Homemade Ricotta Cheese is ridiculously easy to make and insanely delicious. It only requires 4 ingredients and takes less than 45 minutes to make from start to finish. Once you’ve tasted this yummy ricotta cheese, you’ll never go back to the store-bought kind.
I used the following four ingredients to make this awesome ricotta cheese inspired by an Ina Garten recipe: Whole milk, heavy cream, Kosher salt and white wine vinegar.
Making the Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Before heating the milk and cream, I placed a strainer over a deep bowl. Then, I lined the strainer with a double layer of dampened cheesecloth. This is what the curds and whey will be poured into.
Next, I poured the milk and cream into a 3-quart stainless-steel pan and stirred in the salt.
I brought the milk mixture to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When the milk mixture had reached a full boil, I turned off the heat and stirred in the vinegar.
I allowed the mixture to stand for about a minute until it curdled. Then I poured the mixture into the cheesecloth lined strainer and allowed it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes.
If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use a fine-mesh laundry bag, piece of cotton material or fine-mesh strainer.
I watched the liquid level in the bowl closely and had to dump the whey out several times. Whey is full of protein and vitamins and minerals. Therefore, rather than dumping it like I do, you could use it in smoothies or bread dough.
The longer the mixture drains, the thicker it becomes. I tend to prefer my ricotta on the thicker side, so after 25 minutes, I gathered the cheesecloth up into a bundle and pressed more liquid out of the curds. Rather than pressing the liquid out, I could have just let it sit for a little bit longer in the strainer.
Finally, I transferred the ricotta to a covered container container and refrigerated it. I ended up with 2 cups of the most amazing ricotta cheese imaginable. Seriously, you should try this. Once you do, you’ll never go back to the commercial ricotta. Yum!
I first posted this yummy recipe on September 5, 2015. Since then, I’ve made it a number of times to use in dishes such as my lasagna, fresh tomato ricotta tart in puff pastry, baked ziti and lasagna cups. This post contains the same great recipe, but with updated text, photographs and a video.
For another amazingly simple and delicious cheese to make, try my Crème Fraîche recipe.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- Wire strainer lined with cheesecloth
- 4 cups (32 ounces) whole milk (See Tip 1)
- 2 cups (16 ounces) heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 3 Tablespoons white wine vinegar (See Tip 2)
- Place a large strainer over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the strainer with the cheesecloth. (See Tip 3)
- Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
- Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. (See Tips 4 and 5)
- Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. Yield: 2 cups.
Chula's Expert Tips
- I've consistently used whole milk with making the ricotta. I don't know how this would work using low-fat or skim milk.
- You can also use regular white vinegar or lemon juice. However, I wouldn't recommend using a colored vinegar.
- If you don't have cheesecloth, you can use a fine-mesh laundry bag, piece of cotton, thin cotton dish towel or fine-mesh strainer. I've tried using a coffee filter, but it didn't work that well for me.
- This recipe starts with 6 cups of liquid and produces 2 cups of ricotta cheese. Therefore, almost 4 cups of whey drain off. Therefore, you need to watch the liquid level in the bowl and occasionally discard the whey. Whey actually is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Therefore, rather than discarding it you might think about adding it to smoothies or using it in making bread.
- The longer you let the ricotta cheese mixture drain, the thicker it becomes. If you prefer your ricotta on the thicker side, gather the cheesecloth into a bundle and press additional liquid from the curds. Alternatively, just let the ricotta drain for another 5 minutes or until the desired consistency is reached.