Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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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

Homemade ricotta cheese is delicious and easy to make, using just three ingredients that you probably have in your refrigerator.
Print Recipe
ricotta
Prep Time:5 mins
Cook Time:5 mins
Straining Time:5 mins
Total Time:15 mins

Ingredients

  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt optional

Instructions

  • 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 in the refrigerator until the ricotta reaches your desired thickness. Transfer the cheese to an air-tight container and store for up to 5 days.

Notes

You can alternately use plain white vinegar in place of the lemon juice.

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 132mg | Potassium: 107mg | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 132IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 92mg | Iron: 1mg
Servings: 12
Calories: 50kcal
Cost: $.08 per ounce

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.

45 Comments

  1. 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 🙂

      1. It was fantastic! So easy and so delicious. It made the texture perfect in the pastiera. Exactly what I needed. Thank you 🙂

    1. Carol, they have a different flavor, and cottage cheese has large curds while ricotta has tiny curds.

  2. 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.

    1. I haven’t tried that, Kimberly, but I bet you’d be able to find non-dairy ricotta substitute recipes online. Good luck!

  3. 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?

  4. 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

    1. 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.

    1. Marlene, I think this would work with lactose-free milk, but I haven’t tried it. Let me know if it works for you.

      1. 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!

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