When you're craving a cheesy snack, whip up a batch of fried ricotta with spicy marinara dipping sauce. So easy to make and hard to resist!
Fried Ricotta with Spicy Marinara
- 14 ounces ricotta
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- ⅓ cup grated parmesan
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup panko
- oil for frying
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 garlic cloves grated
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes or more if desired
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- Drain ricotta by putting it in a fine sieve mesh and letting it sit for 30 minutes. Mix drained ricotta with parsley, grated parmesan, onion powder, salt, and black pepper until well combined.
- Put ½ cup all-purpose flour into a shallow bowl. Crack 2 eggs in another shallow bowl and put 1 cup of panko into a third bowl. Roll ricotta into 1 tablespoon 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.
- Meanwhile, make spicy marinara. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepot over medium heat. Add garlic and red chili flakes, adding more chili flakes if desired. Saute for 30 seconds then add marinara sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep warm.
- Preheat frying oil to 375 degrees F.
- Carefully drop ricotta balls into oil and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Drain ricotta on a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess oil. Serve fried ricotta with warm spicy marinara dipping sauce.
Watch how to make this:
I recently discovered that some of my best dishes are the ones I create with leftover ingredients. With almost a full tub of ricotta left over, I decided to prepare a dish that would utilize the ingredient. The result? Fried ricotta with spicy marinara! Since Superbowl Sunday is right around the corner, this dish was perfect for the Sunday festivities. Don't you love it when you can kill two birds with one stone?
- Ricotta: A creamy and smooth Italian cheese with a mild, slightly sweet flavor.
- Parmesan: The hard Italian cheese adds umami to the fried ricotta. Ricotta has a very subtle flavor so we're adding parmesan to add a more intense cheese flavor.
- Panko: A type of breadcrumb from Japan made from white bread. Panko has larger flakes than regular breadcrumbs, giving the fried ricotta a crunchy exterior.
- Marinara: A classic Italian tomato-based sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, onions, oil, and herbs. The bright sauce compliments the rich fried cheese perfectly.
- Red chili flakes: To make the dip spicy, add red chili flakes to the marinara. You can omit the red chili flakes and serve the fried ricotta with plain marinara as well.
How to Make Fried Ricotta with Spicy Marinara
Step 1: Prepare ricotta
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).
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.
Step 2: Make spicy marinara
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.
Step 3: Fry
Preheat the frying oil to 375 degrees and fry until the ricotta balls are golden brown. Some of the cheese may seep out a little but most of it should stay intact.
I imagine that you can also use an air-fryer but I haven't personally tried it myself. If you have had success using an air fryer, 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 the whole batch!
Why do you have to chill the ricotta after it's shaped?
Chilling the ricotta helps it keep its shape while frying. I've had more success chilling the ricotta balls and frying them afterward rather than frying them immediately.
Can I make the fried ricotta ahead of time?
Like most foods, fried food waits for no one. I would suggest eating them as soon as they come out of the fryer and while the cheese is still hot inside.
What other sauces can I serve this snack with?
Pesto, harissa aioli, chimichurri, or even plain ketchup would all pair with the fried ricotta.
For more appetizer inspiration check out this kimchi fried rice arancini recipe!