Traditional recipes

Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

A few weeks ago, I saw a ricotta cheese demo and decided to try it at home. You won't want store-bought ricotta again when you realize how easy it is to make.

Anne Saxelby, of Saxelby Cheesemongers made a ricotta in front of a live audience — and in only 20 minutes — at the sold out "Lopate and Locavores Agri + Culture: Cheese", which aired on WNYC. Ingredients are particularly important in cheesemaking.

Minimally pasteurized milk works better than the ultra pasteurized brands at producing robust curds. Being the locavore that I am, I chose Hudson Valley Ronnybrook Farms milk for its extra creamy cow-to- table freshness and grass-fed flavor.

In a heavy pot, slowly heat the milk over medium heat to 170 degrees stirring occasionally to minimize scorching on the bottom of the pan. When the temperature reaches 170 degrees stop stirring and add lemon juice -- an acidifier -- to coax the milk to curdle separating the curds that become ricotta from the liquid whey. At this stage, continue to heat the milk but do not stir as stirring will cause the curds to break.

For my first effort I used lemon juice to activate the curds which is what Anne used in her demo. Other acidifiers for home chefs include buttermilk, which is way too sour for my palette, and distilled vinegar. At 190 degrees, the curds will be totally separated from the whey. Remove the pot from the heat, and using a slotted spoon, gently begin removing curds to a colander lined with cheesecloth. This cheesecloth was folded over to create four layers. After all the curds have been removed, allow them to drain. For a creamy warm ricotta, drain 5 minutes, for a firmer but still creamy cheese, drain for 15 minutes. And for the firmest cheese, drain an hour. If desired, gather the edges of the cheesecloth and gently squeeze to remove any excess liquid. Serve warm or refrigerated for up to several days.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups of whole milk (not ultra pasteurized)
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh squeeze lemon juice

Directions

In a heavy pot, heat milk to 170 degrees (F) stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Use a candy thermometer to accurately measure the temperature. Add lemon juice, and continue to heat to 190 degrees. At this stage, do not stir or otherwise disturb the curdling process. When the milk reaches 190 degrees, remove the pot from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, gently move all of the curds to a strainer that has been lined with several layers of cheesecloth and set over a bowl to catch the liquid whey. Allow the cheese to drain for at least 5 minutes and up to an hour, depending on how creamy or how firm you want the cheese.


Make This Easy 3-Ingredient Ricotta Cheese in Just Over an Hour

If you thought you’d need hard-to-get ingredients, specialized equipment, or a basement cave to make cheese in your own home, think again. In fact, you likely have all the needed supplies for homemade cheese on hand right now. You could be enjoying your own batch of fresh, fluffy ricotta within the hour. Remember how you spent a week cultivating sourdough starter? Right.

Michele Molier, instructor for Murray’s Cheese in New York City talks us through the process of making ricotta at home, beginning with a really inspiring take on why to do it: “It really refreshes my passion for cheese,” she says, “because it comes together so easily and beautifully.”

Easy. Beautiful. Ricotta. How is this even possible?

“It’s possible because it’s a fresh cheese, and they don’t require ripening,” says Molier. Fresh cheeses include the entire French category called chèvre, as well as Italian types such as mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta.

“Ripening is when we see the importance of secondary cultures,” Molier explains. Secondary cultures are certain bacteria that are introduced into the cheese as it ages, such as that which makes blue cheese blue. “All that stuff is for rind and texture development,” she continues. “When you’re working with a young, soft, fresh cheese, you only need starter cultures, and those exist basically already, in and around the milk as ambient bacteria.” The same concept of utilizing ambient bacteria, consequently, is also what makes your sourdough work.

So you, too, can be nerding out on your own batch of curds by the end of the day, or even the end of the hour, with this step-by-step guide that will have you feeling like a cheese sorcerer, regardless of how easy it is. “There’s not much that can go wrong. It’s low risk, fun, and the reward is huge,” encourages Molier. “I mean, you can make cheese at home!”

Step One: Assemble Supplies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid
  • Small saucepan
  • Cheesecloth or clean towel
  • Colander or mesh strainer
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Slotted spoon

Don’t sweat getting fancy with milk or lemon juice, advises Molier: “It’s important that it’s straight up, basic, whole milk. Protein and fat content become different the more you treat milk,” and the protein and fat are what coagulate to become your ricotta. Enriched milk does little to actually enrich the outcome. Same goes for the acid element white vinegar is preferred, or “good, old fashioned produce aisle lemons,” says Molier. Try citric acid if you want to get clever about it.

Finalize your setup by layering the cheesecloth or towel over the colander, and placing them in the sink.


Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Rich homemade ricotta cheese is wonderful spread on a toasted baguette, as a vegetable sandwich spread, or simply enjoyed on its own with a drizzle of honey. Learn how to make ricotta cheese from scratch.

Homemade ricotta cheese… yes, I made cheese, and no, it wasn’t difficult or time-consuming! Ricotta cheese is a great place to start if you want to make homemade cheese, because it is SO easy. I’d estimate it takes 10 minutes (at most) of active time, and about 30 minutes of inactive time until you have fresh ricotta ready to enjoy.

Making ricotta cheese requires no fancy ingredients or equipment. If you have milk, salt, and lemon juice, you can make ricotta. An instant-read thermometer, fine-mesh strainer, and some cheesecloth come in handy as well.

There is no comparison between this rich, homemade ricotta and the ricotta you buy at your local grocery store. Homemade ricotta is fresher and richer in flavor. You will want to eat it by the spoonful, preferably drizzled with a little honey.

I’ve made homemade ricotta with all whole milk, and with whole milk plus a little heavy cream. The ricotta made with the cream was richer and creamier, but in all honesty, I enjoyed the ricotta made with only whole milk just as much. I suggest you try both ways and see for yourself because once you make ricotta once, I’m confident you’ll want to do it again and again!

Steps to make ricotta cheese in images:

There are so many ways to enjoy homemade ricotta cheese. My favorite is to spread it on some lightly toasted baguette slices, and turn it into crostini (recipe coming soon!). I also love to spoon some ricotta into a little bowl, drizzle it with honey, and eat it as a snack. Blueberries pair wonderfully with the ricotta and honey, if you happen to have some in your refrigerator. I know this fresh ricotta would be amazing in a homemade lasagna as well, I just haven’t been able to keep my ricotta around long enough to give it a try!


How to make microwave ricotta cheese

Get ready for the easiest homemade cheese recipe you’ve ever made! This particular rendition requires only 2 minutes of prep time, followed by 3 minutes of “cook” time. It’s a recipe that can be made in a pinch and used for whatever dish you’d like (helloooo baked ziti).

Step 1: Cook the milk
First, add the milk to a microwave safe bowl, and then microwave it on high for 3 to 5 minutes. If you have a kitchen thermometer, the milk should reach between 185°F and 200°F.

Step 2: Curdle the mixture
Next, add vinegar or lemon juice to the milk and stir briefly to combine. Let it sit undisturbed for 1 to 2 minutes. During these couple of minutes, the milk should separate into white curds and yellowish liquid. You can test this by dragging a spoon through the bowl. If the milk doesn’t curdle and the liquid is still white, add another tablespoon of lemon or vinegar and microwave for another 30 seconds.

Step 3: Strain the whey
Lay a clean cloth or sturdy paper towel in a wire mesh sieve, and set it over a large bowl. Pour the milk mixture into the sieve to strain out the liquid whey. You can let your ricotta strain for up to 1 hour. The longer it sits, the firmer your ricotta will be. This part is up to you. I like it fresh and warm, so I only strain it for a few minutes. Once the ricotta is finished straining, stir in the salt.


Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

It doesn’t matter what recipe you use it in. It’s great in homemade lasagna recipes, chicken Alfredo lasagna recipes alike. Truthfully, it works amazingly in any recipe that calls for ricotta cheese.

And it takes less than 10 minutes to make!

Do I need to tell you how much I adore cheap recipes that don’t take all day to make?

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What is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta cheese is a dry cheese that is made with soured milk. Once the milk is soured, the final product is strained heavily through unbleached cheesecloth.

In fact, making this homemade ricotta cheese recipe is one of my favorite ways to use sour milk!

If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use a coffee filter or old t-shirt cut to fit in a pinch. It won’t work quite as well, and you’ll want to allow it to drain longer, but it will work.

Just remember that you need to remove all liquid from the final product and your ricotta cheese recipe will taste perfect!

How to Make Homemade Herbed Ricotta Cheese

Herbed ricotta cheese is even more amazing than the plain ricotta cheese recipe and just as simple to make..

To turn this simple ricotta cheese recipe into an herbed one, make the recipe as directed below. Once you have finished the final step, add your chosen herbs and stir until it’s well combined.

I frequently add garlic, basil, thyme and other spices to ours.

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Can you Freeze Ricotta Cheese?

While store bought ricotta is one of the many foods you can freeze to extend shelf life, this ricotta cheese recipe does not freeze well. Instead, store it in the fridge in an air tight container though and it’ll last a week or so.

Can I make Homemade Ricotta Cheese with Store Bought Milk?

Yes. You can use store bought milk to make this ricotta cheese recipe. Unlike a homemade butter recipe or a homemade buttermilk recipe, homemade ricotta does not rely on the cream that is found in the milk.

For those types of recipes, you need to use raw milk.

You Will Need:

  • White Vinegar
  • Sea Salt
  • Unbleached Cheesecloth
  • Wire Whiskor Rubber Spatula
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Measuring Cupsand Measuring Spoons
  • Medium Mixing Bowl
  • Twisty Tie

Make This Easy 3-Ingredient Ricotta Cheese in Just Over an Hour

If you thought you’d need hard-to-get ingredients, specialized equipment, or a basement cave to make cheese in your own home, think again. In fact, you likely have all the needed supplies for homemade cheese on hand right now. You could be enjoying your own batch of fresh, fluffy ricotta within the hour. Remember how you spent a week cultivating sourdough starter? Right.

Michele Molier, instructor for Murray’s Cheese in New York City talks us through the process of making ricotta at home, beginning with a really inspiring take on why to do it: “It really refreshes my passion for cheese,” she says, “because it comes together so easily and beautifully.”

Easy. Beautiful. Ricotta. How is this even possible?

“It’s possible because it’s a fresh cheese, and they don’t require ripening,” says Molier. Fresh cheeses include the entire French category called chèvre, as well as Italian types such as mozzarella, burrata, and ricotta.

“Ripening is when we see the importance of secondary cultures,” Molier explains. Secondary cultures are certain bacteria that are introduced into the cheese as it ages, such as that which makes blue cheese blue. “All that stuff is for rind and texture development,” she continues. “When you’re working with a young, soft, fresh cheese, you only need starter cultures, and those exist basically already, in and around the milk as ambient bacteria.” The same concept of utilizing ambient bacteria, consequently, is also what makes your sourdough work.

So you, too, can be nerding out on your own batch of curds by the end of the day, or even the end of the hour, with this step-by-step guide that will have you feeling like a cheese sorcerer, regardless of how easy it is. “There’s not much that can go wrong. It’s low risk, fun, and the reward is huge,” encourages Molier. “I mean, you can make cheese at home!”

Step One: Assemble Supplies

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar, lemon juice, or citric acid
  • Small saucepan
  • Cheesecloth or clean towel
  • Colander or mesh strainer
  • Thermometer (optional)
  • Slotted spoon

Don’t sweat getting fancy with milk or lemon juice, advises Molier: “It’s important that it’s straight up, basic, whole milk. Protein and fat content become different the more you treat milk,” and the protein and fat are what coagulate to become your ricotta. Enriched milk does little to actually enrich the outcome. Same goes for the acid element white vinegar is preferred, or “good, old fashioned produce aisle lemons,” says Molier. Try citric acid if you want to get clever about it.

Finalize your setup by layering the cheesecloth or towel over the colander, and placing them in the sink.


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!


Easy Homemade Ricotta

Supermarket ricotta cheese available in 15 to 32 ounce containers is usually an inferior cheese in name only compared to ricotta available decades ago in the United States.

Like many foods available today, manufacturers have cut corners to cut costs.

It only takes two ingredients and an instant read thermometer to make homemade ricotta superior to most store brands.

Ricotta means re-cooked. The traditionally method for making ricotta is using whey leftover from cheese making and whole milk. This recipe uses whole or reduced fat milk and citric acid, vinegar, or lemon juice to curdle the milk.

Citric acid, available in many stores or online, produces more consistant results and doesn’t add a lemon or vinegar taste. If you like lemon flavored ricotta, by all means use lemon juice.

Most of the time involved in making ricotta is wait time. Actual hands-on time is about 15 minutes.

Cook’s Tip

  • Draining ricotta too long or squeezing out most of the whey produces a ricotta with a feta or goat cheese consistency.
  • Cheese cloth can be washed and reused.
  • Refrigerate and use the whey for smoothies and protein drinks.

Caution

Do not use ultra-pasturized milk like lactose free milk for this recipe. Ultra-pasturization prevents curds from forming.

Lactose Free Ultra-Pasteurized Milk

Related recipes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gal (2 l) whole or 2% milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) citric acid or 1/3 cup (80 ml) lemon juice or distilled white vinegar
  • Equipment
  • 3-4 qt/l pot
  • Instant read or candy thermometer
  • Cheese cloth, food grade
  • Strainer
  • Slotted spoon

Method of Preparation

Step 1

Pour milk into pot and heat on medium to medium low heat until it reaches 200°F (94°C). Milk will foam and steam but should not boil. Check temperature using a thermometer. If milk begins to boil remove pot from heat.

Step 2

Remove pot from heat and stir in citric acid, lemon juice, or vinegar. Let milk sit without stirring for 10 minutes to allow milk to separate into white curds and watery, yellow whey. After 10 minutes, use a slotted spoon to check for un-seperated milk (this can happen if there isn't enough acid in the lemon juice or vinegar). If that happens, stir in another tablespoons (15 ml) of lemon juice or vinegar.

Step 3

Meanwhile, set a strainer in a bowl to capture the whey and line strainer with cheesecloth.

Step 4

Using a slotted spoon, scoop curds into the strainer. You can drain and refrigerate the whey for use in smoothies and other recipes or discard it.

Step 5

Drain curds 10 to 30 minutes depending on how dry or wet you like your ricotta or for your particular use. Check after 10 minutes and then about every 5 minutes until ricotta is desired consistency. If ricotta becomes too dry, stir in some whey.


Difference between Ricotta and Cottage Cheese

Ricotta is made from the whey leftover after cottage cheese (paneer) is made. In fact, the product was invented specifically in order to find some utility for the large amounts of whey, just like cottage cheese was invented as a way to give a utility to the milk leftover from butter production.

Ricotta Cheese Cottage Cheese (Paneer)
Ricotta is a dairy by-product Cottage cheese is a dairy product
It is made from the whey leftover from cheese production It is made from milk
Whey that has sat outside to ferment for up to a day is heated to a boiling point, then the curds are collected in a piece of clean cloth Curds are collected in a clean piece of cloth and some of the whey is left in, although most of it is drained
Not pressed, aged or coloured Not aged, pressed or coloured
Has a grainy texture Is creamy and lumpy
Tart flavour Sweet and milky
100g has 134 Calories 100g has 93 Calories

Ricotta Cheese – Easy Homemade Recipe

If you’re thinking that homemade ricotta cheese is too complicated or time-consuming to make, I swear – it’s not! You don’t need any special equipment other than a thermometer and you probably already have all three ingredients in your refrigerator.

I’ve been trying to eat more organic food recently and when it came time to make lasagna, I was a bit appalled at how much I’d have to spend just for the ricotta. Organic ricotta isn’t cheap around these parts! So I turned to this homemade ricotta cheese recipe, which I’ve been making for years.

If milk is expensive where you live, then it may just be cheaper to buy ricotta. But I have to say, this is one item that tastes SO much better homemade. I think store-bought ricotta tends to be on the watery side and lacking in flavor, whereas this one most definitely isn’t.

The amount that this recipe yields is just the right amount for lasagna. Most recipes call for a 15-ounce container, which is about 1 3/4 cups. This yields just a bit more than that, so you can snack a little and have enough left for your lasagna!

I don’t make lasagna all that often just because it takes so long to make so when I do make lasagna, I usually use this homemade ricotta. It really makes a huge difference! It’s so, so incredibly rich and creamy.

It has the same effect on cannoli filling. It’s just so much better with this homemade cheese! If you need a keto recipe, check out this keto cannoli cream.

Making cheese sounds hard but all you need is milk, cream, salt and lemon juice. You just heat it up to a certain temperature, stir in the lemon juice, let it sit and then drain. A lot of hands-on time isn’t required but it’s not the quickest thing to make. I think you’ll find it worth the effort, though!