{How-to} Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade Ricotta Cheese | Plum Pie

Just call me Master Cheesemaker. On second thought, don’t. But I would like to inform you that I have officially made homemade ricotta. Twice. Yep, you read that right. I am officially crossing “make your own cheese” off the bucket list. And guess what? You can, too! After several years of carting my plastic wrapped, brand new cheesecloth from apartment to apartment, I finally busted it open and took it for a test run. Watch out Cowgirl Creamery, here I come. No, I joke. I could never do anything that required molding or resting, aging or brining. But what I can do is this. Add milk, cream, and buttermilk to a pot. Heat for 15 minutes. Let sit for 30. Drain in cheesecloth. Eat. As my Food Network leading lady, Ina Garten, would say, “how easy is that??” It is ridiculously easy indeed, Ina.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese | Plum Pie

In fact, it is so easy that my best friend Lindsey could do it. I think. Though she did add two full cups of flour to her potato soup once (sorry linds). But really, that was because she misread the instructions. Two cups looks an awful lot like two tablespoons. We have all been there, though so I don’t mean to pick fun. Don’t give up Lindsey Lou! You get it though. It is SO easy. And with only four ingredients, I just don’t understand why it took me so long to try. Please don’t make the same mistake that did. I mean, have I said how easy it is already?

Homemade Ricotta Cheese | Plum Pie

See, ricotta is the perfect all-purpose cheese; it’s light, fluffy, creamy, and mild. Plus, it has so many wonderful uses. Toss into hot pasta for a deliciously creamy sauce. Dollop spoonfuls into your favorite frittata. Or spread it on a piece of grilled bread for an easy appetizer. You can whip it into muffins or scones. It makes a perfect cheesecake, too. And while you may be tempted to just pick up a container of the grocery store stuff, it is just as easy to make your own and honestly, it is at least twenty times better. Trust me. I would never lie to you. And you are welcome in advance.

Now, I have a question for you, lovely cheese experts. How on earth do you clean your cheesecloth? I read somewhere to put it into the washing machine but I am now left with one very clean, but stringy looking cheesecloth. Those of you that make ricotta every week, I’m talking to you! Help!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese | Plum Pie

Note: Don’t let that cheesecloth scare you. You can easily use several layers of heavy duty paper towels (or so I have heard) to drain your ricotta. If using this method, you definitely want to spoon the curds into the paper towel lined sieve.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Adapted from Jennifer Perillo on Food52

{Makes 1.5 cups}

2 cups buttermilk
1 cup heavy cream
4 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Add all ingredients to a 4-quart pot. Gently heat over medium-high heat but be careful not to boil. Meanwhile, line a colander/sieve with several layers of cheesecloth (or fold a large piece of cheesecloth so that there are four layers). Place the sieve over a large pot or bowl.

As the milk heats, the curds will begin to separate from the whey. It will look like curdled milk but this is good! Try not to stir the mixture. The less you touch the mixture, the more “cheese” you will get in the end product. Once the curds begin to form, turn the heat to low and cook for two more minutes. Try your hardest not to stir the pot.

Remove the pot from the heat and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.

Gently ladle the curds into the cheesecloth-lined sieve. Ladling the curds instead of pouring the mixture into the sieve will produce a creamier, fluffier ricotta cheese. Once all of the curds have been ladled into the cheesecloth, gently pull the cheesecloth up the sides to cover the ricotta cheese. Let strain for at least 10 minutes for a creamy ricotta and for longer if you want a drier ricotta (for baked goods).

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.


Homemade Ricotta Cheese | Plum Pie

Recipe Ideas for Fresh Ricotta

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
Ricotta and Roasted Pepper Frittata From Saveur Magazine
Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Candied Tomatoes
Butternut Squash, Ricotta, and Sage Crostini
Pasta with Ricotta, Sausage, and Smashed Peas
Whole Wheat Raspberry Ricotta Scones

Add links to your favorite recipes with ricotta in the comments below!

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7 thoughts on “{How-to} Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

  1. Marci

    Did you get any advice on how to clean it? I would have guessed washing machine, maybe in like a lingerie bag or something. You can also use cheesecloth to make a jelly roll. Not sure what else it can be used for!

  2. lilly

    I am making my own ricotta for 2 months now. I use new pantihose/ stockings since I cant find cheese cloth anywhere. It looks a little like Caciocavallo when it is drained and gives you a firmer cheese.
    (the knee high length is just right for me to make small batches)

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