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Italian Easter Rice Pie Recipe (Pastiera di Riso)

Traditionally served in Italy during the Easter holiday, this fragrant Italian Easter Rice Pie (Pastiera di Riso) is sensational. The sweet pie is filled with creamy rice, ricotta, orange, and lemon zest, and a touch of cinnamon. It is rustic and simply delicious!

  • Total Time: 90 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings 1x


Units Scale

1 recipe for Pasta Frolla Pastry Dough (optional- you can make without crust)


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup arborio rice or medium grain white rice
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 strips of lemon peel (in large pieces; do not get the white part of the peel)
  • 2 strips of orange peel (in large pieces; do not get the white part of the peel)


  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 4 eggs at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground cinnamon
  • Prepared cooked rice (above)


Pasta Frolla Pastry Dough- click here for recipe (optional)

  1. Make the pasta frolla dough according to the recipe. Divide the dough. If making a lattice top crust, ensure one dough ball is bigger for the bottom crust—place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Butter and flour or spray with cooking spray a 9 1/2-inch springform pan or deep pie dish. After the dough has chilled, roll it into a circle about 12 inches wide and transfer it to the prepared baking pan- trim edges if needed. Return dough to the fridge until ready to use.
  3. To top the pie with a lattice, roll out the crust using plenty of flour on both sides and the rolling pin and cut it into strips—place strips on a baking sheet or dish, cover with plastic wrap, and chill until ready to use.
Note: After the dough is in the baking dish, you can freeze it with the crust for an hour or so or place it in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight. This helps prevent the dough from shrinking while baking. 


  1. Combine milk and rice in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add salt, orange, and lemon peel. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  2. Once the milk begins to simmer, reduce heat to low, cover slightly, and occasionally stir until the milk is absorbed about 15-20 minutes. Stir constantly in the last 10 minutes to prevent the milk from scorching and the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan. The rice should be cooked but still firm (al dente) since it continues to cook in the oven.  
  3. Remove lemon peel and orange peel and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer to a glass bowl, cover with saran wrap, and set aside to cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350℉—position the rack to the lower third of the oven.


  1. In a large mixing bowl (or using a stand mixer), with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs until well combined, about 5 minutes. You can also use a handheld mixer.
  2. Add the sugar. Beat for an additional 2 minutes until pale yellow and thick. 
  3. Add ricotta, cinnamon, lemon, and orange zest. Whisk until well incorporated (about 1-2 minutes).
  4. Add the rice mixture in 3-4 additions with a wooden spoon or spatula, breaking up any clumps of rice. Mix gently until all combined.
  5. Add filling to the unbaked pastry shell in the prepared baking dish or pie dish. 
  6. Bake the pastiera for 60 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let cool and come to room temperature before slicing and serving. Top with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy. 


Top Tips

Use room-temperature eggs, milk, and ricotta cheese. Take out up to one hour before baking.

Make your shortcrust pastry dough ahead of time (if using a crust). This saves time and splits up the baking process.

Drain the ricotta of excess water. If the batter is too wet, it will take forever for the cake to set while baking. 

Let it rest and cool before cutting! This is like cheesecake. You want it to be set before cutting. It is worth the wait!

  • Author: Elena
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: springform pan, Italian Rice Pie, Easter rice pie, ricotta, rice, Italian dessert