Is ricotta cheese healthy to eat?

Ricotta lovers will be happy to know that ricotta cheese is a healthy food and belongs to the dairy food group. It can be enjoyed every day as part of a balanced diet.

Last updated 04/04/2024

Ricotta is an Italian word that means ‘recooked’.  It’s made from the whey portion leftover from other cheese making, which is reheated to bring the whey proteins together.

Whey protein is a muscle-building superstar - our bodies absorb whey protein easily and it contains all nine essential amino acids our bodies need, making it a complete protein.  All dairy proteins naturally contain high-quality protein, however whey proteins in particular have been studied in sports nutrition including the branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine and valine. Whey protein has a high content of the amino acid leucine, which is well known to help muscle fibres recover after a body building gym session.[1]

The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating from the dairy food group every day to enjoy good health. Thankfully, all types of milk, cheese (including ricotta) and yoghurt qualify for this group, as they’re packed full of essential nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamin A, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin K, iodine, phosphorus, selenium and zinc, to name a few![2] 

The number of serves of dairy you need depend on your age and gender. Most adults need two and a half to four serves each day – and ricotta is a great way to get to your recommended serves. 

A serve of ricotta (1/2 a cup or 120g) provides: 

 798 kilojoules 
3.2g carbohydrates 
12.5g protein
14.2g fat
204 mg calcium[3]

If you’re looking for a lower-fat, lower energy, high-protein dairy option, ricotta is an excellent choice.


[1] National Health and Medical Research Council. Australian Dietary Guidelines, Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia; 2013

[2] Available via: Accessed 16.09.2019

[3] Australian Food Composition Database [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Nov 30]. Available from:

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