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!
Ricotta Cheese Recipes:
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- ½ gallon 2 quarts pasteurized whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
- ½ cup heavy cream, optional
- ½ tsp. kosher or fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
How to Make Ricotta Cheese
- 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.
- 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.
- Meanwhile, place a fine-mesh strainer on top of a large bowl or pot. Line the strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth.*
- 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.
- Carefully spoon the ricotta into a storage container, stir, cover, and refrigerate. Ricotta will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
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!
Thank you, Olivia! I do hope you try it some time! You will love it!
I love ricotta but have never made my own. Can’t wait to try. Looks delicious.
I hope you are able to try it sometime. It is delicious!
Oh my gosh I LOVE ricotta cheese. You have no idea how excited I am to try this recipe, Kristine! 🙂
It really is so easy to make ricotta cheese! You will love this!
This is so impressive, Kristine! Wow! This is really making me wish I could eat dairy. Looks wonderful.
Thank you, Kelly! That is a huge bummer that you can’t eat dairy. 🙁
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.
This is my first try at homemade cheese, and I know it’s one of the easiest to make so it’s a great place to start. Homemade Greek yogurt is fun and relatively easy, too. 🙂
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!
Thank you, Cindy! I hope you do try this! You’ll be glad you did. 🙂
Whoa, I had no idea you could do this! It turned out beautifully, Kristine. Delicious!
Thank you! Before I tried it I never knew how easy it was to make ricotta either!
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! 😀 x
Thank you, Jules! I appreciate your kind words. 🙂
I’ve made mozzarella but never made ricotta and it sounds so easy! Thanks, Kristine.
I’m so impressed that you’ve made mozzarella! I’d love to try that someday!
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!
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!