DIY Ricotta

Cheese. There may be nothing I like more than cheese. All sorts of cheese, from the very strongest and most aggressive blue to the smooth creaminess of goat. I never imagined I would be making my own, but an article in this month’s Food and Wine changed all of that. Maria Helm Sinskey convinced me that making ricotta was both easy and fun—and it was.

Ricotta has always been a favorite of mine, from filled pasta to cheesecake. Sometime I eat it on toast or stir it into pasta to add creaminess to a sauce. I was really surprised by how easy and fun it is to make ricotta at home. This recipe produced some delicious, creamy ricotta that would be great to use in a recipe or eat on its own. I think it would even be nice to add some herbs to this and use it as a spread for vegetables or crackers.


  • 2 quarts of whole milk, preferably organic
  • 1 cup heavy cream, preferably organic
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat the milk and cream in a heavy pot over moderately high heat until mixture is steaming and foaming. Do not let it boil. Heat until it registers 185° F on an instant read thermometer.

Remove the pot from heat and add vinegar, mixture will begin to curdle almost immediately. Stir gently for 30 seconds. Add salt and stir for an additional 30 seconds. Cover pot with clean kitchen towel and let sit at room temperature for 2 hours.

Set a large strainer or colander over a large bowl. Line the colander or strainer with several layers of cheesecloth allowing for several inches of overhang. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds to the colander. Carefully gather the corners of the cheesecloth and close with a rubber band. Let the ricotta stand for 30 minutes, gently pressing and squeezing the cheesecloth occasionally to drain off whey (liquid). Transfer ricotta to bowl and use immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 days.

***The recipe say that this yields 3 1/2 cups of ricotta, I only got 2 cups. After transferring curds to cheesecloth for a few minutes I sort of got bored and gave up… so the reduced quantity might be due to my laziness. (I had other things on my mind! Election!)

11 comments to “DIY Ricotta”

  1. Looks delicious! That is definitely going to be my weekend project :)

  2. I’ve done paneer (indian cheese) before, which is made like the ricotta but without the cream, and then pressed into a solid shape. It was super-easy and very satisfying, so methinks I’ll have to give the ricotta a try sometime!

  3. Susan Wagner says:

    November 7th, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Your photographs are so beautiful… I always feel so inspired after visiting Lottie and Doof!

  4. Daily Spud: Paneer! I didn’t know I could make paneer too…I am going to give that a try.

    Susan: You’re sweet! I am so glad you are enjoying the site.

  5. I LOVE homemade ricotta! I made it once last year, and I used goat milk as per the recipe. I have no idea why it was called for in addition to regular milk. I’ll have try it your way too… I’m tempted to make it this weekend now!

  6. I had a go at this a while ago. Surprisingly, it worked!

    Makes you feel like some kind of crazy chemistry genius, doesn’t it? …It did me.

  7. Me too! Crazy chemistry genius!

  8. This looks fantastic! I’ve been meaning to make ricotta for a while, so I appreciate the reminder. Also, you should try making paneer. It’s pretty easy. I might be wrong, but I think you could even save the whey to make more cheese (ricotta, paneer, or otherwise). I wonder if that would change the flavour of the finished cheese.

  9. I LOVE ricotta. So much. Making it from scratch has been on my “to do” list for a while, and this post is inspiring!

  10. ABSOLUTELY AMAZING is an understatement…..I made this over the weekend and can’t get the incredible texture out of my head. I’m getting a divorce to spend my life with homemade ricotta.

  11. Stephanie says:

    March 6th, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    I saw this recipe in F&W and had to make it!! LOVED it and it was DELICIOUS in the Baked Penne w/ Sausage recipe that was printed along with it.

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