This ricotta cheesecake is very light and almost fluffy thanks to the texture of the ricotta itself. It’s not as dense and what you’d expect from a traditional cheesecake.
★ Why You’ll Love this Recipe ★
This cheesecake is made with ricotta and mascarpone cheese, in addition to traditional cream cheese. Mascarpone cheese is similar to cream cheese but more rich. And the ricotta creates a light and fluffy texture and offsets the richness. It's the perfect combination of cheeses to elevate your cheesecake.
To further level-up this cheesecake, this recipe incorporates a crust made with granola bars! It's homemade yet not difficult to prep. The granola bar based crust adds flavors of honey, oats and almonds.
I'll also show you how to bake your cheesecake in a water bath to get a perfectly flat top — no cracks, no falling apart. It's easy to achieve when you follow the steps.
This ricotta cheesecake is very light and almost fluffy thanks to the texture of the ricotta itself. It's not as dense and what you'd expect from a traditional cheesecake, which for me is fabulous! So if you sometimes feel put off by the density of a traditional cheesecake, you'll love this lighter version.
★ Ingredients You'll Need ★
You'll be using a blend of three creamy cheeses:
- Cream cheese
- Ricotta cheese
- Mascarpone cheese
Then you'll add: sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract and lemon juice. These ingredients bind the cake together as it bakes and gives this dessert a really nice depth of flavor.
That's it for the cheesecake! Pretty simple.
For the crust, you'll start with:
- Granola bars and
- Then add a mixture of salt, sugar, butter and flour to bind the crust ingredients together. Everything goes into your food processor to form a dough and then that gets pressed into the bottom of your cheesecake pan. Simple.
★ How to Make this Cheesecake ★
This is an easy recipe to make if you follow the directions.
Here's a quick look at what's involved:
- Blend granola bars, almonds, salt and butter.
- Press crust into greased springform pan and bake.
- Sprinkle baked crust with sugar and flour.
- Blend cheeses with sugar. Add lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract then eggs.
- Pour mixture on top of baked crust.
- Wrap pan in foil.
- Place in cast iron skillet or roasting pan.
- Fill skillet/roasting pan with hot water.
- Bake. Cool in fridge.
- Add toppings and serve!
It's an easy process if you just follow the steps.
Check out the video beneath the the recipe below to watch, step by step, including the water bath.
★ FAQs & Tips ★
How is this mascarpone and ricotta cheesecake different than traditional cheesecake?
The texture is much more light and fluffy vs. the dense cheeecake you might be familiar with. The flavor is a bit different too as you might expect. The mild flavor of the ricotta blended with the more rich mascarpone creates a nice balance. Cream cheese rounds everything out with that traditional and more familiar taste and texture.
I personally don't love such rich and dense desserts so I really enjoy the touch of ricotta and the mousse-like quality this adds.
The flavor boost that comes from a subtle blend of almond extract, vanilla, and lemon juice might seem familiar yet with a twist. The lemon juice adds a touch of tartness which tones down the richness.
Finally, the crust is a bit more complex than your traditional graham cracker crust. The almonds add an earthy elements and the crunchy oats bring additional texture to this otherwise very creamy dessert.
If you're short on time, it's totally fine to use a pre-made graham cracker crust.
What kind of pan do you need to make a cheesecake?
There is a special pan you'll need to use to make a proper cheesecake — a springform pan. They look like this: For this recipe, you'll want to use a 9" springform pan. A springform pan has a bottom that releases from the sides after the cheesecake is cooked.
This special pan is what gives your cheesecake the perfect, low-profile, flat-topped shape you see at restaurants but to really perfect your cheesecake, you'll need to bake the cheesecake in a water bath.
How to Prevent Cheesecake from Cracking
A water bath is an important technique that prevents the top of your cheesecake from cracking. It seems complicated and fancy but it's really not hard so don't skip this step!
With a water bath you get a perfectly smooth and flat top to your cheesecake, like this:
Just follow the recipe directions below for more explanation and watch the video to learn you how to set up your water bath.
It's pretty easy if you use the right tools. Once you've done it once or twice, it will feel like second nature.
What type of granola bars are used for the crust?
You want to use Nature Valley Oat's 'n Honey crunchy granola bars.
You can find these at most grocery stores in the snack aisle or near the breakfast bars. Most popular stores like Walmart and Target carry these. If you can't find them, a traditional graham cracker crust works well too. Or you can order them on Amazon.
Storing and Freezing
Storing in the Fridge
This cheesecake does need to be refrigerated and not left on the counter. You can store for up to 4 days in the fridge. Store in an airtight container.
Freezing and Thawing
After baking and cooling, you can freeze this cheesecake in an airtight container then thaw all the way through before serving. It can take up to 5 hours to fully defrost from frozen to ready to serve.
★ Tools You'll Need ★
You'll need a few special tools to make this mascarpone ricotta cheesecake recipe:
- Food processor
- Springform pan - 9" pan for this recipe
- Cast iron skillet - Larger than your springform pan to use for the water bath
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Italian Mascarpone and Ricotta Cheesecake
- 4 honey oat granola bars 2 individual packages
- ¼ cup almonds ground
- 1 tablespoon butter melted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 8 oz mascarpone cheese room temperature
- 8 oz ricotta cheese squeeze to remove excess liquid
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- Heat Nutella w/ a little milk and drizzle over top
- Cherry pie filling
- Caramel sauce drizzled with shaved chocolate
- Fresh raspberries or other fresh fruit
- Lemon curd
- Preheat oven to 325˚F.
- For the crust: Grind oatmeal bars and almonds together using food processor or a mortar and pestle. Add melted butter and salt and press into bottom of a completely greased springform pan.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 325˚. Let cool. Mix sugar and flour together and sprinkle over top of crust. (This prevents crust from getting soggy)
- Prepare the water bath: wrap the bottom of your springform pan with a single sheet of foil, going all the way up the sides and fold over along the top edge or the springform pan. This will block water from coming in. Place the springform pan into a roasting pan and set aside.
- For the filling: Beat cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in lemon juice, vanilla and almond extract. Mix in eggs one at a time. Pour cheesecake mixture into the springform pan overtop of the crust layer.
- Fill your roasting pan with hot water, half way up the side of the springform pan. Check out the video below if you need a visual on how to prepare the water bath.
- Bake at 325˚ until the center of the cheesecake is no longer wobbly when shaken, about 1hr and 5 mins. Let cool then refrigerate, preferably overnight.