Whether you are looking for something rich and indulgent or nutritious and satisfying, these pancakes have you covered. These orange ricotta pancakes are not only delicious, but are also chock-full of protein, calcium, and vitamin C to jump start your day.
This post was originally published on January 13, 2014, and was republished in October 2020 to add better quality photos, re-test the recipe, and add more helpful tips.
What says fall or winter better than a cool weekend morning and a big stack of fragrant, hearty pancakes? I know I don’t often have time to indulge in making a classic, picture worthy breakfast for my family, but that makes it even more special when I do. And I want to serve them something that represents that.
When it comes to big, satisfying breakfasts, pancakes are among my favorites. They feel so indulgent but are also hearty and filling. Plus, everyone loves them. They are the perfect way to start any activity-packed weekend adventure.
Giving pancakes a healthy boost
Like so many of my standard dishes, these orange ricotta pancakes have gotten a recent healthy upgrade – which I think has made them taste even better! I went with one of my easy nutrition upgrades by trading out some of the all-purpose flour for a protein and fiber-rich whole grain. It makes these tasty pancakes feel that much more satisfying and is a perfect start to a day full of fun or projects.
But even without adding nutrient rich whole grains, this tasty breakfast staple has a lot to offer. It’s easy to dismiss cheese as being a rich and fat-filled addition, but it has a surprising amount of protein. And of course, plenty of calcium. All important things for the active bodies in our household, young and old.
Along with the eggs, that gives these pancakes three protein sources, calcium, and fiber. And there is no reason to be afraid of a little bit of fat in your diet. In fact, some kinds of vitamins can only be absorbed if you eat them with fats. Like the all-important vitamin A, which is so critical for good vision. Sometimes a little indulgence can be a good thing.
Boost your immune system with citrus
The other thing that makes these the perfect cold weather breakfast: lots of vitamin C! Fresh citrus (zests and juice) is the best source of immune boosting vitamin C. And we all want to stay healthy when the annual winter illnesses start going around.
With fresh orange juice in the pancakes and the syrup, processed sugars are also lower in this recipe than in many other sweet pancakes. You can make good use of the bounty of winter citrus to naturally sweeten your morning meal and enhance it with lots of flavor. It’s wonderful when things that are good for you taste so amazing!
No matter what time of year you make these, they are sure to lead to an exciting day. Start your morning right with fluffy, rich pancakes and even more fun will follow. All that protein and vitamin C will keep your family fueled for whatever activities you have in store.
Orange Ricotta Pancakes
For the honey orange syrup:
- ½ cup honey
- juice of ½ orange
- grated zest from ½ orange
For the orange ricotta pancakes:
- 3/4 cups (100g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cups (112g) whole wheat flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 eggs , separated
- 3 tablespoons sugar , divided
- ⅓ cup (76g) unsalted butter
- grated zest from 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup milk
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- ¾ cup (180g) ricotta cheese
- In a medium saucepan, combine the honey and orange juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and mix in the orange zest. Let to cool. The syrup will thicken as it cools.
- In a medium bowl, blend flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter over medium-low heat, until butter is melted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Mix the orange juice into the milk mixture and set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to bubble. Add 1 tablespoon sugar and continue beating until soft peaks form. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar until light and creamy. Whisk in the orange zest and vanilla. Whisk in a quarter of the milk mixture, then whisk in the remaining milk mixture until smooth. Slowly add flour mixture, stirring only until dry ingredients are moist but still lumpy. Do not overmix. Using the rubber spatula, stir in the ricotta cheese. Finally, fold the egg whites into the batter until just combined. The batter will be lumpy.
- Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat until hot. Scoop ⅓ cup batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on top. Carefully flip over and cook the other side until the bottoms are golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes more. Serve warm with the honey orange syrup.