One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta is an easy weeknight dish that you’ll want to make over and over again. With zesty lemon and creamy ricotta cheese that combine to make an incredible sauce, this meatless meal only needs one pot and under 20 minutes to come together!
Ready for a decadent pasta that tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen but comes together in less than 20 minutes? This delicious one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.
This meatless dinner is perfect for nights when you’re short on time but still want something that is really, really good without a ton of clean up after. Everything cooks in one pot!
Enjoy it on its own as the main course or alongside a protein like fish, shrimp or chicken. This one pot lemon and ricotta pasta is also fantastic with a protein added in after cooking, too.
You’ll love the bright and fresh flavor that the lemon adds. It’s delicious without being overwhelming and overpowering the creaminess of the ricotta and parmesan cheese. The garlic add just enough of a kick too.
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Ingredients Needed for this One Pot Lemon Ricotta Pasta
You only need a handful of ingredients for this easy one-pot pasta.
Pasta– while similar recipes might call for a fancier type of pasta like Gemelli, Cavatappi or Casarecee, my recipe was created with families in mind. Bow tie pasta works great!
Ricotta cheese– I recommend using whole milk ricotta cheese instead of a lower fat version. The whole fat turns out much creamier.
Parmesan cheese– Grated or shredded both are good, but try to use one without preservatives so it melts well.
Fresh Lemon– You’ll need the zest and the juice.
Garlic– I love using fresh garlic for pasta recipes, but if you don’t have any garlic power can be substituted.
Red pepper flakes– Our family loves spice, but if yours isn’t a fan this can be omitted.
Salt & black pepper for seasoning.
You’ll also need a large pot, strainer, mixing spoon, fine grater and measuring cups and spoons for this recipe. Any heavy-bottomed pot would be great as long as it’s large enough to boil water and cook the pasta. I love using my Always Pot for recipes like this, as it boils the water faster and cleans up easier!
Just so you know, the complete list of ingredients, amounts and instructions is located on the recipe card below.
How to Make One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon
This creamy, bright pasta is pure comfort food. The best part? It’s super easy, ready in under 20 minutes and uses only one pot (hello, not having to clean a ton of dishes after)!
In a large pot bring well salted water to a boil. Add your pasta of choice and cook until al-dente (1-2 minutes less than package instructions). Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta and setting it aside.
Using the same pot that you just used to cook the pasta, add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined to make the lemon ricotta pasta sauce.
Add the cooked pasta back into the pot, along with ¼- ½ cup of the pasta water saved from earlier. Mix everything together until well combined. If you would like, add more pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce further.
Serve warm with garlic bread, a side salad, your favorite protein or just the way it is! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To heat up add a little extra virgin olive oil and water before microwaving or heating on the stovetop.
What to Serve with One Pot Creamy Lemon Ricotta Pasta
While this dish is fantastic by itself, it also is a wonderful base for a lot of potential add-ins. Here are a few ideas:
- Vegetables: Veggies like peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, squash, asparagus or broccoli would be a great addition. Be sure to cook these separately before adding to the dish, and add them at the end when mixing everything together.
- Protein: Top the finished pasta with cooked chicken, fish or shrimp!
- Leafy greens: Add baby spinach or fresh arugula to the pasta when mixing everything together.
- Herbs: Fresh basil or parsley sprinkled lightly on top.
Cooking Tips for the Best Pasta
Pay attention to the cooking time. You want pasta that is al dente, so don’t overcook it! Cook your pasta until al-dente (one or two minutes less than box directions) and don’t rinse it.
This recipe doesn’t last very long as leftovers as the sauce seems to dry out quickly in the refrigerator, so if you aren’t planning on having it as a main course you might want to consider halving the recipe. For the same reason, I don’t recommend making this in advance.
The pasta you use is totally up to you! To make this family friendly we used farfalle, aka bowtie pasta. You can substitute this with gemelli, rigatoni, mezze rigatoni, fusilli, or others.
The lemon zest is a really important ingredient because it really does brighten up the lemon flavor. You can absolutely make this lemon ricotta pasta using just lemon juice, but it won’t have the same sunny flavor. Be sure to wash the fresh lemons before zesting to remove any wax coating (and help you get the most flavor out of your zest). Zest before juicing, as the lemon is easier to grasp, and don’t over-zest: the white part of the lemon is bitter and you don’t want that in your recipe.
Cheese: The ricotta cheese is a must have, as it’s truly what makes the sauce come together. Use whole milk ricotta for best results. As for the parm, if you are able to do freshly grated parmesan cheese you’ll find it melts the best. However, I have also found multiple options of grated and shredded parmesan cheese at our local grocery store without preservatives that also melt great, too. You can also substitute pecorino romano cheese here if desired.
Garlic: I love fresh garlic, but garlic powder and store bought minced garlic can also be used.
More Yummy Recipes:
- 1 lb bowtie pasta
- 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- Juice from 1 lemon (1-2 tablespoon)
- Lemon zest from 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup reserved pasta water
- In a large pot bring well salted water to a boil. Add your pasta of choice and cook until al-dente. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water before draining the pasta and setting it aside.
- Using the same pot that you just used to cook the pasta, add the ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Add the pasta back into the pot, along with ¼- ½ cup of the pasta water saved from earlier. Mix everything together until well combined. If you would like, add more pasta water as needed to thin out the sauce further.
- Serve warm with garlic bread, a side salad, your favorite protein or just the way it is!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 600Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 9gCarbohydrates: 89gFiber: 4gSugar: 4gProtein: 29g
Easy Lemon Ricotta Pasta Recipe
One pot pasta recipes are perfect for any night of the week! The bright lemon flavors come together so nicely with the delicious creamy sauce with minimal effort. My husband loved this recipe so much he practically polished off the entire pot!
I hope you and your family love this one-pot ricotta lemon pasta, too. This vegetarian pasta recipe makes a great meatless weeknight dinner and is an affordable dinner to have in your back pocket when you want to make something different.
Did you try this recipe? Let me know with a comment and rating! 🤩 Your 5 star ratings and sweet comments help to support our family business, and help other readers as they create their dishes, too! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @funfamilymeals if you try this!