Whether you use my easy homemade ravioli dough or store-bought wonton wrappers, take 5 minutes to mix up a small batch of this ricotta ravioli filling. Creamy, fresh and brightened with a zip of lemon! Make a batch of it and my roasted butternut squash ravioli filling for an amazing holiday dinner they'll celebrate!
In our house, making ravioli is a part of a rotation Christmas day tradition of making homemade pasta. And while some in the fam prefer meat ravioli (recipe coming soon!) and others my unbelievably good butternut squash ravioli (also another teaser), it's this classic 5 minute ricotta ravioli filling that is the real winner.
p.s. one of the best sauces to serve cheese ravioli with is this 3 ingredient tomato sauce with butter and onion . If you're a purist, this super simple garlic butter sauce is a classic.
It's surprisingly a really easy meal!
- Why this cheese ravioli is the best
- What you’ll need (ingredients)
- What's the difference between whole milk and part skim ricotta?
- Simple cheese ravioli filling recipe (instructions)
- Prep Step | Tips to Make Ravioli that Doesn’t Burst
- Use the Best Ravioli Dough (step by step instructions)
- Pasta machine setting for homemade ravioli
- Ravioli Cutting Tools...my favs!
- How to Seal Filled Ravioli (without any air pockets!)
- Cutting ravioli with a stamp
- How long to cook homemade cheese ravioli
- Fresh Ravioli Cooking Time
- Ravioli Cooking Tips
- Serving, Storage & Freezing Tips
- 📖 Recipe
Why this cheese ravioli is the best
Fast. Short answer? 5 minutes.
Easy. You literally are going to mix up this ricotta cheese ravioli filling in a small mixing bowl and then fill the ravioli dough (or wonton wrappers). You can even use the same filling for lasagna!
Creamy. Even though this cheese ravioli filling is made without eggs, it's still super rich and creamy thanks to using whole milk ricotta.
What you’ll need (ingredients)
It's a short ingredient list!
Here's an overview of you'll need:
- Whole milk ricotta. More on that below!
- Parmesan cheese. Fresh grated is best and please no green can!
- Seasonings. You know I'm a huge fan of nutmeg and cheese (my butter and cream sauce does this combo so well!
- Lemon. Adds some bright acidity that balances so well with the ricotta and any sauce you ladle on top.
What's the difference between whole milk and part skim ricotta?
Part skim ricotta is as it sounds. It's ricotta made with part skim and part whole milk whereas whole milk ricotta is made solely using whole milk which adds a richer, creamier taste.
Simple cheese ravioli filling recipe (instructions)
- In a medium mixing, bowl combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, seasonings, parsley and lemon zest. Stir until creamy.
- That's pretty much it!
Prep Step | Tips to Make Ravioli that Doesn’t Burst
There’s nothing worse than boiling ravioli that bursts while cooking. Ok— I’m a tich dramatic.
Here are some tips to making and rolling ravioli that doesn't burst while cooking.
- See through. Whether you’re using a Kitchenaid pasta roller attachment (as I am here) or a hand crank pasta machine (the Marcato Atlas is my favorite), you want a thin enough sheet of dough that you can see the outline of your hand when you hold it up to the light.
- Water. Sealing around each ravioli with water either with your finger or a brush offers added insurance that the ravioli won’t split.
- Sealing tool. A ravioli mold comes with a little roller that simultaneously seals and cuts the ravioli 12 at a time. So cool!
Use the Best Ravioli Dough (step by step instructions)
Follow along to learn how to make homemade ravioli dough!
- Pour the flour on a wooden cutting board or clean countertop and make a well in the middle .
- Add the whole eggs along with the egg yolks to the center. Use a fork to gently mix the eggs pulling in flour a little at a time..
- Work your way around the middle pulling flour in until most of the flour is incorporated.
- Start by adding 1 ¼ cup of the water to the flour , saving the last ¼ cup if needed.
- Now add a little more flour. Keep adding water and flour until a ball is made . You'll likely use all the flour and most of the water.
- Knead the dough until smooth by rolling by pulling it towards you, make a quarter turn, and push it away.
- Your objective is a soft, smooth ball that is a touch sticky. This is a “feel” thing that can change with the weather and humidity in your house. For more info on that, visit my homemade pasta dough recipe.
- Lightly flour the dough and board. Allow the dough to relax, covered with a damp dish towel or wrapped in plastic wrap for 15-20 minutes.
Pasta machine setting for homemade ravioli
- Starting at the widest setting (typically #1) , use your pasta machine/roller to thinly roll the ravioli dough to setting #6. You should be able to see a shadow of your hand through the dough.
- Lay the length of dough onto a floured surface (clean table, board or countertop).
Ravioli Cutting Tools...my favs!
- Ravioli Mold. I love a good ravioli mold with a roller to fill and cut ravioli (especially this one from Williams-Sonoma),
- Ravioli stamp. This is the ravioli stamp I use although you do need some hand strength to cut the ravioli. And they come in both round and square shapes, small and large. I love the handmade craftiness of a ravioli stamp ♥️
- Pastry wheel. I'm not a fan of "one trick kitchen tools which is why I do love a classic pastry wheel to cut ravioli.
Mark the dough using the ravioli stamp (loooove this one especially). This will help you to know where to place the filling.-Josie + Nina
How to Seal Filled Ravioli (without any air pockets!)
- After placing ravioli filling on the ravioli dough, use a pastry brush or a clean finger to paint water around the outside edge of each ravioli .
- Fold over the half of the dough over the filled side .
- Use two fingers to pat firmly and gently around the filling sealing the ravioli as you go, brushing the air pockets out at the same time.
Cutting ravioli with a stamp
Use a ravioli stamp or crinkled pastry wheel to cut the ravioli. This will also help seal it as well.
How long to cook homemade cheese ravioli
There is a simple answer:
Since this a no egg cheese ravioli filling, you don't have to worry about cooking it for a certain amount of time. The goal is for the pasta to be cooked.
Ravioli Cooking Tips
- Add ravioli to a large pot of boiling water that has been generously seasoned with kosher salt.
- Once the ravioli float to the top again a second time, cook it in bubbling water for 3-5 minutes.
- Remove the ravioli carefully with a chinese spider or large slotted spoon to a warmed bowl.
- Don’t pour ravioli into a strainer as you risk the ravioli breaking.
Will part skim ricotta make my cheese ravioli runny or less flavorful?
Nope! Whole milk ricotta has a richer mouthfeel because of the additional fat. If you prefer part skim ricotta, use it!
I don't have time to make homemade ravioli dough today. Can I use something else?
Absolutely! Wonton wrappers are a great alternative. You can usually find them in the refrigerated produce section of your grocery store or an Asian grocer . They are a little more fragile so make sure to fill them less and seal well with my tips and techniques above.
Can I substitute another kind of cheese for parmesan?
A saltier dry cheese is best so I'd one of your favorite romano cheeses if that's an option. You could also try asiago.
How long should I cook homemade frozen ravioli ?
Same amount of time! 3-5 minutes in boiling, generously salted water.
Serving, Storage & Freezing Tips
Make ravioli the same day you plan to cook it. Lay the ravioli on a floured baking sheet and refrigerated covered with plastic wrap for a few hours
Freeze ravioli. Lay the ravioli on a floured baking sheet in a single layer and freeze until firm. Transfer to a freezer safe plastic bag. Can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Thaw. No need to thaw before cooking!
Cheese Ravioli Filling
- 15 oz whole milk ricotta, whole container; can use part-skim
- ½ cup freshly finely grated parmesan, no green can please!
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, tiny bit!
- 1 lemon , zested and juiced
- Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Stir to combine until smooth and all the seasonings are incorporated. Start with ½ teaspoon of lemon zest and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Taste for flavor.15 oz whole milk ricotta, ½ cup freshly finely grated parmesan, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ¼ cup fresh parsley, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1 lemon
- Roll out ¼ of a recipe of homemade ravioli dough using a pasta machine or Kitchenaid mixer pasta roller attachment. Start at setting #1. Fold each end to the middle and repeat this setting). Continue rolling ravioli up to setting #6. Go as thin as you dare but you should be able to see the outline of your hand through the dough when held up to the light.
- Lay the sheet of pasta dough on a floured board. Use a ruler or ravioli stamp to "mark" one side of the length of the dough. This will help you know where to place the filling.
- Using a clean tablespoon, fill each ravioli with the cheese filling (up to a tablespoon of filling - use your judgement here to at least ½" of a rim).
- Use a pastry brush to brush water around the outside edge of each ravioli.
- Fold the unfilled side of ravioli dough over the filled side.
- Use two fingers to pat firmly yet gently around the filling. Packing and sealing the filling tightly helps prevent air pockets which helps avoid the ravioli from bursting. Press out the air pockets at the same time.
- Cut the ravioli using a ravioli stamp or a pastry wheel, pressing down to seal it.
- Remove ravioli to a floured baking sheet or clean surface. Cover with a dish towel and refrigerate if cooking later in the day. In lightly boiling. heavily salted water (kosher salt), cook the ravioli for 3-5 minutes until the ravioli floats.
About Lori Murphy
Lori has over 30 years in the food industry as a marketing strategist, culinary instructor and chef for three kids with discerning palates. As the chief content creator at Josie + Nina, Lori is dedicated to helping home cooks create food memories through fresh ingredients and Italian flavors.
We took the easy way out and used wonton wrappers, although next time we are making your homemade dough for sure. This Ricotta filling was absolutely delicious, loved the hint of lemon. Chef's Kiss!
Lori Murphy says
I love the idea of using wonton wrappers...all about a shortcut for sure! Thanks for trying the ricotta cheese ravioli filling - and for taking the time to comment!