If you are like us during the summer with an abundance of Homemade Basil Pesto, then you must try this delicious Whipped Ricotta spread! The combination of whipped ricotta and mascarpone cheeses, with fresh homemade basil pesto and sun dried tomatoes is irresistible and perfect for a midday snack, dinner party appetizer, or a weeknight girl dinner (IYKYK).
Whipped ricotta cheese recipes can be found online in a variety of forms. They can be sweet or savory, and can have many to very few ingredients. Our version is creamy and rich and we love it paired with our classic basil pesto and sun dried tomatoes.
Although fresh ricotta cheese is a very traditional Italian ingredient used in many dishes, from lasagna and pasta to desserts, the process of combining it with mascarpone and whipping is a whole different experience!
We love the combination of ricotta and mascarpone cheeses with a little salt and pepper, then topped with pesto and some delicious sun-dried tomatoes. The inherent sweetness of the ricotta and mascarpone are counterbalanced by the savory pesto for a great dish to serve as an appetizer or on game day!
This recipe incorporates our Quick and Delicious Homemade Basil Pesto Recipe in a fun way as an appetizer or tasty snack with toasted baguette slices! This dish pairs nicely with our Summer Pasta or Creamy Cacio e Pepe for a perfect meal!
This recipe for Whipped Ricotta with Basil Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes requires just a few ingredients and is quick and easy to make! No cooking required!
- Ricotta cheese: Use fresh whole milk ricotta. It will become smooth and creamy when whipped
- Mascarpone cheese: This magical creamy cheese will lend body and flavor to the whipped ricotta. Mascarpone is a fresh creamy Italian cheese that is similar in texture to American cream cheese. Mascarpone has a whole cream base rather than milk and doesn't have the acidity that American cream cheese has.
- Kosher salt or sea salt
- Basil pesto: Nothing beats a homemade pesto. Use this Homemade Basil Pesto recipe rather than buying store bought. Thank us later.
- Sun Dried Tomatoes: We use the kind that are jarred and packed in olive oil.
- Chili oil: Find chili-infused oil in the olive oil section of most grocery stores. Just a little drizzle to add some spiciness and extra flavor gives this a nice kick.
- Baguette: Don't forget the toasted baguette slices!
See recipe card for quantities.
This recipe cannot be easier to make!
Step 1: If you don't have basil pesto already made, start by making your pesto by following this recipe for Quick and Delicious Homemade Basil Pesto.
Step 2: Add the ricotta, mascarpone, salt and pepper to a food processor, and process until combined, whipped and creamy. This will only take a couple minutes.
Step 3: Plate your whipped ricotta, top with basil pesto, then chopped sun dried tomatoes. Drizzle with chili oil and serve with toasted baguette slices!
Hint: Each component of this recipe can be made in advance and stored in separate containers in the fridge until ready to serve, making it an easy snack for anytime!
There are some substitutions that can be made if these ingredients aren't readily available.
- Pesto: Any variation of pesto works really well here, so get creative and have fun with different types and styles of pesto. Try this with our Roasted Red Pepper Pesto.
- Mascarpone: Most grocery stores carry mascarpone cheese, but if it is not available, you can substitute it in this recipe for crème fraîche or just replace it with more ricotta.
- Ricotta: Although cottage cheese is often listed as a substitute for ricotta in many recipes, we don't recommend using it here due to the consistency and flavor. If you don't have ricotta, it's probably best to not make this recipe until you can get ricotta.
- Want to make this non-spicy: Omit the chili oil. We love the slight kick it adds, but this is delicious without it as well. Or replace it with another flavored olive oil, like garlic or lemon, or even a drizzle of honey!
- Make it for a crowd: Want to make this for a party, but would prefer not to have a bunch of people dipping into the same dish? Simply pre-make crostini by spreading the whipped ricotta on slices of baguette and topping each with a little pesto and sun-dried tomatoes. You can set the pre-made crostini bites on a larger platter and let you guests eat as they please.
- Add fresh herbs/spices in the whipped ricotta: You can easily add a variety of fresh herbs and spices to the food processor to whip into the ricotta for a twist on this recipe.
The food processor is the perfect piece of equipment for this entire recipe. However, the whipped ricotta can be made with an electric mixer as well.
Store each of the components of this dish (i.e., whipped ricotta, pesto, and sun dried tomatoes) in separate covered containers for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Each of these components can be easily made in advanced.
The pesto can be frozen and stored in a freezer-safe container for up to 6 months. The whipped ricotta does not freeze as well, and you may lose some of the nice whipped creamy texture. We recommended making that fresh.
If you prefer a more dense whipped ricotta, drain the ricotta prior to using it by putting it in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl for about 15-20 minutes. If you prefer a less dense, runnier, whipped ricotta, add some heavy whipping cream to the mixture.
This recipe for whipped ricotta does not use cream, and should not necessarily be “runny.” However, different brands of ricotta will have more or less moisture in them. It is usually not necessary to drain the ricotta for this recipe and we almost never do. But if you use a brand that is quite “wet” then it may be necessary to do so (see Top Tip for details).
These are totally different products that may have some slight similarities in appearance, but will taste very different from each other. American cream cheese has a more acidic flavor than ricotta. Ricotta is much more mild with a slight sweetness.
Without getting extremely technical, the two are different. They are somewhat similar as products, but made differently.
From a taste standpoint, cottage cheese is almost always saltier and has more cow-milk flavor, while ricotta has more sweetness to it and is creamier. As far as texture, cottage cheese has larger curds and is chunkier but also wetter due to added liquids when making the final product. Ricotta is slightly smoother but before whipping, it will usually have a grainier texture than cottage cheese.
They could technically be substituted for each other depending on the application, however they are quite different from each other and that is why we use both here. Mascarpone is much smoother and has a different type of flavor than ricotta. They combination of flavors is preferred in this recipe, but they can be substituted for each other if one isn't available at your grocery store.
Looking for other appetizer recipes like this? Try these:
These are our favorite dishes to serve with Whipped Ricotta with Basil Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes:
Whipped Ricotta with Basil Pesto and Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 1 Food processor
- 6 oz ricotta cheese
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- pinch of pepper
- ¼ cup Basil Pesto
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes chopped
- Chili oil to drizzle
- Micro basil leaves optional for garnish
- Add ricotta, mascarpone, salt and pepper to a food processor and whip until fluffy and smooth, about 2-4 minutes.
- Spread on a plate (or multiple plates) and top with pesto (as mush as you prefer). Place the chopped sun dried tomatoes in the center of the pesto and drizzle with the chili oil. Serve with crackers, crostini, bread and/or vegetables.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods