Ricotta Cheese

5 from 4 votes

Wondering how to make the best homemade ricotta cheese? Then look no further. Here is a detailed post on how to make your ricotta at home using just 4 simple ingredients. Once you make it home, you will never rebuy a tub. It is rich, creamy, made using real ingredients, and more economical than the store-bought one.

Homemade ricotta cheese served in a bowl.
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About Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Making Homemade Ricotta Cheese is a super easy and simple process.

You need 4 ingredients and 30 minutes (most of which is hand-off) to make this light, spongy, creamy, and fresh ricotta cheese recipe.

The word ricotta means re-cooked. This fresh cheese was traditionally made by re-cooking leftover whey from cheese production, hence the name. But these days, it is made by curdling the milk with a souring agent.

Ricotta Cheese is much creamier and softer in texture than cottage cheese.

You can also control its consistency according to your requirements. Make wetter, looser ricotta or a drier, firmer one, depending on what you will use it for.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese tastes much more economical than the store-bought pack.

I used 34 oz (1 liter) milk and got approximately a cup of ricotta cheese. You can easily scale the recipe up or down.

This homemade ricotta cheese recipe is vegetarian and gluten-free.

Ingredients

Milk – Ricotta Cheese can be made using sheep milk, goat milk, cow milk, or water buffalo milk, but cow’s whole milk (full-fat milk) is preferred for this recipe.

Avoid skim or low-fat milk, as there isn’t enough fat left in the milk to separate into curd and whey.

Also, avoid using high-temperature pasteurized milk (ultra-pasteurized milk) to make a homemade ricotta recipe. The high temperature alters the protein structure of milk and prevents it from coagulating.

Most organic milk is ultra-high-temperature pasteurized, so read the label before buying.

Cream – Adding unsweetened heavy cream makes the ricotta creamier and softer. This is also the differentiating factor between ricotta cheese and cottage cheese.

Lemon – Use freshly squeezed lemon juice to curdle the milk. You can also replace it with plain white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

How To Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Add 2 tablespoon water to a heavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat.

Adding a little water to the pan prevents the milk from scorching.

Water added to a pan.

Add

  • 34 oz (1-liter) whole milk
  • ½ cup unsweetened heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

to the pan and bring the milk to a boil.

Stir occasionally while boiling to prevent the milk from scorching.

Milk, salt and cream added to the pan.

Once the milk comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and stir in 3 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

The milk will curdle immediately and the whey will separate from the curd. Let the curdled milk rest for 2-3 minutes.

Note – You can add more lemon juice if your milk doesn’t curdle immediately after adding the lemon juice.

Curdled milk in the pan.

Line a large sieve with a layer of cheesecloth. Transfer the small curds into the sieve using a slotted spoon or gently pour it on the sieve and let it drain.

Curdled milk poured in a mesh strainer lined with a cheesecloth.

Note – The draining time will depend on the consistency you are looking at.

If you are making the ricotta to use as a dip or a spread, drain it for 10-12 minutes, and if you are going to use it as a filling or for making desserts, drain it for 20 minutes.

You can also wrap the drained ricotta in the cheesecloth, press it with something heavy like a marble rolling board, and refrigerate it overnight to get paneer, ricotta salata, queso fresco, or other fresh farmers’ cheese.

Tip – If the ricotta becomes too dry, stir some whey back in before using or storing it.

Milk drained for 20 minutes.

Store the ricotta in a clean and dry airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Ready homemade ricotta cheese.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to drain ricotta cheese without a cheesecloth?

If you don’t have a cheesecloth, you can use cotton, linen, muslin handkerchief, or cloth to strain the cheese.

Can homemade ricotta be frozen?

Yes, you can also freeze it for up to 3 months.
Its taste will remain the same but the texture might change slightly after thawing. It becomes crumbly after thawing. Although it is not recommended to serve on its own, you can use frozen ricotta cheese to make beaked or cooked dishes.

How to use leftover whey?

Do not discard the leftover ricotta whey. It is loaded with whey proteins and other nutrients. You can use it in multiple ways.
Use it to knead the dough for roti, paratha, tortilla, etc.
You can add it to Indian gravies; it gives them a delicious flavor.
Use it to cook rice, pasta, risotto, etc.
Add it to soups; this is my favorite way of using leftover whey.
Use it to make bread, pizza dough, muffins, biscuits, etc.
Use it to make your morning pancakes or waffles.
Other than cooking, you can also use it for your beauty regime or pour it on your plants for their healthy growth.

Usage Ideas

There are so many delicious ways to use this creamy ricotta cheese. You can use it to make savory recipes or sweet recipes. Here are some options.

Use it to make desserts like cheesecakes or cannoli.

Add it to your salads, open toast, toasted baguettes, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, etc.

Add it to pasta dishes, risotto, gnocchi, or lasagne.

Scrambled eggs taste great with some fresh ricotta added to them.

Add it over grilled fruits with granola and a drizzle of honey for a healthy dessert.

Variations

Take your homemade ricotta cheese to the next level by flavoring it using various ingredients. Here are some of my favorite options.

Herbed Ricotta – Add chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, chives, etc), salt, and black pepper.

Olive and Garlic Ricotta – Finely chop some green olives and roasted garlic and add it to the ricotta with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Spicy Ricotta – This is one of my favorites! Add some finely chopped red bell pepper, smoked paprika, and salt to the cheese.

Lemon Basil Ricotta – Add some finely chopped basil leaves, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper to the ricotta.

Honey Black Pepper – Add a little honey with black pepper, and there you have a delicious honey ricotta cheese ready.

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Wondering how to make the best homemade ricotta cheese? Then look no further. Here is a detailed post on how to make your ricotta at home using just 4 simple ingredients. Once you make it home, you will never rebuy a tub. It is rich, creamy, made using real ingredients, and more economical than the store-bought one.
5 from 4 votes

Best Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Wondering how to make the best homemade ricotta cheese? Then look no further. Here is a detailed post on how to make your ricotta at home using just 4 simple ingredients. Once you make it home, you will never rebuy a tub. It is rich, creamy, made using real ingredients, and more economical than the store-bought one.
Cook: 10 minutes
Drain Time: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients 

  • 34 ounces whole milk (full-fat milk) (1 liter)
  • ½ cup unsweetened heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or white vinegar)
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Instructions 

  • Add 2 tablespoons of water to a heavy bottom pan and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Adding a little water to the pan prevents the milk from scorching.
  • Add milk, heavy cream, and salt to the pan and bring the milk to a boil. Stir occasionally while boiling to prevent the milk from scorching.
  • Once the milk comes to a boil, remove the pan from heat and stir in lemon juice. The milk will curdle immediately and whey will separate from the curd. Let it rest for 2-3 minutes.
  • Note – If your milk didn’t curdle immediately after adding the lemon juice, you can add some more.
  • Line a large sieve with a layer of cheesecloth.
  • Line a large sieve with a layer of cheesecloth. Transfer the curds into the sieve using a slotted spoon or gently pour it on the sieve and let it drain.
  • Note – The time of draining will depend on the consistency you are looking at. If you are making the ricotta to use as a dip or a spread, then drain it for 10-12 minutes and if you are going to use it as a filling or for making desserts, then drain it for 20 minutes.
  • You can also wrap the drained ricotta in the cheesecloth and press it with something heavy like a marble rolling board and refrigerate it overnight to get paneer, ricotta salata, queso fresco, or other fresh farmers cheese.
  • Tip – If the ricotta becomes too dry, then stir some of the whey back in before using or storing it.
  • Store the ricotta in a clean and dry airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

I used 1-liter milk and I got approximately a cup of ricotta cheese. You can easily scale the recipe up or down.
Avoid skim or low-fat milk, as there isn’t enough fat left in the milk to separate into curd and whey.
Also, avoid using high-temperature pasteurized milk to make this cheese. The high temperature alters the protein structure of milk and prevents it from coagulating.
Most organic milk are ultra-high temperature pasteurized, so make sure to read the label before buying.
If you don’t have a cheesecloth, you can use cotton, linen, or muslin handkerchief or cloth and use it for straining the cheese.

Nutrition

Calories: 70kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 27mg, Sodium: 105mg, Potassium: 15mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 292IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 13mg
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18 Comments

    1. Hi Susan, it’s a very old recipe and something is wrong with the coding here. It’s 1/2 cup heavy cream actually.

  1. Ricotta cheese recipe!!so easy to make and fresh..loved it ..thanks for sharing ..loved your blog dear.
    Anjana

  2. hi neha, wow, you know how to make ricotta cheese… i am also on cheeses post right now. what a coincidence. your ricotta looks yum yum, first time heard with garlic added..great innovation. have a nice day