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This One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon is the perfect shortcut for an easy dinner for those busy days! With only a few simple ingredients, you will have a creamy, comforting bowl of pasta ready in no time. The lemon zest and juice add a bright flavor to this dish that is sure to please everyone at the table.

overhead image of ricotta and lemon pasta with peas. the pasta is in a speckled bowl with a wooden spoon next to a lemon zester and lemons in a colander.
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Sometimes in the dead of winter, I like making a bright and flavorful dish to remind me that Spring is just around the corner. Luckily, citrus, especially lemon, seems to be a year-round fruit so this one pot pasta with ricotta and lemon is the perfect mood enhancer for those dark and dreary days.

What is ricotta cheese?

Ricotta cheese in Italian means recooked and the process involved in making ricotta cheese is taking whey leftover from making other cheeses and reheating it to create ricotta. This article goes into all things ricotta and is a great read!

Why You’ll Love This Lemon Ricotta Pasta

Beyond easy. If you can boil water, you can make this pasta! In fact, all you really gotta do is boil the pasta and then add in everything else!

Short ingredient list. There’s less than 10 ingredients on the list and with those ingredients, you are able to make a flavorful meal. Isn’t it wonderful?!

Bright and comforting. Lemon zest and lemon juice bring a brightness to this pasta dish that is comforting and irresistible at the same time. It’s that zing we need in the drab days of winter or cloudy days in general.

ingredients for one pot ricotta and lemon pasta

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make lemon ricotta pasta. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.

  • Pasta
  • Ricotta
  • Lemon zest and lemon juice
  • Peas
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How To Make One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

Here is a general overview of the steps involved to make lemon ricotta pasta. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.

Cook the pasta. Bring a pot of water to a boil then season it well with salt. Add your pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente (pasta cook time will vary depending on the kind of pasta you use. Refer to your packaging for instructions.) Save two cups of pasta water before you drain the pasta!

Stir in the remaining ingredients. Stir in ricotta, peas, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Slowly add pasta water until consistency of ricotta is achieved. You won’t use all the pasta water so don’t dump it all in at once!

Substitutions and Variations

If you’re looking for extra protein, feel free to add in some grilled chicken strips or shrimp! If they aren’t cooked yet, cook them separately before adding to the pasta.

lemon and ricotta pasta in a speckled bowl with lemon zest and cracked black pepper on top

Tips for Success

This is a super simple recipe and straightforward, but I can’t help but pass along a few tips and tricks below to help you make the best pasta with ricotta and lemon.

  • Choose pasta shapes that will hold the sauce. I chose to use orecchiette because they’re little pasta cups that hold onto the saucy ricotta. Shells, fusilli/rotini would work in this too. If you want to use longer pasta, I recommend thicker like bucatini.
  • Go for full fat. There is just something richer about whole milk ricotta vs. part skim. It’s the key to what makes the sauce so creamy and good so don’t be afraid to get full fat; you will thank me!
  • Save the pasta water! Pasta water is like gold and you definitely don’t want to dump it down the drain. I’ve been there so many times so try to remind yourself with a post-it note or something nearby where you’re going to drain the pasta. The starchiness of the pasta water helps make the sauce creamy.
ricotta and lemon pasta in a bowl with lemon zest and cracked black pepper on top

Storage and Reheating Instructions

If you have leftovers, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To reheat, you’ll want to add some water to it and heat in the microwave or stove. You’ll likely need to keep adding water until the sauce becomes loose and creamy again.

What to Serve with One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

This pasta would be best served with a roasted vegetable like Roasted Honeynut Squash or Roasted Cauliflower. If you like using bread to sop up all the sauce, my favorite garlic rolls will do the trick!

More pasta recipes to keep you satisfied!

If you need more inspiration or options, here are some of my favorite pasta recipes:

4 from 1 vote

One Pot Pasta with Ricotta and Lemon

With only a few simple ingredients, you will have a creamy, comforting bowl of pasta ready in no time!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 cups (120 g) dried pasta
  • 1 cup (246 g) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup (73 g) frozen peas, thawed
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
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  • Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Save the pasta water!!
  • After you've drained the pasta, return it to the same saucepan or put it in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, peas, lemon juice, and zest. Stir together and slowly add in the pasta water, stirring after each little addition. Stop when you've reached your desired consistency.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 233kcal, Carbohydrates: 27g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 9g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 31mg, Sodium: 54mg, Potassium: 176mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

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  1. I can’t wait to try this recipe but we’ll eliminate the peas since neither of us like them. What a tour this took me on! I found your site by reading a recipe on Simply Scratch. From your this recipe, I took a tour of ricotta cheese making which took me to the Spruce Eats page and beyond; I’ve now been researching making homemade cheeses for the last 2 hours (squirrel!) just so I can make this with homemade ricotta!

    I love that your recipes have the option to make 1/2 a recipe for just 2 people. My fridge and my husband thank you as well, since he’s not big on leftovers, but I take them for lunches!

    Thank you!

    1. haha i love this! thanks for sharing your little journey/tour – it made my day reading it :) thank you for appreciating my recipe options!