Is there an ingredient that you find time and again just doesn’t get used up in your home?  You know, you buy it for one recipe, use some and then it sits until it’s growing other stuff?  Normally I’m pretty good about being resourceful and using up leftovers but in my fridge, leftover ricotta gets pushed farther and farther to the back until I discover it weeks (okay, months) later and am scared to even see what state it is in.  I recently bought blackberries on sale with no real purpose in mind, and I had leftover ricotta from making ravioli.  Hence, these pancakes.  Plus, there is just nothing better than seeing the smile on my little guy’s face when I go get him out of bed in the morning and tell him we’re having pancakes.  He cannot get down the stairs fast enough :)

As with waffles, we have found that pancakes freeze well, so I make the full batch of batter and freeze all the leftovers for future quick breakfasts or snacks.  The blackberry sauce was a natural compliment to these waffles since the flavor pairs so well with lemon.  No butter, syrup or whipped cream required.  The airy texture and fresh fruit flavor of these pancakes made them seem a lighter breakfast than most pancakes, which usually make me want to go back to bed.  (Speaking of which, have you seen the Jim Gaffigan stand-up routine about cake?  Hilarious.  He discusses pancakes around 1:15.)  Instead, I was able to head out and have a great time at my yoga class.  That’s my kind of Sunday morning.


For the blackberry sauce:

  • 12 oz. blackberries, rinsed and drained
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp. cold water

For the pancakes:

  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1½ cups cake flour*
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup sugar


  • 01

    To make the blackberry sauce, combine the blackberries and sugar in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the berries begin to release some of their juices and the mixture is simmering.  Combine the cornstarch and water in a small bowl; whisk until smooth.  Add the cornstarch mixture to the blackberries and mix well.  Reduce the heat to medium and let cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture comes to a low boil and thickens slightly.  Remove from the heat and keep warm if desired.  The sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.

  • 02

    To make the pancakes, combine the ricotta, milk, egg yolks, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk to combine.  Add in the cake flour, baking powder and salt and mix just until incorporated.  In another clean, dry mixing bowl, beat the egg whites on medium-low speed until foamy.  Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and continue to beat, adding the sugar gradually, until medium-soft peaks form.

  • 03

    Fold one third of the egg white mixture into the ricotta mixture with a spatula until completely incorporated.  Add in the remaining egg whites and fold in gently until the mixture is smooth and light.

  • 04

    Heat a griddle or skillet over medium heat.  Grease as needed.  Ladle a scant ½ cup of batter onto the cooking surface for each pancake.  Allow to cook until bubbles begin to form on the top surface.  Use a large spatula to carefully flip the pancake and cook the other side until light golden and cooked through.  Repeat with the remaining batter.  If desired, keep finished pancakes warm in a 200˚ F oven until all the batter is cooked.  Serve warm with fresh blackberry sauce.

  • Ooohhh, I love ricotta pancakes or hotcakes as I’d call them. Funny how the simplest things can become such a wonderful treat..
    I’ve made them several times using Bill Granger’s recipe.

  • Oh no! I just threw out some old ricotta I had. Oh well. This recipe looks simply indulgent!!

  • Alison of a Gun

    Hi Annie! When I have ricotta, I like to put a big spoonful over some hot pasta, and then a scoop of marinara or puttanesca on top. It adds a nice, rich dimension to an otherwise kinda boring (to me! I’m just not a red sauce girl) dinner.

  • Alison of a Gun

    P.S. The pancakes look INSANE! Your boys are so lucky!

  • My favorite pancake but I’ve never had blackberry syrup on them. The combination sounds delicious!

  • Lemon ricotta pancakes are the best!! I love their fluffy texture. Yours look sooo yummy, especially with that blackberry sauce! Mmmm :)

  • These look wonderful! Lemon ricotta sounds like a nice change from regular pancakes. I can’t wait to try them.

  • Great use for ricotta. The pancakes look dreamy…especially smothered in that lovely sauce. :)

  • Very timely post for me! I am always looking for things to do with leftover ricotta. My students made lasagna this week and I was searching through all my recipes for something new and creative to do with ricotta today. Woke up and saw this! Thanks Annie :c)

  • how about mitch hedberg’s use of pancakes as a metaphor:

    “As a comedian, you have to start the show strong and you have to end the show strong. Those are the two key elements. You can’t be like pancakes. You’re all happy at first, but then by the end, you’re sick of ’em.”

  • The pancakes look really fluffy. I love that combination of lemon and ricotta, very refreshing. I bet they gave the pancakes a very different touch and taste :-)

  • Paula B.

    Thank you, thank you, lemon ricotta pancakes are one of my favorite breakfast out treats. We have a famed restaurant on Providence’s East Side, Rue de l’Espoir, that has these as a staple on their breakfast menu, now I can make them at home!Love all pancakes but there is something about the lemon and the ricotta that brings the pancake to a whole new level!

  • I love pancakes – I could easily eat them for breakfast and dinner! I have tried lemon blueberry which pair together beautifully, so I’m sure this would work as well!

  • These sound delicious! I’m thinking breakfast for supper tonight! :)

    I have the same problem as you, I bought sour cream thinking I needed it for a recipe, but I didn’t so now it’s just sitting in my fridge.

  • Perfection! We bough ricotta over the weekend for a pasta and have tons leftover. Pancakes are just what we need on this snowy day!

  • That video clip is awesome! (And the blackberry-lemon combo is a winner!)

  • I never thought of adding ricotta to pancakes….pure genius!
    I can’t wait to try it, and that blackberry sauce sounds outrageous!

    what a perfect breakfast!

  • Yummy! Another great one for my little pancake lover!

  • What a great use for leftover ricotta – I would have never thought to use it for something sweet, much less for breakfast! I absolutely love the bright, fruity flavors you used in these pancakes. I definitely should try them this weekend!

  • Yummy! I am SO going to try these. Just wondering, could you use frozen blackberries instead?

  • Annie

    Probably, though they might have more liquid and cause it to be a thinner sauce.

  • Kathryn

    If you have ever tried Capital Grille cheesecake it has ricotta cheese in it…gives it a great depth of flavor. I’ve tried recreating it once with no success. I may have to try again and make these pancakes with the leftover ricotta.

  • Annie

    I actually have tried that but wasn’t impressed. I much prefer a traditional NY style cheesecake.

  • I love ricotta cheese in cakes and stuff. The pancakes sound amazing, and will definitely give them a try. I have misplaced a blueberry ricotta cake recipe that was to die for…I am so sad :(

  • RSA Online

    Yum! I can never get enough of lemon flavor :) and that blackberry sauce is AMAZING

  • Mellybrown

    Our psyches are connected! I was already planning on pancakes for dinner (lazy snow day) and this reminded me of my 1/2 container of ricotta kicking around in the fridge. I served mine with lemon curd and did a blueberry sauce instead since that’s what I had in the freezer. Thanks, Annie!

  • Thanks for the recipe, now I just need to figure out what else I can do with ricotta.

  • Joelyn

    Absolutely blissful! Annie, you mentioned freezing the pancakes, would that be the batter or the actual pancake itself?

  • Annie

    The pancake itself.

  • Claire

    I’m thinking this could be a great breakfast for dinner! :)

  • anna maria

    As always, your photos make me want to leap into the computer screen and take a bite! How do you reheat the pancakes from the freezer? Does the toaster work?

  • Annie

    I just defrost them in the microwave, and then reheat briefly. I’m sure the toaster would work too but we never used ours so it lives in the garage :)

  • Steph

    Oh, I LOVE ricotta pancakes and I LOVE blackberries. How come I never thought of combining the two? I’ll have to make these soon!

  • HJ

    I just made these for breakfast! Very good! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • Emily

    My husband and I just made these for breakfast and they were DELISH. To make a quick breakfast for overnight guests, do you think it’d work to prepare the batter the night before and refridgerate until the next morning?

  • Annie

    No, it probably wouldn’t. The egg whites would deflate and the batter would be flat.

  • Andrea M

    I made these pnacakes for dinner last week, and the whole family is asking for them again!!! BEST PANCAKES EVER!!!!! Even with nothing on them… Thank you!!

  • Andrea M

    I had to put a little of the batter in the fridge and finish the next day. I was worried about them deflating as well, but they were surprisingly only slightly deflated and still made fluffy pancakes! I was just careful not to stir the batter when I took it out of the fridge. Hope this helps!

  • My wife made these last week and they were incredible (though she replaced the blackberries with strawberries). She doubled the recipe (a bit of a mistake, since the egg whites were almost deflating toward the end); we froze a bunch and reheat them for our 3 year old daughter everyday for breakfast before school. Very creamy, very good.

  • Valerie

    Ummm, enjoyed these. Very light and fluffy.

  • Claire

    I am making homemade ricotta for a spinach white pizza tonight, and the leftover ricotta will go towards these pancakes tomorrow. Yum!

  • Emesisbasinrn

    These were INCREDIBLY good. Funny how I had ricotta waiting to go bad in my fridge!! I did not have cake flour, so I subbed in 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (soaked/fermented overnight) and 1/2 cup AP flour and they were awesome!! This is a keeper for sure. As an aside, according to sparkpeople, these have 5 gms of protein per pancake, that is great!!

  • Jess

    Just found this recipe by searching your blog for ricotta. Like you, I never use all of my ricotta before it goes bad. Can’t wait to try these this weekend to use up the rest of my ricotta!


  • imturtle66

    I made this batter the night before we had these yummy pancakes for breakfast, put everything in the refrigerator with the egg whites in a separate container in the morning i just whipped up the egg whites and folded them in the batter “Presto” Happy Tummies after that :)

  • Rachel

    Oh my! This is one of the BEST recipes I have ever tried…..and I try a lot! I am putting these in my Top 10! LOVED them, and I am already planning to make them for my in-laws when they come to visit in a few weeks! So good! I did serve mine with warm maple syrup, in addition to the blackberry topping!