5 Ingredients or Fewer

Homemade Ricotta

July 29, 2010
0 Ratings
  • Makes 1 lb
Author Notes

Incredibly simple-- something everyone must make at some point (unless you're dairy-free!). —fraîchement

What You'll Need
  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 2 and 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • tiny pinch of salt
  1. In a large pot (preferably one with a thick bottom) add the whole milk, buttermilk, and a tiny pinch of salt. Turn the heat on high. Occasionally stirring the milks, be sure to also scrape the bottom of the pot. If you are using a thinner-bottomed pan, I’d suggest using a medium-high heat. Once the curds begin appearing, they don’t stop. Be sure to keep stirring, but once the heat is quite hot, and much of the ricotta mass has floated to the top, you may turn off the heat. Some suggest that the heat should be turned off once the mixture has reached 185ºF (101 Cookbooks suggest 175ºF), but the best way to know is if the top is all curd and the liquid underneath is transparent and watery. Fold 2 yards of cheesecloth as many times as possible over a colander. Slowly and carefully pour the ricotta mixture into the cheesecloth. Allow one hour to drain. Before placing in an airtight container, squeeze the ricotta inside the cheesecloth to remove any excess water. If you have a mold for the ricotta, you will want to do another round or two of squeezing to ensure stiffness. Eat within several days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kukla
  • dymnyno
  • Pat E. in SLO
    Pat E. in SLO
  • lapadia
  • thirschfeld

32 Reviews

Kukla May 18, 2015
Here is an even easier recipe for homemade, low fat Ricotta
dymnyno October 31, 2013
Glad I found this...you were the original ricotta maker!
Pat E. April 16, 2011
This is a lovely, easy recipe for delicious ricotta. I, too, hate to see that whitish whey go to waste. Soooooooooooooo....while the whey is still hot thow it back in the pan and heat it up to 200F. Turn the heat off and stir in a scant 1/4 cup of any vinegar (lemon would probably also work but I haven't tried it.) Let it sit a bit, drain through fine cheesecloth, butter muslin, or a flour sack towel and you will get another cup or so of less rich ricotta...also delicious. Now your whey is a lemongrass color and all the mils solids are gone. Put it back in your gallon milk jug and it's great to use in bread...or even a a refreshing drink. "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." ;-)
Ninicooks March 21, 2011
My nona and aunties used to do this, but mamma didn't. Glad to have both your and Jennifer's recipes and will try it next week.
Iveline L. March 11, 2011
How come you have Butter milk twice? Is it a mistake?
fraîchement March 11, 2011
Oops, I should have added the 1/4 to the cup. Thanks for telling me
lapadia September 6, 2010
Just made this recipe...EXCELLENT! The whey that is left over is too good to throw out, I shall find some recipes to use it in! BTW - I have made ricotta before, but not for a while, thanks for getting me back in the mood to do it...I even made some cottage cheese a few days ago, and found I prefer making ricotta. Thanks again!
dymnyno August 3, 2010
I love making ricotta...I have made Jennifer Perilllo's...a food52 contest winner and I have made Maria Sinsky's which is very different(vinegar) How is yours different from Jennifer's?? They sound alike but I realize that the amounts can make a big difference...and I am really a novice...but I really like the idea!!
fraîchement August 4, 2010
Hi dymnyno! I am not familiar with Jennifer Perillo's ricotta, but I can already say that the vinegar seems like an obvious difference. Did she use buttermilk or heavy cream? And, the ratios make a big difference. I used more buttermilk, which made for a more tangy taste. After reading more and more about cheesemaking, many cheese recipes are actually quite the same. It's difficult to stray from any cheese recipe, really, because it takes more precision than expected. It really comes down to the process and procedure, as thirschfeld points out, that can make the final result unique. Stirring less or more when the curd starts makes a big difference, for example. Thanks for your comment!
fraîchement August 4, 2010
Ah, I see now! I found Jennifer Perillo on her blog. She opted to combine 101 Cookbooks and David Lebovitz concept for homemade ricotta: milk, heavy cream, and buttermilk. This made her ricotta more creamy-- something I'd love to try next time.
thirschfeld August 3, 2010
I just made this this morning and it worked beautifully. I only did a half batch or 6 cups of milk and 3 cups of buttermilk. One thing, I started to remember a few things about my days of home cheese making and thought I would pass it on. First try to find milk that has NOT been ultra pasturized because it will be hard to break out the curd from the whey. A lot of organic milk is ultra pasturized for shelf life. Second the more you stir, once the curd starts, the more you will break it up. So if you want a really fine curd stir if you want a coarse curd don't stir.
fraîchement August 3, 2010
Thanks, Thirschfeld! I have been reading about cheesemaking and realized I MUST get a thermometer. I also read about the ultra-pasteurized on someone's blog last night. I think I used ultra-pasteurized (organic) for this recipe, but next time I won't. Thanks for the tips!
fraîchement August 1, 2010
nothing is better than a good prosciutto di parma that just melts in your mouth. with goat cheese and figs? absolute heaven. you hit it right on the spot!
fraîchement August 1, 2010
kenetic-- that sounds delicious! i am in due time for some figs, too.
Sagegreen August 1, 2010
I have uncle envy!
fraîchement August 1, 2010
Kenetic-- sounds like you may have the perfect ingredient on hand! I am glad you suggested the heavy cream because I certainly would like to try a more sweet ricotta for desserts. I think I'm envisioning a ricotta lemon bar with basil (thanks to sagegreen).

Lapadia-- let us know how it goes!
lapadia August 1, 2010
Glad I saw this submittal; I grew up with home made Ricotta (Italian grandmother & aunts), have made mine from time to time, but not for a while, am going to look for the book Sally is talking about and have some fun as soon as I can!...btw, Paneer - Yum!
fraîchement August 1, 2010
fraîchement August 1, 2010
Fantastic! I love paneer-- especially in Indian food. I really want to learn more Persian dishes that use paneer.
Sagegreen August 1, 2010
Mary's class actually Friday night was on Indian cooking. One gallon of milk makes a tiny amount of paneer, but it is delicious. Next Saturday she is offering a canning class. So I really look forward to experimenting this fall. I am so grateful you gave us a ricotta recipe.
Sagegreen August 1, 2010
I will look forward to making this! Next time I make a cheesecake I want to try homemade ricotta. Saturday I learned how to make paneer from Mary Reilly. It was great!
fraîchement August 1, 2010
I wish I had a tad more space as well. I dream of a larger kitchen. I hope you enjoy the ricotta, and to mrsphoenix: I used this recipe for a ricotta cheesecake and it worked out wonderfully!
thirschfeld August 1, 2010
I am glad to see this too. I started making cheese years ago but really didn't have the space and I quite doing it. I made one amazing bleu cheese and the others I attempted were below average. I make yogurt and creme fraiche but that is it. I was thinking I may need to start up again with cheese. I am going to try the ricotta and I am going to look for the cheese book SallyCan is talking about.
mrsphoenix1975 July 31, 2010
I am looking forward to trying this recipe. I have a different recipe that I use that I love but it leaves a bit of a vinegary aftertaste. Not great for making pastry with. But this looks like it may solve that problem.
fraîchement July 30, 2010
Hey Sally! I am going to have to take a look at Amrein-Boyes book. I didn't use a particular book for the ricotta, but had somewhat of an idea after reading several different ways other people made ricotta. I definitely need a guide, so thanks for mentioning Amrein-Boyes!
fraîchement July 29, 2010
Sally-- you're a dream! I can't believe all the cheeses you've made! I am envious. I am hoping to get where you are eventually, but that will take some time. I am surprised you failed at mozzarella-- is it really more difficult than camembert or even different kinds of chevre? Oh, I am totally going to blow it, I know it!
SallyCan July 30, 2010
No, just a kook! Don't let me discourage you for a minute! There are lots of people who make mozzarella, with no problems, all the time. It was my first and second attempt at cheesemaking, and I don't think that I was attentive or precise enough with the temperatures. There are some good u-tube videos of people making mozzarella, one in particular of some young guys in Italy having a party and making cheese. Where do you get your recipes/supplies? I've been using Debra Amrein-Boyes book "200 Easy Homemade Cheese recipes", and getting my cultures/supplies from Dairy Connection out in Wisconsin.