Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are gourmet delicious but SO easy to make at home!
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are some of the best pancakes you’ll ever eat! They’re melt-in-your-mouth soft and tender due to the ricotta, bright and tangy due to the lemon juice and lemon zest and over-the-top sensational with the homemade blueberry sauce. Best of all, these Lemon Ricotta Pancakes may look fancy and taste fancy but take minutes to whip up! They’re perfect for lazy Spring and Summer mornings or special occasions like upcoming Father’s Day. Let’s ricotta!
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe
I am SO excited for you to sink your teeth into these Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Blueberry Sauce! When Patrick sunk his teeth into the winning combination, he exclaimed, “These are restaurant delicious.” We devoured them for breakfast yesterday and I’m already thinking I need to make another batch for dinner. Because pancakes-for-dinner make the quickest, stress-free dinners that makes everyone happy.
What sets these Lemon Ricotta Pancakes apart from other pancake recipes is the addition of fresh ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese you might ask? Ricotta cheese is one of those chameleon ingredients that makes both savory and sweet recipes better. For example, it’s fabulous in my savory Baked Ziti, Manicotti, and Lasagna and equally fabulous in Cannoli Dip Cones, Italian Ricotta Cookies and Lemon Ricotta Cake.
Ricotta adds a creamy richness without making the pancakes heavy or dense and keeps them incredibly soft and tender. Combine the ricotta with pantry friendly ingredients of eggs, milk, butter, flour and a splash of lemon juice and lemon zest for bright, perky tanginess and you have a match made in culinary heaven.
You can add blueberries directly to the pancake batter, but for the BEST Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, I highly suggest the intoxicating Blueberry Sauce. It is eat-with-a-spoon fabulous and the perfect sweet ending to the sweet-tart pancakes. I’m convinced you could smother practically anything with it, and it would be the best thing ever. And when you smother already scrumptious Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with it, you’ll be wanting to eat them them all day, everyday.
As far as making the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, I’ve kept the recipe very simple and straightforward so it’s perfect for special occasion breakfasts, but easy enough to make every day; no fancy separating eggs or whipping egg whites, just two bowls and one skillet. You even make the blueberry sauce while your prepping the pancakes, so it requires no extra time but adds TONS of extra yum.
Who invented the pancake?
I love learning about the history of foods – especially something as iconic as the pancake. Most food historians agree that the Romans invented the earliest pancake-like dish, known as alita dolcia meaning “another sweet” in Latin in the 1st century. It was made from milk, flour, egg, and spices and much like our modern-day crepe because there weren’t any leavening agents added. The Romans even slathered their pancakes in honey to sweeten them up.
Since the 1st century, pancakes have evolved into every flavor combination you can imagine but I can guarantee that Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are some of the best! But you don’t have to take my word for it, let’s get cooking!
Ingredients for Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
These Lemon Ricotta Pancakes only require two additional ingredients than traditional pancakes – lemons and ricotta! You will need:
- Ricotta cheese: use whole milk ricotta cheese for the best results.
- Lemons: you will need ¼ cup lemon juice and 1½ tablespoons lemon zest. For me, this was 2 lemons.
- Flour: I use all-purpose flour but you can also use whole wheat flour or a combination of both. I’m sure gluten free 1 to 1 baking flour would also work.
- Baking powder: makes the pancakes light and fluffy. Make sure it’s fresh so it works!
- Salt: enhances all of the flavor. Use good old table salt or twice as much kosher salt. If you’re using salted butter as opposed to unsalted butter, reduce the salt.
- Sugar: granulated sugar please. This Lemon Ricotta Pancake recipes uses more sugar than traditional pancake recipes to balance the tart lemon juice and lemon zest. Don’t use brown sugar because it will introduce a molasses taste we don’t want.
- Milk: whole milk is ideal but you can get away with 2%. Buttermilk will also work great.
- Eggs: provides structure and the fat in the yolk adds richness and flavor.
- Vanilla extract: adds a depth of flavor. Use quality extract for the best results.
- Butter: adds a hint of delightful buttery flavor. Use unsalted butter or decrease the amount of salt in the dry ingredients. You an also use melted coconut oil.
DO I HAVE TO ADD SUGAR TO THE BATTER?
Yes! If you want to enjoy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes then you need sugar to balance out the lemon juice and zest otherwise you’ll end up with a super tart, unappetizing pancakes. If you want to add less sugar, you will need tot reduce the lemon juice.
Use Lemon Zest and not pith
Lemon zest is a crucial ingredient in this Lemon Ricotta Pancake recipe for added lemon oomph. This is the bright yellow outer layer of the lemon peel. Use a zester or a box grater for grating. Make sure you stop grating at the yellow part as the white under part (pith) is extremely bitter.
HOW TO JUICE A LEMON FOR MAXIMUM YIELD
Fresh lemon juice is always best, so it is important to know how to juice a lemon for maximum yield. First, you need to break down the membranes inside the lemon – the membranes hold all the juicy goodness we want! The best way to do this is to microwave the lemons for 30 seconds, then roll the lemons back and forth on the counter a few times before cutting in half and juicing.
CAN I ADD BLUEBERRIES TO LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES?
Absolutely! Although I personally am all about the Blueberry Sauce, you can also add blueberries directly to the pancakes. You can either gently fold the blueberries into the pancake batter or sprinkle them over the pancakes after you add them to the griddle. You can use fresh or frozen blueberries. If using frozen blueberries, defrost them completely and remove any excess moisture. Use 1 to 1 ½ cups blueberries.
How To Make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
You are going to love how easy this Lemon Ricotta Pancakes recipe is to make! It’s just as easy as making traditional pancakes but with the 2-minute elbow grease of zesting lemons.
- Mix dry ingredients. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt until thoroughly combined. Make a well in the center by pushing the center flour mixture to the edges of the bowl.
- Mix wet ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk the milk and ricotta until well blended. Then add the eggs, lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and whisk to combine. Finally, whisk in the melted butter (it’s okay if it curdles a little).
- Combine wet and dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold gently just until combined – don’t over mix! It should be lumpy. Allow the batter to sit 5-10 minutes while you begin to make the Blueberry Sauce. .
- Make pancakes. Melt or brush butter onto a nonstick skillet or large griddle and heat to medium. I just take a cube of butter, open the top of the package and rub the butter all over the skillet. Once hot, add batter, ¼ cup at a time. When the pancakes bubble in the center and the bottom is golden brown, flip them over and cook just a minute or so longer until golden brown. You may need to turn down the heat as you go if the pancakes start to brown too much on the outside before the center is done.
- Make blueberry sauce. I suggest making the blueberry sauce while your batter is resting and multi-tasking and finishing it while you add the batter to the griddle. To make orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, and cornstarch to a medium saucepan, whisk until cornstarch is dissolved and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
- Boil approximately 5 minutes, or until thickened then add blueberries and simmer 5 minutes or until a few berries have burst but most are still whole. Stir in vanilla.
Tips for the best Pancakes
These Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are easy to make but there are a few tips and tricks for the fluffiest pancakes:
Check the freshness of your baking powder
You can do all the right things – don’t overmix your pancake batter, rest the batter, etc. but if your baking powder is old then you’ll end up with flat pancakes. If you aren’t regularly replacing your baking powder, check the expiration date or try this test to make sure your leavening is fresh:
- Add 1/2 cup hot tap water to a measuring glass.
- Add 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
- Watch for an immediate bubbling or fizzing reaction. If this happens, the baking powder is still good; if there isn’t a reaction, then it’s time for new baking powder.
- Note: this test is for baking powder, to test baking soda, you will need to add ¼ teaspoon white vinegar to the water.
If there’s one tip to achieve fluffy, soft Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, it’s to not over-stir the batter. Excess stirring develops the gluten in the batter and makes the pancakes tough, instead of light and fluffy.
Making a well helps the wet and dry ingredients come together more easily then simply fold the ingredients together with a spatula and not a whisk.
Let the batter be lumpy
We want lumpy batter because it means you haven’t over-stirred the batter – this is especially true with Lemon Ricotta Pancakes because it means there’s bits of undissolved ricotta. Stop stirring the batter when the pockets of flour are dissolved but the batter is still lumpy.
Rest the batter
Let the batter rest for 5-10 minutes before making the pancakes. This is a pancake-game changer! It allows the gluten in the batter to relax which results in fluffier pancakes. Take care, however, that you don’t let it rest any longer because the baking powder will lose efficacy.
Don’t make Large Pancakes
Don’t make the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes too large or they are hard to flip and don’t cook as evenly. Smaller pancakes cook evenly and are easier to flip because you can fit your spatula underneath.
Make uniform pancakes
Use a lightly greased measuring cup or cookie scoop for the pancake batter. This creates uniform, evenly-portioned pancakes. I particularly like a cookie scoop because it gives you a rounder shape. If a few edges are unruly, you can gently press them back into shape with a spatula, but I wouldn’t worry about it.
Flip when the bubbles just begin to pop
Contrary to popular belief, you should not flip pancakes when you see bubbles. If you flip too soon, then your pancakes will fall apart. Instead, watch the bubbles in the batter and flip just when they begin to pop and form holes that stay open on the surface of the pancake- not bubbles that fill with more pancake batter.
This should coordinate with the edges of your pancakes. When the edges look set and start to lose their shine, then it’s time to flip. At this point, your Lemon Ricotta Pancake should be golden brown on the bottom. If you flip and your pancake is darker than you like, then your pan is too hot. Reduce the heat, remove the pan, let it cool some, then try again.
Flip with your wrist
How many of us have smeared pancake batter because of a sloppy flip? This is likely the result of a “whole arm flip” instead of a brisk, narrow “wrist flip.” To flip your pancakes, slide a thin spatula under the pancake, lift about three inches (no more!), and then briskly turn your wrist. Your pancake will land right where you picked it up, no smear in sight.
Use the correct spatula
When flipping Lemon Ricotta Pancakes (or any pancakes), you need a thin spatula that will adeptly slide under the delicate pancakes without getting caught on the edges. It also needs to be long enough to cradle the whole pancake. For this purpose, I love my fish spatula. It is made for flipping delicate fish and its long, thin, delicate shape is also perfect for flipping pancakes!
Wipe out the pan between batches
Butter adds incredible flavor to the pancakes but the only problem is it eventually burns in the skillet. To avoid burnt tasting pancakes, wipe the skillet clean and brush with fresh butter between batches. If you don’t have the patience for this, then use vegetable oil instead of butter.
Each skillet and stove are different so it is important to pay attention while making your Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. If the pancakes are browning too quickly, then turn the heat down and let the pan cool off for a few minutes.
What Should I Serve Over These Lemon Ricotta Pancakes?
These Lemon Ricotta Pancakes can be served different every time! Here are some options:
- Blueberry Sauce: although you can mix up the way you serve these Lemon Ricotta Pancakes, my number ONE FAVORITE is with this Blueberry Sauce. It doesn’t get better than this. It’s simply mesmerizing.
- Strawberry syrup: is also fantastic. You can also make this recipe with fresh raspberries as well.
- Store bought berry syrups: you can also purchase excellent store-bought berry syrups for an easy, tasty shortcut.
- Jams: strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, or raspberry jams are delicious.
- Maple syrup: pure maple syrup is a win or try mixing it with 2 teaspoons lemon zest for every ½ cup syrup.
- Fresh fruit: top the pancakes with fresh fruit such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, bananas, mangos and/or pineapple.
- Powdered sugar: fresh fruit pairs particularly well with a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Lemon curd: sweet tangy lemon curd and berries for sweeter tanginess. You can purchase store-bought lemon curd or make your own like the recipe in my Lemon Blueberry Cake.
- Whipped cream: lightly sweetened whipped cream with berries for a lighter spin.
- Ricotta: ricotta, vanilla Greek yogurt or even cottage cheese with a drizzle of maple syrup or a dusting of powdered sugar along with fresh berries.
This Lemon Ricotta Pancake recipe can be used as a springboard for many variations. Here are a few of my favorites:
- Add berries. Fold in 1 to 1 ½ cups blueberries or raspberries into the pancake batter or place berries directly onto the pancakes once ladled on the griddle.
- Add orange. Swap the lemon juice and zest for orange juice and zest. Consider adding chocolate chips for the classic orange-chocolate combo.
- Add poppy seeds. Add 2 tablespoons poppy seeds to the dry ingredients.
- Add nuts. Fold in your favorite nuts such as almonds, pecans or pistachios.
- Add jam. Swirl 2-3 tablespoons berry jam directly into the batter for pockets of berry flavor.
HOW DO I KEEP PANCAKES WARM?
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes are best served warm but they finish cooking all at different times. In order to serve them together, preheat your oven to the lowest setting and place a baking sheet inside. As you cook your pancakes, place them on the baking sheet without touching (stacked pancakes become soggy) until your batter is gone. Now it doesn’t matter who gets the “first” pancake because they are equally warm and cozy.
CAN I MAKE PANCAKE BATTER AHEAD OF TIME?
The easy answer is “no” due to the leavening agent baking powder. The baking powder starts to do its job the second it gets mixed in with the wet ingredients and will lose its efficacy over time.
That being said, you can still make your pancake batter ahead of time. You can either whisk your dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately and keep them in separate airtight containers (refrigerate the wet) and just combine in the morning.
How do I store Pancakes?
- Let pancakes cool completely.
- Line them in an airtight container or plate. If stacking pancakes, place parchment paper in between layers.
- Tightly cover with lid or foil and refrigerate for up to three days.
How to reheat pancakes in the microwave
- Transfer 1-4 pancakes to a microwave-safe plate in-between two sheets of paper towel.
- Microwave on high for 15 to 20 seconds for one pancake or 45 seconds for 2 -4 pancakes. Microwave for 60 seconds for 5 pancakes.
- Eat pancakes immediately so they don’t become tough or and chewy.
How to reheat pancakes in the oven
Reheating pancakes in the oven is effective for large batches and provides the best texture.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Spread the pancakes on an ungreased baking sheet in an even layer so they aren’t touching.
- Cover the baking sheet tightly with foil.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes. Pancakes are done when they are completely warmed through.
CAN YOU FREEZE LEMON RICOTTA PANCAKES?
Yes! Lemon Ricotta Pancakes freeze very well. You can make a big batch, eat what you want, then freeze the leftovers for on-the-go breakfasts or fun dinners or an instant snack so no one ever feels hangry.
How to freeze pancakes:
- Line cooked pancakes on a baking sheet so they aren’t touching.
- Once the pancakes are completely cool, place the baking sheet in the freezer for 30-60 minutes or until pancakes are solid.
- Place pancakes in a freezer bag. Alternatively, you can skip steps 1 and 2 and place parchment paper in between each pancake before placing in a freezer bag.
- Squeeze out as much excess air as possible to prevent freezer burn.
- Freeze for up to 2 months.
HOW TO REHEAT FROZEN PANCAKES
You don’t need to thaw your Lemon Ricotta Pancakes before reheating. They will taste just as good either microwaved or baked from frozen.
- Place up to 5 pancakes on a microwave-safe plate.
- Microwave for 20 seconds per pancake.
- Repeat as need until warmed through.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line pancakes in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Cover tightly with foil.
- Bake for 10 minutes or until warmed through.
LOOKING FOR MORE BREAKFAST RECIPES?
- Breakfast Enchiladas
- Chocolate Waffles
- Creme Brulee French Toast
- Carrot Cake Crepes
- Breakfast Burritos
- Banana Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
Helpful Tools to make Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
- Electric griddle with a nonstick surface can cook multiple pancakes at a time and even keep them warm afterwards.
- Zester: cooking is made 100X easier when you have the right tools for the job! This zester is razor-sharp and makes grating everything a snap from lemons, limes, Parmesan, ginger, garlic, nutmeg and chocolate.
- Lemon squeezer/press: I use fresh lemon/lime juice all the time and this press makes prep so much easier! It’s is made with ultra-strong high quality 18/8 STAINLESS steel (not cheap aluminum) to last a lifetime without rusting or breaking. It also will deliver every last drop of juice from your citrus without ANY seeds! This more economical version also has great reviews (but isn’t made of stainless steel).
- Metal fish spatula is not only perfect for flipping fish by my favorite for pancakes because it’s super, thin long and strong.
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