zucchini, ham and ricotta fritters

[Note: This recipe got some fresh photos in 2019.]

I am the last person on the internet to join the Cute Overload train; I mean, I get it, it’s cute. I love cute, you love cute, cute makes the birds sing and the sun shine and the world go round and tra-la-la. I get it. But man, oh man. Sometime in the last two weeks it hit me like a ten ton truck and people, the cute is killing me. I can’t breathe sometimes, the cute is so strong. I’m tag-surfing snorgle on Flickr, sputtering nonsensicals like “piggle snorgle tiny mouf action ohmy gah! Gah!” when Alex asks me how my day was. I want to take bites of the cute, but I know, I know I’d bite down too hard and take a piece out of the ear. When she added an “I shall leeck you” category it was about all the precious I could take and I had to let Alex in on the Overload, my new time-sucking Internet habit; Alex, who like any man with two eyes pulse, quickly found the Cats ‘n’ Racks and let’s just say, it is not just my redonk little habit anymore.

a few things you'll needlet's one-bowl thisricotta pancake batteradd other ingredients

Speaking of redonk, in my predictable language-sponging manner, I’ve also picked up the slang, the cute-‘bonics and it’s having a horrific effect on my ability to string sentences this week. Take our dinner tonight; it was just one of the best, most awesome, breathtakingly lovable weekday night dinners we’ve had in ages and I can just tell, these fritters are gonna be yr new BFF, too!!!1! Do you see? Do you see how that sentence just fell from grace when my enthusiasm kicked in? Let’s hope this passes real soon.

zucchinizucchini matchsticksready to frypress the thick batter flatsmallest skilletzucchini, ham, and ricotta fritters

In the meanwhile, you can consider me officially smitten with Donna Hay. The fritter recipes in the issue I picked up this week demanded my near-immediate attention. Unlike those Indian-spiced ones I made a few weeks ago, which are more like loose ingredients bound with an egg or two, these are more of a pancake batter speckled with wonderful things. They also take about one-eighteenth of the time to make. There’s loads of room for interpretation and ingredient-substitution, but on this first round I followed the Zucchini, Ham, Basil and Ricotta Fritter recipe to the letter. It worked like a charm in my small non-stick, which — all Teflon debates aside — is simply the easiest thing to fry them with a minimum of grease. They slide right out without argument, and don’t over-brown without fair warning.

zucchini, ham, and ricotta fritters

My only complaint, and really, not much of one, is that it says this serves two and I’d argue with a small salad this easily serves four. I’m stuffed. I think I’m just going to lay back, close my eyes and roll around in my pouchy skin and daintily crossed legs until all of this passes. Being this precious all the time is utterly exhausting.

zucchini, ham, and ricotta fritters

Zucchini, Ham, and Ricotta Fritters

  • Servings: 2 to 4
  • Source: Adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, Issue 29
  • Print

I updated this recipe in 2019 to reflect the changes I’ve made over the years — it’s now a one-bowl recipe, the measurements are more precise, and a few additional swaps are suggested. It originally called for 1 cup of self-rising flour; since it’s rare we use that on SK, the flour, baking powder, and half the salt replace what that 1 cup would contain. What remains is that this is a great formula for a simple dinner pancake, even if you swap in different ingredients with quick cooking times.

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (20 grams or 3/4 ounce) unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup (2 1/2 fluid ounces) milk, any kind
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup torn basil leaves (I use roughly chopped baby spinach here instead)
  • About 3 ounces (85 grams) cured ham, torn or cut into strips
  • 1/2 a smallish zucchini (about 3 ounces), cut into matchsticks
  • Vegetable or olive oil, for frying

Melt the butter in the bottom of a large bowl in the microwave. Whisk in milk and ricotta until smooth. Whisk in eggs until combined. Add baking powder, salt, and many grinds of black pepper and whisk very well, until thoroughly combined. Switch to spoon and add flour; stir until combined. Stir in basil, ham, and zucchini until evenly distributed in batter.

Heat a small skillet (I use a 6-inch cast iron here) over medium and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Heat oil and then spoon in one-third to half (depending on the size of your skillet; I use one-third for a 6-inch here) of your batter and spread it in one layer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shimmying pan a little to ensure it’s not sticking, until lightly brown underneath, about 4 to 5 minutes. Flip pancake and cook until golden brown on the second side, another 4 minutes, and slide onto a serving plate. Repeat with additional oil and remaining batter.

Note: These pancakes tend to be a little tricky to cook through, especially when thick. If mine are still loose in the middle once outside is the right color, I’ll finish them in a 350 degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cut into wedges to serve.

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75 comments on zucchini, ham and ricotta fritters

  1. These look absolutely scrumptious!! I recently picked up my first issue of Donna Hay, and kick myself for not doing so much earlier on. I’m just in awe of all her recipes and photographs!

  2. Is the SmittenKitchen still open for advice? I made a meringue tonight that called for six egg whites. After (aherm) way more than six eggs, I finally got there. Two questions: 1) Any tips on improving my egg-separating technique? (An obvious one: try not to drop an egg on the floor, that makes it awfully hard to separate.) and 2) Any tried-and-true suggestions for using up (sigh) 9 or 10 egg yolks (with a bit of egg white thrown in for good measure)?

    1. Didi

      you drop a single egg into a shallow dish, take an empty plastic water bottle squeeze the air out of it, hover over the yolk in your dish and suck it into the neck of the bottle and hold it with air, have a another shallow dish waiting nearby and drop the yolk into it.
      I am sure if you look it up on youtube you will find some video instructions.
      I have been using this technique for years and love it!

    2. i like using my hands to separate eggs. just open the egg, dump it onto your palm and let the egg whites drip out between your fingers. much easier than the back-and-forth thing where i always seem to end up breaking the yolk. although it’s a little slimy.

  3. meghan

    midnite99 – i like using my hands to separate eggs. just open the egg, dump it onto your palm and let the egg whites drip out between your fingers. much easier than the back-and-forth thing where i always seem to end up breaking the yolk. although it’s a little slimy.

  4. That looks incredible. I may have to check out this Donna Hay Magazine, as I just ended my subscription to two cooking magazines and am going through major withdrawal.

  5. Jenifer from Memphis

    I think I found something to cook for dinner this weekend, I knew there was a reason that I bought a zucchini! ( ONE MORE POST TO GO! )

  6. Looks yummy – will have to try this one.
    LOL at your cute overload addiction – my daughter is the epitome of overload when I load that site for her – she about passes out from all the “awwwwws” that pass her lips. ;)

    For separating eggs, I just watched Alton Brown do it last night with a slotted spoon.

  7. LOL I had forgotten about that site. You made me watch again! I should be working, not looking at cute pictures of puppies!!! Luckily, I´ll have my fair share of puppies in real life soon and my blog is likely to become filled with cute-overload-worthy pics :) ohhhh puppies *swooning*

  8. I’m not sure what it is about all those cute pictures, but it’s like some sort of compulsion. You can’t just look at one, and before you know it an hour has passed and your mind is full of cute little kittens and puppies and other wee animals. As for Donna Hay, I think I am becoming a big fan, and hopefully I have hinted heavily enough to get her magazine and perhaps a cookbook or two for Christmas. Your Donna dish looks absolutely wonderful!

  9. tammy

    well, i just figured out what the “h” and i will be doing for our friday date night – yummy – i do believe that while it might serve 4 i will be lucky to get 1/2 a serving once this is made…

  10. Genevieve

    One quick question – must I use self rising flour? Will good ol’ all purpose suffice? Should I add a little (like 1/4 tsp) baking soda for the leavening (sp??) agent to compensate? Many thanks, as I have both ham and ricotta in the fridge to use up and always have zucchini on hand!

  11. Tan

    So happy you’ve discovered Donna Hay – we love her! You should subscribe…I picked up a 2 year subscription for $40 when I went to see her at the Melb Good Food and Wine Show and love it when I can see the mag peeking out of the letterbox on the way home from work :)

  12. Yvo

    I totally thought this was a frittata… oops. Hehe I was going to ask you about putting non-stick in the oven, because though mine swears it’s oven safe to 500 degrees, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Looks delicious… and look! You’ve made it through NaBloPoMo!!! Congrats!!! And thank you for all the yumminess all month long (will you continue? I’ll miss you if you don’t!)

  13. Sashikha

    I have long been a fan of Donna, my father-in-law discusses her as though she is a part of our family because I use her recipes so often. They are so easy and taste great. Just bought the Christmas issue, and it’s full of flagged recipes waiting to be tried. Also thanks, for a great month of recipes & anecdotes, I’ve really enjoyed reading your adventures, kitchen & otherwise!

  14. Celeste

    I can’t help wondering how this would taste made with potato flour. I would probably not have the guts to flip such a large pancake though, and would end up making lots of smaller ones.

    Something tells me this would be good leftover in a lunchbox.

  15. Ali

    These look really good, but I’m not a fan of ricotta … any suggestions on substituting another cheese for ricotta, maybe grated mozzerella?

    1. deb

      Ricotta works quite differently than harder cheeses in recipes — it adds moisture and texture. But that isn’t to say that others won’t work. You’ll have to play around with the recipe, as I’ve only made it the way it is shown above.

      Self rising flour is not the same as all-purpose flour. However, you can make your own self-rising flour at home.

  16. Ali

    Someone asked above “must I use self rising flour? Will good ol’ all purpose suffice?” I’m wondering the same, and didn’t see a response; if substituting all-purpose flour, any suggestions re: amount of baking soda/powder to add?

  17. Nicole

    These were really good, but little dry. I wonder if I cooked it too long? I left them a little longer on the first side because I was having trouble flipping them. Next time I’ll make them smaller (like another reader suggested) and will be heavier on the salt and pepper. But there will be a next time!

  18. Renate

    This recipe made a great tasting fritter! I’m glad I stared browsing back over your older posts. I had to add onions, but otherwise followed the recipe to the letter. Like someone else mentioned, I would call this a frittata as well. The best way I’ve found to make dishes like this is in my Calphalon double frittata pan. It’s like buying two pans in one, and they interlock, so you just flip the whole thing. It stays intact perfectly.

  19. jenniegirl

    These were pretty good-they needed some salt though-and maybe a bit of a kick!
    Served it for supper with sour cream and salsa-made us both happy.

  20. Oh thank you for finding/posting this! My two year old is on an anti-veggie kick and I was running out of ideas (I’ve hidden them in everything short of his morning cereal!) but he really liked this :0)

  21. Delicious! These are so light an airy yet perfectly filling. I served them for brunch with an arugula and persimmon salad (as summer turns to fall…) and they were very popular. Thank you!

  22. Christine

    We dipped into this old post for our X-mas day breakfast and it was super! As we ate it though, we felt like it almost needed something sweet. Don’t think we’re crazy, but we broke out the strawberry preserves and it was great. That’s because these fritters remind me of a Monte Cristo sandwich in their flavor – a sandwich that is ham turkey and swiss, batter fried and topped with a touch of powdered sugar and some fruit preserves for dipping. Another note – we saved 1/2 the batter in the fridge for another morning and they cooked up well, this time as 3 – 4″ fritters.

  23. Nicole

    these were great! I substituted mozzarella for the ricotta, and they tasted wonderful. I had a few mishaps in getting the beautiful presentation down, but even as a scramble it was an excellent meal. :)

  24. Eliza

    Amazing! Loved it. We made it with our own shredded zukes from the freezer (squeezed the moisture out) and frozen diced basil. I skipped the ham and added some sauteed onion. This will get made a lot! It is a bit like pancakes though, where the first one doesnt come out great. I would make them as pancake sized next time.

  25. Sofia

    Hi, I have never posted before but have been reading your blog with so much interest and, excuse my intensity, lust, over the recipes, descriptions, pictures, mmmmmmmmm
    Anyway, this recipe intrigued me, but in Chile, where I am from and live, there is no self rising flour. I pressed the indications in your comment/ reply (Nº 27) but it took me nowhere. Do you know what could have happened??
    In any case, congratulations, and thank you so much for the great ideas and say Hi from Chile to that adorable Jacob of yours.

    1. deb

      Hi Sofia — The site had some downtime earlier today which may have accounted for the link not working. Here’s the information:

      For each cup of flour, add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and a 1/2 teaspoon salt; mix extra and store it in an airtight container for months.

  26. Amanda

    Tried these tonight and they were delicious!! I subbed simple ham slices (thicker cut) and the “basil in a tube”. I also halfed this recipe and it was PLENTY for me. I’ll pop the leftovers in the oven tomorrow for lunch. Thank you!! Great & simple dinner!

  27. Hannah

    I made this last night with salami, leeks, and cauliflower instead of the ham, basil and zucchini – it was delicious! Such an easy and tasty mid-week dinner.

  28. Marie

    My one year old i I just had them for lunch: we both loved them! One question though, do they freeze well? Which would make it an even easier lunch!!

  29. Sharaya

    Absolutely delicious! I substituted spinach for the basil; mozzarella string cheese halfed and torn into well…strings instead of the ham; and topped off the divine creation with kale chips from your kale chips recipe. Divine! Thank you so much for posting this.

  30. Andi

    I’m thinking about making these for a dinner party for 40. Would these be good at room temperature? Or reheated just before serving? Deb, I love your site- thanks for such tasty recipes!

    1. deb

      Andi — Thank you. I think they’d be better reheated lightly. They have a little bit more of an American-style breakfast pancake texture than a crunchy fritter.

  31. Emily

    Very tasty! The kids even ate it. :) It’s very pancake-like, reminded me of Dutch pannekoek. I’ll make this again and may try spinach instead of zucchini, bacon would also be good, and I might add some parmesan; I love that it seems so versatile and was pretty quick to make, and not lots to clean up!

  32. Liz

    Attempting to whisk two eggs with a cup of flour left me with a dry, crumbly mess. I had to add half a cup of milk to get the dough to loosen up even a little. Any ideas where I might have gone wrong?

  33. I’m not usually a huge eater and I can’t get enough of this!! I used prosciutto but otherwise followed the recipe to a T. My husband is working late and his portion is sitting in my fridge but I’m dangerously close to eating it.

  34. Jodes

    About to make these for lunch, with a giant overgrown zucchini! I just had to comment on the serving size – I find that with most of Donna Hay’s recipes! Serves 2? It will feed at least 3 generously. 4? More like 6 or 8!

    She is one of my go-tos for dinner inspiration, after you! I don’t know what I did before Smitten Kitchen!

  35. Rosie

    These were great!

    Grocery was out of basil so I used a handful of baby kale + chives and it was fantastic. Would be great with basil too, I imagine.

  36. W.

    These were so good! I wasn’t sure what to expect…I thought they would be eggier and frittata-like, but they were more of an airy, savory pancake (fritter is the perfect description, I just couldn’t picture it til I made them). I made mine a little smaller and came out with seven fritters, and we found that two each was plenty. I topped mine with yogurt, partner topped his with salsa, and we ate them alongside your melting potatoes and slow-roasted tomatoes.

  37. Hannah

    These are a great, quick dinner. I made them a bunch last summer and just remembered them and made more tonight. Easy to substitute too. I’ve put different veg and proteins, I’ve used sour cream in place of ricotta. Always works!

  38. Amanda

    Tasty! Easier to handle in the pan than the also delicious fritter b/c of the batter. I used pancetta instead of ham – and added some dill and green onions because I had them in the fridge! Just needs a side of sour cream that I am regretting is not in the fridge this evening!

  39. K Burns

    Made with shredded smoked tofu instead of ham and cooked low and slow on my griddle- turned out great and cooked through. Next time would use more zucchini.

  40. Alix

    Made this for Sunday lunch. DELICIOUS. I served it with a toum that I’d found on Instagram. It’s delicious alone but that garlic dip is next level with it. Looking forward to leftovers at lunch. I will say, next time I’ll probably grate the zucchini. I am not good a juliennne-ing things so the zucchini was a bit bigger than I would have liked.

  41. Jennifer

    Even after making the mistake of adding the eggs after the flour (which by that point was very biscuit dough’ish) this was really good. Batter was thick enough I cooked omit stovetop on my griddle. I agree that this is easily 4 servings.

  42. PBK

    So I realize even the updates to this post are four years old but for various reasons I was in a real funk tonight with an accompanying glut of zucchini so I figured it would help if I cooked something rather than having wine and crackers for dinner and this place is always my first stop. The results of this recipe far outweigh the ease of preparation and are worth commenting on even at this late date. Having read the “complaint” I halved it and being in said funk I had no patience for measuring or weighing so just eyeballed everything and this still came out great. Would highly recommend putting some grated/shredded cheese on these before flipping them to get a cheesy, crispy crust. Thanks Deb!

  43. Wendy D

    When you say one-third to one-half of the batter do you mean one-third cup or one-half cup or actually one-third to one-half of the entire amount of batter?