Ricotta pancakes are special because they are extra soft and fluffy inside. These are based on Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes recipe from his bistro Bills, a breakfast institution in Sydney. Time to up your pancake game!
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE traditional pancakes. But sometimes it’s nice to make a wee bit of an effort to make ricotta pancakes which are extra special.
Super moist inside with a flavour that is almost a bit cheesecakey. Even if you don’t know you’re eating a ricotta pancake, you know it’s different to normal pancakes! Which is why they’re a favourite among trendy bistros as a breakfast menu item. Like Bills. Any Sydney-siders fond of Bill Granger’s ricotta hotcakes? No need to battle the traffic into the city on weekends, not to mention the queue for a table or the cost. Just make these at home! 🙂
Here’s a nice close up for you. Fluffy. With little bits of ricotta curds studded throughout. Liberally doused with maple syrup. YES!
Ingredients in ricotta pancakes
Other than ricotta, there’s nothing in these that you probably don’t already have in your pantry!
Ricotta – Use full fat, not low fat (it lacks flavour and creaminess, and thus the two things it adds to the pancakes!). Standard ricotta, not whipped or spreadable or any other such variation.
TIP: Get one in a basket sealed in vac packs or over the deli counter. My favourite brand is Paesanella – comes in both forms. Avoid Perfect Italiano in tubs (mainstream Australian grocery store brand.) It’s bizarrely powdery and just not pleasant.
Baking powder AND baking soda/bi-carb – These make the pancakes rise. In my classic pancakes, I only use baking powder as that’s all that’s needed to make them fluffy. Ricotta weighs down the batter so we need the extra rising boost from a touch of baking soda (which is approximately 3x stronger).
Don’t worry if you don’t have bi-carb, just use extra baking powder. The difference is only minor. 🙂
Vinegar (or lemon juice) – I know this looks weird, but trust me! Vinegar/acid activates the baking soda to give it a kick start. You see iterations of this in most of my baking recipes, whether it’s a touch of vinegar or yogurt or sour cream (which serve the same purpose).
We only use 1 teaspoon so it doesn’t make the pancakes taste vinegary. Use any clear vinegar or lemon juice.
Flour – Just plain/all-purpose flour. Works better to use flour + baking powder + bi-carb that just self raising flour (which has baking powder pre-mixed) which never rises as well.
Sugar – Just 3 tablespoons. We don’t want these sweet because we will DOUSE them with maple syrup!!
Eggs – 3 large ones which are 55g/2 ounces each. No need to bring them to room temperature, fridge cold is fine.
Milk – Full fat best, though low fat and non-dairy will work too.
Vanilla – For flavour.
Salt – Just a pinch, to bring out the other flavours in the pancakes. Standard baking practice!
How to make ricotta pancakes
The batter part is super easy – whisk the wet ingredients, then whisk in the dry ingredients. We can do that half asleep. But you do need to be awake and alert when you cook them! Aim for 3 minutes on the stove with golden brown surfaces. It might take a bit of stove adjusting to get it right!
Whisk wet ingredients – Whisk the Wet ingredients in a bowl. Be vigorous to break up the ricotta! You will end up with little ricotta curd bits all throughout but no clumps of ricotta.
Whisk in dry ingredients – Scatter the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt across the surface. Then whisk just until the flour is incorporated and the batter is lump free.
Heat pan (I use 2 pans because I’m impatient) – Using a good non-stick pan, heat it on medium. Then either brush lightly with a bit of melted butter, or melt a little dab of butter then wipe the excess off with a paper towel. Why? Because otherwise the excess butter will burn when cooking the pancake, leaving unsightly dark brown patches and a burnt flavour. It’s a common mistake! We just want to use the bare minimum so the pancake doesn’t get stuck on the pan.
PERFECT GOLDEN BROWN – Also, using minimum butter is how you can make the pancakes a beautiful even golden brown all across the surface, like pictured below, instead of splotchy – like pictured above in the step photo 4. If you use even just a little too much butter in the pan, they come out with golden splotches. It’s not a big deal, just a visual thing! With the added benefit that you’re cooking with less butter which means you can put more butter ON your pancakes… 😈
Dollop batter – Pour 1/4 cup batter in the middle of the pan. I use an ice cream scoop, one of my favourite kitchen tools. So handy for pancakes, muffins, cupcakes, fritters, meatballs….
It should pretty much spread into an even-round by itself but may need a bit of coaxing. Don’t spread it too thin, we want ricotta pancakes nice and thick!
Cook 3 minutes – Cook the first side for 1 1/2 minutes or until golden brown. The sides and surface should be just about set so the pancake holds its shape when you flip.
Flip, then cook the other side for 1 1/2 minutes until golden. Adjust the stove heat as needed to ensure they don’t brown too fast. You really need the pancakes to cook for 3 minutes and be golden brown to ensure they are fully cooked inside.
Remove pancakes and continue cooking. If you want the perfect golden brown surface like pictured in this post, either do not any more butter at all OR just brush the pan very lightly with butter.
Stack the pancakes up so they keep each other warm. I use 2 pans so it takes me around 12 minutes to cook the whole batch. If you’re only using one pan, you might want to keep them warm in a low oven, or just microwave briefly before serving (they reheat 100% perfectly).
Matters of ricotta pancakes
Cooking part done, let’s chat serving!
Toppings – Lovely just served with butter and maple syrup, but I figure if I’m making the effort, I may as well go all the way. By “all the way”, it just involves sprinkling halved strawberries with sugar and leaving them to sweat for a bit to soften the strawberries and extract some of the juice. The fancy word for this is “macerated strawberries”, but really, all it means is that the strawberries are softened slightly.
It’s also a neat trick to improve under-ripe strawberries when they are out of season, like now. 🙂
Making ahead – Ricotta Pancakes hold up quite well made ahead too. Because they are so moist, they don’t suffer as much as ordinary pancakes which become stale relatively quickly. Whereas reheated ricotta pancakes are pretty similar to freshly made!
So this weekend, why not stay in for brunch? Flop around in your daggy slippers, stay in your PJ’s, no need to comb your hair. The coffee refills are free and nothing – nothing – beats a good homemade meal!
Happy weekend everyone! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Fluffy Ricotta Pancakes
- 3/4 cup ricotta cheese , full fat (Note 1)
- 3 large eggs (55g/2oz each)
- 3 tbsp caster sugar (superfine sugar)
- 3/4 cup milk (full fat best but low fat fine)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp white vinegar (or other clear or clear-ish vinegar, Note 2)
- 1 1/3 cups plain/all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda (bi0carb) or 3/4 tsp extra baking powder (Note 3)
- Pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp (15g) butter , melted (Note 4)
- 8 oz / 250g strawberries , halved or quartered
- 1 tbsp caster/superfine sugar
- Maple syrup , for dousing
- Whisk wet – Place the Wet ingredients in a bowl and whisk vigorously to combine. You should have little ricotta curd bits in it, but you don't want giant ricotta clumps.
- Add dry – Scatter the Dry ingredients across the surface then whisk until combined. The batter is a little thicker than standard pancake batter.
- Lightly butter pan – Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat until hot (I use 2 pans). Brush lightly with melted butter (or melt a bit then wipe off excess with paper towels – Note 4).
- Batter – Pour in 1/4 cup batter – it should just about spread evenly into a round but may need a bit of coaxing. (I use an ice cream scoop – Note 5)
- Cook 3 minutes – Cook the first side for 1 1/2 minutes or until golden brown (turn heat down if browning too fast). Flip then cook the other side for 1 1/2 minutes or until golden. Remove onto a plate.
- Cook remaining – If your non-stick coating is good, you won't need more butter though a very light brush of melted butter every 2nd or 3rd pancake won't hurt. Continue cooking, lowering the heat as you go as the pan gets hotter. You should get 9 to 10 in total. Keep cooked pancakes stacked so they keep each other warm (or use a low 50C/125F oven).
- Serve ricotta pancakes with macerated strawberries (below), softened butter and copious amounts of maple syrup!
Macerated strawberries (optional)
- Toss together strawberries and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside for 20 minutes to allow them to sweat and soften slightly. (Even overnight in fridge is fine.) Serve on pancakes!
Originally published in March 2016. Republished May 2023 with improved recipe, brand spanking new photos and a video added!
Pancakes, pancakes, pancakes
Life of Dozer
Then and now – when Dozer saw a table full of this……
….here was his reaction back in 2016 on the original publication date…
….and 7 years on, today, on the re-publication date. NOTHING HAS CHANGED!
A stray strawberry and a huge hunk of pancake may have fallen his way….. 😉