How to Make A Ricotta Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping

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Indulgent, creamy, rich ricotta cheesecake with a sweet and buttery flavor. This recipe uses fresh ricotta with a Nilla wafer crust and a whipped sour cream topping. It’s the perfect dessert to serve year-round and absolutely delicious! 

​I can’t pass up a good cheesecake, and I was inspired to make this Cheesecake because I love adding variations to my favorite desserts. Once you have a stellar base recipe, you can alter it with different ingredients and flavors, such as switching out the type of cheese used. 

This ricotta cheesecake is a spin on my traditional Cheesecake that replaces some of the cream cheese and heavy cream with a more delicate ricotta. This simple swap gives it an airy quality and a divine lightness. The ricotta contributes to the texture and the subtle, naturally sweet flavor that sets this Cheesecake apart.

Close-up photo of ricotta cheesecake with layers of Nilla cookie crust and a sour cream topping.

​Its milder flavor profile presents the perfect canvas for various toppings, be it a drizzle of caramel, a decadent chocolate ganache, or the simplicity of fresh berries.

​I paired this Cheesecake with a Nilla Wafer crust. I used this same crust with my banana pudding pie, and it’s so good! If you prefer a traditional graham cracker crust like the one I use in my classic Cheesecake, you can pair it with that, too. This dessert goes well with a fresh fruit platter, too.

Try my goat cheesecake, another fun twist on a classic. If you love baking with ricotta, try my lemon ricotta cookies or lemon ricotta pancakes!

Cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, sugar, lemon juice.

Ingredient Notes

My ricotta cheesecake only has 8 simple ingredients in it. Ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and salt. The lemon adds the perfect zing to the cheesecake. Here’s everything you’ll need to make this recipe:

Nilla Wafer Cookies: These are used to make the delicious crust. I use a food processor to create cookie crumbs mixed with butter and baked.

Butter: Melted and used to hold the crust together.

Granulated Sugar: Added to give a touch of sweetness to the crust.

Ricotta Cheese: This star ingredient sets this Cheesecake apart from others. For the best texture and flavor, use whole milk ricotta cheese.

Cream Cheese: Traditional Cheesecake uses all cream cheese, but for this recipe, we swap out some of it for ricotta. Be sure to use full-fat cream cheese for the best results.

Sour Cream: A key ingredient in the whipped topping, which adds a tangy and creamy element to balance out the sweetness of the Cheesecake.

Eggs: These are used to bind the Cheesecake together and give it structure.

Vanilla Extract: Adds a lovely depth of flavor to the Cheesecake.

Powdered Sugar: Used to make the sour cream topping sweet.

Toppings: Add fresh raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries to the top. You can also add a little lemon or orange zest.

Overhead of a ricotta cheesecake with berries on top.

Recipe Tips

Here are some of my helpful tips to help you make the best cheesecake!

Water Bath 

Baking a ricotta cheesecake requires a water bath (also known as a bain-marie) to prevent the sides from becoming over-baked and curdled while the center is underdone. This helps the Cheesecake maintain a moist, tender texture.

Be sure to wrap the springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent water from seeping during the bath. Place the cheesecake on a baking sheet and pour boiling water up to the sides of the pan.

I place the Cheesecake and pan in the oven on the oven rack and then pour the boiling water into the pan.

After the initial bake, turn off the oven and crack the door. The Cheesecake should sit in the residual heat for an hour. This slow cooling helps prevent those dreaded cracks.

Cheesecake Pan  

You’ll use a springform pan to make this recipe. A springform pan has a removable bottom, allowing you to easily remove the cheesecake from the pan without damaging it. 

If you don’t have a springform pan, use a 9-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. Grease the sides of the pan well.

You can also use individual ramekins for mini versions of this ricotta cheesecake. Adjust the baking time accordingly. These are perfect for parties.

Make-Ahead Ricotta Cheesecake

This cheesecake can be made the day before. It’s always nice to get the dessert finished the day before a dinner party so you don’t have to worry about it. Remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator 20-30 minutes before serving, and add the fresh berries.

Slice of cheesecake with sour cream topping and blackberries on top. Served with a gold spoon.

Storage and Shelf-Life

Ricotta cheesecake tastes best when it’s completely cooled. It can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days. Cover it with plastic wrap or store it in an airtight container.

You can also freeze this Cheesecake for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Italian Ricotta Cheesecake

Use Amaretto instead of vanilla extract and topping it with crushed amaretti cookies. Or make a Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake by adding lemon zest to the filling and topping it with a lemon curd drizzle. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and make your version.

Whipped sour cream spread over cheesecake with spatula.
Overhead of ricotta cheesecake with blackberries and blueberries on top.

For all you homebakers, try this ricotta cheesecake! It uses simple ingredients and is perfect for serving any time of the year. Leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts!

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Ricotta Cheesecake with Whipped Sour Cream Topping Recipe

This rich and creamy cheesecake is made with ricotta and cream cheese. It's topped with whipped sour cream and fresh berries.
4.22 from 14 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 635kcal
Author: Eden



  • 1 box Nilla Wafer Cookies, crushed super finely in food processor
  • 6 tbsp melted butter


  • 30 ounces fresh ricotta, room temp.
  • 16 ounces cream cheese , room temp.
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 tsp lemon juice , fresh squeezed
  • 2 1/2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Sour Cream Topping

  • 7 ounces sour cream
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add the cookies to a food processor and pulse until they have a fine texture.
  • Pour into a medium mixing bowl and pour the melted butter over the top.
  • Blend with a spoon until it all comes together. It can be a little crumbly.
  • Press firmly into the bottom of a 9.5 – 10" springform pan.
  • Bake for about 6 minutes and set aside.

Cheesecake Filling

  • Drain ricotta in a strainer over a bowl for 30 minutes.
  • Arrange rack in lower third of oven.
  • Puree ricotta for 15 seconds in a food processor.
  • Add cream cheese and process until smooth.
  • Add remaining ingredients and process for 30 seconds.
  • Wrap the springform pan in tin foil.
  • Place the springform pan in a baking pan (a roasting pan works well), set it on the oven rack, and then add boiling water until it covers 1/2 of the springform pan sides. A tea kettle works excellent for pouring the water into the roasting pan.
  • Bake until golden brown at 350 for about 1 hr 15 min.
  • Once it's done, prop the oven door (not all the way) and let the cake sit in oven for about 1 hour for resting time.
  • It's okay if the cake falls slightly.
  • Let the cake cool.

Sour Cream Topping

  • Using an electric mixer, whip the sour cream, sugar cand vanilla until whipped and light.
  • Spread it over the top of the cooled cheesecake.
  • Add seasonal berries.


If you’re serving the cheesecake straight from the refrigerator, let it sit out for 10-20 minutes to bring the temperature down. 
You can use cookies or graham crackers for this crust. Whatever you prefer! 
Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. 
Store in the freezer, tightly covered for one month.


Calories: 635kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 48g | Saturated Fat: 29g | Cholesterol: 205mg | Sodium: 425mg | Potassium: 244mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 30g | Vitamin A: 1732IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 313mg | Iron: 1mg
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Ricotta Cheesecake Recipe.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make A Ricotta Cheesecake with Sour Cream Topping”

  1. 5 stars
    This is going to be my “Go To” Cheese Cake Recipe from now on! I followed the directions EXACTLY and the resulting cheesecake was pretty as a picture- a food sylist could have used it in a magazine- perfectly sweet and a great berry base (I’m using great, big beautiful blueberries right now) – In fact, it would make a great base for almost any topping. Dense cheese texture but somehow – airy enough to make you love it. I did not find it necessary to drain the Ricotta. 1 odd thing did happen- I thought that the 350 temp was a little high for the length of time this cake baked – and indeed, the top darkened beyond what it should have. Oddly, as the cake cooled – I was able to peel the top skin off, leaving a perfect, unblemished cheesecake underneath! Has anyone tried this at 325? Anyway thanks for the recipe. I am going to try making in smaller springform pans as gifts for Christmas. Who doesn’t love cheesecake?


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