Let’s face it: appetizers are a pain in the a$$. That’s why these customizable, crowd-pleasing, creamy whipped ricotta crostini are a lifesaver. They take almost no thought and can even be made with the leftovers from your dinner last night (don’t worry, I won’t tell your guests!!). (2020 Update: new VIDEO below!!)

Overhead shot of tray with whipped ricotta, crostini, squash and walnuts.

Whipped ricotta crostini

When I’m entertaining, I love to give my guests a nibble when they arrive. But between putting the finishing touches on dinner, assembling dessert and straightening up the house (not to mention trying to sneak in a shower), appetizers inevitably take last priority. This doesn’t mean they can’t be delicious. A good cheese with warm spiced nuts and crackers, or a make-ahead dip with sliced vegetables and crusty bread can go a long way. However, special occasions call for something with more flair—an appetizer that feels special and festive, and that can pair well with cocktails and Champagne.

Whipped ricotta crostini topped with pomegranate seeds and walnuts on a marble surface.

Easy whipped ricotta recipe

That’s when I turn to ricotta toast—err, I mean, whipped ricotta crostini (see what I did there?). Here’s the lowdown. You mix fresh, whole milk ricotta with a touch of milk, olive oil, salt and pepper until light and creamy. This can be done a day or two ahead of time.

On the night of your party, the ricotta will be opulently spread over garlic toasts (a.k.a. toasted baguette slices, which can also be made in advance) then topped with any number of items. You can either assemble the crostini yourself and arrange them on a platter, or you can arrange the toasts, ricotta and toppings on a tray and let your guests build their own. (If you’re gluten free or if you’re serving guests who can’t eat gluten, use a gluten free baguette.)

Close up of a bowl of whipped ricotta.

What ricotta should I buy for crostini?

The only trick is that you’ve got to buy the best ricotta you can get your hands on—the only ingredients listed should be milk (and/or whey), salt and vinegar. You can find the ultra good stuff (which you will want to eat with a spoon) at Italian markets and specialty cheese stores, but some solid supermarket brands include Organic Valley, Calabro and Biazzo. Be sure to avoid anything with stabilizers or gums in the ingredient list.

What toppings go on whipped ricotta crostini?

As far as the toppings for whipped ricotta go, the sky is the limit. You can go as simple as a drizzle of honey (or truffle honey), or even use leftover roasted vegetables from the night before. This is a great chance to use up what you have, and, if there’s any cooking involved, definitely do it in advance. Below are a few of my favorite wintertime combinations.

  • roasted delicata squash with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt
  • pomegranate molasses with pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts
  • roasted mushrooms with baby arugula, shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil
  • honey (regular or truffle) with a sprinkle of sea salt
Ricotta crostini topped with delicata squash.

Easy ricotta appetizer (for any season!)

Once you have these whipped ricotta crostini in your playbook, you can whip them up any time of year using whatever is in season. We love the crostini with these slow roasted peppers and onions and this easy roasted ratatouille. Here are some other ideas:

  • asparagus and mint
  • peas and pesto
  • slow roasted peppers and onions (pictured below)
  • tomatoes, basil and balsamic
  • roasted beets with sautéed greens
  • grilled eggplant and Parmesan
  • sliced figs (or peaches) and truffle honey
Close up of ricotta crostini topped with peppers and onions.

One last thing! While the crostini are a wonderful appetizer, they also make for a damn fine build-your-own lunch or dinner, perfect for busy weeknights (my kids love them!).

Overhead shot showing five different ricotta crostini on a marble surface.

FAQ

What is the best ricotta to use for whipped ricotta spread?

Use a good quality fresh ricotta that doesn’t contain any gums or stabilizers – the ingredients listed should be only milk (and/or whey), salt and vinegar.

Can you make whipped ricotta ahead of time?

Yes! You can make the whipped ricotta spread up to 2 days in advance. Let it come to room temperature before serving.

What are good toppings for whipped ricotta crostini?

Some easy and delicious toppings for ricotta crostini include: a drizzle of honey, roasted or grilled vegetables, sliced or chopped fresh tomatoes, sautéed greens and/or chopped fresh herbs.

Hand grabbing a ricotta crostini topped with mushrooms and arugula.

Other ricotta recipes to try:

Easy appetizers you might like:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Whipped Ricotta Crostini (a.k.a the easiest appetizer ever)

If you’re in need of a super easy but impressive appetizer (or dinner!), these customizable, crowd-pleasing, creamy whipped ricotta crostini are a lifesaver! You’ll want to use good quality fresh whole milk ricotta, which should taste creamy and sweet (avoid brands that have stabilizers and gums in the ingredient list). You can top the crostini with any number of seasonal ingredients. Some of my favorite combinations include: roasted delicata squash with a drizzle of maple syrup and a sprinkle of sea salt; pomegranate molasses with pomegranate seeds and toasted walnuts; roasted mushrooms with baby arugula, shaved Parmesan and a drizzle of truffle oil; and honey (regular or truffle) with a sprinkle of sea salt.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ricotta appetizer, ricotta crostini recipe, ricotta recipes
Servings: 8 -10

Ingredients

Garlic toasts

  • 1 French baguette (regular or gluten-free), cut on the diagonal into ½-inch slices
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, halved

Whipped ricotta

  • 1 ½ cups fresh whole milk ricotta cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 teaspoons whole milk, cream or half and half
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Toppings of your choice (see ideas above!)

Instructions

For the toasts:

  • Preheat the oven to 375˚F.
  • Arrange the baguette slices on two large baking sheets in a single layer. Brush each slice with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Flip the slices and do the same on the other side. Bake 5-8 minutes, or until light golden and crisp on the bottom. Turn each slice over and bake an additional 5-6 minutes, or until golden and crisp on both sides. Immediately rub each slice of warm bread with the flat half of a garlic clove. Set aside. Do Ahead: The toasts can be made up to 8 hours in advance. Let cool and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

For the whipped ricotta:

  • Place the ricotta in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and 2 teaspoons of the milk (or cream or half and half). Season with salt and pepper. Using a rubber spatula, beat the ricotta until creamy and smooth. The ricotta should be thick but easily spreadable. If you think it’s too thick, stir in another teaspoon of milk. Do Ahead: The ricotta can sit at room temperature for up to an hour, or it can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring it to room temperature before serving.
  • There are two ways to serve the crostini. You can place the ricotta in a serving bowl, drizzle it with olive oil, and serve it with the toasts and toppings alongside for guests to build their own crostini. Or, you can spread the ricotta generously over the toasts, top them as desired, and then arrange the crostini on a platter and serve.

Notes

Tips:
  • Use the best quality ricotta you can find—the only ingredients listed should be milk (and/or whey), salt and vinegar. You can find the ultra good stuff (which you will want to eat with a spoon) at Italian markets and specialty cheese stores, but some solid supermarket brands include Organic Valley, Calabro and Biazzo. Be sure to avoid anything with stabilizers or gums in the ingredient list.
  • The sky is the limit when it comes to toppings! Go for whatever is in season (think peas, asparagus, radishes and/or tender herbs in the spring; tomatoes, roasted eggplant, summer squash, peaches and/or figs in the summer; and winter squash, caramelized onions, mushrooms and/or roasted carrots in the fall and winter).

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