Ricotta Fritters (Ponchiki)

Ricotta fritters are like small donut holes, made with a ricotta batter that cooks up into beautiful golden and crisp rounds. They are so airy and fluffy on the inside. Dusted with powdered sugar, they are such a treat.

Ricotta fritters, which we called Ponchiki in my family, are a walk down memory lane for me. My Mom used to make them quite often when I was a little girl. In the Slavic culture, we made them with farmer’s cheese, tvorog, but I have learned to also make them with ricotta cheese too. Golden and crunchy on the outside and fluffy and tender on the inside, these Ponchiki are absolutely perfect.

The ricotta cheese is the secret ingredient that makes these homemade donuts the best texture and flavor. You can use either ricotta cheese, farmer’s cheese or even cottage cheese for this recipe (I’ll explain how to adjust the recipe depending on what you use.) If you make homemade ricotta cheese, this is a great recipe to put it to good use. It’s so easy to mix up the batter, all you need is a bowl and a whisk. You also don’t need to wait for the dough to rise and it’s also really easy to fry them too – no rolling or cutting involved, just drop the batter into the oil.

The whole family will gather round when these Ponchiki, Ricotta Fritters, are on the table, warm and dusted with powdered sugar. They are worth the effort to make from scratch – such a treat!

Ingredients

  • ricotta cheese (farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese can also be used)
    • I have a great recipe for how to make homemade ricotta cheese in your Instant Pot or the stovetop. It’s so easy and delicious.
    • If you use farmer’s cheese, it’s usually a lot drier, so use 1/4 cup less flour. However, if you want to use cottage cheese, drain it first through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of excess moisture. Use the same amount of flour as when using ricotta cheese.
  • eggs
  • sugar (granulated or raw sugar)
  • vanilla extract
  • salt
  • all purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • oil, for frying
    • I use avocado oil for frying. It has a high smoke point, so it won’t smoke when we’re deep frying the donuts at high heat.
    • You can use other high smoke point oils, such as vegetable, peanut, grapeseed, canola, etc.
    • Do NOT use olive oil or extra virgin oil, since they have a low smoke point and will start smoking at a much lower heat, plus the flavor is much more pronounced.
  • powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top of the donuts
Ingredients For Ricotta Fritters

How To Make Ricotta Fritters

  1. Heat up the oil.
    • Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot/Dutch oven. Heat the oil to 370-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Meanwhile, make the ricotta batter.
    • Mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a whisk. (You can also use a hand mixer or a stand mixer.)
    • In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisking to combine.
    • Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix to combine.
  3. Fry the Ricotta Fritters in the hot oil.
    • Using 2 small teaspoons or a small portion scoop, scoop out the batter and place them carefully into the hot oil. If using two teaspoons, take a small scoop of batter in one spoon and use the other spoon to scrape it off the spoon and into the oil.
    • When you add the batter to the oil, the temperature will drop. Adjust the heat of your stove, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees while frying.
    • Fry until fritters are deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, flipping fritters halfway through frying.
  4. Heat up the oil to 370-375 degrees Fahrenheit before adding more batter to the oil. Continue cooking until all the batter is used up.
  5. Drain the Fritters on a paper towel or paper bag.
How to make ricotta fritters step by step tutorial

Dust the Ricotta Fritters with powdered sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature. They are best served the same day, but can still be enjoyed for 1-2 days after cooking them.

Video of How To Make Ricotta Fritters

Print

Ricotta Fritters (Ponchiki)

Ricotta Fritters are like small donut holes. The batter is made with ricotta cheese and they turn out to be so airy, fluffy and tasty.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 7075 small fritters 1x
  • Category: Sweets

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 quarts oil, for frying the donuts (I like avocado best, but you can also use peanut, grapeseed, vegetable, or canola oil)
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese (farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese can also be used. See note below.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • powdered sugar, to sprinkle on top of the donuts

Instructions

  1. First, start heating up the oil. Pour the oil into a heavy bottomed pot/Dutch oven. Heat the oil to 370-375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. While the oil is heating up, make the ricotta batter. Mix the ricotta cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla in a large bowl with a whisk until smooth. (You can also use a hand mixer or a stand mixer.)
  3. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt, whisking to combine. Add the flour mixture to the batter and mix to combine.
  4. Using 2 small teaspoons or a small portion scoop, scoop out the batter and drop it carefully into the hot oil. If using two teaspoons, take a small scoop of batter in one spoon and use the other spoon to scrape it off the spoon and into the oil.
  5. When you add the batter to the oil, the temperature will drop. Adjust the heat of your stove, if necessary, to maintain oil temperature between 325 and 350 degrees while frying. 
  6. Fry until fritters are deep golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes, flipping fritters halfway through frying.
  7. Drain the ricotta fritters on a paper towel lined plate or a paper bag. 
  8. Heat the oil back up to 370-375 degrees Fahrenheit before adding more batter to the oil. Continue cooking until all the batter is used up. You should have about 70-75 small donuts, depending on the size that you make them. 
  9. Dust the Ricotta Fritters with powdered sugar.
  10. Serve warm or at room temperature. They are best served the same day, but can still be enjoyed for 1-2 days after cooking them.

Notes

Ricotta Cheese Substitutions: 

Instead of the ricotta cheese, you can also use farmer’s cheese or cottage cheese. 

  • If you use farmer’s cheese, it’s usually a lot drier, so use 1/4 cup less flour.
  • However, if you want to use cottage cheese, drain it first through a fine mesh sieve to get rid of excess moisture. Use the same amount of flour as when using ricotta cheese.

Keywords: ricotta fritters, ponchiki, easy homemade donuts, ricotta donuts

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This recipe for Ricotta Fritters was originally published on April 7, 2014. I have updated the photos, clarified the instructions and added a short video to make it even better.

90 Comments

  • Veranika@VerasCooking

    Oh, the memories…
    I used to love this stuff. I wish that paper bag of ponchiki was here right now.

    • olgak7

      Wouldn’t it be nice if little treats would just appear when we wanted them? That’s kind of my secret to not eating too much sweets – I try to only eat homemade sweets, which I don’t want to do too often. It really helps:).

  • Julia

    My kids would be all over these.. I don’t see these lasting very long at my house at all. Will definitely have to try these some lazy weekend!! Beautiful photo, for sure!

  • Valentin Goncharenko

    These ponchiki are fabulously delicious! Me and my wife were honored to try these directly from the source of “wholesome cooking made simple”.
    Thank you Olga and Serge for the finger-licking treat!!

  • Galya V.

    Olga, if you convert 350 Fahrenheit oil to High-Medium-Low temperature, what range would that be? I just don’t have what to measure an oil temperature with. Thanks 🙂

    • olgak7

      Galya, I can’t say for sure, because I always use a thermometer. It’s very hard to guess the temperature that you need to use, since different pots will heat up differently as well as stoves are different too. Thermometers are very inexpensive. I bought mine for about $10 and I use it all the time.

      • Oksana K

        Olya, you answered here on my question too, before i asked. (glad i read all comments first)… 😉 There are some delish recipes here on your blog that i was going to do, but when saw that it requires termometer – had to skip, cuz i don’t have one… But now i’ve had it! Going to buy this gadget as soon as i’m in department store, and make THESE BEAUTIES FIRST, and then go search for those recipes of yours that i wanted to do and make them happen too, since i’ll FINALLY have the termometer! 😀 Many many thanks to you for your blog, and your ability to keep posting yummy recipes even with babies at home, wow! i’m so amazed by your “superpowers”. 🙂 😉

  • Julia

    Oh. Just made them. Amazingly good. Making another batch as soon as done frying first one. Thank you for the recipe.

  • Jan Murry

    Just finished making these – they are delicious! Wish mine looked as pretty as yours – I ended up with a lot of tails – not nice and round like yours. I guess I’ll just have to keep practicing! Can these be frozen?

  • Sasha

    Olga, this was so timely this evening…I had farmers cheese to use up. Also my daughters birthday is tomorrow. So, I thought I’d check your website. The minute I pull up your website here pops up this recipe…
    Well, needless to say I barely got first batch out…my whole family surrounded me. I have 5 young kids. Between hubby, kids and me, we ate half already…
    I am going to have to bake more in the meantime…
    Maybe you can suggest something…love this recipe, quick, easy, and tasty….
    With kids 6 years of age and under I need to do things quick ;)))
    I’d appreciate any ideas 🙂

  • Anna

    Hey Olga, thank you for posting this easy recipe for ponchiki. I have a quick question can I use cottage cheese for this recipe instead of farmers?

    • olgak7

      I’ve never made it with cottage cheese, so the measurements of the ingredients might be a bit off. I would suggest draining the cottage cheese and pureeing it in the food processor first before using it in the recipe.

    • olgak7

      I haven’t made it with cottage cheese, so I can’t say for sure. Make sure to drain it well first and I would probably pulse it in food processor first, to get the lumps out before making the batter with it. It should work out fine if you do that, Elen.

  • Norma

    I want to make these for my grandchildren . . . . I think they will love making them. I live in a very small community so will have to get ingredients the next time I “go to town!” Please clarify what you mean by farmer’s cheese . . . . is there a particular brand that I need to look for? I have “Farmer’s Cheese” in my frig but it is pretty hard, and I am wondering if that will work; do I need to soften it or at least bring it to room temp?

    Thank you for your time! I am looking forward to trying these at our next family gathering!

    • olgak7

      Hi Norma,
      If you click on the link in the ingredient list to farmer’s cheese, you will see exactly what kind of farmer’s cheese I am talking about. I have the recipe for homemade farmer’s cheese too. I buy the “Friendship” brand of farmer’s cheese at the store and it’s the perfect texture. If your farmer’s cheese is really hard, you can pulse it in the food processor to make it softer and break it apart. Softening farmer’s cheese won’t make much of a difference, since it’s a different texture than cream cheese or butter.

  • Michelle

    can i use quickmelt cheese instead of farmer’s cheese since farmer’s cheese is not available here?

    • olgak7

      I’m not sure what quick melt cheese is, but you can substitute it with cottage cheese or ricotta cheese, as long as you wring out any moisture, Michelle.

  • valentina

    Olga thank you for this recipe. We live in America for 22 years and i could not find this recipe anywhere. Back home in Moldova we used to call them GOGOSHI. Everything turned out just like you described it above. Great taste and very tender dough.

    Molodets, Spasibo bolishoe

    • olgak7

      Don’t you just love when you find a recipe that brings back great memories? I’m thrilled that the Ponchiki were just how you remembered them. I’ve never heard about Gogoshi; thanks for sharing.

  • Innessa

    Hi Olga! Do u have a recipe for ponchiki with milk instead of cheese? I want to make these with poppy seeds..

  • Dina

    Just made these ponchiki and I am so glad I did.
    They are so good I can’t stop eating them.
    Thank you so much for sharing amazing recipes with us:)

  • canadian cowgirl

    I am teaching Story Hour at my local library for kids ages 3-12 years old and am doing a theme of Around the World. We are going to be learning about Russia next week and I thought they might like to try these. However, I’ve never fried before. I have a cupcake iron (sort of like a waffle iron!) that I can make these types of desserts in. Do you think I can use that instead of frying?

  • Pernille

    I just found your delicious recipe.
    I am to bring some russian themed goodies to a party, but will have to travel some to get there. Will these little darlings hold up for a day or do they get stale?

    • olgak7

      They won’t taste as great as fresh, but they should still be in great shape for another day:). You can absolutely make them the day before. I hope you have fun at your party. It sounds like a lot of fun. I’d love to hear how it goes.

  • The Russian Store

    These look delightful! Thanks for sharing beautiful photos and easy to read instructions! We will be sharing your Russian donut recipe with our Russian interest friends 🙂

  • Lisa

    I found that 350 was a tad too hot :-/ wonder why mine were different. Worked great on 340. My thermometer said to use 360 for doughnuts. Glad I didn’t!

  • Lena

    Hi Olga. Thank you for this recipe. Im so excited to try it:). Do you know how to get the right temp on stove? All I know is my stove does not show how hot it gets degree wise. Is that high temp , medium or in between if you had to guess?

    • olgak7

      Hello Lena. The only way to get an accurate measurement is to use a thermometer, either a candy thermometer or I use my husband’s infrared laser thermometer. Candy thermometers are very inexpensive and I use thermometers in the kitchen all the time. Without a thermometer, it’s very hard to see if the oil is hot enough or not too hot, as you already said yourself. The temperature will be influenced by the stove you are using, the size of the pot, the type of pot you are using, how many donuts you add to the oil, etc.

  • Ros

    Hi Olga, we were looking for Russian recipes to eat while watching the Russian grand prix race! We think the ponchiki are outstanding, so tasty. My daughter age 9 helped to make them and says “they are amazing, I kept coming back for more”. My son age 12 really likes them too. We also made the Belorussian cheese and potato bake, it was great too. Thanks for your recipes!

    • olgak7

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the Ponchiki, Ros. They are so addicting:). My husband and I love them.
      The cheese and potato bake is a favorite in our family too. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  • Saskia Tilou

    This look wonderful! I remember them from the old days, I plan on making some of these, just like mum used to!

    • olgak7

      I usually keep them covered at room temperature. They don’t last very long at our house, only a day or two. It really tastes best on the same day that they are made, but they can last for 3 days or so.

  • Angel Lambert

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! I homeschool my 4 sons and we have Geography Club today. This month we are studying Asia, and our family’s country was RUSSIA! I found this recipe to take to club today (since we eat our way around the world, basically), and I am pleased that the recipe is easy, quick, and delicious! I am happy to take this today!

  • Tzivia

    Olga love this ponchiki recipe was such a blast from the past for me I remember my mom’s mutual friend making these for special occasions or holidays made these today for my bff and also for my dad half are like gone we ate a lot of them used three different kinds of oils for the frying because I didn’t have enough so combined extra light tasting olive oil organic peanut oil and grapeseed oil together and wow they came out really great awesome yummm didn’t have farmer’s cheese so used ricotta cheese and wow omg my bff and I were totally blown away definitely a keeper for company and also the Jewish holiday chanukah they are also highly addictive I bet they would be really seriously awesome great with coffee or tea thanx so much for sharing hun cheers

  • Louise Keay

    Rainy afternoon so decided to try these.Used drycurd cottage cheese and they came out beautifully. Definite keeper! Only thing that because dry curd cheese is quite coarse gave it a whiz in the food processor to break it down.

  • Lola

    Hi Olga. In the Netherlands (where I live) we call these donuts ‘oliebollen’. Look it up once! They are so delicious and around New Year’s Eve everyone buys or makes them. It is really delicious. And thanks for all those delicious recipes on your website. Bye!

  • Zory

    Sooooo good! I was shocked at how soft and airy they were in the inside. Just cloud-like deliciousness. Will definitely be making again.

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