Homemade Fresh Ricotta

Homemade Fresh Ricotta

Ricotta in Italian means “cooked again” It’s made by re-heating the whey left over from making another cheese.

So, while homemade ricotta is not a true ricotta, it certainly tastes just as good! Here milk instead of whey is heated up to near boiling point, then acid is added to precipitate the formation of curds. Once formed, the curds are drained through a cheesecloth Within a few minutes you’ve made your very own batch of fresh ricotta.

Here’s the recipe I developed for this most simple of cheeses. I’ve tried it with different acids and with different milks. All yield a different-tasting but always stunning ricotta.Homemade Ricotta

To make 2 cups of ricotta

1.9 Lt. whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Prepare a large sieve with a layer of heavy-duty (fine-mesh) cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.

Slowly bring milk, cream, and 1/2 tsp salt to a rolling boil in a 5 Lt. heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching.
Continue heating and stirring till its temperature is near boiling (95 °C)

DO NOT LET THE MILK BOIL  Add lemon juice. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring constantly  until mixture curdles. It will take about 2 minutes.Remove from heat. Cover and allow the “cooked” milk to cool undisturbed until comfortable to the touch.

DO NOT STIR UP THE CURD. After all of the wet curds have been transferred to the cloth, allow the milk to drain out through the cloth (be patient, it can take 2-3 hours).  Then pick up the corners of the cloth, suspend like a bag over the drainage pot (or sink) to allow the last of the milk to drain out. It will take several hours, and can be done in the refrigerator over night. Discard the liquid and chill the ricotta keeping it covered; it will last two days in the refrigerator.


1) Non-reactive pot, either stainless steel or enameled (I have a wonderful 5Lt. stainless steel pot with a thick aluminum pad bonded to the bottom to disperse the heat). If you use a thin enameled pot, you should either heat the milk in it over boiling water, or stir nearly continuously.

2) Wooden spoon or long handled spatula (with square end to  help to keep curd off the bottom)

3) Thermometer (0-110 °C) to monitor temperature of milk while heating

4) Receiving pot the same volume or greater as cooking pot (a clean plastic bucket will do)

5) A fine meshed strainer to dip out floating curd.

6)  Large strainer to suspend over receiving pot

7) Fine cloth (I use a clean sterile handkerchief or a cheesecloth)




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