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How to make Ricotta Cheese

Christina Collins
Christina Collins

Ummm…it’s really easy! Literally, anyone can make ricotta. You need only a few basic ingredients and a couple common kitchen supplies.

INGREDIENTS:

EQUIPMENT:

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • White wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • A basic sieve
  • Cheese cloth or a nut milk bag

When you have so few ingredients, there is no way to mask them so the better the quality, the better the result. I choose to use organic milk from grass fed cows (whenever possible), same for the cream, and the remainder of ingredients are pretty standard pantry items.

And lets face it- it’s pretty cool to be able to say you made your own ricotta cheese.

making ricotta cheese

Bowl of ricotta cheese

Ricotta is an incredibly flexible ingredient. My absolute favorite way to use homemade ricotta is to make classic cheese raviolis, because, well, I am obsessed with making raviolis. This ricotta is so light and I roll fresh pasta that is oh so thin, the end result is like eating delicious Italian air. It will also transform spaghetti and meatballs just by adding a dollop of ricotta in place of parmesan giving it a creamy, indulgent richness. Another favorite of mine is to serve it simply with crostini toast. Or, make fig ricotta cake, or ricotta pancakes, or scrambled eggs with a touch of ricotta. Or…just do as I do and grab a spoon and eat it right out of the bowl and hope no one catches you 😉

Making ricotta cheese from scratch is new to me. For years I was a Polly-o girl. Then I became a Calabro fan. But now, after seeing it continually pop up in Ina Garten’s cook books and finally trying it myself, I can’t imagine EVER buying pre-made ricotta cheese again. First and foremost, I love the consistency and the rich creaminess. The bonus is that it’s less expensive than buying a lesser quality pre-made, and I produce no waste from the commonly seen plastic tub it is sold in. What is better than that?

Ricotta Cheese
Prep Time
3 mins
Cook Time
3 mins
 
Course: cheese, condiment
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar
Instructions
  1. Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a stainless-steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt.
  3. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  4. Carefully pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta. (I like mine thick.) You can even bundle it and give it a gentle squeeze to remove even more moisture.
  5. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

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