This homemade ricotta cheese recipe calls for nothing more than milk, buttermilk, salt, cream and 15 minutes. I promise it will be the best ricotta you’ve ever tasted…and I predict you will never buy supermarket ricotta again!
Okay, the first thing I have to say is, hang in there with me for a few minutes. I know you are thinking, make your own homemade ricotta cheese? REALLY?
Here on this blog, where I have said about a million times, it’s all about getting in and out of the kitchen in 30 minutes or less? Has she finally eaten one too many piece of bacon and gone off her rocker?
Hang in there with me while I promise you these three things:
1. If you can boil water, you can make your own ricotta cheese.
2. It will take you less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
3. It will taste so good, you will wonder why on earth it took you so long to figure out that you should have been making your own homemade ricotta cheese for the past hundred years.
4. It will take all your willpower not to stand there next to your bowl of delicious fresh ricotta and not eat it all in one fell swoop.
Okay, that’s four things, and I have no idea what a fell swoop is. But you get my drift. Try it with me just once, and I promise you will be hooked for life. Here’s what you do.
Get out your handy strainer and put it in your sink. Line it with a little cheesecloth, which you can find in your supermarket, sometimes with the baking stuff and sometimes with the laundry stuff, for mysterious reasons. I usually fold it into a square that has about 3-4 layers until it looks like this. This will take you two minutes.
Now take a nice heavy saucepan and pour in 4 cups of whole milk, one cup of buttermilk, and 1/3 cup of heavy cream.
Set it on the stove and put the heat on to medium high and bring it to a boil. In the early going, you may want to clip a candy thermometer on to the pot so you can watch the temperature, because when the temperature gets to about 185 degrees, the curds (the solid part) will have separated from the whey (the liquid part), and it’s time to strain it.
If you don’t have a thermometer don’t fret, because you can pretty much see it happening.
The milk mixture will boil, and it will gradually curdle and separate into the solids (the curds) and the watery looking liquid (the whey). This will take about 10 minutes…sometimes less.
When it does, take the pot off the burner and reach for your handy slotted spoon, and start scooping out the solids, letting the liquid drain off. Drop the spoonfuls of solids into your strainer.
I like to sprinkle a little coarse salt onto the cheese every couple of spoonfuls or so. Once you are done, let it drain for about 2 minutes (if you like your ricotta moist) or 5 minutes (if you like it drier).
You can leave it right in the strainer, or you can be like I was when I first made it and hang it dramatically from your kitchen faucet (see picture above). Taste it after a few minutes…if it’s gotten too dry just stir in a tablespoon or two of milk, and if it’s too moist for you, let it keep draining.
Fifteen minutes have now passed, and you have made your own homemade ricotta cheese.
If you are still afraid (and I understand!!) here’s a quick video to show you how magically easy it is…
And if you are like me, you will never even LOOK at those ricotta containers in the supermarket again.
Things you can make with your glorious homemade ricotta include…
Summer Lasagna. A cool lasagna that includes fresh zucchini, sweet little cherry tomatoes, basil from your back yard…and ricotta cheese.
Zucchini Carpaccio. Almost as fun to pronounce as it is to eat. Almost.
Or you can cook up some soft scrambled eggs with fresh chives and during the last minute of cooking, swirl in some ricotta cheese. Heaven.
Or you can just stand there at your kitchen counter and eat it with the closest available spoon. I may or may not have done this at times.
Happy fresh homemade ricotta cheese. No fear!Print
Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe
This homemade ricotta cheese recipe calls for nothing more than milk, buttermilk, salt and 15 minutes!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Staples
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
- 4 cups whole milk
- One cup buttermilk
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- Coarse salt
- Line a fine mesh strainer with several folds of cheesecloth and set it in your sink.
- Combine milk, buttermilk and cream in medium heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Bring to a boil until cooking thermometer registers 185 degrees (if you don’t have a thermometer, keep an eye on it to see when the curds (the solid white parts) are mostly separated from the whey (the cloudy liquid). This will take about 10 minutes – stir a couple of times during the boiling process.
- Remove from heat and using a slotted spot, scoop spoonfuls of the curd into the cheesecloth-lined strainer, sprinkling with a little salt every few spoonfuls or so.
- Let the ricotta drain for about 5 minutes and then taste to check the consistency. If you like it drier, then let it drain a little more. If you like it moister, stir in a tablespoon or two of milk. This ricotta is best used right away, but will keep for a day or two in the fridge.
Keywords: vegetarian ricotta cheese, keto homemade ricotta cheese, paleo homemade ricotta cheese, vegetarian ricotta cheese, keto homemade ricotta cheese, paleo homemade ricotta cheese
ooh I cant wait to do this!
I need to try this so I can make those eggs!
Your brother....hahahahaha says
Are you on vacation? Is this the greatest hits album? This seems very familiar….framed cooks groundhog day edition?
(yes, this IS why I never get invited over for dinner)
About how much ricotta does this recipe make?
I'm so intrigued! I want to try it! What an awesome post!
mnw: about 2 cups, give or take
My brother: NO, I am not on vacation! And the ricotta recipe is new to the blog, thank you very much. Jeesh.
Everyone else: xoxo, as usual. :)
i just made ricotta for the first time! it is simply amazing, i will definitely have to try it with the buttermilk.
Moana Kake says
What did you replace the butter milk with?
You can make ricotta with lemon juice instead of buttermilk..I’ve never tried it that way, but if anyone has, please let us know!
Moana Kake says
I found this through google. It leads onto other how-to make.
So here goes me. So simple. So happy:)
Hurray – let us know how it turns out!
Moana Kake says
I will do Kate.
Jennifer // Gingham Apron says
The lemon version works, but it does have quite a bit of lemon flavor to it so it may not be the best for things like pasta dishes. It would likely be excellent for a dessert where the lemon tang would mesh well.
I think the dessert suggestion is a great one – I’m going to try it!
I regularly ‘create’ buttemilk since it’s much easier than stocking it in the fridge – 1tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup whole milk, stand 5 min.
Just finished my first batch of ricotta – THANK YOU for sharing this recipe, can’t believe how easy and delicious it it :o)
You are so welcome – glad you liked it!! :)
i used 2 whole lemon juice with 1 liter of full cream milk, drained overnight, add salt & pepper when it done.. or add salt and mixed dried fruits, then keep in the fridge for 2 days.. more yummy!
yes you can make it with lemon juice, I have but my favorite way is with white wine vinegar. since I have been making it now for 3 yrs will never buy from the store again. homemade is much creamier, at least mine is. I use Ina Garten’s recipe. All you need is one of these three to curdle the milk. lemon juice, buttermilk or vinegar.
White vinegar has worked wonderfully for me every time.
I have replaced the buttermilk with a quarter cup of vinegar and it works fabulously…my girls have sworn off store bought cheese for their lunch snacks! I like to also save my whey in a jar in the fridge and use it in my homemade bread for a high protein milk replacement.
I’ll have to try this – and yes, once you make your own ricotta it is SO hard to go back! :)
marissa at the boot says
this was such a great post and i will definitely be trying this! i live in italy and the ricotta there is so creamy and heavenly…i could bathe in it.
so i can't wait to finally be able to have some good ricotta when i'm here in the states! thank you!
Rose D., NJ says
I really can't believe ricotta is this easy. Then why is it so expensive!
How amazing is this? I was just at Blue Hill at Stone Barns for a cooking class and this was the first thing they showed us. We were all amazed by how simple, but delicious it is!
Cara @ The Boys Made Me Do It says
I found your blog yesterday via Pinterest. My husband is an executive chef at an Italian restaurant and loves making as much as he can from scratch but didn't know you could make fresh ricotta cheese. Needless to say, he's trying this tomorrow at the restaurant!
OK, seriously, you are amazing. I have heard of those crafty people who make their own cheese, but never thought that it would be this easy! Thank you!
Loved all the pictures and all the ideas to use fresh ricotta. I do make fresh paneer and ricotta whenever required just because there in nothing better than that :-)
Rivki Locker (Ordinary Blogger) says
This is the second post I've read this week on how to make ricotta. OK, OK, I get it! I am convinced! Bookmarking this to try soon.
Cakewalk Yarns says
you read my mind. I've been thinking about trying this all summer & haven't spent the time to look up a recipe. Thanks!
will be teaching my students how to make this next week for a cooking lesson/baked ziti! thanks!
Just stopping by to let you know that I featured this in my "What I Bookmarked This Week" post today. Stop by and see!
[email protected] says
Oh wow, I'd love to try this… The zucchini carpaccio looks to die for! Thanks for sharing. Beautiful photography!
Lopez Kilpatrick says
Question – would the powered buttermilk work? I always have some of that on hand for banana bread, but i rarely buy fresh, as it is a pain to get a hold of on short notice, it's not always in my regular grocery store, etc… thoughts?
Thanks all, and I'm glad everyone is making ricotta! Lopez, unfortunately I don't think the powdered version would work. I've heard that you can simulate buttermilk by mixing whole milk with a little vinegar and letting it stand, but I've never tried that so I can't vouch for it…but if you try it let me know!
Tammy W says
I love Pinterest! It introduced me to your blog! I adore ricotta but it is so expensive and having six kids I needs lots to make two lasagna pans. Thank you! I cannot wait to make this. (Pinning!)
Carmie of the Single Nester says
I hear the angels singing! Can't wait to try this.
Does this make a full-fat ricotta? If so, any tips on skim ricotta? (this is me assuming skim ricotta refers to the fat content – in actuality, I have no clue what I'm talking about, I just want a ricotta I can use on Weight Watchers)
Tiana – yes, this is a full-fat ricotta. I have never tried making a lower-fat version, so I'm not sure how using low-fat milk and/or buttermilk would work. Sorry I can't be more help on this (especially since I am a long-time WW alumni!)…
Judee @ Gluten Free A-Z says
My mother in law hangs yogurt over the faucet to make greek yogurt. This really does look amazing. What a great idea I am now following you. I would love it if you visited my blog and folled me back.
Kate Morgan Jackson says
I've got to try yogurt one of the these days. I'll definitely come visit your blog! :)
Fabulous – i am italian and grew up in a delicatessen. Miss fresh ricotta so much. Gonna do this! For other, try just mixing it with a bit of sugar and cinammon for a very naughty treat. You can also make (in my opinion) a much nicer version of tiramisu with ricotta (mixed with sugar and cinammon) layered between sponge fingers that are soaked in a mix of strong coffee and liqueur. That's how my mum used to do and I made it last weekend …just delish. Thanks for this and great to discover your blog!
Framed Cooks says
Concetta…all I have to say is, WOW! Definitely giving that a try. :)
Nice! I'm on the lookout for a lower fat recipe, perhaps without heavy cream, argh. I do like ricotta mixed with a little agave and vanilla, then spread over a graham cracker. Oh my, like frosting!
Let me know if you find a low-fat one that works…and yes, just like frosting! :)
As it's cooking, do you stir the milk so it won't burn?
Koni,if you use a heavy enough pot you'll only have to stir it once or twice and it will be fine. If your pot is not heavy, I'd stir it once a minute or so, just in case.
Paula -- CutieFruity says
one fell swoop: It's an idiom used by Shakespeare in Macbeth. A predator comes falling from the sky and makes damage in a sudden swift motion.
I think it might have to do with felling trees with one swoop of the axe.
Paula! You have solved one of life's great phraseology mysteries for me – thank you! :)
The word “fell” usually refers to a killing strike or blow.
Hmm. Maybe not the best word to associate with making ricotta then? :)
Georgia Brain says
ohhhh I am off to the supermarket to buy some buttermilk. But I am going to try both ways.. using buttermilk and the alternative of milk and vinegar. As buttermilk is not a common ingredient in Australian cooking so it tends to be very expensive. I will let you know how they both turn out. Thank you for sharing.
Barb L says
Just to let you know another tip. My Mother always used lemon juice instead of vineager to make the butter milk. I add a tablespoon or two to the milk in my measuring cup and let it sit for about five minutes.
I’ve heard that a lot – one day I definitely need to try it. :)
Saw this on Pinterest and had to give it a try. Turned out great. Thanks so much for sharing.
My pleasure! I make it at least once or twice a month now…and now I'm working on making my own butter. (I know..crazy!!)
Making butter is about as easy as it gets. Just take heavy cream and a pinch of salt in a mixer and whip it. One it gets past whipped cream, the butterfat will separate out from the liquid. Strain it a little to push the extra liquid out and you have some lovely butter. You can also just put the heavy cream in a jar and shake it for a looong time.
Yogurt is similar to making the ricotta, in that you have to heat the milk to 185, but the rest of the process takes longer. Put milk in the top of a double boiler (or in my case, since I go through A LOT of yogurt, in a stockpot that nests inside of another stockpot filled with water. Heat it until the milk gets to 185-190 degrees. Let it cool to 105-115 degrees. Stir in a couple of tablespoons of plain yougurt. Place the milk mixture on a heating pad on low overnight, covered with a towel to keep away drafts. Let it sit for at least 6-8 hours (I leave mine overnight) and then you’ll have yogurt! I like to strain mine when its done, so I have a greek style yogurt. A gallon of milk will make 2 quarts or so of Greek style yogurt. Have fun!
Betty, thank you for all this fabulous info! I’m working on perfecting my butter…hopefully soon it will be good enough for me to post. :)
Oh gorgeous!!! it’ s amazing.. i can’ y believe it…. now i MUST try to make ricotta at home!!
Big hug back and yes! You must!!
I can’t wait to try this!
It’s an amazing thing to step back and realize…I made my own ricotta!
Lisa Mai @ alimentageuse says
That looks like so much fun and so taaaasty >< Great post! I love the dramatic picture =)
Thanks! And while it looks dramatic, in real life it is SO easy! (Isn’t that the best??)
Thank you ever so much for this recipe, I am an Italian American second generation on my Dad’s side and third generation on my Mom’s. I love love love Ricotta and use it in so many recipes handed down to me from both of my Nona’s,and now thanks to you I can make my own, who knew it was so simple. Than you, Thank you Thank you!
You are so welcome! I’m sure you will love it. Aren’t recipes from grandmothers precious? My favorite is my grandma’s molasses cookies. :)
Alright…I must know. Where have you been all of my life? You’re so cute and fun and you make your own cheese! I just know that we were meant to be besties!
I’m totally making my own ricotta this week for some lasagna. Can’t wait!
I’ve been right here waiting for you to stop by! Happy weekend ricotta! :)
I was just wondering ..i make my riccota w/ lemons instead of butter milk.is it about the same ..i think i would like it better w/ the butter milk.might make it a little richer.yes??/
I’ve never made ricotta with lemons so I can’t say for sure — I do know that this version with the buttermilk and creamy is very rich and smooth. Hope you like it!
Just made it today ! Thank You for this recipe, it’s so good .. and easy ! I think I’ll never buy ricotta anymore !
I’m so glad you like it! And I said the exact same thing the first time I made it…no more store-bought ricotta for me!
[email protected] says
Oh! I remember this picture… I’ve already favorited it on Foodgawker! I’M SO DOING THIS ASAP! I’ll report back later! lol. Your photos are just so pretty!! :)
Thank you!! :) and definitely report back!
Cynthia H says
I definitely want to try this! The Chicken Tikka Masala recipe sounds wonderful too :)
Hurray! Try it, and you’ll never go back to the store-made kind! (And the tikka masala is one of my faves,) :)
The Sisters says
Yummm! Ricotta! Perfect for all those Italian dishes we love! We can’t wait to test this out! We appreciate you linking up to our “Strut Your Stuff Saturday.” We love seeing all of the great recipes and fun ideas! Hope to see you again next week! -The Sisters
Thanks – love your Saturday links!!
Deb T says
Thanks for this recipe! I was instantly inspired to try it and the ricotta is super delicious and amazingly easy. Never gonna buy ricotta again! I used mine in a recipe I came up with recently, my own vegetable lasagna. Post is here: http://herbanfarmer.blogspot.com/2012/05/glorious-feast-garden-harvest-lasagna.html — I have links in there that send people to this post.
Thanks Deb – so glad you liked it! I’m never buying ricotta again either. :)
Full Moon Gardener says
The directions as you have given make a perfect and perfectly delicious ricotta. I have made it today in preparation for making your summer lasagna tomorrow. It has lifted the anticipation for gorgeous summer tomatoes and basil to new heights. Thanks for sharing it with us.
My pleasure! And that summer lasagna is my favorite, favorite use for the fresh ricotta. Enjoy!
Your Cookery Book says
For sure I am going to make ricotta at home following your method instead buying from supermarkets. Thanks.
I’m so glad – I’m sure you will LOVE it! :)
i made this but it didn’t turn out ok….i heated the milk until 185 and it did not curdle so i left it a bit longer then it boiled over rhe cheese was rubbery and tastless and dry :( :( i will try it again and this time i will not boil it….i hope it works
Hi sunshine – you definitely do need to bring it to a boil…if it boiled over, it sounds like it might work better in a bigger pot. Did you use whole milk? If not, that might have something to do with it too. I’m so glad you are going to give it another try!
Thank you so much for your wonderful recipe. I used some milk my friend gave me from her goats, it was AMAZING. My daughter and I could not stop eating it. I plan on making more and using it over lasagna. I never thought making cheese could be so easy! Thank you very much!
You know, I’ve been meaning and meaning to make this with goats milk as a variation – thanks for the reminder! :) And yes, isn’t it the best??
Amanda in GA says
Made the ricotta this afternoon it is so yummy!! I have a calzone in the oven right now can’t wait to dig into it!!
Thanks for the great info
Isn’t it the best? And calzone…YUM.
Woooow!!Thank you soo much for this post! I stood by my sink in amazement when I tasted it. I couldn’t believe I’ve bought this stuff from a store! It doesn’t even taste the same! I also felt proud that I had made it myself. :-) I will be experimenting for a low fat version because I think I will eat this all by myslef if I’m not careful!
Isn’t it the absolute best feeling??? Happy ricotta. :)
Sounds like home-made yogurt. I’ve seen once but your method seems easier.
That makes it worth to give a try!
Your scramble egg is exactly what I did yesterday. Yummy!
You’re so welcome! Wait til you see how easy it is – enjoy!
How much does this process cost? In comparision to buying from the store? (I haven’t boughten any before)
It’s a little more expensive than the mass-produced kind, but definitely cheaper than the fresh ricotta you buy at the cheese counter. And it tastes SO much better!!
This is so awesome! I am making lasagna for Thanksgiving and this comes right on time. Thanks! Will definitely make this.
Lasagna for Thanksgiving, I love it! Happy ricotta. :)
I’ve made this twice now and it is sooo delicious..I mixed it with some buttered penne and a little basil and had the most amazing mac and cheese ever!
OMG! I think you just started a whole new recipe idea in my head! What a lovely delicate mac and cheese that must have been….
Yes, ridiculously easy and incredibly tasty…I totally just want to eat it with a fork, and I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way about ricotta before…so if I want to make a bigger batch..you know, enough for lasagna and such, keep the ratios the same?
Yes, definitely – I’ve done that in the past. Just make sure you are using a good-sized pot so it doesn’t boil over. (And I’ve been there, fork-wise. :) )
I used to make ricotta when I worked in a restaurant. we used maybe just under 1/4 cup of vinegar in addition…. it helps increase the yield and speeds up the curds forming. Also, if you can find animal or veggie renet, a few drops will do a whole world of good!
Will have to try these tips – thanks!
What do you do with the leftover liquid?
You can substitute it for the regular liquid you use to make pancakes – it’s amazing!
What a fabulous recipe. I love it!! I have added it to my Mouth Watering Mondays. Come on over to see it at http://www.noshingwiththenolands.com Cheers, Tara
Thanks Tara – I will definitely pay your site a visit! :)
Amazing! I never knew it was THIS easy to make ricotta…. Running out now for the milk..
I know, right?? It’s hard to go back to store-bought…not that you have to any more!
I am so thankful someone pinned this! My family LOVES, LOVES, LOVES lasagna but I can’t afford to make it all the time so this will definitely help defer the cost! Now, you don’t happen to have an easy recipe to make your own mozzarella? Thanks!
So funny you should ask that! I’ve been experimenting with mozzarella but it is MUCH more complicated. That being said, when it works (and I have had some triumphs and some disasters) it is scrumptious. So far I have been following this recipe from The Kitchn = it’s worked the best for me. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-mozzarella-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-174355
I’m doing the Low Carb Way Of Eating and wonder what the carb count is for this version.
Hi Lee – I’m not familiar with that program so I’m sorry I can’t tell you – maybe one of my readers knows and will tell us?
Also, don’t waste the whey!!! You can use that to cook with. I make my own bread and use that instead of water…. gives a really nice flavor to the bread.
Totally going to try this recipe! Much easier than the others I have found. Thanks!!
You are so welcome! And the whey is also great in pancakes, I have found. :)
[email protected] says
I made this tonight for our Baked Ziti. It tasted so much better than the store bought stuff thanks for sharing the recipe!
You are so welcome – isn’t it the best?? :)
Hi, I just found your blog through Pinterest and am super excited to try this Ricotta! I live in an area where the only ricotta is the mass produced kind at the market. It doesn’t make great cannolli filling. I’m hoping this works well for that! Thanks for the recipe!
I’m so glad you found me! I’ve never made cannoli filling so I am eager to hear how yours turns out with this ricotta! :)
An aussie explanation of one fell swoop. In Aus. it is one fowl swoop, a reference to how a chook, i.e.fowl pounces on its prey. FYI. Cheers.
Love it – thanks Steve! :)
Meant to add to “pounces on its prey” ; and consumes in one action… Sort of in one go or one hit. Seems like the same way you love your ricotta.. Dont blame you here, I am a recent convert to it. For health reasons. Cheers again..
Matthew Carey says
This sounds absolutely delicious. Thanks so much for this recipe.. Think I may have to put it to use tomorrow :)
I hope you do – happy ricotta-making!
i was wondering if powdered buttermilk would work as well as fresh buttermilk? thanks!
I’ve never tried it that way so I’m not sure – any readers out there, do you know the answer?
I make this all the time, but I make it with lactose free milk and do not add any cream or buttermilk. I just add some lemon juice or vinegar till the milk curdles and strain it, et viola!! :-)
Thanks for the alternate version, Altoosa – so many variations on this great recipe! :)
You are hilarious. Thank you, I’m trying this and I’m also going to stalk you site for more hilarious posts about recipes under 30 minutes (a mantra I full-heartedly agree with).
Also, I googled “fell swoop”: http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/at-one-fell-swoop.html
“Shakespeare either coined the phrase, or gave it circulation, in Macbeth, 1605:
MACDUFF: [on hearing that his family and servants have all been killed]
All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?
The kite referred to is a hunting bird, like the Red Kite, which was common in England in Tudor times and is now making a welcome return after near extinction in the 20th century. The swoop (or stoop as is sometimes now said) is the rapid descent made by the bird when capturing prey.
Shakespeare used the imagery of a hunting bird’s ‘fell swoop’ to indicate the ruthless and deadly attack by Macbeth’s agents.
In the intervening years we have rather lost the original meaning and use it now to convey suddenness rather than savagery.”
I love etymology and the origin of words and phrases. That reminds me of an awesome site: http://www.mysteriesofvernacular.com/#
Ok, I think I’m done writing… thank you again.
Wow! I am so glad you found me, not only for your sweet words but also for the great info and I am DEFINITELY checking out the vernacular site! :)
oh well done everyone, except that no one has actually made ricotta.
etymologically speaking ‘ricotta’ means re-cooked, and with good reason. When you make cheese, you curdle the casein. This is then recovered and either consumed fresh, cured in salt, or heated again to make stingy cheese. And that’s the crux: casein makes cheese, which is precisely what everyone has done here.
after you strain the casein, you’re left with the whey. this fraction still contains some protein, more specifically albumin and globulin. These can be recovered by re-heating (or re-cooking) the whey. At elevated temperatures the albumin and globulin are denatured and flocculate. Recover this protein fraction and strain it.
NOW you’ve made Ricotta. The other thing you made was just cheese.
Well, whatever it is, it tastes good! :) Thanks for all this info.
Theresa Murphy says
Love homemade ricotta! Or mystery CHEESE, as the last poster pointed out. It looks like ricotta to me, so that is what I am going to call it. I do mine just a bit differently; heat a gallon of whole milk and 2 cups of heavy cream to just 185 degrees then stir in 1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vinegar and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt. This rests on the counter for 2 hours, covered with a dish towel, and then I drain it into the cheesecloth. Delicious and makes about 2 pounds, give or take, of creamy cheese. Much cheaper than a 15 oz container of brand name ricotta at our grocery store. No fresh stuff available for sale in these parts, so the homemade is a fabulous option. Keep up the good work, Kate!
Theresa Murphy says
A correction to the amount of vinegar; should be 1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons vinegar and not the 1/2. Sorry, the memory just ain’t what it used to be!
Thanks Theresa! And I’m definitely going to try your version – always good to have another excuse to make whatever this is called! :)
Made this today and guess it was a bit lower in fat because I only had 1% milk. I used 3 cups of that, 1 cup low fat buttermilk, and increased heavy cream to one cup. I had to boil for a long time, but eventually it began to thicken. I judged when to stop by how well it stuck to sides of pot and wooden spoon. It was not lumpy, but more like a thin cream of wheat consistency. I added salt to taste, then in a cheesecloth lined strainer over a pot, I poured it and stirred gently with rubber spatula occasionally while getting other ingredients ready for white pizza. It turned out wonderfully creamy and absolutely delicious! Better in taste and consistency than any I have bought in a store! I spread some on pizza crust, then added other good stuff, and it was the best!!!! Thanks so much for this recipe. I will definitely try with whole milk, but really loved this version also!
Thanks LB – I’ve never made it with 1% milk so I appreciate you testing it out for us! :)
Thank you for this awesome, easy recipe! I made it from fresh, raw milk so I didn’t add any cream, it was amazing and I made veggie lasagne with my first batch. I make my own quark cheese and yogurt as well and I use the whey for smoothies.
You are so welcome – I’ve never made it with raw milk but I am dying to try it that way!
Don’t throw away the whey- save it and use it when you’re making soup. It’s full of vitamins.
I’ve never thought of using it in soup – will try!
This looks fantastic! LOVE LOVE LOVE Ricotta. I was wondering what the best way to store this would be, and how long it keeps?
Well, the only thing about fresh ricotta is that it really wants to be used right away. :) If you need to hold it for a few hours, just pop it in the fridge and when it comes time to use it, stir a little bit of warm milk into it to loosen it up a bit.
Absolutely fantastic post.
Will surely prepare Ricotta like this.
I’m so glad – I’m sure you will love it!
Second time making this….Delicious. Sooo easy…won’t be sorry. Thank you
The second time of many more to come, I hope! Enjoy!
here is what i found on ” Fell Swoop” http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-fel1.htm (” The phrase is one of those fixed expressions that we hardly think about most of the time. It means all at once, suddenly. It’s been around in the language for at least 400 years. Shakespeare is first recorded as using it, in Macbeth: when Macduff hears that his family has been murdered, he says in disbelief:
All my pretty ones?
Did you say all? O hell-kite! All?
What, all my pretty chickens and their dam
At one fell swoop?”)
Thank you! I’ve learned so much about this expression now! :)
Did anyone have any success with a truly low fat version. For example, omitting the cream entirely and using 1% milk and fat free or low fat buttermilk. Does it work or is the fat in the full fat milk doing something to the ricotta? Thanksk for the help!
I’ve never tried with anything other than whole milk – let’s see if others have?
First of all thank you Kate for the post. I was wondering who took the great photo , it’s a pro photos really.
My pleasure, and I took the picture – thanks for your nice words about it!
I absolutely loved your website and your pics. Thanks for making ricotta look so easy. I will, with much trepidation, give it a try. :)
I am so glad I chanced upon it!
Thanks Monica! And don’t be afraid – wait until you see how easy it is! :)
Kate, call me frugal..but making your own ricotta is really more expensive than just buying a ready made one in the supermarket. One would have to have to buy at least a half gallon of milk, and the highly priced buttermilk and heavy cream just to make one batch as you show here. ..aside from the fact that ricotta is not very good to ‘save’ left overs in Fridge for another day or so.
Anthony, you are absolutely right that this is not the way to go if you are looking to save money – but the taste is so much better and fresher than the supermarket variety that it’s worth it to me! As for saving it, we rarely have any leftover, but if you do, you can stir a little milk or cream into it to make it creamier after it has gotten cold. Hope this helps! :)
Thank you for sharing this recipe for Ricotta, I love it so much but can’t get fresh Ricotta very often, so this will be delightful. My daughter owns 3 cafe’s who knows if it comes out OK She can fill some cannoli shells with it, bet it would be a great hit. I am so excited to try this.
I bet it would be a bestseller! Hope you (and she) love it!
Best. Thread. Ever!
I made it but used a food network recipe using only whole milk, heavy cream and 3 TB of vinegar. I think this does basically the same thing as the buttermilk and I didn’t have any on hand.
I almost embarrassed myself standing over the kitchen sink with it. I could NOT STOP EATING IT! This stuff is DIVINE!
I am going to serve it next week as a spread for toasted garlic french bread. Just serve it in a bowl and drizzle it with a really good olive oil. To die for!
Thanks for the idea of using the whey in pancake batter. I’m using mine tonight in a potato soup recipe.
A poster above said she yielded about 2 lbs. of it and she left hers sitting on the counter for a few hours afterwards (I strained mine immediately). I wonder if this would increase my yield. Have you tried letting it sit after? Just wondering.
This is one of those things I could eat until I made myself sick. ;)
I know, I LOVE this thread – I keep learning things! As for letting it sit, I find that if it sits more than 5 minutes it gets too dry for my taste. I don’t think it would increase the volume, but since I’ve always eaten or used it within 5 minutes I’m not totally sure, so if you try it, let me know? Ricotta for everyone!!!
Kim - Liv Life says
Just saw this recipe on pinterest and I’m SO trying it!!! How many times have I needed ricotta and not planned ahead? These ingredients are usually in my fridge, and I will be set. Thank you!!
Thank you for this post….I made it today & it turned out awesome
I’m so glad – hurray for ricotta!!
i have done this with just using fresh whole and the applecider vinager .and added the salt with the milk. but the milk was heated higher. then added the vinager and strained. gallon of milk made a good quart… . you can do the same with making your own cheese by adding white vinager and if you want add chives with the milk. really good never lasts very long and rarely makes it to the refrigerator.
Thanks – and I so agree about the never making it to the fridge part!
This is completely fantastic. I used reduced fat buttermilk because it was all I could find and it worked great. This recipe so easy and delicious. Thank you for sharing.
Isn’t it the best?? Thanks for letting us know about the low-fat buttermilk. :)
Wow this was fun! I made 3 batches and more from the whey. I used 2% milk, whipping cream, and homemade buttermilk from milk and vinegar. It turned out great. I made more from the whey by just using whey and vinegar and that was a little more tart and a much smaller batch. The whey batch did not produce much and didn’t taste enough different that I would bother with it again. I’m excited to make some bread in my bread maker with the rest of the whey. Thanks so much now I just have to figure out what I’m going to make with all this ricotta!
How great! And I definitely think you should start with the Summer Lasagna in terms of what to make with the ricotta. :)
Janel @ NellieBellie says
Oh. My. Gosh…brilliant! And who knew it was so easy!
The best of both worlds! :)
This ricotta will change your life. It is perfection. Thank you. I will NEVER buy store bought again.
I’m so glad – and I totally, completely agree! :)
This looks so good, I can’t wait to try it! I even have a recipe picked out to use my fresh ricotta cheese in tonight. I have one question though- Would using sea salt instead of a coarse iodized salt affect the recipe at all?
Not at all – it will be just perfect. Taste as you go to make sure you are getting the level of seasoning that you like!
Using raw milk works wonderfully!!! No need to buy 4 differant kinds of milk and cream. Its all of that in one!!! Goat milk makes beautiful cheese.
Love raw milk! I only wish we could get it here in New Jersey…
Thanks so much for this recipe. I just made it with 2% milk and added lemon juice to curdle it and it’s delicious!!
My pleasure – and good for you for trying it a little differently!
I make my own Feta by a similar method – using white vinegar to curdle. Hang the cheese for a while then press it until quite firm. I made my own ‘press strainer’ by poking holes in a plastic sour cream container with a darning needle, cut the rim off the lid and set it on top of the cheesecloth wrapped cheese, top with a heavy can (tomatoes). Save some of the drained liquid to store the ‘feta’ for 3-5 days.
Wow! You are so creative – clearly I need to try homemade feta next!
Making the riccota for sure! Can it be frozen? In-laws are Greek. Feta would be perfect Xmas gift! Can I have exact recipe? What else can you do with whey?
I don’t think it can be frozen – it’s actually best eaten as soon as possible after it is made! :)
I have made this and I did freeze it. I used it within a couple of weeks and it was really, really good.
Thanks Lisa – so good to know it can be frozen – I’v never tried that!
Venessa Bruwer says
I understand u use the same ingredients as for the ricotta cheese and just add white vinegar. How much vinegar do you add?
Hi Venessa – I have never made mine with vinegar so I can’t help you there – maybe some of the readers of this post will know?
Cindy Hawkins says
This is s great recipe, I just made the ricotta and OMG it is fabulous. Very creamy and could eat right out of the bowl. I went ahead and made cannoli cream . Thanks for a wonderful recipe.
I’m so glad! And I totally agree about the whole eating out of the bowl thing. ;)
About how much ricotta does it yield? Do you just discard the whey?
It makes about 2 cups, give or take. And they whey makes fantastic pancakes if you sub it in for the liquid in your pancake mix!
Can you make this low fat/ non fat? can you use SKIM MILK LOW FAT BUTTER MILK AND 1/2 FAT CREAM???
I’m honestly not sure as I have one ever made it with the ingredients in the posted recipe…sorry not to be more help on that one!
This seems too good to be true! I can’t wait to make my own ricotta. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing this great recipe with us
My pleasure! Have fun!
I too thought, how good could this be? It’s ricotta cheese. Boy, was I wrong. This is amazing. THe recipie is easy to follow, the cheese is moist and smooth and full of flavor, and clean up is next to nothing. Great recipie, and I’ll never buy store bought again.
Hurray! That was my experience EXACTLY! :)
Hello! I dont have access to buttermilk, can I make this without it? Thanks!
Hi there – I’ve never tried it, but I know folks make buttermilk out of regular milk and lemon juice. If you scroll the comments or Google it you’ll see how it works..
AL TAN says
I have been planning to make Ricotta cheese at home but its just they can’t last long as cheddar cheese. I will be using yogurt instead of cream as in Malaysia its very hard to find cream.
Babs mom of 5 says
I made low fat ricotta using this recipe: 5 cups skim milk, 1/2 tsp salt…cook until it reaches 190 degrees, stirring to keep milk from scorching. Remove from heat and add 4Tbsp lemon juice, stir twice, then let sit 5-7 minutes. Strain as directed in recipe above^^^ It turned out beautifully!!!
Thanks for the variation Babs – I know folks have been looking for the low-fat version!
How long will the ricotta last in the fridge? I would love to make some and store it for lunches during the week!
It will last a few days, but it might dry out a bit – just stir in a little milk though and it should loosen back up!
Do you stir the liquid mixture while waiting for it curdle or leave it alone? Cant wait to try this!
You can stir towards the end to get a sense of how things are thickening up, but you don’t have to. You definitely don’t have to stir it in the beginning – just let it do its thing. Have fun!
Shellie Martin says
I love homemade Ricotta made with goats milk products even more! I make buttermilk with goats milk as well to use in all my cheese recipes that call for it. Not big on store bought goats milk at all as it drastically changes to a strong flavor once pasteurized, so would recommend buying it from someone who milks their own goats.
Thanks Shellie – great advice for goat milk lovers! :)
Karen Valencia says
Is the cheese cloth something you can wash and re-use, or do you use new pieces each time?
I use new pieces each time, but I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t rinse it VERY thoroughly and use it again.
You can also go to the paint store and buy a paint strainer. It’s super cheap and works great and you can wash it easily.
A great suggestion that I never would have thought of – thanks, Elise!
Thank you so much for posting this. I can’t wait to try it. One day I brought a dozen cannolis to work. An Italian nurse tried one. The other nurses asked her how they were. She told them that they were horrible, “Don’t even try them.” The next day she told me that they were so good, she ATE THEM ALL. She told me how she told everyone how bad they were so that they wouldn’t eat any. She said, “They wouldn’t appreciate them”. I assume because they’re not Italian. My secret ingredient to make the cannolis is amaretto.
Love cannolis – and this story!!
This tasted really good but it only made about half a cup when I tried it. I don’t know I got such a small amount.
Hi Bethany = it might be because you took it off the heat a little too soon, before all the curds had a chance to form. If the liquid was still kind of milky looking that could be the reason – that’s my guess. Next time leave it simmering a little bit longer (it won’t hurt it) and you should get about 1.5 cups or so.
Reading over all the comments, I think I may have gotten impatient and not let it cook long enough, or maybe cooked it too long or over stirred it. I did not get curds large enough to scoop out. The result tasted fine and it was great stuffed inside your summer lasagne.
I used organic buttermilk-the only thing I could find without carrageenan and that was labeled as being pasturized, but not ultra-pasturized, whole cream from a local dairy that was only grade a cream and whole milk. As it has set, it has become a very compact cheese rather than crumbly or creamy. Adding whey back to it allows it to become spreadable again. Any ideas on what I might have done wrong.
As to washing the cloth, my great grandmother had a pot for boiling hers with some vinegar and baking soda, then hang dry or if you have a sweater rack for your dryer, use the air fluff cycle. If you do wash it in your machine, run a vinegar and baking soda wash using hot water and if available the sanitizing cycle, then place your cloth in a lingerie bag and wash on hot water with vinegar and baking soda. Hang dry or air fluff .. no laundry detergent, fabric softner or dryer sheets.
Hi Nika! I never stir mine except for a little bit at the end just to check out the curds – in the beginning a thermometer can help you judge if they are where they need to be. And thanks for the cloth cleaning tips!
Great recipe and super easy! One suggestion I would make is to include how much ricotta the recipe yields. The pictures look like it makes quite a bit but it only yielded about 1 cup of ricotta. I was planning to use this to make lasagna but I guess I will use it to mix with eggs as shown in one of the photos. Now I know to at least triple the recipe if you want to make lasagna.
Hi Karen! Great suggestion of course. I think I usually get about a cup and a half, but the next time I make it I will measure it up and add the yield to the recipe. I hope you like the ricotta with eggs – it is one of my favorite comfort foods EVER! :)
I am definitely making this this weekend!
Yay! I promise that once you make it, you’ll never go back to to store kind! :)
Great Recipe. Thanks!
can the ricotta cheese be made with less fat?
Hi Lisa! I’m actually not sure – I’ve only made mine with the ingredients in this recipe. I do use reduced fat buttermilk, so there’s that! But to get the great taste of this one, I think you do have to use the whole milk and cream. Maybe some other readers have some ideas?
I made the ricotta using a 2 qt glass measuring container, and microwaving on high for about 8 minutes, until the mixture reached 185F. It makes the clean up very easy. The results were fabulous! Thanks for the recipe!
Wow, I’ve never heard of trying it in the microwave – you are forging new ground! I’ll have to give it a try!
Kimberly Wylie says
I’ve made mozzarella before (MUCH more difficult!), so I have no idea why I hadn’t heard how simple ricotta is! Thank you so much for posting this!! One question – how much ricotta does this make, approximately? Thanks again!
Hi Kimberly (and sorry for the delayed reply – I was out of computer range for the long weekend) – I get anywhere from 1 to 1 1/2 cups from this recipe, depending on how much milk solid I get out of my milk. And I totally agree on mozz – I’ve tried it a few times, and it is quite a production!
I never knew ricotta cheese was as easy as that to make. That was totally unexpected, but also good because I can now make my own cheese. Thank you so much for this!
Glad you like it!
Can the cheese be frozen?
Hi Yolanda! Technically you can, but it may change the consistency and texture since some of the liquid in the cheese may form ice crystals when it freezes, so it might be a bit crumbly when you defrost it. Hope this helps!
Mary Pat Leonard says
I have now made this 1/2 dozen times. We put together a “Ricotta” bar with fresh made croutons, and an assortment of toppings such as strawberries, tomatoes, olive salad, balsamic glaze, lemon oil, and go to town. On summer afternoon we ate so much of it we all voted to totally skip dinner!
Easy and DELICIOUS!!!!
Kate Morgan Jackson says
A RICOTTA BAR! I absolutely love it!!
I have been reading and re-reading this post for a few days, how good could it be? followed the recipe to the letter, and smiled with satisfaction to myself as i spooned it into the cloth, it LOOKED like ricotta, and it SMELLED like ricotta……. i had to taste just a little, as it drained, i mean, it would have bee rude not to would it? its PERFECTION, i dont know how, i dont know why but its THE best ricotta ever. I made a 2nd batch as that one drained, and added very finely snipped chives to it with the salt, spread on from the oven buttered onion bread, [insert red faced smiley] we ate it all. the world NEEDS to know about this recipe, i have exhausted my friends telling them about it!
Fi, this comment made my day – I went through exactly the same process (including with my friends!) :) :)