Indulge in your Italian dessert cravings with this light & unique Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake – made quickly in your Instant Pot! Using Ricotta and Mascarpone instead of cream cheese give this easy dessert a delightful texture, and the lemon curd on top gives it an extra zing that everyone will love!
Who loves cheesecake around here?!
Honestly, the list is exhaustive and endless and I’m here for all of it.
I have to say, this pretty Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake may just be my new favorite. It’s a light lemon cheesecake topped with tangy lemon curd – so I suppose I should call it a Double Lemon Cheesecake!
If you’ve never tried ricotta in cheesecake before, I hope this is your motivation to do so!
This page includes step by step instructions, as well as tips and notes. If you’d like to skip all that, feel free to scroll down to the full, printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Did you even know that you can make desserts in an Instant Pot?!
I’ve made everything from creme brûlée and flan to brownies and lava cakes, and even poached pears. They’ve all turned out just as delicious as an oven-baked version, but cheesecake is easily the most foolproof pressure cooker dessert.
Most cheesecake recipes call for a water bath (bain-marie) while baking – which is basically a method that creates steam inside the oven to help with even baking. It also keeps the cheesecake from cracking and sinking after it’s baked.
Baking a cheesecake in an Instant Pot (or your favorite brand of EPC) eliminates the need to fuss with a water bath, since the entire appliance relies on a humid cooking environment. It’s so easy!
What’s the difference between ricotta cheese and cream cheese?
Ricotta cheese and cream cheese can be used pretty interchangeably in most recipes, especially desserts. The main difference between the two is the texture.
Cream cheese is just that – thick, creamy, and smooth, and easily spreadable when warm. It has a tangy flavor, making it optimal for various cooking and baking recipes, and also as a spread for bagels and breads.
Ricotta cheese, on the other hand, is a firmer cheese made from the whey of mozzarella and other Italian cheese. It is slightly sweet with a smooth but slightly grainy texture. It is a lower fat/higher protein cheese, and is most often used in Italian cooking, especially in savory pasta dishes.
How long should cheesecake cool before being refrigerated?
When making an oven baked cheesecake, it is recommended that you allow it to cool in the oven, with the door cracked slightly. This helps prevent temperature shock, keeping the cake from developing unsightly cracks on top.
This same principle applies to a pressure cooker cheesecake recipe. After removing the cake pan from the cooker, allow it to cool to room temperature on a metal cooling rack. This usually takes anywhere between 45 minutes to 1 hour, but going a little longer won’t hurt.
After the cheesecake is cooled, cover it with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours (up to 24 hours) before removing it from the pan and garnishing it.
Can ricotta cheesecake be frozen?
Cheesecakes made of cream cheese freeze very well – and luckily, so do ones made with ricotta!
To freeze your cheesecake, place the plated, ungarnished cake (whole or pre-sliced) in the freezer, uncovered, and freeze until firm. Afterwards, wrap it in several layers of heavy duty aluminum foil, then seal it up it in a plastic freezer bag. Return it to the freezer and store for 3 to 4 months.
When you’re ready to enjoy a slice, thaw the cheesecake (or just a slice!) in the refrigerator overnight. Be sure not to spread the lemon curd on the cheesecake until just prior serving.
Ingredients in Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
- Vanilla wafers, or graham crackers (vanilla+lemon=yum!)
- Melted butter
- Ricotta cheese
- Mascarpone cheese (this balances the graininess of the ricotta)
- Granulated Sugar
- Flour (to thicken the batter)
- Vanilla extract
- Lemon juice & zest
- Lemon curd, for the top (optional, but SO so good!)
How to make lemon ricotta cheesecake in an Instant Pot
This may just be the quickest and easiest cheesecake recipe you’ll ever make! It comes together in less than 15 minutes, cooks (include pressurizing & depressurizing times) in about an hour, and can be devoured after dinner.
- Make your crust. Combine vanilla wafers (or graham crackers), melted butter, and a pinch of salt in a food processor. Pulse it all together until the mixture resembles coarse, wet sand. Transfer it to a parchment-lined 7-inch springform pan (or my favorite Fat Daddio cheesecake pan) and press it into a firm, even layer.
- Pop the crust in the freezer to firm up, then whip up the filling. Clean and dry the food processor bowl, then combine all of the filling ingredients in it. Process the mixture together for about 2 minutes, until it comes together in a smooth batter.
- Pour the filling over the crust. Gently but firmly tap the pan against a hard surface to release air bubbles. Cover the pan with a paper towel and seal with a piece of foil, the set it on top of a silicone sling (or a homemade foil one).
- Add 1 cup of water to the inner pot of your pressure cooker, and set a trivet in the bottom. Carefully lower the cheesecake pan into the pot, secure the lid, and seal the pressure gauge.
- Pressure cook the cheesecake by pressing the Manual button, and setting the time to 35 minutes. When the cooking time is up, allow the pot to naturally release the pressure (about 10 minutes), then transfer the pan to a cooling rack.
- Remove the covering, dabbing up any moisture on top of the cheesecake with a dry paper towel. Allow the cake to cool for 45 minutes to 1 hour, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to serve the cheesecake, spread some lemon curd on top. Garnish however you like – using lemon slices, lemon zest, and/or edible flowers – and enjoy it with whipped cream on the side.
LOOKING FOR MORE LEMON DESSERT RECIPES?
HELPFUL KITCHEN TOOLS FOR MAKING RICOTTA CHEESECAKE:
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Instant Pot Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- ¾ cup vanilla wafers or graham crackers crushed (about 1 1/2 cups uncrushed)
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 ¼ cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese softened
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- ½ cup lemon curd
- Line base of a 7-inch round springform pan or cake pan with a round of parchment paper. Lightly grease sides of pan with butter or non-stick baking spray.
- Place vanilla wafers or graham crackers, melted butter, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles coarse sand.
- Transfer crumbs into prepared pan and, using the flat bottom of a glass, press it into an even layer onto the bottom and ~1/2-inch up the sides of pan. Place pan in freezer to firm up while making filling.
- Combine cheeses, sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and eggs in a food processor. Process for 2 minutes until filling is smooth and well-blended.
- Pour batter into prepared crust. Gently tap pan on countertop a few times to release air bubbles. Place a square paper towel over pan, then cover and seal with a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Place pan in the center of a silicone sling. Alternatively, create an aluminum foil sling by folding a 24-inch long sheet of aluminum foil in half lengthwise twice to create a 3-inch wide strip.
- Add 1 cup water to inner pot of pressure cooker. Place the trivet in pot. Holding the ends of the foil sling, gently lift the pan and lower it into the cooker, on top of the trivet. Arrange the sling ends across the pan so they fit inside the pot. Secure the cooker lid and seal the Pressure Release.
- Select "Manual" setting and set cooking time for 35 minutes at high pressure.
- When cooking time is complete, allow a natural pressure release. Remove the lid and lift the cheesecake out of the pot. Transfer it to a cooling rack and uncover it, using a paper towel to soak up any moisture that may have collected on top.
- Let cheesecake cool on the rack for 45-60 minutes. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight, before removing it from the cake pan and transferring it to a serving plate or cake board.
- When ready to serve, spread lemon curd over the top of the cheesecake. Garnish with lemon slices and/or lemon zest, and serve with whipped cream, if desired.