These citrus ricotta pancakes are extra fluffy, with a delightful milky flavor and a wonderful custardy texture that are wonderfully complemented by the bright citrus fruits. You’ll want to enjoy the citrus syrup by the spoonful!
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Does any dish go better with lazy weekend mornings than pancakes? Easy to prepare, quick to cook, fluffy as clouds, and versatile as your imagination, they’re simply the perfect morning food.
I’ve made my share of pancakes over the years, trying new recipes as I went, taking notes when adding some ingredients improved the classic recipe, and I’ve recently settled on a new favorite. Adding ricotta to pancake batter makes them extra fluffy, adds an enticingly rich, milky taste, and lends a sumptuous custardy texture to the pancake centers. Now, why wouldn’t you want your pancakes to taste this luxurious, forever and always? My point, exactly.
So from now on, these ricotta pancakes should be your go-to pancakes. You can serve them any and every way you like, sprinkled with chocolate chips and banana slices, slathered with hazelnut spread, or doused in maple syrup. But if you want to turn these ricotta pancakes into an extra-special dish, use your own homemade ricotta in the batter and serve the pancakes with a tumble of citrus fruit segments and a drizzle of citrus syrup. Granted, assembling the dish will squeeze a bit more effort out of you, but ricotta and citrus fruits are made for each other. Believe me—you don’t want to miss this sweet combination!
Pro tips to make these ricotta pancakes breezily
Follow these easy steps to prep these ricotta pancakes like a pro:
Zest the citrus fruits using a Microplane (the citrusy aromas will wake you right up!);
Peel and chop the citrus fruits (refer to the recipe, below, for tips); set the pieces aside;
Squeeze the citrus fruit juice for the syrup, then add to a saucepan along with the sugar;
Combine the pancake batter ingredients, then start cooking the pancakes.
Simmer the citrus syrup while the pancakes cook.
Stack the pancakes as high as you can, top with citrus fruits, drizzle generously with syrup, and enjoy!
All in all, making ricotta pancakes with citrus fruits and syrup should take from 35 to 45 minutes—or just long enough to allow you to sip your first cup of coffee.
How to prepare citrus fruits
To make these ricotta pancakes, you’ll need a lot of citrus fruits: that’s what makes this recipe so aromatic and delicious! Your shopping list should include 2 pink grapefruits, 3 oranges or 6 clementines, and 2 lemons.
To make the citrus topping and citrus syrup, you’ll use everything that makes citrus fruits so delicious: their zest, flesh, and juice.
Start by zesting the fruits: The zest of the citrus fruits is much easier to collect when the fruits are whole, so this is the very first step. I strongly recommend using a Microplane to do so: this tool makes the task extra easy and ensures you won’t collect any of the white pith under the citrus skin. The citrus zest’s aromatic flavor lies in the colorful outer skin; the white pith is bitter, so you don’t want to use any of it in this ricotta pancake recipe.
Next, peel the fruits: Cut off both the top and the bottom of the citrus fruits. Stand one fruit on either of the flat ends. Run a very sharp paring knife along the fruit from top to bottom, removing the skin and pith, leaving the flesh bare. Repeat for all citrus fruits.
Cut or segment the citrus flesh: In this recipe, you can either cut or segment the citrus flesh.
Slicing the fruits is the easiest method. To slice the citrus fruits, turn the peeled fruits on their sides and slice them into rounds. Discard any pits you spot in the fruits. You can then either leave the citrus rounds whole, or cut them again into halves or quarters.
Segmenting citrus fruits takes a bit more time, but makes these ricotta pancakes extra elegant. “Segmenting” citrus fruits means removing all membranes from the flesh of the fruits.
Here’s how to segment citrus fruits. Take a peeled citrus fruit in one hand, then carefully run a sharp knife alongside the center membranes, leaving entirely bare pieces of fruit behind. Make sure to do this over a bowl and squeeze the remaining membrane to catch all dripping juices. You can add this juice to the syrup, but if you do, make sure to simmer the syrup for longer so it thickens properly. Alternatively, save the juice for your next smoothie or cocktail!
Helpful Tips to make Perfect Ricotta Pancakes
Here are clever tips that will help you make the fluffiest, most dreamily tender ricotta pancakes.
Don’t overmix the ricotta pancake batter: use a spatula (not an electric beater!) to combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix gently just until you don’t see large streaks of dry ingredients in the batter anymore. Lumps can remain in the batter.
Be extra gentle when folding the egg whitesinto the ricotta pancake batter: Cloud-like beaten egg whites makes the batter airy and light, which results in super fluffy pancakes. You don,t want to deflate those egg whites by beating them into the batter. Instead, add the egg whites to the batter all at once, then use a spatula to genty fold them into the batter: set the spatula over the egg whites, then gently press down along one side of the bowl and into the batter. When you reach the bottom of the bowl, follow its curvy bottom then pull up on the other side of the bowl. Repeat this motion until the egg whites seem to be evenly incorporated into the batter.
Watch over that heat: Use a nonstick pan or griddle and preheat it over medium heat for at least 2 to 3 minutes to make sure it is evenly hot. Keep the pan over medium heat throughout: high heat will burn the outside of the pancakes, but keep the insides raw.
Measure out the quantity of batter you use for each pancake: Using a ladle or a measuring cup helps create evenly sized ricotta pancakes. It also makes the cooking time more predictable!
Keep those ricotta pancakes warm: Before you start cooking the pancakes, preheat the oven to 200°F (93°C) and set a baking sheet in it. Transfer the pancakes to the warm oven as you go to keep them nice and warm until ready to serve.
CITRUS DESSERTS COOKBOOK
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These citrus ricotta pancakes are extra fluffy, with a delightful milky flavor and a wonderful custardy texture that are wonderfully complemented by the bright citrus fruits. You'll want to enjoy the citrus syrup by the spoonful!
Total of 1 packed tablespoon (15 ml) finely grated citrus fruit zest (use the fruits you will peel to serve as topping), a combination of grapefruit, orange or clementine, and lemon zest (omit citrus zest if you want to make ricotta pancakes to serve with other toppings)
Using a Microplane, zest the citrus fruits you will use for the topping and set aside 1 tbsp (15 ml) packed mixed zest.
For the citrus fruit topping: Cut off both the top and the bottom of the citrus fruits. Stand one fruit on either of the flat ends. Run a very sharp paring knife along the fruit from top to bottom, removing the skin and pith, leaving the flesh bare. Repeat for all citrus fruits.
Now you can either slice or segment the citrus fruits.
To slice the fruits (easiest method): Turn the peeled fruits on their sides and slice them into rounds. Either leave them as whole, round slices, or cut again in halves or quarters. Transfer the prepared pieces of fruit in a bowl and set aside until service.
To segment the fruits (more elegant presentation): Take a peeled fruit in one hand, and carefully run a sharp knife alongside the membranes, leaving entirely bare pieces of fruit behind. You should make sure to do this over a bowl and squeeze the remaining membrane to catch all dripping juices, which you can use to make the syrup. Transfer the prepared pieces of fruit in a bowl and set aside until service.
Prepare the pancake batter: In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the ricotta, milk, egg yolks, citrus fruit zest, and vanilla. Pour the ricotta mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently, using a spatula, until just combined.
Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff. Using a spatula, stir a scoop of the egg whites into the pancake batter to lighten the batter, then add in the remaining whites, gently folding until no white streaks remain.
Cook the citrus syrup: Combine the citrus fruit juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the citrus has thickened to a maple syrup consistency. Transfer to a serving cup or glass bottle and set aside until service.
Cook the pancakes: Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the cooking surface with cooking spray. Use a 1/3 cup (80 ml) measure to pour batter onto the hot griddle or pan (use a spoon or a narrow spatula to help the batter out of the cup, if needed.) Cook the pancakes for about 4 minutes, until the undersides are golden and you can see a few bubbles popping through the pancakes. (If the underside of the pancakes seems to be browning too quickly, lower the heat.) Flip the pancakes and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the pancakes are golden, puffed and cooked through. Repeat to cook all pancakes. If desired, set the cooked pancakes on a baking sheet and place in a low oven to keep warm until service.
SERVING: Pile the pancakes on serving plates. Top with pieces of citrus fruits. Generously drizzle with citrus syrup and serve immediately.
STORAGE: The cooked pancakes will keep refrigerated in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat the pancakes, set on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 300°F (150°C) oven for 8 to 10 minutes.The citrus syrup will keep refrigerated in an airtight container or glass bottle for up to 1 week. Gently rewarm the syrup in the microwave or over low heat before serving.
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