Italian Ricotta and Mascarpone Cheesecake is a classic and delicious Italian cheesecake made with mascarpone and ricotta cheese. A crowd pleaser that is guaranteed to satisfy even your Italian mother-in-law! Light, fluffy and simply irresistible!
Since my mom is the official "cheesecake queen” there is usually no reason for me to bake a cheesecake. When we were in Italy this past June my father-in-law’s birthday was approaching.
As it goes typically while I’m there, my sister-in-law is dreaming every day of what we should bake together. My mother-in-law is very possessive of her little cucina and I don’t get to step in it very often to create without her astute assistance.
My sister-in-law and I decided together to make a cheesecake for nonno. She was so excited and I was getting anxious just thinking of how to get all the equipment and ingredients together.
My suocera (mother-in-law) was of course about to embark on a very big bread baking project. I thought since her bread dough needed time to proof I could sneak in there and get going. I asked my sister-in-law to get ready and come back over after lunch (she lives in the next building)with the Oro Saiwa cookies for the crust.
Why you'll love this Italian Cheesecake Recipe
- This Italian Cheesecake Recipe with Ricotta and Mascarpone is a perfect combination of lighter, fluffy texture and creamy richness.
- The graham cracker crust gives the cheesecake a great crunchy base and the tangy ricotta-mascarpone filling will make your mouth water.
- It's easy to prepare; all you have to do is mix together the ingredients, spread into an oven-safe pan, bake for 90 minutes, chill in the fridge overnight or at least 3 hours and decorate with freshly whipped cream and strawberries for an absolutely delicious dessert.
- You'll love this Italian Cheesecake recipe because it's so light yet full of flavor!
- Plus, you can customize it by adding different toppings like strawberry sauce or your favorite fruits.
As usual, my sister-in-law wasn’t answering her phone when I was calling saying it was time to bake. My mother-in-law pushed on me a bag of chocolate cookies she wanted finished since she was leaving soon for a few months in Calabria.
So I wasn’t intending to do a chocolate cookie crust. I was awaiting my sister-in-law bringing over her Oro Saiwa cookies. They’re super plain cookies that are perfect for a cheesecake crust.
You could use graham crackers or if you love chocolate cookies, use them! Other than not being familiar with my mother-in-law’s tiny Italian oven, it baked just fine. I probably would have turned it around at least once if I could have had access to the oven. Teresa was in the middle of shaping her Calabrian breads, so it was definitely a busy baking day.
This ricotta cheesecake is fluffy and creamy. It’s not as rich and dense as a traditional cheesecake. I told you my mom is the cheesecake queen and she makes the New York style cheesecake. If a NY cheesecake may seem too decadent for you, you have to try this Italian cheesecake, as it’s a creamy and fluffy dream dessert!
It was a big hit with everyone. Most importantly, my father-in-law (the birthday boy!)was very pleased. Even more importantly, my suocera (mother-in-law)really liked it and asked for the recipe!
What makes this Italian ricotta and mascarpone cheesecake different than a traditional cheesecake?
There is a flavor difference from the addition of the sweet mascarpone cheese. It’s super creamy from the ricotta cheese. It’s lighter than the cheesecake mom always makes that we all love dearly. Ricotta and mascarpone just belong together!
Ingredients for cheesecake with mascarpone
- graham crackers
- unsalted butter melted
- whole milk ricotta room temp
- mascarpone cheese room temp
- pure vanilla extract
- cornstarch or potato starch
- eggs separated, room temp
- a pinch of salt
- whipped cream
- strawberry sauce optional
My mother-in-law's kitchen counter working space is quite crowded. I had to work around everything she had out for her bread baking project. You could use potato or cornstarch for this recipe. I was using and adapting a slight bit a recipe from
The first step is to make the cookie crust. It's just a matter of mixing melted butter with crushed cookies with a little sugar. We were slightly adapting a recipe from an Italian blog called Ilaria's Perfect Recipes.
The other adventure this baking day was finding a correct sized spring form pan. My mother-in-law only has extra large pans for all that she bakes. I knew my mom had bought a smaller spring form pan the last time she visited them in Italy. She had made her fabulous cheesecake for them so it was only a matter of hunting it down. Butter or prep your pan with baking spray and press the cookies in and around the sides a little.
The next thing I did was whip the egg whites. I whipped them first and set them aside in another bowl. Then I mad the cheese mixture but mixing the ingredients all together. Next, I carefully folded in the egg whites. If you gently fold it in you get a wonderful and fluffy cheese filling.
When you are decorating, you could be creative and do it your way. We had fresh cream to whip up and also a case of strawberries around to slice up. It seriously was a whole case. I even ended up making a vegan strawberry cake for my non-dairy daughter.
It was clearly impossible to get a decent photo of a slice. I had made the cheesecake in the late afternoon and everyone came over to celebrate for dinner. I will be making this again soon and will get a better slice photo. It was even hard to photograph the actual cheesecake.
My mother-in-law was watching me walk by with her blue tablecloth to place on a table on the balcony. I tried my best to pose this beauty. But there is a photo of my adorable father-in-law. He was so happy to have us all there for his birthday.
I had made the cheesecake in the late afternoon and everyone came over to celebrate for dinner. I will be making this again soon and will get a better slice photo.
Variations and substitutions for this ricotta cheese cheesecake
- Crust: You can use different types of cookies for the crust, such as digestive biscuits or Oreo cookies, depending on your preference. You can also add chopped nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts, to the crust for added texture and flavor.
- Filling: You can substitute the ricotta cheese with cottage cheese, or use a combination of cream cheese and ricotta cheese. You can also add lemon or orange zest to the filling for a citrusy flavor. If you prefer a sweeter cheesecake, you can increase the amount of sugar in the filling.
- Eggs: You can use egg yolks only for a richer and creamier filling, or use egg whites only for a lighter texture. Be sure to adjust the amount of sugar accordingly.
- Toppings: Instead of strawberries, you can use other types of fruit, such as blueberries or raspberries. You can also top the cheesecake with chocolate ganache or caramel sauce for a decadent twist. If you prefer a lighter topping, you can use whipped coconut cream instead of whipped cream.
Expert Tips for this Baked Mascarpone
1. Make sure all the ingredients you use for this Italian Cheesecake recipe are at room temperature so they blend together nicely.
2. Always beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form before folding them into the cheese mixture.
3. If you want your cheesecake to have an extra- creamy texture, add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to the filling.
4. Take care to not over-mix the cheesecake batter as this can cause it to become dense and rubbery.
5. Grease the pan with butter or cooking spray before pouring in the cheesecake mixture so that it doesn’t stick when you try to remove it from the pan.
6. Cool the cheesecake in the oven before refrigerating to prevent it from cracking.
7. To make sure your Italian Cheesecake is cooked through, use a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake and make sure it comes out clean when done baking.
mascarpone vs ricotta
Mascarpone is a type of cheese made from cream and has a rich, creamy texture. It is often used in desserts and savory dishes, such as lasagna or tiramisu. Ricotta is a type of cheese made from whey and has a slightly grainy texture. It is most commonly used in Italian dishes like cannoli or lasagna. Both ricotta and mascarpone are used to add creaminess and flavor to dishes, but they have different textures and flavors.
It was even hard to photograph the actual cheesecake. My mother-in-law was watching me walk by with her blue tablecloth to place on a table on the balcony. I tried my best to pose this beauty. But there is a photo of my adorable father-in-law. He was so happy to have us all there for his birthday.
Regular cheesecake is typically made with cream cheese, sugar, eggs, and a graham cracker crust. It has a dense, creamy texture and a slightly tangy flavor. Italian cheesecake, on the other hand, is usually made with a combination of ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese, as well as eggs, sugar, and a graham cracker or cookie crust. It has a lighter, more delicate texture and a sweeter flavor.
Sicilian cheesecake is made with ricotta cheese, sugar, eggs, and often includes candied orange peel or chocolate chips. It is typically baked in a pastry crust and has a sweet, creamy texture.
The three types of cheesecake are New York-style cheesecake, which is dense and creamy, Chicago-style cheesecake, which is more fluffy and baked in a cake pan, and Philadelphia-style cheesecake, which is lighter and fluffier than New York-style cheesecake.
Italian cheesecake is typically made with ricotta cheese and mascarpone cheese, along with eggs, sugar, and a graham cracker or cookie crust. Some variations may also include lemon or orange zest, almond extract, or other flavorings.
Mascarpone cheese is not traditionally used in baked cheesecake recipes, but it can be added to the filling for a richer, creamier texture. It is important to note that mascarpone is more delicate than cream cheese, so it should not be over-beaten or over-baked, as it can become grainy and lose its smooth texture.
Storing and Freezing mascarpone cheesecake
Baked mascarpone cheesecake should be stored in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and texture. Here are some storing instructions for Italian cheesecake:
- Allow the cheesecake to cool completely before storing it. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out or absorbing any odors from the fridge.
- Alternatively, you can store the cheesecake in an airtight container or a cake carrier with a lid. This will also help prevent the cheesecake from drying out or absorbing any odors.
- Italian cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you need to store it for longer than that, you can freeze it for up to 2-3 months. Make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container or freezer bag.
- When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, allow it to come to room temperature for about 20-30 minutes before slicing and serving. This will allow it to soften and bring out its full flavor.
Some other recipes to enjoy:
- Italian Rainbow Cookies
- Cuccidati-Sicilian Fig Cookies
- Italian Lemon Knot Cookies
- Sicilian S Cookies
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Italian Cheesecake with Ricotta and Mascarpone
- 2 cups (200 g) graham crackers (Oro Sawai cookies or chocolate cookies) finely crushed
- 1 oz (30 g) sugar
- 1/2 cup (110 g) unsalted butter melted
- whipped cream
- strawberry sauce optional
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Prep a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray or with butter; set aside.
- In bowl of a food processor, pulse together the graham crackers (or cookies), sugar and melted butter until combined. Dump the crumb mixture into the bottom of your prepped pan pressing into the bottom and going up about 1-inch up the sides.
- Lower the oven temp to 300F.
- In the bowl of a mixer add the egg whites with a pinch of salt. Beat until firm and stiff peaks form. Set the egg whites aside in a clean bowl.
- Wipe out the mixer and add the ricotta, mascarpone, sugar, and corn starch. Beat on medium-low speed until everything is combined. Be sure to stop the machine and scrape sides of a bowl with a spatula to combine all the ingredients. Mix until smooth taking care to not over beat. Add the egg yolks one at a time and mix to combine. Add in the vanilla mixture. Stop machine and clean sides of bowl with spatula, combining all ingredients.
- Fold the whipped egg whites into the cheese mixture. Take care to fold slowly and carefully to not deflate the egg whites too much.
- Spoon the cheesecake batter into the springform pan and smooth it out with the spatula.
- Place the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven and bake for about 90 minutes, or until the top is golden and no longer wobbly when shaken. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly open for 20 minutes. Remove cheesecake and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap before placing to chill in the fridge.
- Decorate with freshly whipped cream and strawberries. If you have a strawberry sauce, you could drizzle some on top.
- Best refrigerated overnight or at least 3 hours.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- Make sure that the ingredients are at room temperature before you start mixing the filling.
- Drain the ricotta over a cheesecloth if it seems to be too watery. In the States, I use the Galbani ricotta and it does not have to be strained.