Making Ricotta, at Simply Recipes

It’s easy to make your own cheese at home. All you need is a bottle of milk, a scoop of yogurt, a touch of vinegar, and a few minutes over the heat.

ladling milk

Don’t believe me?

Check out my guest post at Simply Recipes, a how-to on making Homemade Ricotta Cheese.

making ricotta




Related Recipes:

Dulce de Leche

Cheesecake Brownies

Goat Cheese Custard with Strawberries in Red Wine Syrup

Panna Cotta

Honey & Roquefort Ice Cream

Homemade Cottage Cheese

49 comments

  • Thank you for this!! Can’t wait to try! How about homemade mozzarella?

  • Love this! I am looking forward to trying this!

  • I took a cheese making class last year and haven’t bought ricotta since. I love making my own and it is so easy and so much tastier! My favorite part is that I can salt the ricotta more for savory dishes or omit the salt altogether for sweet dishes.

    Or just eat it plain on crackers because it is that good.

  • Oh yum! I’ve never tried warm ricotta with fruit before. I’ll have to try it out.

    Off topic – but what is the pot you’re using in the picture? It kind of looks like an all clad dutch oven. It seems like a good multitasking pot.. that can double as a mixing bowl and thrown in the oven, which would be useful for anyone working in a small kitchen.

  • isn’t ricotta usually made with sheep’s milk? or am i confusing it with a different cheese? i may try this with sheep’s milk and goat milk yogurt for a non-cow version. i can’t do cow milk anymore. thanks for the recipe! and LOVED your book.

  • I’ve made the Indian equivalent (chenna) which is slightly more rubbery. We’re going to try to make dry cottage cheese, which has a soft curd (and lower curdling temperature). But the fresh smell of cheese curds is really very nice.

  • This is on my to do list for sure. I’ve always wanted to make cheese, my now long gone Grandmother used to make her own (a cheddar-y type), and I’ve always fancied trying too.

  • Briiliant. We get our milk delivered twice a week but I can never use it quick enough as apart from my granola at breakfast I don’t really use it! (I know you’re thinking why get it delivered so often then – long story involving husband – supporting local services – good intentions etc etc). Anyway I have 3 bottles already sitting in the fridge waiting to use. Thanks!

  • This is one of those things that once you try it, you wonder why you haven’t been making homemade ricotta all along. I used an incredibly simple recipe involving a gallon of whole milk, a quart of buttermilk and some salt, and the result was amazing!

  • This looks great! I didn’t realize ricotta can be made this way. I make Indian paneer cheese in a similar fashion, except that I don’t add vinegar. Weigh the cheese curds down using a plate with a heavy weight on it to get as much of the water out as possible. Cut into chunks and use as called for in Indian recipes.

  • Wow, I never thought to make my own ricotta before! I’m inspired!

  • Diana: It’s a huge All-Clad pot, the 5 1/2 qt Dutch Oven. I love it, and even though it ain’t cheap (and I hauled it over from the states), I think I’ve used it about 2.5 million times so it’s almost paid for itself with all the money I’ve saved making homemade cheese. And jam. And ice cream. And soup, And….

    Maya: I love paneer and keep thinking I’ll make it someday. But with all the cheese around here, it might take a while…

    david: From what I can tell, traditionally, ricotta can be made with either sheep or cow’s milk. I’ve never seen sheeps milk for sale in France or the states, and only I’ve only seen sterilized goat’s milk (ick!…I hate sterilized milk), so I haven’t ever tried it. But I know it’s possible to find fresh goat milk in the states and if you give it a try, let me know how it works out.

    (btw: I used to live near a goat farm and Strawberry ice cream made with goat milk is amazing!)

    Kelley-Jane: I’m fascinated by cheesemaking, too. I know there are some good books on how to do it at home, but I think you need a cool cellar, or similar situation. Plus I live in France, and honestly, I don’t think I could do any better than them with most of the extraordinary cheeses that are available around here.

  • MMM, homemade ricotta. I started making this after seeing how easy it was on TV one day. I must warn you though, as with most things homemade it ruins you for store-bought and it’s addictive. I first moved on to making other quick cheeses like mozzarella and I finally made a batch of an aged waxed cheese (haven’t tried it yet, still aging).

  • In Paestum, Italy, we had a dinner in which almost every course was ricotta or mozzarella based. All fresh that day. It was amazing. I loved the ricotta cheesecake that was served as one of the desserts.
    Making homemade ricotta, now that you’ve shown the way, will no doubt lead to that so-stuffed-I-can’t-eat-another-bite feeling I still remember from Paestum.

  • David, can I substitute the vinegar for lemon juice? Also I have seen other recipes using buttermilk and I gather that using yogurt would give it a similiar taste. I have never tasted fresh ricotta but the store bought kind I like best is mild tasting and creamy , not dry.

    Thanks for this. My kids will love it on anything.

  • estelle: Yes, you could use lemon juice in place of the vinegar. Some recipes do use buttermilk, which you can swap out for the yogurt. I sometimes don’t use the vinegar but I found because of variations in yogurts, it sometimes needs a bit of extra acid to coagulate, so I did suggest using it. You can try it without and see how to goes. If it doesn’t separate, just add the vinegar, and voilà!

  • Hi David,

    This has nothing to do with cheese, however I can’t wait to try this when I get home but I don’t really know any other way to send you a message?

    You probably won’t remember but I met you a few weeks ago at your book signing in Paris, I am from San Francisco and was the one wearing a long sleeved cashmere sweater in the middle of the sweltering heat wave since Air France decided I would not really need my luggage until a few days after my arrival. Anyway, I did finally get my luggage and I have been exploring Paris with your book very much as my guide. I am on a 5 week vacation here (thanks to the recession I no longer work and now have time for lengthy vacations!) my best friend joined me about a week ago and from the moment she got here your book was her assigned reading. I enjoyed it so much and could not wait to have someone to share the humor with. She lived here for a semester of college and we have been traveling to Paris together for years. Until we read your book one of our favorite stories was of the woman she lived with, who was a food writer for Elle magazine, and how she kept the cat’s litter box on top of the refrigerator! We have made many of the same observations that you point out in your book but the way you write about them is priceless. We now simply make reference to “the Book” when we need direction handling everyday situations like ordering water at a restaurant – we love our new found knowledge of le robinet – we have decided that the saving this has brought us means that extra glass of champagne is really almost free??

    You mention that your time can be bought for dinner in one of the many wonderful restaurants here, we would very much like to take you up on this offer. We are here until the end of the end of the month and if you would like just name the place and it’s our treat!

    Hope to hear from you soon,
    Pamela & Shauna

    Hi Pamela & Shauna: Thanks for your message. We’re in the process of revamping my contact form, so it’s temporarily disabled. Appreciate your invite but I’m swamped with a looming deadline at the end of this month, but thanks for thinking of me-and glad you’re finding TSLIP a valuable adjunct to you trip to Paris! Merci… x -dl

  • Hi, David.

    In the recipe, you use “white vinegar” – do you mean white wine vinegar, or regular white vinegar, which I mostly use for cleaning purposes? I have either to hand, and love home-made cheese.

  • mrs. r: I use regular white vinegar. You could use the white wine vinegar if you don’t mind the extra flavor.

  • When I was a kid, my mom would occasionally bring fresh ricotta home from Little Italy – and I remember it being so good, I’d sneak spoonfuls of it, like peanut butter from the jar. (Not sure why, but it was always sold packed in an open-topped label-less metal can, loosely covered with wax/parchment paper.)

    The New York Times printed a recipe – very similar to yours – a year or so ago, and I was amazed at how easy it is to make. Really, it seems like some kind of alchemy or magic trick.

    Anyway, not long ago, I made a batch, then used it to make ricotta gnocchi – basically just the ricotta, bound together with egg, a tiny bit of flour and Parmesan cheese (and I added a whiff of nutmeg too.) That’s it. Really fun to make (rolling the little nubbins with the fork tines was my daughter’s job.) We ate them barely sauced – once with some brown butter/fresh sage and once with an extremely simple tomato sauce, with basil from the garden.

    Just insanely delicious. (Next time, I’m making a double batch and freezing them.)

  • Oh boy… now you have me thinking about figs and ricotta. Yummy!

    Where do you get your cheese cloth? I’d like to give this recipe a go.

  • I posted recently on my Feta making experience, and Ricotta made from the resulting whey. I think that’s the traditional method. It was also very easy. The whey is naturally acidic. Out of 1 gallon of goat milk I got 2 containers of Feta and a small container of Ricotta. Yours is a good method of making a much larger amount.

  • Got to check this version out. Have made ricotta & mascarpone from Vera’s Baking Obsession with outstanding results. Can’t get enough of soft cheeses. Feta, quark & mozzarella are on my list of things to do.

  • Claudia: I’ve not made feta, but clicked on your site and the URL you left isn’t correct. If you have the link to the recipe, I’d love to take a look at it.

    Aimee: I use étamine, which is gauze-like, and is also resuable. I get it by the meter at the Marché St. Pierre up in Montmarte. (I think it’s on the top floor.) It’s really inexpensive and is much easier to work with than cheesecloth, and a lot prettier, too.

    Amy: Love those gnocchi! Sounds like the ones they serve at Zuni Café in San Francisco.

  • David,

    I made this and absolutely loved it! It was the best ricotta ever. I didn’t have cream so I used creme fraiche instead, and it was fantastic! I ate some just plain to nibble and taste, and the rest ended up in a yummy gluten free Apricot Ricotta Pie.

    I will probably make more of your brilliant ricotta tomorrow, and do something savory with tomatoes. Thank you so much!! I am thrilled with this quick and easy recipe!!

    XOXOXOX,

    ~ Paula

  • Oh, my. We have been looking for a simple ricotta recipe for weeks. We will definitely try it this week.

  • David

    I wonder how this tastes compared to “real” ricotta. This is because ricotta is a whey cheese made from whey (left over from cheesemaking) and not from milk (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricotta).

  • Apolonia: I’m not sure how different they would taste side-by-side, but over my post at Simply Recipes, I did link to a method in the comment area for making ricotta using the whey.

    It’s more time consuming, but if people do make cheese and have a great deal of whey leftover it’s a good method to use it up. (Which is what it was originally intended for.) If you do try them side-by-side, it would be interesting to hear about any differences.

    Paula: Ilva posted a terrific-looking recipe for Baked Tomatoes with Mediterranean Ricotta Filling which looks like just the ticket!

  • Have just made this, it is delicious! And I plan to go down to the cheap fruit shop this afternoon and get some strawberries, and make jam, so hopefully by this evening I will be eating large slices of bread piled high with home made ricotta cheese & home-made strawberry jam!

  • This was very helpful. Thanks!

  • I love making fresh cheese! A few years ago I had access to fresh (raw) goat milk, delivered on a weekly basis. Heaven! I loved breakfast with still-warm ricotta stirred with a bit of melting farmstead butter and sea salt flakes.

    I’ve made ricotta from fresh milk as well as from whey leftover from other cheese and I found the whey method not worth my effort unless I had a LOT of whey – there simply was too small a yield. I can see how on a larger scale the effort might be worth it, but for just a quart or two of whey, the cheese yield is perhaps only a quarter to a half cup, if even that. And the curds were so fine, it took forever for the whey to drain through the “butter muslin” cloth (the curds “silt” up the cloth and slow the draining considerably).

    So when I make ricotta (now I use fresh cow milk as that is what I have easiest access to) I just use milk instead of whey. And I saved and washed the packaging from a locally-made commercial ricotta, because the little plastic basket strainer that sits in the airtight outer container is perfect for storing the cheese (if I don’t eat it all first right after making!).

    Homemade ricotta makes the best cheesecake!

  • Hi Anna: Thanks for chiming in. I figured it took quite a bit of whey to get a reasonable amount of ricotta, and unless someone is making cheese on a large-scale, it’s not likely possible.

    If you get a chance, try the homemade cottage cheese that I made. It’s linked at the end of the post…it’s really fun! (Oh, and delicious, too..)

  • Love this recipe and this blog. I’m bookmarking it for future reference. Im an American living in the French Alps and need all the ‘French cooking help’ I can get and this is a great resource. I’m experimenting with Savoyarde (Savoy region) cuisine and having fun with it. I’m having to wing it since I can’t find a cookbook in English about the cuisine. Thanks for a great resource. Cynthia in the French Alps

  • lovely! i’ve just made this and i can’t wait to toss it with some pasta tonight – thanks!

    yesterday i (braved Monmartre in july) went to the Marché St. Pierre and after being told it was on the 2éme etage (it wasn’t) trying the 5éme etage (nope) I went back to the 2éme, asked again, and was told it was on the 1er (it is!) also, they ask if you want linen or cotton and i got the cotton. so, at the moment cotton étamine is on the 1er etage (2nd american floor). thanks for mentioning it to Aimee (I knit at her teahouse!) because i never would have found cheesecloth without your knowledge!

    i have ricki carroll’s little booklet on cheese and i’ve been wanting to try some but i haven’t figured out where to find the supplies in Paris – do you have a source? i’d really love to try mozzarella.

  • hi cynthia: You might want to pick up a copy of Madeleine Kamman’s Savoie: The Land, People, and Food of the French Alps, a cookbook in English, written by a Frenchwoman who knows the region and its cuisine very well.

    Just keep eating that Beaufort, too!

    Abigail: You perhaps haven’t read my advice, in The Sweet Life in Paris, when employees in France try to send to a different floor. It’s really the oldest trick in the book…

  • David,

    Thanks for the link to Ilva’s recipe. It looks like just the ticket, indeed! Yum!!

    I am loving this ricotta recipe – big time. Thanks again!!

    Cheers,

    ~ Paula

  • Ohmygosh! I read and hear about all these lovely ricotta-based recipes all the time, n sigh over how we don’t get it here…. any recipes I find want a loooot of whey, so they don’t work for me, so this sounds great. Your recipes are amazing, I just know this will work fabulously since you’ve put it up… THANK YOU!!

  • Thank you for this recipe. I made it tonight and tossed it with pasta and some vege. It was delicious. I can’t wait to make it again. It was so easy. I make my own mozzarella and now I can add ricotta to my list of accomplishments! I don’t know why I haven’t looked for a recipe before!

  • I just made this (half recipe) with lemon juice instead of vinegar. It’s so good it almost didn’t last long enough to feature on a bacon & pesto pizza that’s in the oven right now. I will definitely make this regularly now.

    Thanks! I don’t know why I never tried this before, but I’m glad I did.

  • perfetto! now when i move back to the states from sicily i will not die for lack of good ricotta. cow’s milk is a little different than our local ricotta di pecora here but far far better than ugh- american store bought soXXXento brand! never again!
    have seen recipes elsewhere but you always make it better, david.
    grazie!

  • Thanks so much for post on making your own ricotta. I am dying to learn how to also make mozzarella (+ mozzarella knots), and goat’s cheese. Or could you recommend a good book to learn about cheese making?

  • Hi Vicki: Sorry, I don’t have an specific recommendations for cheesemaking books, but I’ve browsed through a few that are interesting. If anyone has any rec’s please feel free to leave them here in the comments.

  • Thanks David — Do you have any suggestions about books that talk about cheese? It’s history, the different kinds and where they are made, what to serve with wine for a
    party, etc.? I’m slowly learning about cheese and recently made a braised savoy cabbage dish with St. Marcellin cheese which was wonderful. I want to know more about cheese but not sure where to start.

  • I found a book that might be what I’m looking for –The Cheese Lover’s Cookbook and Guide by Paula Lambert, owner of Mozzarella Company in Dallas Tx. Stephen Pyles wrote a review and recommends it on Amazon.

  • Two cheese books that I own, that I think are indispensable are:

    1. Steve Jenkins Cheese Primer: A highly-opinionated guide by one of America’s best cheese experts. This encyclopedia covers cheeses from around the world.

    2. French Cheeses: A terrific identification guide to all the French cheese, with outstanding photographs and descriptions.

  • Thanks! Sounds like what I was looking for….

  • Made the ricotta from your recipe over at Simply Recipes using no fat yogurt. Came out wonderful. Drained it overnight to use as a filling for French Fougasse. Very nice indeed! Merci…

  • Do you think there would be a change in flavour if vinegar is substituted with lemon juice?

  • You can use either. It’s the acidity in either that you need.