Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Rich homemade ricotta cheese is wonderful spread on a toasted baguette, as a vegetable sandwich spread, or simply enjoyed on it’s own with a drizzle of honey.

Rich homemade ricotta cheese makes a wonderful spread for crostini and is AMAZING with a drizzle of honey! | Kristine's Kitchen

Homemade ricotta cheese… yes, I made cheese, and no, it wasn’t at all difficult or time-consuming! Ricotta cheese is a great place to start in homemade cheesemaking, 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.

Rich homemade ricotta cheese makes a wonderful spread for crostini and is AMAZING with a drizzle of honey! | Kristine's Kitchen

There is no comparison between this rich, homemade ricotta and the ricotta you buy at your local grocery store. It’s fresher, richer, and 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!

Rich homemade ricotta cheese makes a wonderful spread for crostini and is AMAZING with a drizzle of honey! | Kristine's Kitchen

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!

Rich homemade ricotta cheese makes a wonderful spread for crostini and is AMAZING with a drizzle of honey! | Kristine's KitchenRich homemade ricotta cheese makes a wonderful spread for crostini and is AMAZING with a drizzle of honey! | Kristine's Kitchen

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Serves: Makes about 2 cups
 
Rich homemade ricotta cheese is wonderful spread on a toasted baguette, as a vegetable sandwich spread, or simply enjoyed on it's own with a drizzle of honey.
Ingredients
  • ½ gallon (2 quarts) pasteurized whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
  • ½ cup heavy cream (optional)
  • ½ tsp. kosher or fine sea salt
  • ⅓ cup lemon juice
Directions
  1. Pour the milk (and cream, if using) into a medium saucepan and add the salt. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 190 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat, add the lemon juice, and gently stir just enough to distribute the lemon juice. Let stand 5-10 minutes, until the mixture separates into white curds and translucent yellow whey.
  3. Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer on top of a large bowl or pot. Line the strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth.*
  4. Carefully spoon or pour the curds and whey into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. Let the ricotta drain for about 10-20 minutes, depending on how dry or creamy you want it. (It will firm up more as it cools.) Less time will give you a creamier, more spreadable ricotta (great for crostini), and more draining time will give you a drier ricotta (perfect for lasagna). You can either discard the whey, or save it in your refrigerator for up to 10 days. Whey can be used in place of water when baking bread, among other things.
  5. Carefully spoon the ricotta into a storage container, stir, cover, and refrigerate. Ricotta will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
*Note: Cheesecloth can usually be found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.

Source: Adapted from Smitten Kitchen and The Homemade Pantry.

 


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Comments

  1. This is a very interesting post, Kristine! I’ve never made ricotta but you’ve inspired me. I didn’t know it is easy to make. Thanks a lot for sharing this recipe. I’ll try to make some!

  2. I love ricotta but have never made my own. Can’t wait to try. Looks delicious.

  3. Oh my gosh I LOVE ricotta cheese. You have no idea how excited I am to try this recipe, Kristine! :)

  4. This is so impressive, Kristine! Wow! This is really making me wish I could eat dairy. Looks wonderful.

  5. Wow! I had absolutely NO idea how it was to make ricotta! It never even crossed my mind that you could make home-made cheese. I love the looks of this and how easy it is! I’m definitely going to have to try this one out.

  6. I had no idea it was so easy to make ricotta cheese. You are smart!
    It looks delicious and I’m definitely trying this out. Pinning!

  7. Whoa, I had no idea you could do this! It turned out beautifully, Kristine. Delicious!

  8. I have yet to make home made cheese myself, as I have been menaing to for some time. This looks absolutely amazing though! So nice and creamy, mmm ^ ^
    Your blog is great! Just had a wee scroll down it, and all the recipes are so good! :D x

  9. I’ve made mozzarella but never made ricotta and it sounds so easy! Thanks, Kristine.

  10. Who knew making ricotta was so easy?! I will eat it straight from the tub! I will always buy more than I need for a recipe just to make sure there is enough for me to “taste test”. But now that I know how easy it is to make at home…trouble ahead! Pinned!

    • I know I’ll still buy store-bought sometimes for convenience, but whenever I have a few extra minutes I’ll be making homemade! The store-bought’s a little disappointing once you try this!

  11. Just wondering if you’ve tried this (or your Greek yogurt recipe) with any non-dairy milks such as almond, rice, coconut, soy?? Thanks much!

    • I haven’t tried making ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt with non-dairy milks, so I can’t provide much guidance on how it would work. Let me know if you have success with non-dairy. (Maybe there are other sites on the internet that can provide guidance.)

      • Okay, thanks for the quick reply. If I have any success with non-dairy options, I’ll be sure to loop back to you and share my results. Thanks & take care!

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