From-Scratch Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Ricotta cheese is one of those foods that you may not believe can be homemade, but once you've experienced how tasty the homemade version is, you may well never buy from a store again. First, because it's more affordable to make your own cheese at home, and second, because you just can't beat this fresh, tart, delicious homemade ricotta. Recipe developer Susan Olayinka of The Flexible Fridge has made it quick and easy for you to make ricotta cheese in your own kitchen, and she also has some ideas about how best to enjoy it.

"There are a few different ways to enjoy ricotta cheese. One way is to simply enjoy it on its own, or spread it on some crackers or bread. Another way to enjoy ricotta cheese is to pair it with fruit, such as berries or figs. Finally, ricotta cheese can also be used in recipes, such as lasagna or stuffed shells." Asked about her personal favorite way, she adds: "My favorite way to enjoy ricotta cheese is to spread it on some crusty bread and top it with fresh berries." So, essentially, you can't go wrong with this delicious homemade ricotta.

Gather your ingredients for ricotta cheese

Making ricotta cheese at home requires all of three ingredients. You'll milk, fresh lemon juice, and a teaspoon of salt. And that's it. Now, if you want to dress things up a bit, Olayinka has some thoughts. "There are a few ideas for adding unique flavoring to homemade ricotta cheese," she says. "One idea is to add fresh herbs, such as basil or thyme. Another idea is to add garlic or onion. Finally, an idea for adding unique flavoring to ricotta cheese is to add fruit, such as berries or figs." Just wait until the cooking part is done for the latter!

Slowly simmer the milk and lemon juice

Add the milk and salt to a large saucepan over medium heat and warm it up, stirring occasionally. Once the milk comes to a simmer (this should take some 20 minutes and the milk should get to 185 F), add the lemon juice and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, until the mixture curdles.

"When making ricotta cheese at home, there are a few potential mistakes that can be made," Olayinka cautions. "One mistake is to not cook the milk long enough. If the milk is not cooked long enough, the ricotta cheese will not be thick and creamy."

Strain the ricotta and collect the curds

One the cheese has curdled, remove the pan from heat and slowly strain the milk out through a fine strainer (or a cheesecloth) placed over a bowl. "Another mistake to watch for is to not strain the ricotta cheese properly," says Olayinka. "If the ricotta cheese is not strained properly, it will be grainy."

Allow the ricotta to drain for at least 30 minutes before enjoying it, and it's best to chill it for a while first.

Enjoy the homemade ricotta

You're all done! And you can store your homemade cheese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

One final note: if your ricotta comes out too sour or tangy, it was probably an excess of lemon juice. "A mistake that can be made is to add too much acid to the milk," Olayinka explains. "If too much acid is added, the ricotta cheese will be sour." The good news is that you can make a new batch immediately.

From-Scratch Ricotta Cheese Recipe
5 from 16 ratings
Why buy ricotta cheese from the store when you can make this delicious from-scratch recipe at home?
Prep Time
5
minutes
Cook Time
23
minutes
Servings
4
Servings
fresh ricotta in a bowl
Total time: 28 minutes
Ingredients
  • ¼ gallon whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • juice of ½ large lemon
Directions
  1. Add the milk and salt to a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the milk comes to a simmer (this should take 20 minutes and the milk should get to 185 F), add the lemon juice and continue to cook for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture curdles.
  3. Remove the milk and lemon mixture from heat and slowly strain through a fine strainer placed over a bowl.
  4. Allow the ricotta to drain for at least 30 minutes before using.
  5. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 151
Total Fat 8.0 g
Saturated Fat 4.6 g
Trans Fat 0.0
Cholesterol 24.4 mg
Total Carbohydrates 12.6 g
Dietary Fiber 0.3 g
Total Sugars 12.5 g
Sodium 588.5 mg
Protein 7.8 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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