Meatless Monday Challenge

Creamy Ricotta Cheese Sauce

on October 30, 2023
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This 10-minute, no cook, 5-ingredient (plus salt and pepper) Creamy Ricotta Cheese Sauce is easy versatile and has the best velvety texture!
Two bowls of cooked linguine with ricotta sauce served on top and garnished with crushed red pepper and fresh basil.

Looking for a simple sauce, dip, or spread with an outrageously creamy texture? This Ricotta Cheese Sauce is light, airy, and velvety smooth, with flavors of Parmesan and garlic.

It’s a perfect solution to homemade pasta sauce without tomatoes and brings indulgent texture and savory flavor with just 5 ingredients plus salt and pepper.

Plus, it’s a cold preparation which means a quick and easy recipe that requires no heat! In just 10 minutes, you’ll have this versatile cheese sauce on your table.

Ricotta Cheese Sauce served over linguine with basil.

As an environmental scientist, I am always trying to make more eco-conscious food choices, while still indulging my gourmet palate. One great way to improve your ecological footprint is by finding ways to enjoy more meatless meals when you can!

Green tip: Industrial meat production has a huge impact on the environment, especially because of the amount of land it takes to sustain and its high amount of greenhouse gas emissions.

Ricotta Cheese Sauce Ingredients

Here’s everything you need:

  • Ricotta cheese. This recipe works well with any variation of ricotta, whether it be whole milk, part-skim, or fat free. You can even make your own ricotta cheese!
  • Parmesan cheese. Though the airy, creamy texture comes from the ricotta, the Parmesan does a lot of heavy lifting in this dish when it comes to flavor.
  • Milk. Any unflavored, unsweetened milk will do. Anything from skim to full fat (or even heavy cream if you’re feeling indulgent), to almond, soy, and hemp milk.
  • Garlic. Using fresh garlic cloves go a long way here. And since the food processor does most of the work (all you have to do is peel it!), I highly recommend going with whole garlic cloves over pre-minced or garlic powder.
  • Salt & pepper. Just to really bring out the other flavors and lightly season.
  • Crushed red pepper. This is optional, to bring the heat. You can add it directly to your cheese sauce or use it as a garnish on top. And if you’re not a fan of spice, just leave it out altogether!
All Ingredients for Ricotta Cheese Sauce including black pepper, crushed red pepper, ricotta, milk, grated Parmesan, garlic, and salt

Ricotta Sauce for Pasta Tips and Tricks

Peel the Garlic

Ricotta is responsible for the seriously delectable texture of this sauce, but it’s very mild in flavor. This delicious sauce for pasta relies on the fresh garlic and Parmesan for flavor.

This, coupled with the fact that this recipe uses minimal ingredients, means that using fresh garlic is important here. Grab two large cloves of garlic and peel them.

In order to peel them easily, I like to use the flat side of my knife to crush the garlic. This will split the outer layer of the garlic, making it much easier to peel away.

You can compost the paper-thin layers of the garlic or save it to make your own vegetable broth.

Peeled garlic on a cutting board ready to add to a food processor.

Use a Food Processor or Blender

Once your garlic is peeled, everything else from here on out can be done in a food processor or high-powered blender.

I like to process the garlic first on it’s own to mince it. Then it will seamlessly mix into your cheese sauce without leaving any bigger clumps behind.

Garlic minced in the food processor.

Add Your Ricotta Sauce Ingredients Next

Once your garlic has the opportunity to mince in the food processor, go ahead and dump the rest of your ingredients in. This includes the ricotta, Parmesan, milk, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper (optional). Simple as that!

Then, blend again on high until everything combines and the cheese sauce is smooth and airy. The food processor or blender will help to aerate the sauce to give you that velvety texture.

Notice, this recipe requires no heat and is completely cold preparation. This is because when heated, the texture changes dramatically.

I tested this recipe with heating and it went from creamy to almost curdled. This is because unlike other cheese, ricotta contains acid, and when it looses moisture, it becomes elastic.

After thoroughly testing this recipe, I landed on cold preparation for the best texture. This means serving it over hot pasta or warmed bread is the best way to make it into a hot meal. But more on serving later.

Adding grated Parmesan to food processor with garlic, ricotta, milk, salt, and pepper.
Add the ricotta, Parmesan, milk, salt, pepper and red pepper (optional) to the garlic.
Creamy cheese sauce made from Ricotta and Parmesan cheese.
Blend on high until you get a smooth and creamy cheese sauce with no lumps or clumps.

How to Serve Ricotta Cheese Sauce

My favorite way to serve this cheese sauce with ricotta is over hot pasta. This sauce requires a cold preparation, as when you heat ricotta, it changes the texture.

When you heat ricotta, it actually reduces the moisture content in the cheese, making it more elastic and almost crumbly. I recommend keeping it cold and serving it over hot pasta.

You can also save some of the water that you cook the pasta in to thin it out and heat it up slightly.

Pictured below, I serve this cheese sauce for pasta over hot linguine! I have, however, eaten this with a variety of different pasta shapes from angel hair to penne, and enjoyed them all!

Outside of pasta, here are some of my favorite serving ideas:

  • As a spread on crostini or toast.
  • As a dip for crackers, pretzels, etc.
  • On a charcuterie board.
  • As a dip for fresh fruit like apples, berries, peaches, and especially pears.
  • Dolloped on a pesto pizza!
Adding Ricotta cheese sauce to a bowl of linguine pasta.

How to Properly Store Whipped Ricotta Sauce

It’s best to store the whipped ricotta in an airtight container on its own (without the pasta, bread, etc. you are serving it with). It will last in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. It’s best not to freeze leftovers in this case.

Serve it straight out of the fridge over hot pasta or with any of the options listed above. If you do want to thin it out and you aren’t making fresh pasta so you don’t have the pasta water on hand, you can add it back to the blender or food processor and add more milk.

Continue to add milk and bend until you’re happy with the consistency to use as a pasta sauce. Note: you may want to add more salt and pepper once you thin it out with milk, so taste as you go.

Green tip: Of the billions of tons of food wasted annually, 50% of food waste happens at home. Reduce your contribution to food waste by properly storing and consuming leftovers.

Sauce with Ricotta Cheese Frequently Asked Questions

Does ricotta curdle in sauce?

When ricotta is heated, the curds lose some of their moisture, causing the texture to change from smooth and creamy to elastic and almost curdled looking.

It is absolutely still safe to eat (and still delicious!), but in order to keep it nice and creamy, this Ricotta Cheese Sauce uses a cold preparation.

How do you melt ricotta cheese?

Ricotta is unlike most other cheese in that it contains acid. This means ricotta cheese will not melt. Instead, when heated, it loses moisture and turns from creamy to crumbly.

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Why You Should Make this Ricotta Cheese Sauce

  • It’s simple. All you need is a food processor and 4-5 ingredients plus salt and pepper to make this happen! No cooking or heating required.
  • The texture. Creamy, airy, velvety, and smooth all at once.
  • It’s versatile. Serve this over pasta, or as a dip or spread for a delicious and creamy addition.

If you’re loving this Ricotta Cheese Sauce and want more homemade sauce recipes that are great for pasta, check out this Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce and Meatless Spaghetti Sauce.

Two bowls of cooked linguine with ricotta sauce served on top and garnished with crushed red pepper and fresh basil.

10-Minute Creamy Ricotta Cheese Sauce

5 from 3 votes
Marley Goldin
Print Save Rate
This 10-minute, no cook, 5-ingredient (plus salt and pepper) Creamy Ricotta Cheese Sauce is easy versatile and has the best velvety texture!
Prep Time 8 minutes
Blending Time 2 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional for heat)
  • fresh basil for garnish (optional)
Shop Ingredients on Jupiter


  • Use the flat end of a sharp knife to crush the garlic cloves so that you can easily peel away the paper-thin outer layer.
    Two cloves of garlic peeled and set on a chopping board.
  • Add the peeled garlic cloves to a food processor or high-powered blender and blend on high until the garlic is minced.
    Garlic in the food processor and blended until minced.
  • Add the ricotta, Parmesan, milk, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes (optional) and blend on high until smooth.
    Food processor with whipped ricotta cheese sauce.
  • Serve over hot pasta, on crostini or toast, as a dip for veggies, or even with fresh fruit. If you are serving over pasta, I recommend conserving some of the water that the pasta is cooked in to loosen that sauce if need be.
    Two bowls of cooked linguine with ricotta sauce served on top and garnished with crushed red pepper and fresh basil.

Share This Recipe

Course Appetizers, Basics and Bases, Dinner, Sauces and Dressings
Cuisine American, Italian
Diet Vegetarian
Keyword 30 Minutes or Less, 5 Ingredients or Less, No-Bake, Pasta Sauce, Ricotta Cheese Sauce, Ricotta Pesto Pasta
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