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Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Making this homemade ricotta cheese recipe doesn’t take much more effort than boiling water! Once you try it, you’ll never go back.

The first time I put my milk, cream & salt in a pot I was pretty sure I’d end up with nothing more than hot milk, cream & salt. Then it boiled, I added some lemon juice and watched it turn into something that I was certain I’d be dumping down the drain.

Even as I poured it into the cheesecloth I thought it can’t be this easy. But as the whey drained off and only silky, creamy curds remained…I realized that I’d been wasting countless years hunting down a better ricotta when it was right here in my own kitchen the entire time! Once you try warm, fresh ricotta you’ll never, ever buy it again.

Spoonful of fresh homemade ricotta cottage cheese made from milk, draining on muslin cloth

Making Homemade Ricotta: At a Glance

  1. Prep: Line a large sieve with a layer of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
  2. Boil: Bring the milk, cream, and salt to a boil in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, add lemon juice until the cheese curdles.
  3. Drain: Let the cheese drain 1 hour.
  4. Enjoy!

(Scroll down to the bottom for the printable recipe card with exact measurements and instructions.)

Tools for Homemade Riccotta

  • Cheesecloth
  • Lined sieve or colander

Cheesecloth Substitutes

If you need a cheesecloth substitute in a pinch many cotton fabrics will work. Substitute with pantyhose, pillow cases, bandanas/handkerchiefs, paper towels, socks, cotton kitchen towels, coffee filters, gauze, fine mesh bag, and other types of cotton fabrics.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe Tips

  • Use lemon juice, regular lemons or replace with an equal amount of white vinegar.
  • Use pasteurized milk. Unpasteurized varieties are not for the beginner, and not necessary for this recipe. Using unpasteurized milk has many caveats that are beyond the scope of this recipe. Use store-bought pasteurized milk and you will be fine.
  • You could attempt to make ricotta from low-fat milk or reduced fat milk. But your results may vary and it’s a good idea to try making the full-fat version first to get an idea of how the recipe should look and taste. Then you can experiment with swapping out healthier ingredients such as lower-fat milk.

Storage Times

Homemade ricotta can last up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator, but in my experience you’ll get best results consuming this amazing homemade cheese in a couple of days after making it. It’s so easy to make that you really don’t need to prepare huge batches of it. Make just enough for your needs over the next couple of days.

Using Leftover Ricotta

Some make their ricotta for a specific meal but then feel stumped about what to do with the leftover cheese. Here are some ideas you can use for the remainder–fresh ricotta is amazingly tossed with fresh pasta or spread on puff pastry with fresh vegetables. Dollops of fresh ricotta on a pizza just out of the oven is an amazing thing indeed.

  • Drizzle with honey and fresh figs
  • Ricotta grilled cheese
  • Ricotta gnocchi!
  • Ricotta pie!
  • Ricotta cheesecake!
  • On crostini with a smidge of raspberry jam & black pepper
  • Add some to quiche to make it extra creamy
  • Good for stuffing zucchini or portobello mushrooms

The Difference Between Ricotta And Other Homemade Cheeses

This recipe does not call for an aging process. Aging other types of home made cheese is important because there are food borne illnesses that can be transmitted through unaged cheese like homemade cheddar.

The aging process waits out the bacteria and other nasties that reside in the aging cheese–three months of aging at a minimum and listeria and other pathogens die out over this time. Aging cheese is a bit of a science-heavy process; we’re not after the long-haul version of home made cheese, this recipe is for more instant gratification.

Do you have a favorite way you like to use ricotta? Let me know in the comments below!

Try these delicious Ricotta Cheese Recipes:

Spoonful of fresh homemade ricotta cottage cheese made from milk, draining on muslin cloth

Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Yield: About 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 5 minutes

Five ingredients and a half hour is all you need to make this fresh, creamy homemade ricotta.


  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 sheets cheesecloth, big enough to cover strainer


  1. Line a large sieve or colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
  2. Bring the milk, cream, and salt to a boil in a large pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add the lemon juice, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes.
  4. Pour the mixture into the lined sieve and let it drain 1 hour.
  5. After discarding the liquid, chill the ricotta, covered; it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251Total Fat: 19gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 245mgCarbohydrates: 13gNet Carbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 9g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix.

Kristy Bernardo
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