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How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese in the Easiest Way

Updated on November 16, 2018
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For some people, cheese is the key ingredient in many recipes.

Where do you buy it?

In the supermarket? Cheese store?

Well, we believe that if you use our recipe below to make cheeses, you might forget going to the store anymore for cheese.

And the truth is that you can really cook it in your own kitchen.

We would love to introduce to you one of the best and easiest cheeses to make: Ricotta Cheese.

How amazing it is to eat this one with a piece of fine bread, drizzle with some olive oil, right?

You don’t need to be a pro chef to make this one, everything you need is just a few ingredients.

With our recipe, your homemade ricotta cheese would be lighter and fresher than store-bought item.

So, are you ready? Let’s have fun together!

Firstly, for those who don’t know about this yummy cheese:

What Is Ricotta Cheese?

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It is a delicious main ingredient widely used in Italian dishes from lasagna to cannoli.

The name “Ricotta” is derived from the Latin word recocta. It means re-cooked or cook twice.

This kind of cheese is made with the whey drained from other cheese making process.

The ingredient then recooked with an acid element until the proteins left in the whey come together and form fine curds.

What makes the cheese special is ricotta is slightly sweet and has a pleasant, fresh cream flavor.

Therefore, it is a favorite versatile ingredient as it adds richness into a dish and features other flavors.

It can normally be produced with cow, sheep or goat’s milk, but is most commonly made with cow’s milk.

Ricotta cheese is low in fat which is in range of 4 to 10 percent.

So, you have known what it is, let’s move on to the main part:

Now, here’s what you need to prepare:

All you need to make this fresh cheese is lemon juice, milk and a half-hour of your time.

Easy, right?

In order to make two cups of the cheese, let’s look at our measurements in detail:

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 gallon whole milk, not UHT pasteurized
Tips:
Make sure to avoid using skim and nonfat milk as these would not separate easily into curds and whey.
Don’t use UHT (Ultra High Temperature) Pasteurized Milk because this changes the protein structure of the milk, preventing the separation.
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice (from 1 1/2 to 2 lemons),
  • Or maybe 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar, or 1/2 teaspoon citric acid (available from cheese-making suppliers)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt, optional

How to do it?

Warm the milk:

Pour the milk into a saucepan. Set the stove over medium heat.

Let it heat gradually to 194 degrees F to 200 degrees F. Use the instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature.

When the milk starts to get foamy and steam, remove it from the heat.

Add the lemon juice and salt:

Add the lemon juice or vinegar (or citric acid) and the salt into the heated milk.

Then stir gently to combine them.

It is up to your taste to choose between lemon juice or vinegar.

However, make sure to use the quality ones as these would affect the taste of your cheese a lot.

Wait around 10 minutes:

You have worked quite a lot right? It would be continuing later.

Therefore, the good news is this is your break time!

Leave the pot of milk alone for 10 minutes.

After this time, the milk would do it job separating into curds and whey.

Nonetheless, if you cannot see the separation, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar and wait a few more minutes.

Strain the curds:

Line a strainer over a bowl with a moistened paper towel or cheesecloth.

Take some big curds out of the pot by a slotted spoon

By doing this, you help keep them from splashing and making a mess when you pour.

Then add the mixture through the strainer.

Let the curds drain

Wait around 10 to 60 minutes for the last of the whey to drain from the curds.

Don’t try to push it through the cheesecloth as this would only push the curds into the cloth.

If you prefer a creamier final product, stop draining it after 5 - 10 minutes.

However, if you want thicker ricotta, it is better to leave it around one hour to fully drain.

Here comes the final product

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So simple, right?

Now, spoon the ricotta into a bowl.

It is ready to use in your recipe.

It could be a part of your savory dishes or a yummy dessert.

These can be used right away or else you can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week.

What I like most about making Ricotta Cheese is the leftover whey.

This is so fantastic in baked products.

Instead of using water, try using whey the next time you make bread or pizza dough.

So great!

Wait! It is not the end.

This is for the cheese lovers, well, like us:

We know you might want to have fun making different cheeses at home.

But struggling to find something substitute for ricotta cheese that you can lay your hands on easily?

Here are the five best alternatives:

  1. Cottage Cheese
  2. Fromage Blanc
  3. Clabber Cream
  4. Sour Cream
  5. Buttermilk Cheese

Finally, get yourself up and make ricotta cheese

Above are our step-by-step instructions for you to make ricotta cheese.

Only a few ingredients then you can have a batch of cheese.

Its freshness is what makes the difference between Ricotta Cheese and store-bought ones.

If you want to find the alternatives to Ricotta Cheese, we also offer you some substitutes in this article.

Now, what are you waiting for?

Get yourself up, go to the kitchen and make your best Ricotta Cheese ever!

If you have any other tips to make this cheese special, share with us.

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