Homemade Ricotta is Easy!

LAST WEEK, as you might recall, I had great fun making mozzarella in only 30 minutes. Well, today I made my first batch of delicious, creamy ricotta. Ricotta is particularly easy to make because it requires only two ingredients — a gallon of whole milk and a teaspoon of citric acid. Here’s the fun process:

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Ingredients for about 2 pounds of cheese
1 gallon whole milk (homogenized or pasteurized, but not “ultra pasteurized”)
1 tsp. citric acid*
*I bought 8 oz (that’s 48 teaspoons!) of non-gmo citric acid for $5.95 from the New England Cheesemaking Company.

Special Equipment — a stainless steel pot which will hold at least 6 quarts; a thermometer; a colander; a slotted spoon; a piece of butter-muslin (or cheese-cloth) for containing the ricotta as it drains

1. Pour milk into pot, and then stir in the citric acid. Heat to 195 degrees over a low flame, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching. Then cover and let rest for 5 minutes while curds form.

2. Line the colander with either butter-muslin or cheese-cloth. Then, using your slotted spoon, ladle the curds into the colander.

3. Tie the muslin to form a bag, and hang it to drain. I tied mine to a wooden spoon, as above, and suspended it over a tall mixing bowl. Let drain for 30 minutes or longer, depending on how loose or solid you want the cheese to be. (Mine, after an hour, had a solid but still very creamy consistency.)

4. Eat! Or, refrigerate the cheese in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. For longer storage, freeze it.

And here’s a little ricotta ‘rithmetic. The gallon of local, homogenized milk I used cost $3.02, while the citric acid was 12 cents for one teaspoon. Thus, I paid only $3.14 for two pounds of deliciousness.

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Related Posts:
Homemade Mozzarella in 30 Minutes
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Bread
Pillow Cookies
A Walk in My Kitchen Garden
From Parking Lot to Rose Garden


  1. I ordered both the citric acid and the rennet (for mozzarella). Can't wait to try both cheeses!

  2. Thanks for the cost breakdown. I could live happily on ricotta!

  3. This seems more like the ricotta I had while visiting Italy. The texture wasn't light and airy like the Polly-O crap from the supermarket, but softly dense. In Rome we ate it for breakfast, on toast.

  4. Adele – that's how I enjoyed some of it, too — on toast. Yummy!

  5. I'll have to try this… thanks! I use ricotta often. My children love ricotta pie 🙂

  6. LilyBiscuit – Ricotta pie sounds YUMMY! What are the other ingredients?

  7. If you don't have citric acid, you can also use vinegar or my personal favorite- lemon juice.

  8. z – Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try it with lemon juice. 1/4 cup, right?

  9. I really enjoy making my own ricotta (we call it Tvorog.) I usually make it with a buttermilk/milk mixture by last week I decided to experiment and try other souring agents. I posted my results on a blog, together with my recipe. http://cuceesprouts.com/2011/04/homemade-farmers-cheese/

  10. Fresh Ricotta Varieties:
    – Add fresh herbs – basil, thyme, rosemary, etc a variety works well
    – Add chopped dried fruit – apricot and cherry is a favorite
    – Ricotta Cappucino – Add cocoa, espresso powder, cinnamon and touch of sugar. Makes an amazing dessert.
    – Any of these works really nice on toasted baquette- new ricotta brushetta. Or use in place of yogurt with fresh fruit and granola.
    – Use for a Ricotta Cheesecake or Baked Blintzes

  11. cathy fox says:

    what type of heat do you use to heat the ingredients? low, med., or high?
    do you use a cheese thermo for making the cheese?

    thank-you cathy fox

  12. cathy – I heat the milk/citric acid over a low flame, and I use a regular digital thermometer (as pictured) to check the temperature. Any kind of thermometer intended for cooking (including a meat thermometer) should work.

    Let me know how the riccota turns out for you — I think it’s exquisite!

  13. Thanks for the great information , I tried the ricotta and even with minimal tools I could make it.Was such a success that I’m getting the kit from your source .Love your site it is always so inspiring. So love that you interact with us!

  14. Hi great site, I will try out these cheese recipes ASAP. We made mozzarella a long time ago but it didn’t quite turn out right. I wanted to say, I think this recipe is actually twarog (like Cucina Sprouts said) or farmer’s cheese, which is similar in texture to ricotta (but more rich). However ricotta is made directly from the whey if my understanding is correct. Still a great recipe to have under your belt especially since it’s difficult to find this cheese in US supermarkets. Try making cheesecake from it- it’s amazing.

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  16. Ava lansbery says:

    Kevin, could I use regular unbleached or bleached muslin? I have both on hand. I use it to strain juice for jelly. I hate to purchase a speciality item then find out I already have an acceptable replacement. Love you site and can’t wait to make both cheeses, I want to make lasagna with them….Yummm !

  17. Michael says:

    1 lbs 10 oz. some recipes call for a little more acid than this one. I suppose in all honesty I used too much heat because some was stuck to the bottom of the pot but no more than 2 oz. the water was still cloudy after i finished. usually when I make mozzarella the water is greenish or clear but never milky looking which made me think I didn’t get all the curds from it though I will say when I do mozzarella I only yield 15 oz. total so why I can get more ricotta than mozzarella is a mystery–and awesome at the same time.. more cheese for my money plus i don’t have to buy rennet… another .40 cents. I stuff it into homemade ravioli with spices, italian and parsley

  18. Did you know that you can make ricotta from the whey used to make your mozzarella cheese? Just heat up your whey to boiling and then let cool and drain off your ricotta.

  19. I meant leftover whey. 🙂 Ricotta means cooked twice.

  20. Barbara says:

    years ago, when I was milking our own cow, I used to know how to make ricotta from the whey left over from cheesemaking. I have forgotten exactly how I did it and can’t find a recipe that seems to work. Do you know how to do that?


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