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.

bowl of homemade ricotta cheese and cheese spread on small baguette toasts

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.

saucepan with cream to make cheese

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:

step by step college image of all steps to make cheese, including checking temperature, curds, straining and finished cheeseThere 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!

small dish of ricotta cheese with blueberries

 

Ricotta Cheese Recipes:

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.
Course Side
Cuisine American
Keyword homemade ricotta cheese, how to make ricotta cheese
Prep Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 8 Makes about 2 cups
Calories 198kcal

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

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.

Notes

*Note: Cheesecloth can usually be found in the baking aisle of most grocery stores.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/4 cup | Calories: 198kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 227mg | Potassium: 334mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 602IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 277mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information is an estimate.
Tried this recipe?Mention @kristines_kitchen or tag #kristineskitchenblog!

 

This site contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting Kristine's Kitchen!