Homemade ricotta cheese is incredibly easy to make, and it tastes delicious. It’s similar to my homemade Greek yogurt recipe in that you heat up some milk, add a simple second ingredient, and let nature do the rest. You can use vinegar or lemon juice to make this cheese. Some recipes call for added cream, but being frugal in the kitchen, I’m happy with this less expensive version. Use ricotta as a spread for crackers, a topping for pizza, a filling for lasagna, or a base for fluffy pancakes. It also tastes wonderful straight out of the bowl with a sprinkle of salt or fresh herbs.
4 cups milk
2 tbs. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt (optional)
- In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, heat the milk on the stove over medium-low heat until it reaches 180 degrees.
- Add the lemon juice and salt to the milk and stir briefly to combine. Heat over a medium flame for a few more minutes until it reaches 200 degrees.
- Remove the pot from the stove and let it sit for 10 minutes. The cheese will form as the curds separate from the whey. If you don’t see thick cheese forming in the first minute or two, add a little more lemon juice.
- After 10 minutes, transfer the mixture to a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. I use this Butter Muslin, which is woven more tightly than some cheese cloth and it’s washable and reusable. (I use this to strain yogurt and ghee as well.)
- Let the whey drain thoroughly for an hour or two in the refrigerator. Transfer the cheese to an air-tight container and store for up to 5 days.
This recipe yields 1½ cups of ricotta cheese, or about ¾ of a pound. The total cost is $1.01, or $.08 per ounce. This quantity of ricotta cheese at the grocery store would cost $.20 per ounce, which is more than twice as much as the homemade version. This ricotta cheese has a wonderful flavor, and it’s so easy to make.
If you’re looking for something to do with all this ricotta, try my lemon ricotta pancakes.
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