Homemade Ricotta Cheese

December 23, 2014

I think I like all types of cheese, but one of my favourites is ricotta – when made fresh. My Mom makes it all time. She uses it in stuffed pastas, as a dip, and if we’re really lucky – in lasagna. It’s delicious no matter how you use it.

I always assumed it was challenging to make. Sometimes we convince ourselves that some dishes are hard to prepare when in reality, it’s no more difficult than making a plate of pasta. If you have the ingredients and 30 minutes, you can make ricotta cheese too, I promise.


12 cups whole milk
4 cups heavy cream
2 tsps kosher salt
¼ cup lemon juice or distilled white vinegar

You’re also going to need some food grade cheesecloth and a strainer.


1.  Combine the milk, cream, and salt in a large pot, and warm the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon to prevent burning. Turn off the heat just as the mixture begins to simmer. It should take about 15 minutes.


2.  Add the vinegar or lemon juice, gently stir once or twice, and let it stand for 4 minutes. You’ll notice the mixture beginning to curdle, separating the curd from the whey.


3.  Line a colander with a layer of cheesecloth and place it inside a deep bowl. Pour the mixture in and let it stand, pouring off whey occasionally, until most of whey has drained from the still-wet curds.


4.  Gather up the ricotta in the cheesecloth and turn it out into a bowl. Serve warm, or refrigerate for up to 5 days and serve cold, as desired.

The longer you allow the ricotta to drain, the thicker it will become. You may want to experiment to find your preferred density. I usually let it sit longer if I’m planning on using it as a stuffing, but if I want to use it as a dip or on top of toast (a delicious substitute for butter), I won’t leave it quite as long.

Once you have homemade ricotta, you’ll have a hard time returning to store brand. There is a noticeable difference in texture and flavour. Like most things, fresh is simply better, especially considering it may take less time to make than to run out and buy. People are constantly impressed when I bring this to a party, and like me, they assumed it was hard to make.


Give it a try and find out for yourself.

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