How to Make Ricotta Cheese

Everyone loves the taste of smooth, creamy ricotta cheese. Whether it's layered into a lasagna, piped into a cannoli, or eaten straight out of the tub with a spoon, this tangy, tasty Italian cheese is a favorite of people all over the globe.

You've probably wondered about how to make ricotta cheese at home before. The stuff from the store is great, but there's just something about mixing together the milk and vinegar (or lemon juice) and bringing it all together from scratch that just can't be replicated with a trip to the grocery.

If this sounds like the situation you've found yourself in, then do we have the perfect recipe guide for you. We're going to teach you how to make real fresh ricotta cheese at home, no fancy equipment or culinary training necessary. With so many great applications for this savory treat, let's not waste anymore time talking about it and just get down to business.

A jar of ricotta cheese on the counter.

Yield: 1 cup

Prep Time: 25 mins.

Resting Time: 1 hour

Step #1. Prepare Ingredients

A bowl of milk, a lemon slice, measuring spoon and red dish towel on wooden counter.
  • 1 liter whole fresh milk 
  • 1-2 lemons (or 2 tablespoons white vinegar) 
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cheese cloth or sterilized fabric
  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Skimmer/strainer
  • Clothes pins or clips, optional

Step #2. Bring Milk to Boil

Pot of milk on element, heating up.

Bring the milk to a boil gradually (medium heat). Use a cooking thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Remove it from heat when it reaches 200ºF. If it starts to foam up the pot and boil hard, remove from heat.

Hand checking the temperature of pot of heated milk.

Step #3. Add Lemon Juice & Salt

Hands squeezing lemon juice into pot of milk.

Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pot and add the salt.

Step #4. Let the Mixture Rest

Pot of ricotta cheese forming on wood background.

Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes - the milk should separate in clumps during this time. If this doesn’t happen, don’t worry, heat it again to 200ºF and squeeze the second lemon in.

Pot of ricotta cheese forming.

Step #5. Remove Ricotta Clumps to Cheese Cloth

Pot of ricotta being skimmed and placed into a bowl lined with fabric to be strained.

Scoop the clumps up with a strainer and place them over a cheese cloth (you can also use a soft sterilized fabric).

COOKING TIP: Place the cheese cloth over a deep bowl, securing it with clips or clothes pins, so the whey can drain.

Step #6. Let the Ricotta Rest & Spoon into Jars

Spooning ricotta into little glass jars.

Let the ricotta cheese rest for 1 hour - or until it reaches the consistency you want (the longer you wait, the drier it will be). Spoon into containers.

COOKING TIP: If you feel it is too dry, you can add back some of the whey that was left in the pot.

Step #7. Serve & Enjoy

Ricotta on bread on blue plate, jars or ricotta in the background.
Ricotta on bread on blue plate, jars or ricotta in the background.
A jar of ricotta cheese on the counter.
A jar of ricotta cheese on the counter.

Now you've got everything you need for making authentic ricotta cheese in your home kitchen. Like in any cheese making endeavor, it's well worth it to keep that whey byproduct as there are plenty of creative culinary applications for the stuff. The nutrition facts for it aren't half bad, either. One of our favorites is definitely for making fresh pasta, imparting some of that cheesy flavor directly into the noodles themselves.

With your cheese now ready to eat, there's no limit to what you can do with it. Whatever you end up using this delicious ricotta for, though, it's sure to turn out great.

Recipes you can use this ingredient in:

Looking to further enhance your cooking skills? Check out...How to Make Cake Pops With a Cake Pop Maker

How to Make Ricotta Cheese

We're going to teach you how to make real fresh ricotta cheese at home, no fancy equipment or culinary training necessary.
Course Snack
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 641kcal
Author Joss D

Ingredients

  • 1 liter whole fresh milk
  • 1-2 lemons (or 2 tablespoons white vinegar)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Cheese cloth or sterilized fabric
  • Skimmer/strainer
  • Clothes pins or clips

Instructions

  • Bring the milk to a boil. Use a cooking thermometer to keep track of the temperature. Remove it from heat when it reaches 200ºF. If it starts to foam up the pot and boil hard, remove from heat.
    Pot of milk on element, heating up.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pot and add the salt. Mix.
    Hands squeezing lemon juice into pot of milk.
  • Cover and let it rest for 15 minutes - the milk should separate in clumps during this time. If this doesn’t happen, don’t worry, heat it again to 200ºF and squeeze the second lemon in.
    Pot of ricotta cheese forming on wood background.
  • Scoop the clumps up with a strainer and place them over a cheese cloth (you can also use a soft sterilized fabric).
    Pot of ricotta being skimmed and placed into a bowl lined with fabric to be strained.
  • Let it rest for 1 hour - or until it reaches the consistency you want (the longer you wait, the drier it will be). Spoon into containers. Tip: if you feel it is too dry, you can add back some of the whey that was left in the pot.
    Spooning ricotta into little glass jars.
  • Serve & enjoy!
    A jar of ricotta cheese on the counter.
Nutrition Facts
How to Make Ricotta Cheese
Amount Per Serving
Calories 641 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 49%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 100mg 33%
Sodium 2342mg 98%
Potassium 1469mg 42%
Total Carbohydrates 58g 19%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 53g
Protein 32g 64%
Vitamin A 32.4%
Vitamin C 69.4%
Calcium 115.8%
Iron 5.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or dipping sauce.

Notes

Tip: If the lemon juice didn't set up the ricotta, you may find better success using white vinegar.
Tried this recipe?Mention @inthekitchdotnet or tag #inthekitchgrams!

Tutorial Images Credit: In the Kitch

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