Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

Ten recipes (and one bonus idea) for using leftover ricotta cheese before it goes bad–recipes that you might like even better than whatever you made with that ricotta.


It happened again. When I was done making spaghetti squash, sausage and spinach lasagna, I had about 1-1/2 cups of ricotta cheese left in the container and no immediate plans for using it. Three weeks later, I discovered the container in the back of the frig. Pee-yoo. Down the sink it went.

That’s when I said to myself: I need a document full of ideas for using a 1/2 cup, 1 cup or 2 cups of leftover ricotta. I can select a recipe and add it to my menu file. Yeah, I’m a Virgo.

So what’s this menu file, you ask? Life is crazy. Life is also full of great recipe and meal ideas. But because life is crazy, if I don’t write those meal ideas down, they’re gone in a flash from my brain. There’s only so much room in there and I have to leave space for all the brilliant creative stuff–activating the Law of Attraction here. Anything I want to remember must be written down.

My menu file is where I capture ideas for meals and other kitchen projects for the coming week. I also keep track of perishable or “must use” ingredients on there too, like our CSA share or anything else that’s getting old in the refrigerator, freezer or pantry. Except sometimes I forget to add an ingredient, ahem, ricotta. I keep the list in the cloud so if I’m at the store, I can reference it in my Dropbox.

After discovering the old ricotta, I started searching my recipe files and Pinterest boards for ricotta recipes and found quite a few. I added some ideas lurking in my brain—stuff does survive in there somehow, did a little research and came up with a good list. Then I thought, hey, why not share this with everyone. I’m not the only one who’s ever had surplus ricotta hanging around. So, here you go…

10 ways to use leftover ricotta | Grabbing the Gusto

One of my favorite ways to enjoy ricotta — canoli. (Creative Commons photo by


Ricotta on toast with berries. When I was the general manager of an Italian restaurant, I used to have ricotta on wheat toast with strawberries for breakfast almost every single day. I don’t know why I never got sick of it. Or, you can spread ricotta on toasted bagels, English muffins or sandwich thins and top it with whatever fruit is in season. A little ground flax seed or wheat germ adds texture.

Sweet potato breakfast gnocchi. Oh. My. God. Why didn’t I see this recipe before the demise of my ricotta? I’m about ready to go out and buy some so I can make this recipe from Food52—it’s originally from Emily at Five and Spice.

Pumpkin ricotta pancakes. Do a search and you’ll find lots of ricotta pancake recipes. I love the idea of pumpkin ricotta pancakes in the fall. Here’s a recipe from I Am a Food Blog.

Use leftover ricotta in this twice-baked butternut squash with ricotta and sage recipe from Coffee and Quinoa

Twice-baked butternut squash with ricotta and sage from Coffee and Quinoa

Twice-baked butternut squash with ricotta and sage. Doesn’t that look fabulous? I found the one on Coffee and Quinoa.


Lemon ricotta pancakes. Some pancake recipes call for more than 1/2 cup of ricotta, for example, these lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry sauce from Two Peas and Their Pod.

Sweet potato rounds with herbed ricotta, walnuts and dried cranberries. When the holidays roll around next year, remember this festive appetizer from The Roasted Root. I may not wait until the holidays.

Puff pastry rolls with kale, ricotta and feta. I could see serving these as an appetizer or having them for lunch. Find the recipe on Italian Food Forever.

Use leftover ricotta in this Eggplant Rollups recipe from Italian Food Forever

Eggplant Rollups from Italian Food Forever

Eggplant rollups (aka involtini di melanzane). Another one from Italian Food Forever that looks mouth-watering fantastic.

Spinach and ricotta gnocchi. I’ve long had my eye on this gnocchi verde (spinach and ricotta dumplings) recipe from Food52.


Lemon ricotta pound cake. A perfect recipe from Alexandra Cooks for citrus season. I love the way that loaf shines—I can almost smell it.

And there are so many more good recipes out there. I have no excuse to ever let ricotta go bad again. As long as I add it to my menu file.

Do you have any favorite recipes for leftover ricotta?


1 year ago on Grabbing the Gusto: Asian-Style Braised Ribbonfish

2 years ago: Sweet Potato and Turkey Shepherd’s Pie

3 years ago: Salmon Noodle Casserole

4 years ago: Italian Spaghetti Squash

5 years ago: Spicy Italian Stuffed Jalapenos

2 thoughts on “What to Do with Leftover Ricotta Cheese

  1. elyann14 says:

    I adore ricotta! It’s one of my favourites and I love it with cannolis! You can check some of the recipes I made using ricotta: Cannoli and Sbriciolata Would love to hear your thoughts =)

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