Traditional recipes

Homemade ricotta cheese recipe

Homemade ricotta cheese recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Dairy
  • Cheese
  • Homemade cheese

This ricotta cheese is incredibly rich and creamy. It's also great spread on bread!

37 people made this

IngredientsMakes: 4 cheeses

  • 3.75 litres full fat milk
  • 1 litre buttermilk
  • 475ml double cream
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 4 (45cm) squares cheese cloth
  • cable ties, as needed

MethodPrep:3hr30min ›Cook:35min ›Extra time:8hr chilling › Ready in:12hr5min

  1. Line a large colander or sieve with 4 layers of cheese cloth. Set aside.
  2. Heat milk, buttermilk, double cream and salt in a large, heavy, non-reactive saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for the first 10 minutes. Continue heating, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 87 degrees C. Remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. The mixture will be separated into white curds and clear whey.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, ladle approximately 1/4 of the curds into the cheese cloth-lined colander. Gather up the corners of the top cheesecloth and secure closed with a cable tie. Repeat with the rest of the curds, cheese cloth and cable ties. Use the last cable tie to thread all of the cheeses together. Suspend the cheeses over a large wooden spoon over a large bowl and let drain for 2 hours.
  4. Place the four cheeses, still in cloth, in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, cut cable ties and transfer cheese to an airtight container.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(55)

Reviews in English (46)

by rosabela

Here are some tips I found out:1. A nonreactive saucepan refers to using any type of pot except aluminum and copper which would react with the acids in the milk; a heavy-bottomed pot is prefered to help prevent burning of the curds. 2. After the ricotta is made it can be stored up to 5-7 days, but may NOT be frozen; if it smells rancid then throw it out.3. When you drain the ricotta in the cheesecloth, the longer you drain it the drier it will be, and the less you drain it the creamier it will be.4. If you don't have a thermometer, then keep an eye on the cooking mixture until it separates into curds and whey (the milk has reached it's boiling point/scalding); remove from heat and either let the mixture cool/settle a bit, or scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon. UPDATE: The curds and whey separated nicely. I let the cheese cool down first, then I ladled the whey into a large bowl, and then I used a small colander to scoop out the curds into a clean dish cloth (I didn't have the cheese cloth on hand). Now it's hanging over the sink to drain and then I will refrigerate it over night. I tasted the ricotta and it tastes fresher than when you buy it at the store. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Thanks for sharing a classic, Orcashottie!-10 Jul 2008

by Joy

I didn't have the cream, but made ricotta for the first time in my 70+ years. It's delicious and I'll make lasagna and use part of the ricotta tomorrow.The whey looked so nutritious and I decided to make a pot of potato/corn/carrot soup with it. I sauteed onions, celery, garlic, added carrots, potatoes, frozen corn and seasonings. It's healthy and very good.Now I just have to find hungry people to help eat it. Thank you for this wonderful recipe. Next time, I'll be sure to use the cream.-15 Sep 2008

by artychoke

I'd say this will yeild about 2 lbs of cheese. You can freeze your whey in cup containers, use it in pancakes/waffles, muffins and bread. Anywhere a recipe calls for water. Be creative, it's worth it.-14 Jul 2008

Homemade Ricotta Recipe

Why It Works

  • Heating the milk to between 175°F and 185°F (79 and 85°C) will produce a light and tender curd, without requiring a large dose of acid.
  • Using the minimum acid necessary for a decent yield, and absolutely no more than that, ensures the ricotta tastes milky and sweet, not sour.
  • Holding the curds at a high temperature for about 20 minutes allows a more true ricotta flavor to develop.

Real ricotta cheese is made by reheating the whey left over from cheesemaking. Most of us at home don't have easy access to a large supply of whey, but we can use milk and an acid like white vinegar to make a remarkably similar cheese that looks, tastes, and behaves almost exactly like true ricotta. The keys to getting it right lie in using the right amount of acid, heating the milk to the right temperature, and holding it there long enough for a ricotta-like flavor to develop.

How to Make Ricotta Cheese at Home

As I mentioned, you only need three ingredients. Make sure the milk you use is whole fat milk and not organic or ultra-pasteurized.The curds won’t form properly with this type of milk and you’ll be disappointed with the outcome.

You’ll need a large saucepan, a slotted spoon, a colander, and cheesecloth for draining. It’s also good to have a thermometer for determining the temperature of the milk.

I love this Thermapen thermometer, it’s an instant-read thermometer with great accuracy. If you just wedge it open a little, you can rest it on the side of the saucepan to continuously measure the temp.

Heat the milk in the saucepan over medium heat. You can add the salt at this point and taste the milk to see if it’s to your desired salt level. Don’t over salt it. You can always add more later.

Once it reaches 180 degrees F, add the lemon juice or vinegar. A note about the acid. You can decide which acid to use. I tend to use lemon for dessert-based ricotta dishes because it blends very well with dessert flavors. I use vinegar for savory dishes, like my homemade lasagna.

Using the vinegar version with desserts might be a bit off putting. Plain white vinegar is fine. You’ll notice that the curds begin to form right away. If they don’t, it’s possible you didn’t get the milk to a high enough temperature.

You can turn the heat up a bit and see if the curds begin to form at a higher heat. You can also add a bit more acid.

You can gently stir the curds to break them up, but be careful not to over do it. The curds can break back down into the whey and you’ll have nothing left. Once the bulk of the curds have formed and the whey is nearly clear, turn off the heat.

If you’re not in a hurry, you can leave the ricotta curds on the stove top for 20 minutes or so to rest. But this isn’t required. The curds can be removed with a slotted spoon into a colander lined with cheesecloth.

The curds will need to drain for at least 20 minutes to reach a cheese-like consistency. You can decide if you want a wetter or dryer ricotta. If you prefer it really dry, leave it for 40-60 minutes, until it’s the way you want it.

Put the milk into a medium-sized pot over low heat. In a separate bowl or container, dissolve the citric acid in the two tablespoons of water and then add that mixture to the milk. Add the salt to the other ingredients (the salt is a matter of flavor here, not something that is preserving the cheese, so up to you whether or not to include it). Add the cream, if using. Whisk to combine the ingredients well.

You will need a meat or cheese thermometer to get an accurate read on the temperature. Stir the milk mixture as it warms to prevent it from scorching on the bottom of the pot. At between 165 F to 190 F the milk will separate into curds and whey (whey is the liquid that separates from the curds, which are the dairy solids).

Once the curds have separated from the whey, turn off the heat and let the ingredients sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.

Line a colander with butter muslin or several layers of cheesecloth and place the lined colander in a large bowl. Pour the ricotta into the colander. Tie up the ends of the butter muslin or cheesecloth and then tie the bundle somewhere it can hang and drain for 30 minutes (Tip: Tie to your kitchen faucet). Don't throw out the whey - you can refrigerate it and use it to make lacto-fermented recipes such as apple chutney.

After half an hour, untie the butter muslin or cheesecloth bundle and transfer the ricotta to a food storage container. Cover and store in the refrigerator. Homemade ricotta will keep, refrigerated, for up to two weeks.

How To Make Ricotta Cheese At Home – Best Tips & Tricks

1. Which ingredients can be changed in this homemade ricotta cheese recipe?

It’s easy to make a few ingredient swaps in this homemade ricotta cheese recipe.

First of all, you can use different sources of acid if you can’t find citric. As you’ll see in my book, you can also make cheese at home with lemon juice or vinegar.

Secondly, instead of cow’s milk, you can use goat’s milk, buffalo, or even sheep’s milk. If you’re lactose-sensitive, goat’s and sheep’s milk are both low-lactose alternatives that have a tangy, creamy flavor.

Whichever kind of milk you choose, just make sure it’s pasteurized.

Pasteurized milk is raw milk that has been carefully heated to a specific temperature for a long enough time to kill any bacteria.

Raw milk, on the other hand, can contain microorganisms such as Campylobacter, E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, Listeria, and other unhealthy bacteria.

If you only have raw milk, don’t worry, it is quite easy to pasteurize it at home to make homemade cheese. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to pasteurize milk at home, with simple instructions here:

  1. First, you’ll need a heavy-bottomed pot * and a cooking thermometer *.
  2. Heat the milk slowly over low heat to 63°C (150°F). Hold the milk at this temperature for at least 30 minutes. You can also heat the milk to 72°C (162°F) for at least 15 seconds. Then rapidly cool the milk to a temperature of no more than 50°F (10°C).

When checking the temperature, make sure not to let the thermometer rest on the bottom or sides of the pot. Keep it straight in the center of the milk, without touching the pot, as the metal is warmer than the milk and can give you an inaccurate temperature reading.

Continuously stir the milk to avoid scalding and reduce the stove as necessary to avoid heating it too much.

2. How to make ricotta cheese more flavorful

This recipe makes creamy and mild-flavored homemade cheese.

However, you can easily enhance the flavor! Add your favorite minced fresh herbs and serve it as an herby cheese spread with toast or crackers.

I love whipping my ricotta with minced chives and just a tiny bit of minced garlic.

Spices, especially a dash of smoked paprika is nice too if you’re a fan.

3. How to serve homemade ricotta

There are endless possibilities here, foodies! I’ll name a few of my favorites, but please let me know your ideas too!

The simplest way to enjoy ricotta cheese at home is to spread it on toast. This way, you can enjoy the dish for breakfast or as an appetizer. Choose rye toast for breakfast and sliced baguette for an appetizer.

And it’s easy to garnish ricotta toast however you like, such as:

  • Sprinkle with chopped nuts (pecans, cashew, walnuts, almonds, or pistachios)
  • Drizzle with your favorite jam, honey, or maple syrup.
  • Garnish with fresh fruit (figs are my favorite topping, but berries, bananas, and mango also great)
  • Dried fruits (like apricots, dates, cranberries, raisins or sultanas, etc)!

Another scrumptious idea is to use the ricotta as stuffing. Give this a try with my Keto Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms or my Cheesy Chicken Spaghetti Squash .

You can also turn ricotta into the star of a dish like Baked Ricotta with Honey & Figs .

Another great way to use your ricotta cheese is to stir it into the batter of quick breads. I especially love adding it to banana bread , it always makes the moistest, dense texture.

4. How long does homemade ricotta cheese last?

Fresh ricotta will last 5 to 6 days refrigerated. Make sure you keep it in a clean air-tight glass container * or a jar with a fitted lid.

5. Why is homemade better than store-bought?

Homemade cheese is such an easy way to incorporate calcium into your diet.

And once you know how to make ricotta cheese at home, you can easily control the ingredients you and your family are eating. Sometimes the store-bought varieties contain weird, hard-to-spell ingredients that you should avoid.

Homemade cheese is also great for weekly meal-prepping. If you make a big batch, you can enjoy it for almost every brekkie, on a different type of toast. That way you’ll never get bored of it.

Another reason to make your own cheese is that you can make it according to your taste. If you like spice, go ahead and add it. If you don’t like sheep’s milk ricotta, make yours with cow’s milk. When you’re in the kitchen, you have the power!

That’s all I have for you today, dear foodies.

Now you know how to make cheese at home, I hope you’ll enjoy creamy homemade ricotta from now on!

And don’t forget to look for more ultra-cheesy recipes in my new book I Heart Cheese !

If you love this homemade cheese recipe video and want to see more like it, please Subscribe to my YouTube Channel . See you there!


Cut enough cheesecloth to drape over the top of the colander, with plenty hanging over the sides.

Rinse the cheesecloth in water and squeeze out excess water.

Fold the cheesecloth into two layers that completely cover the colander. Set the colander in the sink.

Pour the whole milk and the buttermilk into a pot over medium heat. The temperature should not be so high that the milk ever reaches a boil. For the first 5 minutes as the milk warms, stir frequently to prevent the milk from burning to the bottom of the pot.

After 5 minutes, use the thermometer to test the milk temperature. When it is around 100 F, stop stirring the milk and let it continue to warm undisturbed. You will start to notice that the milk is thickening on the surface. This is the curds forming.

When the milk temperature reaches 175 F, turn off the heat. Let the milk sit for 5 minutes. Do not stir.

Using a slotted spoon or skimmer, gently scoop the curds out of the pot and into the cheesecloth-draped colander.

Let the curds drain in the colander for 5 to 10 minutes.

Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and tie at the top with a rubber band. Hang the bundle of curds so more moisture will drip out. You can hang the bundle from your faucet, or set a ladle handle across the top of a pot and hang the bundle from the ladle handle. Let the cheese drain for at least 30 minutes.

Homemade ricotta cheese recipe - Recipes

Last year I visited a dairy in Italy where hubby and I early one morning were invited to a small village "latteria" (dairy) to watch the whole fascinating process of cheese, butter and ricotta making and to taste it afterwards.

Literally the word ricotta means "re-cooked" as it is made with whey following what's left during the process of cheese making. It is formed by coagulating the proteins that remain after the casein has been used to make cheese. I will never forget that creamy, fresh and fantastic flavour of freshly made cheese.

It makes me wanna throw away that plasticky-fake stuff they sell in supermarkets which they seem to be allowed to label as "ricotta".

Mind you I have no choice. Unless you live in Italy where you have easy access to freshly made ricotta the only option you have is to buy industrial ones which are pretty much tasteless and can only be added as a bulking ingredient in cooking and baking.

After years of never even considering it, yesterday I finally gave it a go. There are a couple of rules you need to follow:

-Do not use micro-filtered milk or milk that has been treated to a very fine filtration process. This process gives milk a longer shelf life of up to 30 days and removes more bacteria than pasteurization does.

-Use full fat milk as skimmed milk does not have enough fat to allow it to separate into curds and whey.

-Do not use UHT milk as this process changes the structure of the protein of the milk preventing separation of the whey.

What you will need:

- a cheese cloth but I have used a gauze cloth instead

I have used vinegar to allow the separation process but you can use lemon juice instead.

So, are you ready? Look at what I did.



In a saucepan heat up the milk and just before it starts to boil (about 80C or 170F) and the milk starts to steam remove it from the heat and add 2 tbsp of vinegar and salt (optional) and stir well for a minute.

Switch off the heat, put the top on and let it rest for 10 minutes.

After this time, the milk should have separated into clumps forming white curds with watery, yellow-colored whey. If you see that there is still milk that has not separated add one more tbsp of vinegar a wait a few more minutes.

Put a mesh strainer over a bowl and scoop the big curds out of the pot using a slotted spoon and put them on the strainer letting the ricotta drain for a couple of minutes.

Now cover a ramekin dish or a small bowl with a cheese cloth and let the ricotta drain for 15 minutes. Empty liquid from bowl if necessary to ensure proper draining.

What is it left from this process? The whey which you can use in your bakings and can replace water. Whey will add flavour to your pizzas and bread.

I have given this ricotta to my children for breakfast. They had it spread on toast with a little honey on top too. They loved it and I was so pleased.

A little achievement for me. I must admit I was proud of my ricotta! Yay!

How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I&rsquove always considered cheese making an art form. I was fortunate to grow up in Québec, a province brimming with artisans that makes cheeses that rival those made in France, both in quality and diversity. I grew up with parents who would serve and eat aged and fine cheeses on any and all occasions, and it has been my delicious pleasure to keep this tradition alive as an adult.

Given my unabashed love for cheese, it can be surprising to learn that I only truly discovered Italian cheeses later in life. We did keep a couple of staples at home&mdashshelf-stable parmesan cheese and brick-style stretchy mozzarella&mdashbut I was totally unaware of the unprocessed, authentic range of amazingly delicious cheeses made in Italy&mdashuntil I actually visited Italy. I still remember my first bite of mozzarella di bufala, eaten on the terrace of an agriturismo in Tuscany, and the addictive nutty aroma of parmigiano reggiano floating in aging caves in Parma. Tasting these cheeses in their most authentic forms was truly life-changing for me, and I&rsquove been jumping at all opportunities to use (and eat!) Italian cheeses ever since.

Most Italian cheeses require expert knowledge, specific ingredients, or even a precise geographic location to be made. But there is one variety of Italian cheese you can actually make at home&mdashand quite easily at that: ricotta cheese. To be honest, before I started making it at home, ricotta cheese had been the one Italian cheese I wouldn&rsquot totally get on board with. I liked using it in lasagna and in cheese tarts, but it wasn&rsquot a cheese I would crave for. Considering I&rsquom lactose-intolerant (quite the tragedy for a cheese lover), I really need to crave a cheese to indulge in. Making homemade ricotta cheese not only made me appreciate it more but also allowed me to make a lactose-free version of it (using lactose-free milk and cream).

I&rsquove always found store-bought ricotta cheese to be dry and quite bland. Ricotta cheese is made by combining heated milk (or whey) to an acid, which causes milk proteins to bind together and form soft white curds. The curds are then carefully scooped up and allowed to drain, which concentrates the ricotta cheese&rsquos flavor and richness. According to Serious Eats, the reason that industrially made ricotta tends to be subpar taste-wise is that companies don&rsquot have the patience to let ricotta cheese drain properly. &ldquoInstead, they load the stuff up with gums and stabilizers intended to keep the water (and thus their profits) from leaking out.&rdquo

When you make homemade ricotta cheese, you have full control over the result: you choose the type of milk you want to use&mdashOrganic? Grass-fed? Lactose-free?&mdashand you also choose how long you want your ricotta cheese to drain. You can leave more water in it for a creamy, spreadable texture, or drain it further to use it in baked goods. Homemade ricotta cheese tastes rich and fresh, and it has a really lovely milky flavor. What&rsquos more, making homemade ricotta cheese requires no knowledge of complicated techniques or equipment, requiring just a few basic ingredients to make (milk, buttermilk, cream, and salt), and it comes together in no time. And when I say no time, I mean it: if you have all the ingredients on hand, you&rsquore basically 30 minutes away from your first batch of homemade ricotta cheese.

I used to make ricotta using only whole milk, lemon juice, and salt. I always had these ingredients on hand, but it made for a slightly dryer, obviously skimmer ricotta, which I liked to use in recipes such as pasta and baked desserts. But recently, I stumbled on a new method while reading Aimée Wimbush-Bourque&rsquos new cookbook, The Simple Bites Kitchen. In her homemade ricotta recipe, she uses reduced-fat milk (2% m.f.), half-and-half cream (10% m.f.), and buttercream. The genius idea is the use of buttercream, which replaces the acid that helps create the milky curds. Buttermilk is low-fat (it generally contains between 1 and 3% m.f.) yet adds a lovely richness to the ricotta. Aimée&rsquos method helped me create the ricotta I&rsquove ever made: it&rsquos unbelievably rich-tasting and creamy, yet has a moderate fat content, which means you can make and use it often without any guilt.

I&rsquove made several batches of Aimée&rsquos homemade ricotta cheese over the past few weeks and tested using it in many different ways: in a lasagna, in a tart, in pancakes, and simply spread over toasted baguette slices. I found it to be incredibly versatile and 100% better than any ricotta cheese I&rsquove ever bought. Maybe you never thought you&rsquod be making cheese at home, but I challenge you to try making homemade ricotta cheese. I suspect you won&rsquot ever want to go back to the industrially produced stuff.

Below is a quick and delicious use for homemade ricotta cheese: Lemony Whipped Ricotta Cheese. Recipe follows the how to instructions!

Homemade Ricotta

This creamy, rich ricotta is a revelation when eaten warm, fresh from the pot. While store-bought is great in a pinch, this stuff certainly has it beat. Below, a few important things to know before you start on your ricotta journey.

Milk Matters

When choosing a carton of whole milk, try to avoid ultra-pasteurised milk. When going through the pasteurisation process, high heat alters the proteins in milk, making it more difficult for the solids to coagulate. Less coagulation = lower yield.

Choose Your Acid

Traditionally ricotta is made using leftover whey (a byproduct of cheese making you're about to become very familiar with!) to coagulate the milk. Since we won't be starting with whey, we're working with vinegar or lemon juice. Though both are practically imperceptible in the final cheese, we prefer using vinegar for savoury applications, and lemon for sweet. (Hellooo Lemon Ricotta Pancakes!)

Adjust Drain Time

Depending on how you'd like to use your ricotta, you may want it a little drier or a little more loose. Luckily, this is super easy to control! Just keep an eye on it once it's been transferred to your strainer. As soon as it is your desired texture, transfer it to an airtight to container and refrigerate it until you're ready to use.

Save Your Whey

Ricotta has a pretty sweet byproduct: whey! Whey is what's left behind after the milk solids have coagulated, and we implore you not to pour it down the drain! Not only can you use it to make more ricotta, you can also add it to homemade broth, replace water in baked goods like sourdough, and even water your plants, as long as you dilute it with water.

Ricotta Cheese Dessert Recipes

I let my cheese drain for quite awhile (overnight) because I like my ricotta creamy and thick (note: the cheese will thicken even more with time). I then spread the ricotta on a piece of toasted baguette and drizzle locally-harvested honey. It’s positively delicious and yet completely feasible for the everyday cook.

I’ve also used my creation in ricotta cheese dessert recipes like my lemon ricotta cake. If you haven’t tried that recipe yet, I highly recommend you do – it’s one of the most popular recipes on my blog!