Homemade ricotta is shockingly easy to make and far superior to the gritty, bland store-bought ricotta that sends chills down my spine (and made me think I hated ricotta for most of my life!). Just make sure to use cream and milk that is not ultra-pasteurized, which is heated to a very high temperature to kill bacteria and renders it completely useless for any kind of cheesemaking. You can usually find pasteurized (or batch-pasteurized) milk at a natural/whole foods or co-op grocery store.
The options for use are endless!
Easy-to-make, creamy homemade ricotta cheese!
- 6 cups whole milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 3 cups heavy cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- Cheesecloth, to strain
- Dampen several layers of cheesecloth in cold water. Line a strainer with the cheesecloth and set over a large bowl.
- Combine the whole milk and heavy cream in a large, heavy-bottomed Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, add the lemon juice, white wine vinegar and kosher salt, stirring to combine. Allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes, until you see curds forming in the liquid. Pour the liquid into the cheesecloth and allow to drain for 5 to 15 minutes, until the ricotta reaches your desired consistency.
- The ricotta will keep in the refrigerator, covered, for 4 to 5 days.
Do not use ultra-pasteurized (UHT) whole milk or cream. Look for pasteurized or vat/batch-pasteurized products.
The thickness/creaminess of your ricotta is dependent on how long you let the curds drain. For a thicker, creamier consistency, let the curds drain for 5 to 8 minutes; for a drier consistency, let the curds drain for 10 to 20 minutes. Just keep in mind that the consistency and water content of your ricotta can affect the final product if you’re adding to a recipe! Some recipes call for drained ricotta cheese-if you see this and are making homemade, let drain for longer as described above. Recipes that call for ricotta used as-is (meaning from the container) should be creamier.