Bold Baking Basics, Homemade Ingredients

How to Make Ricotta Cheese

4.43 from 19 votes
From topping pizzas and lasagna, to incorporating in classic cannoli and Italian gelato, I will teach you my Ricotta Cheese recipe — a wonderful and versatile blank canvas.
Homemade Ricotta

Hi Bold Bakers!

My How to Make Ricotta Cheese recipe is one of my most favorite Bold Baking Basics to date. Who knew making creamy, rich ricotta cheese at home could be so easy? All you need is milk, cream, and some lemon juice to make it!

There are countless sweet and savory recipes this cheese can be used for, too, from topping pizzas and lasagna, to classic cannoli and Italian gelato (and don’t forget — my new 2 Ingredient Pasta Recipe that can be made without a machine!). Ricotta cheese is a wonderful blank canvas and an impressive ingredient to make from scratch! Get ready to show off!

What Food is Ricotta Used For?

This cheese is soft and spreadable making it perfect for flavoring. I like to spike my ricotta with lemon and herbs and dollop it on top of my Homemade Pizza Recipe. The ricotta can just as easily be sweetened with honey or sugar and added to things like cheesecakes and custards. The versatility of this cheese is what makes it so great have on hand. Oh, and my Ricotta Recipe goes really well with my new 2 Ingredient Homemade Pasta (Without a Machine)!

Why Won’t My Ricotta Curdle?

To make the ricotta, you simply bring cream, milk, and salt to a boil then introduce an acid — like lemon juice (or even white vinegar) — to make the mixture curdle. The curds that separate are what become the ricotta cheese and the remaining liquid gets strained away. If your cheese doesn’t curdle right after adding in the lemon juice, be patient and keep on stirring with a wooden spoon.

[ Make a cheesecake in the microwave in just 5 minutes with my 5 Minute Microwave Cheesecake Recipe! ]

If after 1 or 2 minutes you only see small grainy bits, go ahead and add more lemon juice 1 tablespoon at a time. This extra acid along with the heat will provide you with nice large curdles.

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My Ricotta is Too Runny, What Happened?

After the milk and cream mixture is curdled I pour it into a fine sieve lined with cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, you can use a thin tea towel instead. The whey will separate from the cheese leaving you the lovely ricotta.

After allowing the ricotta to drain on the countertop for about an hour, I like to bring the cheesecloth and lightly twist it together, closing up the ricotta. This not only brings the cheese into a nice ball shape, but it allows me to ring out any additional liquid that might not have drained off. This is the secret to a smooth, yet thick ricotta. As long as you don’t skip this step, you should not have runny ricotta.

What is Whey?

If you’ve never made cheese before you might not be familiar with whey. Whey is a by-product of cheese making. It is the liquid that remains after separating the curds. It should always be saved and added in place of buttermilk or milk in baking. For this reason, I always save my whey because nothing should go to waste! If you don’t think you will use it straight away then pop it in a labeled tub and into the freezer.

Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?

This homemade ricotta can be frozen and used at a later date. To do so, freeze the cheese in an airtight container and just allow to thaw at room temperature before using. However, in my honest opinion, you get the best results when you use it straight away without freezing.

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How to Make Ricotta Cheese

4.43 from 19 votes
From topping pizzas and lasagna, to incorporating in classic cannoli and Italian gelato, I will teach you my How to Make Ricotta Cheese recipe.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 2 cups
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 25 mins
From topping pizzas and lasagna, to incorporating in classic cannoli and Italian gelato, I will teach you my How to Make Ricotta Cheese recipe.
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts (4 pints) whole milk
  • 1 cup (8oz/225ml) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed

Instructions

  • Line a large strainer or sieve with a layer of cheesecloth or thin tea towel. Place the lined sieve over a large bowl, set aside. 
  • In a large pot over medium heat combine the milk, cream and salt.
  • When the cream and milk mixture comes to a simmer stir in the lemon juice. 
  • Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture curdles. Once fully curdled it should look like watery cottage cheese. 
  • Pour the curdled mixture into the sieve and allow to drain at room temperature for about 1 hour.
  • After 1 hour, gently squeeze the cheesecloth around the ricotta releasing any excess *whey. Feel free to enjoy this warm at this point of transfer the sieve and bowl to the fridge and allow the ricotta to set and chill until you're ready to use it.
  • Cover and store the cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
  • Now you have ricotta what do you do with it, well you can put it on pizzas, canolis or you can even pair it with my homemade pasta.

Recipe Notes

  • Save the whey that has drained off the ricotta and use it for baking or cooking in place of milk or buttermilk. 

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Comments & Reviews

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Heath Tanner
Guest
Heath Tanner
12 days ago

Worked like magic!!! I am going to use this to make my homemade lasagna which I already made the pasta dough yesterday and let it set wrapped in plastic wrap. I’ve made my homemade sauce already and now I just have to roll out of pasta into sheets and par boil them then I shall assemble my lasagna!

Jonathan Estrada
Guest
Jonathan Estrada
1 month ago

Mine didn’t curdle at all, so I just decided to make buttermilk pancakes out of the concoction. I actually threw in an additional pinch of baking soda just to make sure that the pancakes wouldn’t taste too sour. My mother commented with amazement that the pancakes tasted a bit like berries. She kept asking me what I did to it (a few days prior, she and my dad had made some pancakes out of a box mix). LOL! I also made a kind of experiment. I wanted to know how any acidic ingredient tasted when baking soda is added. So… Read more »

Member
17 days ago

about using the whey. can it be used in place of buttermilk to make ranch dressing? Have you made ricotta from whey?

Mary Smith
Guest
1 month ago

Could you post your crazy bread recipe?

Char
Guest
Char
2 months ago

Wow I’m loving ur dairy recipes! Made ur marscapone and loved it! I want to make the ricotta but doesn’t seem cost effective! It would cost me more to make it than it would to buy….guess I will have to wait for a milk/ cream sale to try this recipe!

Monica Gatt
Guest
Monica Gatt
2 months ago

Hi Gemma I am from Austraila and sorry if this sounds like a dumb question but
could you please tell me how much 2 quarts of milk is in cups, Litres or Millimetres please.

denibyrn
Member
denibyrn
3 months ago

Hi Gemma!! Do you have a recipe for Cannoli’s or Cannoli Cake/Cookies? Love your videos and website. Cannot wait to get your book!! Thank you!!

Debbie
Guest
Debbie
4 months ago

Gemma,
Are ALL your basics going to be in your new cookbook? I hope so.

Liza
Guest
Liza
5 months ago

Can I use half & half vsthe milk & heavy whipping cream?

AdrianaM
Member
AdrianaM
5 months ago

Hi Gemma,

What would I need to do differently to make farmers cheese? I tried full fat milk and added buttermilk and vinegar and I only got a small amount of curds. I added more vinegar and nothing. I kept adding vinegar to the point I added about 10oz and still hardly any curds. I’ve failed twice.
Please please let me know what I can do differently!

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for a FREE profile and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new dessert recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!

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