This ricotta pie is a wonderfully easy recipe with a few simple ingredients. Its light and cozy taste will bring you straight to southern Italy.

It has a chocolatey, creamy, and aromatic filling and a soft and crumbly crust. It’s a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, excellent for special holiday meals like Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.

ricotta pie

Check out our best vegan pie and tart recipe collection!

There are many things to love about this sweet ricotta pie recipe. First and foremost, its milky and aromatic flavor and creamy and flaky texture.

Second, it’s simple, with two components; the crust and the filling, and they are both easy to make; there’s no messing around with egg whites and egg yolks.

For the filling, you can use whole milk ricotta cheese or our easy homemade dairy-free ricotta; both work wonderfully.

The ricotta is mixed with orange zest, vanilla, sugar, and dark chocolate chips, and it tastes like Sicily (we use the same filling in our Sicilian Cannoli). The orange zest adds freshness and a warm aroma that melds beautifully with the dark chocolate chips and the creamy ricotta.

For the pie crust, you’ll need simple ingredients like flour, sugar, water, vegetable oil, a little baking powder, and a little more orange zest. The crust is light, flakey, and delicious.

Let’s see how to make this Italian ricotta pie step-by-step. It’s one of our family’s favorite Italian desserts, and we think you will love it.

Ricotta pie sliced

Ingredients

Ricotta pie ingredients

Pie crust

Flour

You can make this recipe with all-purpose flour.

We also tested it with bread flour, whole-wheat flour, spelt flour, and oat flour, and they all produce a great pie crust.

To make the recipe gluten-free, you can easily substitute a gluten-free 1-to-1 flour mixture for all-purpose flour.

Sugar

Regular white sugar works best.

You can substitute coconut sugar, cane sugar, palm sugar, or any other sugar in granular form for white sugar.

If you want to make it taste like an Italian ricotta pie, then use white sugar.

Oil

Pick a light-colored and neutral-flavored vegetable oil like canola oil or sunflower oil. The crust will be light, and you won’t taste their flavor.

Water

Mixed with the oil, water helps make a light, crumbly, and flaky shortcrust pastry.

Orange zest

Orange zest is essential in this recipe. It infuses the crust with aroma and connects it (from a flavor perspective) with the ricotta filling.

Make sure only to zest the orange peel of the orange and not the white pith under the peel because the white part can be bitter.

You can substitute lemon zest for orange zest.

Baking powder

A tiny bit of baking powder helps us make the crust light and flakey.

Pie filling

Ricotta

You can use whole milk ricotta.

Tip: In most cases, you can use the ricotta right out of the package. In a few instances, if the ricotta looks watery, let it drain for half an hour in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or with a clean kitchen towel made out of cotton.

To make the recipe vegan, you can use our soy ricotta (you’ll need about 3 times our recipe), which you can make at home in less than 45 minutes with store-bought soy milk, vinegar, and salt.

Since there are no eggs, butter, or heavy cream among the ingredients, that’s the only adjustment you have to make.

Dark chocolate chips

Add mini dark chocolate chips; they are delicious with ricotta cheese and orange zest.

Sugar + Orange Zest + Vanilla

White sugar is best here, as orange zest, vanilla extract, or the seeds in a vanilla pod. You can substitute almond extract for vanilla.

Ricotta pie on a white plate

Instructions

Make the crust

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Brush your tart pan with oil, then dust it with flour.

We recommend using a tart pan with removable bottom.

TipIf you use a pie dish or pie pan (instead of a tart pan with removable bottom), oil it, then place two long and wide strips of parchment paper in a cross position into the pie dish under the dough, coming out slightly from the edges.

After baking, let the tart cool down for 30 minutes, then lift it out of the tray by pulling up the parchment strips. Of course, you can always serve the tart from the pie dish if that sounds too risky.

tart pan with removable bottom

Add the sugarwateroil, and orange zest to a large mixing bowl and mix well with a spatula.

mixing wet ingredients in a bowl

In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder.

Add them to the bowl with the wet ingredients all at once.

Mix wet and dry ingredients until the liquids absorb the flour without overmixing.

making pie crust

Compact the dough with your hands for a few seconds until it comes together.

You don’t have to knead the dough but only compact it together.

Tip: the dough should not get springy. It should not bounce back when you push down with a finger.

shaping the dough

Take about 3/4 of the dough and transfer it to the tart pan. Flatten it with your hands to cover the bottom and sides.

Prick the bottom and sides with a fork.

pie crust in a cake pan

Make ricotta filling

To a bowl, add the ricotta, orange zest, mini dark chocolate chips, sugar, and vanilla extract.

mix ricotta filling

Whisk until well combined.

You can do that with a manual whisk, spatula, or, if you prefer, with an electric mixer.

Ricotta filling

Pour the ricotta mixture into the crust and flatten it with the back of a spoon.

tart base with ricotta filling

Make lattice top

On a worktop dusted with flour, roll out the leftover dough thinly, and cut out nine stripes with a sharp knife or pastry wheel cutter.

cut stripes for ricotta pie

Arrange the stripes on top of the tart, 5 in one direction and the other 4 in the opposite direction.

Push down the edges with your fingers or with a fork to attach the stripes to the edge.

ricotta pie ready to bake

Bake in the oven at 350°F or 180°C for about 45 minutes.

Ricotta pie after baking

Let cool down completely (we recommend 3 hours if you want a perfect slice like in the pictures) before taking it out of the tart pan and transferring it onto a pie plate.

You can dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look prettier, then slice it and enjoy.

Ricotta pie sliced

Variations

Raisins, rum, and cinnamon (Grandma’s filling)

My favorite variation of all, although I can understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, is the one my grandma used to make with raisins, rum, and cinnamon.

To make it, replace the chocolate chips with a 1/2 heaping cup of raisins that you soaked for 10 minutes in 1/3 cup of rum.

Squeeze and add the raisins to the ricotta; discard the rum. Next, add the sugar, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, the zest of 1 lemon and one orange, 1/4 cup pine nuts, and the seeds of a vanilla pod or vanilla extract. Mix with a spatula and use as a filling.

Liqueur ricotta pie

In some parts of Italy, they add orange-flavored liqueur called Grand Marnier to the ricotta filling.

You can add 2 to 3 tbsp of it if you like. Alternatively, you can use any other liqueur with an orange or fruity aroma.

Cinnamon ricotta pie

If you make this pie in winter or during the winter holiday season, adding a teaspoon or two of cinnamon to the filling will make the ricotta pie warm and cozy. You can also sprinkle some cinnamon on top, mixed with powdered sugar.

Storage

Room temperature: you can store ricotta pie on your kitchen counter for 3 to 4 days, best if covered with a cloth or stored in a cake keeper. If where you live is very hot, that is above 90°F or 30°C; then you might want to put it in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic.

Refrigerator: store covered in plastic wrap for up to 5 days.

Freezer: we do not recommend freezing the whole ricotta pie. You can freeze the shortcrust pastry for up to 3 months.

Make ahead: you can make ricotta pie up to 5 days in advance if you store it in the fridge. You should make this pie 3 hours before serving it, but better if you make it half a day in advance or the night before serving it.

Tips

How to zest citrus fruit?

When you zest citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes, ensure you only grate the colored part of the skin because the white pith under the peel is bitter.

Should I strain the ricotta?

Good quality whole milk ricotta should not require straining; however, sometimes, lower-quality ricotta might be a little watery. If this is the case, first, drain the water that forms on top of the ricotta.

Then transfer the ricotta to a colander that you previously lined with a cheesecloth or a cotton cloth with a fine mash. Let excess water drain from the ricotta for half an hour. To speed things up, add a weight on top of the ricotta.

wrapped curdled milk in a cloth

Sift the ricotta if grainy

Taste your ricotta before making the filling. If the ricotta is grainy, which mostly happens with cheaper, lower-quality ricotta cheese, then our advice is to pass it through a sift.

Add the ricotta to a sift with fine mesh, then imagine you are spreading the ricotta into the sift. It’ll come out the other side ultra smooth, making your ricotta cake smooth too.

Alternatively, if the ricotta is grainy, you can blend it in a food processor or blender.

Don’t knead the dough

When making this kind of pie crust – which is basically a shortcrust pastry without butter and eggs – it is essential that you don’t knead the dough but rather compact it together with your hands until it comes together.

Kneading develops the gluten in the flour, which means that your crust won’t be flaky and light but stiff and gummy.

Let the ricotta pie cool down.

Wait a few hours before slicing and eating ricotta pie. I know it’s super hard, but this recipe’s texture and flavor will improve if you wait at least 3 hours before eating it.

Questions

What is Italian ricotta?

Ricotta is a dairy product made with whey leftover from cheese production.

While in the United States, it’s mostly made from whole cow’s milk, in Italy, sheep, cow, goat, and buffalo ricotta is also popular.

Ricotta has a milky flavor and a soft and creamy texture that is excellent for making sweet and savory recipes.

Ricotta means “re-cooked” in Italian. That’s because the leftover whey used to make ricotta is cooked again – twice in total.

More pie and tart recipes

If you love preparing easy tarts and pies at home, take a peek at these tart recipes with few ingredients:

For many more easy dessert ideas, check out our desserts category page.

ricotta pie

Ricotta Pie

By: Nico Pallotta
4.89 from 9 votes
This ricotta pie is a wonderfully easy recipe with a few simple ingredients. Its light and cozy taste will bring you straight to southern Italy.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Making the ricotta: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 12 slices
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Italian

Equipment

  • Tart pan or pie dish 9 to 10 inches (24 to 26cm) easiest if with removable bottom. 

Ingredients

PIE CRUST

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • cup canola oil or sunflower oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ orange the grated zest

RICOTTA FILLING

  • cups ricotta or dairy-free ricotta*
  • ½ cup sugar
  • heaping cup mini dark chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ orange the grated zest

Instructions 

MAKE THE CRUST

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C. Brush your tart pan with oil, then dust it with flour.
    We recommend using a tart pan with removable bottom.
    tart pan with removable bottom
  • Add the sugarwateroil, and orange zest to a large mixing bowl and mix well with a spatula.
    mixing wet ingredients in a bowl
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder.
    Add them to the bowl with the wet ingredients all at once.
    Mix wet and dry ingredients until the liquids absorb the flour without overmixing.
    making pie crust
  • Compact the dough with your hands for a few seconds until it comes together.
    You don't have to knead the dough but only compact it together.
    shaping the dough
  • Take about ¾ of the dough and transfer it to the tart pan. Flatten it with your hands to cover the bottom and sides.
    Prick the bottom and sides with a fork.
    pie crust in a cake pan

MAKE RICOTTA FILLING

  • To a bowl, add the ricottaorange zestmini dark chocolate chipssugar, and vanilla extract.
    mix ricotta filling
  • Whisk until well combined.
    Ricotta filling
  • Pour the ricotta mixture into the crust and flatten it with the back of a spoon.
    tart base with ricotta filling

MAKE LATTICE TOP

  • On a worktop dusted with flour, roll out the leftover dough thinly, and cut out nine stripes with a sharp knife or pastry wheel cutter.
    cut stripes for ricotta pie
  • Arrange the stripes on top of the tart, 5 in one direction and the other 4 in the opposite direction.
    Push down the edges with your fingers or with a fork to attach the stripes to the edge.
    ricotta pie ready to bake
  • Bake in the oven at 350°F or 180°C for about 45 minutes.
    Ricotta pie after baking
  • Let cool down completely (we recommend 3 hours if you want a perfect slice like in the pictures) before taking it out of the tart pan and transferring it onto a pie plate.
    You can dust the top with powdered sugar to make it look prettier, then slice it and enjoy.
    Ricotta pie sliced

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for one slice of ricotta pie out of twelve slices.
To make the recipe dairy-free, you can substitute our homemade soy ricotta for whole milk ricotta. If you use our homemade soy ricotta recipe, you’ll need about 3 times the amount of our original recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 354kcal, Carbohydrates: 45g, Protein: 10g, Fat: 15g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 6g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Potassium: 174mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 20g, Vitamin A: 266IU, Vitamin B6: 0.05mg, Vitamin C: 6mg, Vitamin E: 1mg, Vitamin K: 6µg, Calcium: 151mg, Folate: 64µg, Iron: 2mg, Manganese: 0.2mg, Magnesium: 15mg, Zinc: 1mg
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If you liked this recipe, you might also like:


Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

Easy right?

4.89 from 9 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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13 Comments

  1. You need to clarify that one recipe of your soy ricotta isn’t enough for the pie. It doesn’t make nearly 2.5 cups of ricotta.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this yesterday for my family. I followed the recipe exactly. It was delicious! I’ve never had anything like it. Such a creamy and light pie. Thank you.

  3. 5 stars
    Ciao Nico! After weeks of thinking about this recipe, I finally attempted it today. My family were very impressed with it; they especially loved the orange zest. It reminded my father of my Nonna’s cooking!

    She used to make this along with Crostata alla Nutella. I noticed that you have created a recipe not only for Crostata but also for Nutella; would you know how much spread I should make for the tart?

    Thank you for sharing your creative and contemporary takes on Italian cuisine with the world. Grazie mille!

    1. Hi Josh, so happy you and your family liked the Ricotta Pie, my Italian nonna too use to make it with a Crostata alla Nutella, ahah.

      I have tried the crostata alla nutella yet, but I’d say you’ll need about 300 grams of nutella. That is about 2 US cups of hazelnuts, before you blend them with the other ingredients for the nutella. You might have some left over, but I guess is not the end of the world 🙂

      Thanks do much for your message 🙂

  4. Hello, do you think this would work with an almond based riccota? Kite hill has a very good one that I would love to use.

  5. Hello! This pie looks delicious! I’m going to try to make it in a few days time time and plan to make smaller individual size pie’s in my cupcake silicone malt. Do you have any recommendation on how long to cook these for when they are small like mine would be? Or any tips on how to know when they are finished baking? I’m very exited to try it!

      1. 5 stars
        Thank you for the tip! After about 23 minutes they had just enough colour on the bottoms, so I took them out. They turned out delicious! As I only made one batch of ricotta (also thanks for the advice on that under the recipe!) but still made all the dough, I used the left-over dough to make cookies which turned out nice too. I liked how the flavour is subtle and that orange zest in it just tastes so nice! Will make it again

  6. i love your recipes ♥ i’d love to see a pastiera recipe!!!! or any other southern italian dishes. baci e abbracci!!~