Homemade Ricotta Cheese is surprisingly easy to make, only requiring 4 simple ingredients and 20 minutes of time. It tastes a million times better than store bought and is melt-in-your-mouth amazing! Enjoy it warm or cold, use it as a filling or spread.
Don’t miss our list in the article of what to make with ricotta cheese – we’ve got over 15 delicious ideas for you!
Easy Ricotta Cheese Recipe
Have you ever made (or tasted) homemade ricotta cheese? It will sort of blow your mind if you’re used to store-bought. They are absolutely nothing alike! Homemade is light and fluffy, with delicate curds that practically melt in your mouth. Served cold and even warm, a spoonful is blissful.
What is Ricotta Cheese?
When you make cheese, you separate the milk into two things: the solids (curds), which are pressed, and the liquid that is left behind, which is called whey. Ricotta (translated to recooked in Italian), is a “whey” cheese. It’s made from sheep, cow, goat, or Italian water buffalo milk. Cheesemakers repurpose the whey by heating it with a small amount of milk and some form of vinegar or citrus, which creates curds. Then the curds are transferred to a cheesecloth and strained. What remains is delicate, fluffy, glorious ricotta.
You only need 4 simple ingredients to make this ricotta cheese recipe:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Whole milk
- Heavy cream
- Lemon juice
- Kosher salt
How to Make Ricotta Cheese
You won’t believe how easy it is to make ricotta cheese. There are only 3 steps:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details, measurements, and video.)
- Place all ingredients in a pot. Without stirring, pour all of the ingredients in a small heavy-bottom stainless steel pot; bring to a boil.
- Remove from the heat and let sit. Turn off the heat and set the pot aside until the mixture cools slightly, 5-10 minutes. (You’ll see the mixture separating into curds.)
- Line a strainer with cheesecloth. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place in a deep bowl (or the sink.) Very gently scoop the curds (don’t pour!) out of the saucepan and into the strainer to drain.
TIP! What if I don’t have a cheesecloth?
Recipes with Ricotta Cheese
So now the question is what to make with ricotta cheese? Here are some awesome uses!
- Dollop a bit on crusty bread, drizzle with quality olive oil or honey, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Simple and delish!
- Take your breakfast up a notch and spoon it onto scrambled eggs.
- Include it as part of the mixture for homemade Italian meatballs.
- Make my absolute favorite snack with roasted grapes. Life changing.
- Combine it with some grilled fruit, homemade granola, and honey for a light dessert.
- Use it for filling in lasagna roll ups or stuffed shells, or a spoonful with a bowl of lasagna soup.
- Stir it in lemon ricotta pasta and spaghetti sauce
- In our easy baked ravioli casserole.
- Make lemon ricotta pancakes or zucchini ricotta pancakes.
- Enjoy some delicious spanakopita.
- Be swept away with our cannoli dip!
- Mix it with spinach and cheese to make a tasty dip!
TIP! Don’t discard the liquid (whey)
- Storing homemade ricotta. Fresh warm ricotta is the absolute best, but if you want to enjoy it cold or have leftovers, untie the cheesecloth bundle and transfer the ricotta to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator and eat within 10 days.
- Can you freeze ricotta cheese? Freezing homemade ricotta is not ideal. Since it’s a soft cheese, the high moisture content becomes ice when you freeze it, and then once thawed, you can see the division of whey and curds, resulting in a drier, grainier texture. I don’t recommend it!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
- 4 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed, strained lemon juice
- 1 & 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Without stirring, pour all of the ingredients in a small heavy-bottom stainless steel saucepot; bring to a boil. Turn off the heat and set the saucepan aside until the mixture cools slightly, 5-10 minutes. (You’ll see the mixture separating into curds.)
- Line a strainer (or colander) with cheesecloth and place in a deep bowl (or in the sink.) Very gently scoop the curds out of the saucepan (don’t pour! which will break up the curds) and into the strainer to drain.
- That’s it! Serve warm or chill for later.NOTE: We've got a lot of recipes with ricotta cheese. Refer to the article for over 15 suggestions of how to use it!