Easy Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

by Merissa on March 9, 2015

in Make Your Own

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe - Little House Living

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Ricotta Cheese is one of those things you should never buy from the store. Why? It's just so easy and so cheap to make at home! Yes, I realize this recipe isn't for "traditional" Ricotta Cheese (made from whey), but it's a perfect stand in for Ricotta Cheese when you need a frugal and quick substitute in a recipe.

This is so easy to make.  If you haven't done it before you will wonder why you haven't before now. It takes about 5 minutes of prep time and that's it! I love the simple things in life 🙂

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

What You Need:

  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Vinegar (lemon juice will work)
  • pinch of salt

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Start by prepping your draining bowl. To make mine all I did was stretch some unbleached cheesecloth over the edge of a bowl and secure it with a rubber band. You can buy unbleached cheesecloth in bulk on Amazon.

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Place your milk and the pinch of salt in a sauce pan on the stove top. Turn the burner on a low-medium heat and place a candy thermometer in the pan. (I have this one!) Stir occasionally until the temp reaches 165 degrees.

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Once the milk reaches 165 degrees, turn off the heat and add in the vinegar. Give it one little stir, just enough to move around the vinegar and let the whole mixture sit for a minute or two.

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Pour the mixture into your prepared bowl slowly and gently.

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Let the cheese sit on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes to drain.

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Once the homemade Ricotta Cheese has drained you can place it in the fridge in an air tight container until ready to use or you can use it right away! This recipe makes about 1/2 cup of homemade ricotta cheese per 2 cups of milk used and will store for a few days in the fridge, but make sure to use it up within a week.

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Of course, don't just toss out the whey! Feed it to your animals, use it in the place of milk in breads, or make some of my yummy Whey Cornbread.

Here are some yummy recipes you can make with your homemade Ricotta Cheese!

Have you ever made homemade Ricotta Cheese? What do you use it in?

merissabio

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{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christa March 9, 2015 at 11:25 am

This will stretch my already tight budget. I see lots of lasagna in our future!!!

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2 MM March 9, 2015 at 8:01 pm

Do you know if you can use homogenized milk to make the ricotta cheese? This sounds like a very easy and simple way to make your own ricotta cheese, and I am eager to try it, but don’t have a source for raw milk where we live.

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3 Merissa March 10, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Yes you should be able to use any milk as long as it’s whole milk and not skim 🙂

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4 Kendra March 12, 2015 at 1:39 pm

including powder milk?

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5 Merissa March 12, 2015 at 3:17 pm

No, I don’t think powdered milk would work for this recipe.

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6 Kathirynne March 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

Reconstituted powdered milk will work for this recipe; I make ricotta cheese from powdered milk all the time. 🙂

Just make 2 cups worth of milk, according to the package directions. Heat as instructed above. Add vinegar & stir. LET COOL (this is where the powdered milk process differs from the fresh milk process). Then proceed with the recipe as written.

7 Monna March 13, 2015 at 11:22 am

I’ve made home made ricotta cheese from every kind of dairy milk–whole, skim, lactose free, powdered, instant non-fat, and even goat milk. It all turns out a little differently, but works in recipes such as lasagna. I’ve done this for years–over 30–because I don’t like paying the high price for ricotta cheese.

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8 Julie March 12, 2015 at 7:41 am

Thanks for this recipe! I’m excited to try it. I had wanted to make lasagne the other night but didn’t have any ricotta and our budget is really tight right now but I have all of these ingredients!

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9 Laura March 12, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Hello Merissa, I saw you recipe for homemade kettle korn a few weeks back and now I am unable to find. Can you help me. Laura

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10 Merissa March 13, 2015 at 8:59 am

Hi Laura, here’s a link to the Kettle Corn Recipe. Enjoy!

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11 Chrissy March 13, 2015 at 9:46 am

This is a great tip and an easy and inexpensive way to add ricotta to recipes instead of cottage cheese. I never feel that cottage cheese is a good replacement for ricotta in italian dishes. Once you try your favorite italian dishes with ricotta instead you will taste the difference.

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12 Kathirynne March 13, 2015 at 10:36 am

Reconstituted powdered milk will work for this recipe; I make ricotta cheese from powdered milk all the time. 🙂

Just make 2 cups worth of milk, according to the package directions. Heat as instructed above. Add vinegar & stir. LET COOL (this is where the powdered milk process differs from the fresh milk process). Then proceed with the recipe as written.

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13 Bonnie March 13, 2015 at 10:42 am

I have made ricotta before but the recipe I have calls for cream with it. I will definitely try yours because the cream makes it much more expensive and YES I just use whole milk from the grocery store.

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14 RockyMountainGirl March 13, 2015 at 11:16 am

Is there a detectable difference in flavor from the store bought ricotta? I have an Italian family and I am wondering if I could if I could pull this off!

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15 Merissa March 13, 2015 at 2:03 pm

It should be very similar if you use whole milk.

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16 Jo Stone March 13, 2015 at 6:17 pm

It is funny that we get so used to going to the store and buying certain things that we forget the way that our ancestors used to get their things (they made them).

I would never buy micro popcorn, or buy premade cakes, but I do buy ricotta. Well I used to, not anymore. 🙂

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17 OldernDirt March 4, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Oh that “stuff” in the cartons they call ricotta at the large chain grocery stores is the most disgusting thing to me, an “old” Italian from the old neighborhood “Taylor Street” area in Chicago.
I will try this next time I need a smaller amount of ricotta. I’ve been fortunate to find two cheese makers near my home that make some of the best ricotta I’ve tasted since Nonna was doing the cooking! I get a 5 pound container and it’s gone in about a week from having to “test” it and make sure it’s still good! 🙂

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18 Elise @gmail.com March 14, 2015 at 6:08 pm

Your cheese is so beautiful! I can’t wait to try making ricotta with cow milk – but it’s going to be a while before our heifer breeds and freshens.
This is very similar to the way we make panir cheese with goat milk. It’s heated to a higher temperature though, so it’s dryer, and we shape it into logs, roll in herbs, and slice it for cheese and crackers. Yum!

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19 Ginger McCarty February 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm

Could this be done with raw cow’s milk? Will you share your recipe please?

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20 Debbie March 15, 2015 at 9:19 pm

I am going to try this one I am really interested in saving any way I can this is really one good tip Thanks

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21 Becky March 16, 2015 at 12:10 am

I make this all the time. The neighbor makes delicious homemade cottage cheese that is very dry curd and makes a delicious lasagna, so I usually make some of this ricotta cheese to mix in with the cottage cheese for a big batch of lasagna. Delicious!!! If you want more rubbery big curds, you can leave it on low heat after it has curded for a few more minutes. You get larger curds that can be salted and eaten. Play with it a little bit. Kind of fun. (Found that one accidentally when I left it on to fix the cheesecloth.)

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22 Paul March 24, 2015 at 10:33 am

This looks very interesting. And i want to start living a more simple life and be less of a consumer. My only concern here is this, does the vinegar or lemon juice affect the favor at all? Does it sour the final product? If not, then i would enjoy giving it a try.

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23 Merissa March 25, 2015 at 9:32 am

If you are concerned about a little residual flavor from the vinegar you can rinse the ricotta when you are done, although you will have a slightly drier final product.

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24 J August 22, 2015 at 10:55 pm

My grand mother used to make a delicious pie mixing it with almond eggs and sugar ( probably other things). It just tastes like the ” galette des rois” we have after Christmas in France

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25 Carmella January 7, 2016 at 8:52 am

I always watch my calorie count. Do you know how many calories is in a 1/2 cup. .

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26 Joan Clauss January 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm

Could the whey that is a by-product of this recipe by used to make ricotta by the more traditional method?

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27 Dona January 23, 2016 at 12:16 am

Can you freeze this and if so, for how long?

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28 Merissa January 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm

I have not tried freezing this recipe. I don’t think it would turn out well because the texture will change during the freezing process.

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29 margaret March 14, 2016 at 1:32 am

Since you apparently know that this isn’t ricotta – which is made from whey- I’m wondering why you don’t just call it cottage cheese, which is what it is…

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30 Merissa March 14, 2016 at 10:19 am

Although made similar to cottage cheese this recipe is not cottage cheese. It tastes and acts just as ricotta cheese in a recipe because of the texture therefore even though it’s not made in the same process as “traditional ricotta cheese” it’s much closer to ricotta cheese than cottage cheese as far as using it in a recipe goes.

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31 Jacob Thomas April 27, 2016 at 3:54 pm

Wow, just wow, made this a few days ago. I have been thinking about making ricotta for months, after making this recipe and seeing how easy it is, I’m going to be making so much more ricotta. Great job!

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32 ShannaCC May 4, 2016 at 4:53 pm

This may be a stupid question, but is it 165F? Mine had little orange-ish brown pieces…. Is this from scalding? I like the texture but it had very little flavor. Can I add herbs and maybe some garlic powder for flavor? At what step would you suggest should I add flavorings? Thanks so much!

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33 Merissa May 4, 2016 at 6:19 pm

Yes, it should get to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The brown pieces could possibly be from scalding, perhaps from not stirring enough or turning up the heat too high? Ricotta isn’t a very flavorful type of cheese, you could add in flavorings after you’ve separated the whey if you plan on eating it plain.

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