Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade ricotta cheese is delicious and easy to make, using just three ingredients that you probably have in your refrigerator.

Homemade ricotta cheese is delicious and easy to make, using just three ingredients that you probably have in your refrigerator.DisclosureHomemade 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.

Homemade ricotta cheese is delicious and easy to make, using just three ingredients that you probably have in your refrigerator.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. salt (optional)
  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed pot, heat the milk on the stove over medium-low heat until it reaches 180 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.)
  5. 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.
You can alternately use plain white vinegar in place of the lemon juice.

Homemade Ricotta Price Breakdown

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.

Linking to Monday Mania, Fat Tuesday, Marvelous Mondays, Make Your Own Monday.


  1. says

    Thanks Annemarie! Now I know what I’m making next time I see a bunch of milk marked down. My kids can suck down a gallon easy, but I can’t resist multiple gallons if I have a plan to cook with some of them. Usually, I make buttermilk–but now, ricotta too!

  2. Jan says


    I need some ricotta to make some blueberry scones. I have everything but the ricotta. Oh dang, forgot about the thermometer. I don’t have one so still have to go to store. I will certainly try it though. I have never made cheese or yoghurt. I just buy containers of yoghurt and add honey and/ or vanilla flavoring. I buy butter from Aldi’s. it is cheaper but not as creamy as land o lands but tastes and bakes well. Personally, I had to cut corners and decide what foods I am willing to pay more for. Butter and milk were one of them. I don’t have children at home so it is easier making decisions like this.

    • Annemarie says

      Good luck making ricotta, Jan. You’re lucky to live near an Aldi – they have great prices! And it’s important to prioritize what foods you’re willing to pay more for because some things really are worth the higher price.

  3. Jan says

    Yes, I love to shop there. They have European cheeses such as kerrygold and dublinir there at a good price which are made of milk without hormones like they are in the states. The cows are also grass fed. Some of cheeses are made from raw milk or heat treated (whatever that means). I bought in bulk because Aldi’s might have them one week but not the next.

    • Annemarie says

      Great question, Becky! Whey is a nutritional powerhouse so it’s best not to dump it. It can be used in baked goods (just substitute it for whatever liquid your recipe calls for) or smoothies. I also use whey to soak grains, which makes them more digestible. If you plan to have oatmeal in the morning, soak it in water plus a tablespoon of whey overnight. If you’re baking with whole wheat, it’s great to soak the wheat in a whey/water combination overnight to break down the Phytic acid in the wheat.

  4. Sue says

    I made this and it turned out so lovely and deliciously fresh. Definitely add the salt because I made it both with and without and the salt brightens and allows the freshness of the lime juice to compliment the creaminess of the cheese itself.

    This is so easy and the taste just doesn’t compare to store bought. So totally worth making. Thank you so much.

    • Annemarie says

      I’m so glad, Sue. I totally agree – there’s no reason to buy store-bought ricotta when you can make this easy, delicious version at home.

  5. Anne says

    Would it be okay to use vinegar instead of lemon juice? Or does the lemon have an effect on the flavor?

    • Annemarie says

      Anne, this works fine with vinegar too. I’ve made it both ways, and the taste difference is very slight.

  6. says

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I’ve been using a raw cottage cheese in place of ricotta. A good ricotta is ridiculously hard to find in our area and I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on making my own.

      • Marlene says

        I made the ricotta using skim, lactose-free milk and it was perfect. It is my- go to breakfast on skinny whole wheat toast, sprinkled with cinnamon and Truvia and topped with a handful of blueberries. I put it under the broiler for a minute and it is delicious!

  7. Cortney says

    I have read conflicting articles on whether it’s necessary to purchase organic dairy or not..what are your views? At the moment my family eats organic dairy and produce but it’s so pricey

    • says

      If you can afford organic dairy, I do believe it’s higher quality than conventional. We buy some organic dairy and some conventional, mainly because of the price difference. I do make sure all the dairy I buy is antibiotic-free and hormone-free. Where I live, the difference between conventional milk and organic milk is $2.50 per gallon vs. $8.00 per gallon. If I can find more affordable organic milk, I may make the switch.

  8. Miriam says

    I use a coffee filter to drain yogurt to make “yogurt cheese”. Do you think that would work to drain the whey from the ricotta curds?

  9. Kristin says

    This was so easy and so unbelievably delicious. My only regret is that I used it in a pan of lasagne instead of savoring it with a bit of honey or fresh herbs. I’m making more tomorrow.

  10. tasteofdivine says

    Hi Annemarie. Oh my gosh I’ve been doing it so wrong! I can’t find ricotta here in Slovenia. They have something called “skuta” and it’s more like a dry cottage cheese. So when I need ricotta I use that and add a little milk to try and get the texture right. I had NO idea this was so easy to make!

    I’m guessing it will work with raw milk too, right? I’m very lucky and raw milk is actually cheaper here than regular milk, and it’s so delicious!

    I tried to make pastiera last week (using the cottage cheese/milk mixture thing) and it was good, but the texture was off. Now I’ll make it with this real ricotta and try again :)

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