A creamy cheesy dip is one of the most iconic recipes in any vintage housewife’s arsenal, second only to savory jellos. I love this recipe because (unlike jello with tuna and olives) it is incredibly simple, incredibly delicious, and incredibly versatile.

How to serve lemon ricotta spread

It is a quick dip for veggies or even fruit. It’s an amazing topping for crackers or baguettes. It is wonderful served cold or spread on toast, focaccia, or half a pear and broiled. You could even stuff a chicken breast with it or add a dollop to top off a berry crumble. The simple light flavors truly pair with just about any food, sweet or savory (just reduce or eliminate the garlic to use with sweet dishes!)


Chiffonade is a culinary term describing an essential knife skill. Although it is used almost exclusively for basil, that one ingredient is so prevalent in good food that it deserves it’s own place in every chef’s repertoire. But don’t worry, the fancy name and the elegant results belie just how easy this method actually is. Just follow these three steps:

  1. Stack: Place all of the basil leaves neatly on top of one another. If you have a large amount or the leaves are small, it works best to lay each leaf slightly offset from the last one so you get a row of leaves, not just a pile.
  2. Roll: Starting from one edge roll the leaves up into a bundle as tightly as you can.
  3. Slice: Cut the basil into strips, the thinner the better.

Zest is best

I often skip zest in recipes, especially when they also call for juice. It’s a nice nuanced flavor, but it just doesn’t have enough impact to be worth the effort. But that is not the case in this recipe. I would leave out the lemon juice before leaving out the zest. There are so few flavors and they are all so mild that the zest is truly what makes this recipe shine.

If you ever wondered what sunshine tastes like, I’m pretty sure it would be this bright lemony ricotta spread. It’s perfect for warm summer days or the middle of winter when you’re missing the sun.

Lemon Ricotta Spread


  • 16 ounces Ricotta
  • 1 Lemon
  • 2 cloves Garlic - minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 ounces Fresh Basil Leaves
  • 3 tablespoons Olive Oil


  • Gently mix ricotta with juice and zest of the lemon, garlic, and salt.
  • Chiffonade the basil.
  • Serve in a shallow dish. Just before serving, drizzle olive oil over ricotta and sprinkle basil on top.
  • Serve with fresh bread, crostinis, crackers, or vegetables.