Lemon Ricotta Fritters

Ricotta fritters will become your all time favorite fritters recipe. Smooth and rich, they are filled with cheese and a subtle lemon and sage. Serve with garlic aioli for the perfect dipping sauce!

overhead shot of tray full of lemon ricotta fritters


 

What are Fritters?

Ricotta cheese fritters weren’t even on my radar until one day they were brought to my attention by hubby, kind of. Hubby travels for work and saw this recipe in one of the airline magazines on a flight.

I’d heard of all types of sweet and savory fritters, even cheese fritters, but never ricotta, which is odd because we both come from Italian families. In Italian, these are called Polpette di Ricotta. Polpette is actually a meatball, so these are ricotta meatballs.

In the states, we call anything that is a breaded fried dough, a fritter, which loosely translate to “a fry”. They can be savory fritters like Broccoli fritters, zucchini fritters, corn fritters and even sweet apple fritters are among the most popular.

Why You’ll Love Fried Ricotta Cheese

Soft and fluffy fritters that are easy to make with simple ingredients- what’s not to love!

  • Unique flavor – Often times when you think of lemon, sweet lemon desserts like cake and cookies come to mind. This savory lemon recipe is a fun twist.
  • Simple ingredients – Besides maybe the ricotta cheese, I’d bet you have most of these ingredients already in your kitchen.
close up shot of one fried ricotta cheese fritter

Ingredients

Other than the ricotta cheese, the ingredient list is quite easy.

  • Whole milk ricotta– Brands contain different water levels. If you open it up and it looks a little soupy, you might want to consider draining it first, like you would for cheesecake or cannoli dip, or it might require additional flour when you are making the batter.
  • Eggs & All-Purpose Flour- These are super important to give the fritters structure. We have not experimented in using alternative flours or egg products.
  • Baking powder- Baking powder is a chemical that makes little air bubbles in the batter, making them light, airy and fluffy. For even fluffier fritters, let the batter rest for 15 minutes to let it activate and do its job.
  • Dried rubbed sage– Make sure this is fragrant and hasn’t lost its potency. Fresh sage is also an option.
  • Coarse kosher salt– Helps to accentuate natural flavors and balance the acidity.
  • Lemon juice & zest– These two elements provide vastly different lemon flavor profiles. The zest is a clean, lemony flavor, while the juice is acidic and punchy.
  • Pecorino romano cheese– Any hard Italian cheese, like parmesan cheese or parmesan reggiano, can be used. Please use a freshly shredded cheese, not a “shaker cheese” which won’t melt.
  • Oil – Any high smoke point oil for frying can be used. The most popular are vegetable oil, canola oil and grapeseed oil. You’ll need enough for 1-inch deep in the frying pan of choice.
  • Flaky Sea Salt– While the fritters are still piping hot and tacky, top with a flaky salt like Maldon or Jacobson. Some folks also like a dusting of freshly cracked black pepper.

How to Make Ricotta Fritters

Making fritters sometimes feels intimidating, but after you get the hang of it and master the correct texture of the batter, it is really an easy recipe.

  1. Blend ricotta and eggs. In a large bowl, blend the ricotta and eggs until fully blend, mixture will not be smooth. If your ricotta is a reduced fat or looks watery, consider draining it before making. Mine was quite solid and did not require draining.
  2. Whisk or sift together the dry ingredients to evenly combine them. Gradually add them to the ricotta mixture, and then fold in the lemon zest and finely grated pecorino romano cheese. If the batter is loose and soupy, add more flour. It should be fairly stiff; slightly more dense than pancake or waffle batter.
  3. Chill batter. Cover and chill the fritter batter for a minimum of 30 minutes or as much as 24 hours. This gives the baking powder time to activate, making itty bitty bubbles in the batter that will fry up as light and airy.
  4. Fry batter. Fill a large frying pan with 1-inch of frying oil and heat to between 350-375°F. I highly suggest using a deep fry thermometer. Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, spoon batter into hot oil. Do not crowd the pan, so working batches, adding the remaining batter as needed.
  5. Flip. Use a metal spatula or fry spoon to flip after lightly browned on each side. This process is relatively quick and will only take about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown, if the oil is the correct temperature.
  6. Drain. Remove the hot fritters to a wire rack over a baking sheet. Many recipes will have you drain on paper towels, but this can make the underside soggy. Allowing them to drip and placing in a warm oven keeps them crispy and hot.
  7. Garnish. Sprinkle with a flakey sea salt before serving with your desired dipping sauce.

Dipping Sauces

This is really a matter of preference. Fritters can be served with no sauce at all and be super tasty. Here are some of our favorites.

straight on close up shot of bite taken out of fritter topped with sauce

What to Serve with Ricotta Fritters

I like to serve these as an easy appetizer, but you could certainly serve them as a side with to a main meal. I would serve them with veggies like mashed cauliflower, roasted sweet potatoes or carrots.

You could always garnish them with something like fresh parsley, scallions or even green onions.

Storage & Freezing

How to Store Ricotta Fritters

Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Like many fried foods, they are likely to lose their crispy.

We suggest reheating them with an additional quick fry in oil on the stovetop, in an Air Fryer or in the oven. Microwaving can make them more soggy and rubbery.

Can I Freeze Ricotta Fritters?

Ricotta fritters can be frozen after fully cooked. Place in a plastic bag, getting out as much air as possible, and then store. To cook, place frozen fritters straight into hot frying oil for 2-3 minutes to thaw and brown.

More Easy Appetizer Recipes

When hosting parties and get togethers, easy appetizers are my go to. Here are a few of our favorites.

bowl of pimento cheese dip

Pimento Cheese Spread

A popular southern dish, this EASY Pimento Cheese recipe is made with only 6 ingredients and tastes great spread onto crackers or in a grilled cheese!
See The Recipe!
bowl of bacon ranch dip with scallions and potato chips

Bacon Ranch Dip

Bacon and ranch collide into one delicious chip dip with this easy Bacon Ranch Dip recipe!
See The Recipe!
close up of pizza log dipped into sauce

Pizza Logs

Crispy egg roll wrappers stuffed with gooey mozzarella cheese and zesty pepperoni, fried to a golden brown and dipped in marinara sauce.
See The Recipe!
close up of bite taken out of ricotta fritter with text overlay
close up overhead shot of tray of lemon ricotta fritters

Lemon Ricotta Fritter Recipe

4.44 from 16 votes
Lemon Ricotta Fritters are a savory fritter recipe. Smooth and and rich, they are filled with cheese with subtle lemon and sage. Served with garlic aioli!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 24 fritters

Ingredients

Fritters:

Instructions

  • In a large bowl or with your stand mixer, blend the ricotta and eggs until fully combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sage and salt. Gradually add to ricotta mixture until combined. Fold in lemon zest and finely grated pecorino romano cheese. Cover and chill for a minimum of 30 minutes or as much as 24 hours.
  • Fill a large frying pan with 1-inch of frying oil. Heat over medium heat until hot. Using a small cookie scoop or a tablespoon, spoon batter into hot oil. Use a metal spatula or fry spoon to flip after lightly browned on each side. This process is relatively quick and will only take about 1-2 minutes on each side.
  • Remove to a wire rack over a baking sheet. You can place in the oven on the "keep warm" setting or 200°F.
  • Sprinkle with a flakey sea salt before serving with your desired dipping sauce.
  • If you've tried this recipe, come back to let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.

Video

Notes

We recommend using a whole milk ricotta cheese. The liquid differs from brand to brand, we used Galbani. Some users have reported needing to use more flour to reach the desired consistency. 
If you are using a reduced fat ricotta cheese, you may need to drain off some of the liquid. 

Nutrition

Calories: 134 kcal, Carbohydrates: 4 g, Protein: 4 g, Fat: 10 g, Saturated Fat: 3 g, Cholesterol: 43 mg, Sodium: 208 mg, Potassium: 89 mg, Vitamin A: 140 IU, Vitamin C: 0.2 mg, Calcium: 89 mg, Iron: 0.5 mg
Author: Jessica Formicola
Calories: 134
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fritter recipe, ricotta fritters
Did you make this recipe?I’d love to see your recipes – snap a picture and mention @savoryexperiments or tag #savoryexperiments!
collage of lemon ricotta fritters
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Jessica Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal and more!

Read More About Jessica

4.44 from 16 votes (16 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating




Questions and Reviews

    1. Yep- Kosher salt- thanks for catching that. We recently migrated some recipes to a new software system and some ended up getting a little messed up.

    1. Unfortunately not, the batter would just flatten. It’s like cornbread batter. It needs to hit the hot oil to stay in shape.

  1. What a great recipe! Now to ask a silly question, could these be made as “sweet ricotta fritters”, I’d like to serve them after dinner as a “dessert doughnut hole” with chocolate sauce. I know I would have to add sugar, but could you tell me how much would be needed so they’re not overly sweet?
    Thank you
    Kindest regards
    Reet

  2. You need to specify that the ricotta has to be drained . I needed to add more flour to make it stiff .

    1. Hi Rose, I actually didn’t drain my ricotta, but I am sure this can vary based on brand. I’ll make a note in the recipe instructions. Thanks for the heads up!

  3. Hysterical, I have the same page from the same airline mag which I also “tore” out to bring home and try the recipe. I looked up the recipe online to see if it was published and found your version which looks like a winner. Thanks for posting.