How to Make Ricotta Cheese at Home

by Daisy

Do you know how to make ricotta cheese?  It’s easy and fun.

How to Make Ricotta Cheese

Soft, fresh cheese is easy to make at home.  As long as you have whole milk around, there’s no reason to rush out to the store.

Do you remember the Miss Muffet rhyme?  Curds and whey?  That’s what we’re going to do.  Using heat and acid, we can separate liquid dairy products into curds and whey.

If the product is whole milk, you get ricotta (or queso fresco/farmer cheese/paneer; it has a different name in every country!) Heavy cream makes mascarpone.  2% or less fat milk makes cottage cheese curds.

The following tutorial will show you how to make ricotta cheese.

Homemade Ricotta (makes 2 cups)

1/2 Gallon Whole Milk (Goat or Cow, not ultra-pasteurized)
1/4 cup white vinegar or 1/4 cup Lemon juice
Salt to taste
Cooking Thermometer

pict0001Preparing the Curds

1.  Put milk into stainless steel pot.  It’s important to NOT use any reactive metal pots, like aluminum or cast iron.  Those metals make the cheese taste off.

2.  Heat over medium until it reaches between 190 and 200 degrees.

3. Slowly stir in vinegar or lemon juice.

4.  Remove from heat and allow to curdle and cool until it’s not too hot to touch.

Removing the Whey

5.  Pour cheese into cloth lined bowl. Pull together the 4 corners of cloth and twist around a spoon.

6.  Hang dripping cheese for a few hours.

(BTW, it’s not touching the bottom of the bowl. It just looks that way.)

Season to Taste; Check the Consistency

7. Salt to taste and check consistency. I like a fairly hard cheese, so I hang it in the fridge overnight. That’s about the max.

8. Untie, (add any garlic or herbs or more salt, if you like) place in airtight container, and chill.

9. Depending on how long you hung it, it should be about 12-16 oz of cheese.


Now you know how to make ricotta cheese!


Disclaimer: This post may contain a link to an affiliate.

{ 73 comments… read them below or add one }

sanna June 20, 2009 at 4:58 pm

Really great I will try this in my new kitchen — it sounds very easy thanks

ivorysoap76 June 22, 2009 at 10:58 am

@sanna–It really is!

Satsuki June 25, 2009 at 11:30 pm

What kind of cheese would you compare this to? I like to remake recipes with homemade ingredients when I can now.

ivorysoap76 June 26, 2009 at 7:34 am

@Satsuki–chevre. It’s the consistency of that goat cheese, or if you blended cream cheese and feta together. Schmear type cheese.

Tacy August 26, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Is there a cut and dry way to make cheddar cheese, too? (I work in a deli and am a cheeseaholic anyway, so just one type of cheese isn’t enough of a challenge!)

Ivory Soap August 27, 2009 at 6:45 pm

@Tacy–Check out Leener’s site for exact instructions and supplies…but sorry, no. Cheddar requires a couple of special ingredients. It’s not hard to make, but you do need rennet and some things not usually found at the Val-Marche.

zorak September 18, 2009 at 5:18 pm

i just made the cheese! it’s drying now – my bowl wasn’t tall enough for it not to touch the bottom, so i have my spoon resting on two cups, and dripping into the bowl. i love the smell of it! thanks so much for this recipie – i can’t wait to try it. how much salt do you usually put in, and would it work to put it in before you pour it into the bowl?

[email protected] October 15, 2009 at 3:13 am

I love making cheese. Ricotta is very simple and delicious too:

Carolyn November 13, 2009 at 11:46 am

If you don’t have cheesecloth, try a coffee filter. We had one of those older Mr. Coffee “gold” ones. It hangs nicely in a 1 qt. container as the cheese drains

Handful December 8, 2009 at 9:34 am

Until I made my first batch of cheese I didn’t know what Little Miss Muffet was eating while sitting on a tuffet!

And don’t forget to save the whey. I used mine in some ham and bean soup and homemade doggie treats in place of water or broth. I even drank some – it tasted kinda “yeasty”.

Carolyn – good idea with the filter.
Tacy – I’m with you on the challenge! That is how I found this site. Wanted to make homemade wing sauce but all called for bottled hot sauce. Then I stumbled on TL’s homemade hot sauce story. So funny I almost peed my pants! You must read it!

Eleanor January 7, 2010 at 6:30 pm

200 degrees F or C ????

Ivory Soap January 13, 2010 at 5:25 pm

Eleanor–F…we is in da USA

Mary March 9, 2010 at 10:36 am

I use this cheese instead of ricotta in lasagna and it worked out very well…

Nathan September 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm

So I just tried to make this and followed all directions but the milk did not curdle at all. What did I do wrong? Could it have been the milk (i used goats milk). I used a good thermometer and got the milk up to 190 then stirred in the vinegar and took off heat but nothing happened. The milk was whole goats milk. Any suggestions? Are there tips and tricks? Thanks, Nate

Ivory Soap September 8, 2010 at 6:34 am

I use whole goats milk for mine. Hmm. I’ve never heard of this. the only trick I know about is that the ‘stirring’ in of the acid needs to be really gentle, but even then it should have curdled, just in a dusty tiny curd way. How concentrated is your bottle of vinegar?

Nathan September 8, 2010 at 8:27 pm

I scrapped the goats milk and just got some cows milk and it worked great. Not sure what the deal was but I think that the goats milk must have had something in it so that it would not curdle under any circumstance! I flavored my cheese with garlic and salt and it is amazing. I’m excited to try other flavors! Thanks for the great blog.

Heidi October 4, 2010 at 8:13 pm

Mmmmmm…is all I could say when I stumbled upon your blog! It was like falling into the cushions on a good friend’s couch! I may never leave…

Hope October 7, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Has anyone tried this with soymilk? Or any other dairy free variety?

Kimarie @ The Cardamom's Pod October 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

I make a cheese very similar to this with either goat’s or cow’s milk! It’s delicious.

leo December 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Thanks, poverty could fade ……. with this kind of tips

Mary T. January 22, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Is this raw milk or homogenized/pasturized milk?

Ivory Soap January 23, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Homogenized, store-bought.

Dawn February 17, 2011 at 11:27 am

Someone asked a while back if you could add the salt (or pehaps other flavorings) prior to the draining in the cheese cloth, but I didn’t see answer. Do you think it would it still firm up?

Gurleygirl February 18, 2011 at 1:50 pm

I made this cheese this morning, it is excellent!! After draining it , I added some Extra Virgin Olive Oil, some puree of garlic, and some Italian Spices, and kosher salt. Then I pressed the cheese in a oiled ramekin dish and covered it with plastic wrap, and put in the fridge, will enjoy with crackers tonight!!! It is so easy!!

Chair March 30, 2011 at 1:47 pm

If curdling is an issue, it could be that the milk has been ultra-pasteurized (extra-high heat to ensure better preservability (is that a word?)) -it alters the molecules of the milk enough that it won’t work for making your own cheeses. (Info from what I’ve read on -they have great information and supplies for making your own varieties)

Ariana May 14, 2011 at 7:16 am

I’m definitely going to be trying this tomorrow! I’m also interested in whether or not you can add salt, herbs, garlic, etc. before the cheese sets – as in, when it’s draining.

Ivory Soap May 14, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Absolutely. Add any of those things you want.

aubree May 16, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Could I use this recipe with soy or rice milk?

Ivory Soap May 16, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I wouldn’t think they would have enough fat.

MCR May 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

I found an old recipe in my mother’s recipe index that is identical with the exception that it used skim milk. The recipe is over 40 years old and Mom passed away about 20 years ago otherwise I’d just ask her…Was skim milk different back then or do you think this would still work?

Ruth June 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

You can certainly use skim or lowfat milk in the recipe, but the end result will be a little less volume and less creamy. Your mom probably used skim milk because it was readily available to her, likely in powdered form.

I use an old cloth napkin to strain cheese (or almond milk or rice milk or whatever else needs straining.)

Bill August 12, 2011 at 3:07 am

Great recipe!

I found if you bake it for about an hour at 300 °F then another 10-15 minutes at 375 °F (to make a crust) you get a good hard cheese that keeps well. It is great crumbled on almost anything! Like squeaky cheese crossed with cheesecake.

@MCR – I heard that skim milk is used in parmesian cheese. So your mom might have used it on pizza or spaghetti? Hmm… that sounds good…

@Aubree – Soy and rice “milk” are actually juices. So the vinegar trick doesn’t work (I tried.) But if you add a coagulant like nigari (magnesium chloride), you can make tofu with soy “milk” since it thickens it up. I haven’t tried with rice “milk” or coconut juice.

zoo September 3, 2011 at 1:52 pm

great recipe, thank you! nailed it on my first try. 🙂 added some fresh dried herbs and cracked pepper. i can’t wait to eat it!

bonus- i now also have a big ol’ jug of whey to use in other recipes!

Batyah January 18, 2012 at 10:05 am

I must did something wrong, I only have small amount of curd and alot of whey
milk. Can you tell me what I did wrong . Thank you

Larissa January 28, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Please help! I’ve attempted this cheese twice now, using two different but very similar recipes – the difference was in the amount of lemon juice/vinegar called for. Both times, I have heated the milk, added the lemon juice, and then waited, but my milk won’t curdle. I’m not sure where I’ve gone wrong. I’m using whole, raw, Jersey cow’s milk. Is it possibly the rawness of the milk that’s throwing off the recipe?

Gerry February 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

This is a great cheese. I added a homemade garlic paste, sun dried tomatoes and EV Olive Oil and let it chilled. My Kids, Family and Friends Love it and are asking for more now!! Thank You Ivory Soap for the recipe.

G March 14, 2012 at 10:38 am

If you have problem with no curds forming.. your milk may be ULTRA pasteurized.. and you can make cheese with it.. heat to almost boiling.. add acid (vinegar or lemon juice) see if curds form.. if not, try a little more acid… just a couple of tablespoons more might do it
If you overdo the acid … then you get a more sour type cheese.. but that can be remedied by adding of garlic and chives after the draining part
you can even make a sweet cheese by adding a little bit of honey… which turns out fantastic when spread on bagels or toast.. or even on a piece of apple or pear

Ian April 7, 2012 at 2:45 pm

How long will the cheese last?

??? May 4, 2012 at 5:24 am

This is wonderful. I’m from Wisconsin, but currently living in China, where the cheese is either A) some kind of sickly-sweet cream cheese marketed towards children’s health or B) really expensive imported stuff. I’ve currently got a batch hanging and dripping, but if the small taste i had is any indication, this is going to at least alleviate some of my cheese woes for a while.

Ivory Soap May 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

I’m so glad! We have cheese woes here too….

Lindsay June 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm

This is the same recipe for whole milk ricotta. Just drain the whey from the pot and don’t hang the curds to keep draining and you have a delicious ricotta cheese. My recipes adds a teeny amount of baking soda, like 1/8-1/4 tsp. AMAZING.

Amber, Head Pixie of Pixie's Pocket June 7, 2012 at 1:46 pm

So. I found out the hard way what happens when you try to substitute ingredients… namely, heavy cream:

Oh, well! There’s always next time! *grin*

Judi June 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm

My cheese was not soft and in fact is kind of rubbery. I used skim milk. Any ideas on how to make it creamery? Thx for the recipe. I will try with whole milk next time but would love to salvage this batch.

Ivory Soap June 20, 2012 at 6:11 am

You CAN’T use skim milk. It’s the FAT in it that makes the cheese. If there’s no fat to speak of….

Jeff Laugtug July 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

What kind of cheese is this receipe? Do you have a receipe for mozzeralla and other types of cheeses?

Izzy Williams July 15, 2012 at 12:13 am

What kind of cheese does it make?

Ivory Soap July 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

Panir, I think is the proper word. It’s like a soft feta.

Lynn July 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I need someone’s help I am new to making goat milk cheese, I use pasturized, I have made the feta twice and both times they are rubbery, what did I do wrong?

Ivory Soap July 20, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I always use pasteurized, and the recipe itself pasteurizes it even if it was raw to begin with. Tell me more about what you’re doing.

Sandie Barnett August 6, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I can not wait to try this recipe I have wanted to make cheese for a long time.I first read a pininterest on Mozzarella but needed rennet, citric acid and cheese salt. A girl at work had some homemade white chedder that was awesome. Thanks for taking the time to post this

eddie August 9, 2012 at 1:05 pm


Your are a GENIUS.

nice suggestion, came out FANTASTIC!

Mike September 26, 2012 at 7:27 am

Just tried your recipe……. great – no, fantastic…..and Barney, my dog, loved the whey :0) THANKS!

Courtney October 6, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Does it matter how pasteurized the milk is? There is a local brand that is vat pasteurized (less pasteurized I think), but if I make cheese with it, I might as well be buying organic cheese because it wouldn’t be cost effective. I’d prefer to use a cheaper organic milk if it’s possible.

Angi November 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

this is a great recipe. My son makes this in the microwave as well. Not only that but he does make it also with skim milk once in a while but it doesn’t make as much. It is always good though.

Debbi December 31, 2012 at 2:20 am

I have made mozzarella by myself at home. It’s easy, it does require a microwave though. lol Not many little houses on the prairie have them…but little houses in the suburbs usually do. 😉 Would you like the recipe?

debbie May 4, 2013 at 6:59 am

I would love that recipe for making cheese in the microwave! it would make great gifts for my grown children. may I have that recipe?

debbie May 4, 2013 at 7:08 am

I would love the recipe for making cheese in the microwave! My kids would love having it for gifts. may I have the recipe?

Jill Sherstobitoff July 9, 2013 at 11:13 pm


Nancy Nuce July 13, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Three things:

1) Thank you for this. I can’t wait to try it.

2) For someone who has no clue at all -how much salt do you recommend?

3)I, too, would like to have the recipe for the microwave mozzarella, please

Janie Schisler July 18, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Would love the recipe for the microwave cheese, if I am not too late?

Adebola Fajimolu July 26, 2013 at 10:08 am

Can i also bother you for the microwave mozarella recipe please. Looking foward you it. Thanks.

Russ Kiddy July 28, 2013 at 11:18 am

I’ve made this several times and we love it. Today we have another gallon of milk that is going down hill so we’re making another batch. Trying different herbs this time. It takes more salt than you think. I enjoy and look forward to you stuff, thank you so much.

Jeanne September 5, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Please can I have the recipe for mozzarella cheese in microwave sounds great thanks

Miriam September 11, 2013 at 2:32 pm

I made this cheese last night just as written. Very mild cheese but so very easy to make. Thank you for sharing. What herbs or spices would anyone suggest to add and when should it be added in? I plan on making more.

brightcounts January 1, 2014 at 8:35 am

I would love the recipe for the microwave mozzarella cheese, please.

Brenda Brown January 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

I cannot drink/eat cow or goat products. Can this cheese be made with rice, oat or almond millk? I would also love the microwave cheese if I can use alternative milks. Thanks

Daisy January 1, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Brenda Brown–Never tried it but did find this:
Seems pretty easy!

debbie January 14, 2014 at 10:31 am

Can I heat the milk for the cheese in the microwave?

sum March 16, 2014 at 4:52 pm

This is an Indian cheese receipe. we called paneer…

Jill April 5, 2014 at 7:27 pm

May I please have the microwave cheese recipe? Thanks !

Mo April 21, 2015 at 12:54 am

I am going to try this… looks fairly easy. Famous last words!

Angela January 24, 2017 at 3:07 am

This is not ricotta cheese. This is cottage cheese. Indian households make paneer this way, all the time.

Ivory Soap January 25, 2017 at 11:42 am

It’s not the 100% traditional way from whey, but it’s an accepted version. Paneer, cottage cheese curds, queso fresco, every culture has a version of this.

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