Easy Homemade Ricotta


Easy Homemade Ricotta

(Photo, iStock)

Make this fresh Italian cheese at home. Plus, four variations to suit your taste buds.


  • 2 L 3.25% milk , at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt , (Kosher salt is best, as the iodine in table salt can make ricotta taste bitter)
  • 2 tbsp 35% cream


  1. Line a large fine-mesh metal strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth large enough to hang over the edges. Set over an 8-cup measuring cup.
  2. Pour milk into a large, very wide saucepan and heat over high.
  3. Stir often until milk becomes steamy and frothy around the edges or reads 185F on a thermometer, about 8 min. Turn off heat. Stir in lemon juice and salt. Let stand until the liquid turns a yellowish colour and milky-white curds float to the surface, about 2 min. Gradually pour mixture into the prepared strainer. Let sit, stirring curds very gently once or twice, until about 7 cups of liquid has drained off, about 5 min. Discard liquid.
  4. Transfer cheese into a bowl. Refrigerate until chilled. Just before using, stir in cream. Ricotta will keep well, refrigerated, up to 1 week. Makes 1 3/4 cups.

Nutrition (per ¼ cup)

  • Calories
  • 132,
  • Protein
  • 8 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 1 g,
  • Fat
  • 11 g,
  • Sodium
  • 112 mg.

Four ways to switch it up:

  1. Low-fat ricotta
    Omit cream. Ricotta will be less smooth.
  2. Olive oil ricotta
    Stir in 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil along with cream.
  3. Herbed ricotta
    Stir in 1 tbsp finely chopped parsley, chives or thyme along with cream.
  4. Lemon ricotta
    Stir in 1 tbsp lemon zest along with cream.

Four ways to use it:

Roasted tomato crostini n black board.

(Photo by Angus Fergusson; Food styling by David Grenier; Prop styling by Catherine Doherty)

  1. Roasted-tomato crostini
    Easy hors d’oeuvres become a gourmet treat with homemade ricotta. Get this recipe here.
  2. Ricotta dumplings
    Serve with any simple tomato sauce. Get this recipe here.
  3. Creamy olive and herb pasta
    Toss cooked bow tie pasta with herbed ricotta chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Get this recipe here.
  4. Honey-berry tartlets
    Sweeten lemon ricotta with a little honey, then spoon into baked tart shells. Get this recipe here.