Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

Nothing beats homemade pancakes, but if you want to convert a traditional buttermilk stack into something magically sophisticated, try using ricotta cheese as the base. Ricotta transforms heavy flapjacks into a tender, pillowy, and rich-tasting breakfast treat. These fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes — courtesy of recipe developer Julie Kinnaird — use both buttermilk and stiffly beaten egg whites to enhance the lightness of the fresh ricotta. Lemon zest plays up the slightly tart flavor of the cheese, which pairs perfectly with honey and macerated berries.

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Because ricotta is a fresh cheese, it is light and moist and has a pliable texture that blends well into a traditional batter. The ratio of dry to wet ingredients is important so you don't end up with heavy, wet pancakes that are finished on the outside but still raw in the middle. Kinnaird takes you through the steps of creating a balanced batter that cooks up into perfectly fluffy and flavorful cakes.

Gather your fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes ingredients

For dry ingredients, this pancake recipe uses basic all-purpose flour, along with granulated sugar, baking powder for leavening, lemon zest for aroma, and a bit of salt. A small portion of the sugar is whipped with the whites, while the yolks are combined with the whole milk ricotta, buttermilk, vanilla extract, and lemon juice to complete the batter. Additional lemon juice is combined with honey and a mix of fresh berries to create the topping for the pancakes.

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Step 1: Macerate the berries

Combine berries with honey and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.

Step 2: Mix the dry pancake ingredients

In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and lemon zest.

Step 3: Combine the wet ingredients

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta, buttermilk, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice until very smooth.

Step 4: Whip the egg whites

In another bowl and using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, whip egg whites on high speed, gradually adding the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, until stiff peaks form.

Step 5: Whisk the wet and dry ingredients together

Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until combined. (The batter will be quite thick.)

Step 6: Fold in the egg whites

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter until just combined.

Step 7: Melt some butter

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat.

Step 8: Dollop batter into the skillet

Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup to gently drop batter into the skillet, 3 pancakes at a time.

Step 9: Cook pancakes on the first side

Cook pancakes on the first side until golden brown and starting to dry around the edges, about 2-3 minutes.

Step 10: Flip and cook some more

Flip pancakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden on the other side.

Step 11: Transfer the pancakes to a platter

Transfer pancakes to a platter and repeat the cooking process with the remaining butter and batter.

Step 12: Serve warm pancakes with berries

Serve pancakes warm with macerated berries on top.

What other ingredients can I add to fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes?

This fluffy lemon ricotta pancake recipe is well suited to the addition of a variety of flavors and toppers. For a bit of crunch and whimsical eye appeal, try adding a couple of tablespoons of poppy seeds to the dry ingredients. Instead of vanilla extract, use pure almond extract in the batter and scatter on some toasted slivered almonds for serving. If you have extra ricotta, add a little sugar and lemon zest and whisk until smooth for a delicious addition to the berries. Although the marinated fresh berries are delicious on these pancakes, try spreading preserves like raspberry or strawberry between the stacked layers with a bit of freshly whipped and sweetened cream on top. There is also nothing wrong with sticking to the basics of butter and warm maple syrup! Try making a double batch for guests and creating a "pancake bar" with all the possible accompaniments.

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Can I make fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes in advance?

Not only are these pancakes delicious the moment they are prepared, but they can be mixed or cooked in advance in a couple of different ways. Kinnaird says the first option is to let your pancake batter rest, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours before you cook your pancakes. Yes, this batter is delicate due to the addition of the beaten egg whites. However, with additional resting, the baking powder and buttermilk will continue to produce gases that create air pockets in the batter, giving the pancakes their nice fluffy interior. Rather than becoming "gummy" as the flour absorbs the liquid, then, the extra moisture content in the ricotta keeps the batter creamy. 

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The second make-ahead method is to cook all of the pancake batter, cool the cakes, and then wrap and store them in the refrigerator or freezer. These pancakes reheat nicely when wrapped in foil and heated in a 350 F oven for about 15 minutes, or they can also be microwaved on medium heat. An air fryer will give them a nice crispy exterior.

Fluffy Lemon Ricotta Pancakes Recipe

4.9 (14 ratings)

Ricotta cheese transforms classic pancakes into a tender, pillowy, and rich-tasting breakfast treat complete with fragrant lemon zest and fresh berries.

Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
servings
12
pancakes
Fluffy lemon ricotta pancakes in stack on plate with berries
Total time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups mixed fresh berries (such as sliced strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest (of roughly 1 large lemon)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature, yolks and whites separated
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup (½ stick) butter, divided

Directions

  1. Combine berries with honey and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt, and lemon zest.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ricotta, buttermilk, vanilla, and remaining 2 tablespoons lemon juice until very smooth.
  4. In another bowl and using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, whip egg whites on high speed, gradually adding the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, until stiff peaks form.
  5. Add ricotta mixture to the flour mixture and whisk until combined. (The batter will be quite thick.)
  6. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped egg whites into the batter until just combined.
  7. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  8. Use a 2-ounce ice cream scoop or ¼ cup measuring cup to gently drop batter into the skillet, 3 pancakes at a time.
  9. Cook pancakes on the first side until golden brown and starting to dry around the edges, about 2-3 minutes.
  10. Flip pancakes and cook for another 2-3 minutes until golden on the other side.
  11. Transfer pancakes to a platter and repeat the cooking process with the remaining butter and batter.
  12. Serve pancakes warm with macerated berries on top.

Nutrition

Calories per Serving 170
Total Fat 7.5 g
Saturated Fat 4.2 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 67.2 mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.6 g
Dietary Fiber 1.2 g
Total Sugars 10.1 g
Sodium 214.4 mg
Protein 4.9 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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