I recently discovered that some of my best dishes are the ones I create with leftover ingredients. With almost a full tub of ricotta leftover, I decided to prepare a dish that would utilize the ingredient while creating something I would love. The result? Fried ricotta with spicy marinara! Since Superbowl Sunday is right around the corner, this dish not only used up my leftover ricotta, it also made enough for the Sunday festivities. Don’t you love it when you can kill two birds with one stone?

fried ricotta with spicy marinara

fried ricotta with spicy marinara


Fried Ricotta with Spicy Marinara

1 hr, 15 Total Time

Yields about 30 fried ricotta balls

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    Fried ricotta
  • 14 ounces ricotta
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup parmesan, grated
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup panko
  • oil for frying
  • Spicy marinara
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • ½ tsp red chili flakes or more if desired
  • 1 cup marinara sauce


  1. Drain 14 ounces ricotta by putting it in a fine sieve mesh and letting it sit for 30 minutes. Mix the drained ricotta with 1 tbsp chopped parsley, 1/3 cup grated parmesan, ½ tsp onion powder, ½ tsp salt, and ½ tsp black pepper until well combined.
  2. Put ½ cup all-purpose flour into a shallow bowl. Crack 2 eggs in another shallow bowl and put 1 cup panko into a third bowl. Roll the ricotta into 1 tbsp size balls. Coat each portion in flour, dip in egg, then coat in panko. Repeat with the remaining ricotta. Place on a lined baking sheet and let chill at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  3. Meanwhile, make the spicy marinara. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small saucepot over medium heat. Add 2 cloves garlic and ½ tsp red chili flakes, adding more chili flakes if desired. Saute for 30 seconds then add 1 cup marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
  4. Preheat frying oil to 350 degrees F.
  5. Carefully drop the ricotta balls into the oil and fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the ricotta on a paper towel lined plate to drain the excess oil.
  6. Serve fried ricotta with warm spicy marinara dipping sauce.


**Helpful tips and common mistakes

Homemade ricotta is one of my favorite cheeses. I didn’t have the time to make homemade ricotta this time but I can only imagine how delicious it would be fried…

The first step in making fried ricotta is to drain the cheese. If you buy a tub at the market and open the lid, you may find excess liquid sitting on the top. We want to drain as much of the liquid as we can to achieve a crispy exterior. Whole fat ricotta tends to have less liquid than the reduced-fat version (which is my way of saying, buy the whole fat).

drain ricotta

Season the ricotta with a little bit of garlic, salt, pepper, parsley, and onion powder and shape them into uniform sized balls. I used a mini ice cream scooper to make the job easier. Coat each ball with flour, dip in whisked eggs, and coat again in panko. At this point, you can either chill the ricotta to be fried the next day or chill for 30 minutes. Chilling the ricotta helps them keep their shape as they fry.

chill ricotta balls before frying

While the ricotta balls are chilling, make the spicy marinara dip, adding as much or as little red chili flakes as you like. I went the easy route and used jarred marinara sauce this time but perhaps when tomatoes are in season, I will make a fresh tomato sauce.

fried ricotta with spicy marinara

Preheat the frying oil to 350 degrees and fry until the ricotta balls are golden brown. You can also use an air-fryer if you prefer. I haven’t tried preparing these in the oven but if you do, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Serve these bad babies hot with a warm side of spicy marinara. You can also fry the ricotta ahead of time and keep them warm in the oven until serving time.

If you’re a fan of fried cheese, you’ll like this fried ricotta. It’s crispy, it’s cheesy, it’s delicious. Stop me if you can from eating all 30!

fried ricotta with spicy marinara


Looking for someone to come to your house and prepare these dishes for you? It is possible! If you are in Los Angeles and looking for a private chef, please feel free to contact me. For more information, visit Private Kitchen Los Angeles.


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