to hear that the scaling up worked. I will try that for sure. Thank you. E