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Authentic Ricotta Cheese Recipe

Homemade ricotta cheese recipe

I’ve always wanted to try cheesemaking, and I recently found an authentic ricotta cheese recipe that was originally published in the now-shuttered Gourmet magazine. Creative Director Richard Ferretti’s version was so simple, it gave me the courage to make a batch — no rennet or thermometers needed!

Since then I’ve made several pounds of this creamy cheese and adjusted the recipe slightly. Homemade ricotta has become a staple in our kitchen.

Step by Step Directions

Here’s how to make authentic ricotta cheese. First, line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place it in a bowl for draining:


Next,  bring 2 cups of whole milk, 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 1/8 teaspoon of salt to a rolling boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat.


Now,  add 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice, reduce the heat to low, and simmer — stirring gently — until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes. It looks sort of gross at this point, but stay with me.


Carefully dump the whole mess into that nice cheesecloth-lined sieve.


Let it drain for about an hour, and you’ll have a nice batch of ricotta that looks something like this:

Make your own ricotta cheese

Transfer the ricotta to a tightly lidded container and refrigerate it. For a crazy good snack, spread it on lightly toasted slices of French bread, sprinkle with salt and pepper and top with sliced fresh tomatoes or roasted red peppers. It’s also wonderful spread on crackers and topped with a drizzle of olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. Or spread it on hot buttered toast and drizzle with honey or sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar for a completely decadent breakfast. Ferretti says to eat it within 2 days, which shouldn’t be difficult to do.

Here’s the easy recipe:

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Cheesecloth for straining

2 cups whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/8 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place it in a bowl for draining; set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the milk, cream and salt and bring to a rolling boil. Add the fresh lemon juice, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, stirring gently, until the mixture curdles, about 2 minutes. Pour into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and let it drain for about an hour. Transfer the ricotta to a tightly lidded container and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. Makes about 1 cup.

Have you tried making your own ricotta, or any other type of cheese? I’d love to hear about your experiences.

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About Eliza Cross

Eliza Cross is the author of 17 books, including Small Bites and 101 Things To Do With Bacon. She shares ideas to simplify cooking, gardening, time and money. She is also the owner of Cross Media, Inc. and founder of the BENSA Bacon Lovers Society.

17 thoughts on “Authentic Ricotta Cheese Recipe”

  1. Eliza, I just haven’t been able to stop thinking about your beans and greens…I had to make that for myself for dinner tonight! Yummy! Thanks!


  2. I’m having a cheese making party with some friends this week. We’ll make mozz and then use the whey to make ricotta. I usually use apple cider vinegar in my ricotta, but we might make a batch using this recipe also.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I added you to my reader, and I’ll eventually get you on my blog roll (just a lazy slowpoke sometimes!)

    • A cheese making party is such a fun idea! I’d like to try making this recipe with apple cider vinegar, too — bet it’s good.

  3. This is very similar to the (East) Indian paneer cheese, which is made with just the milk and lemon. I’ll have to try adding the other ingredients the next time I want fresh ricotta!

  4. Pingback: Make Your Own Graham Crackers « Urban Homesteader
  5. I know I’m a day late and a dollar short ~ but just wanted to let you know that you inspired me to try this. omg OMG Who knew it would be so simple and so dang good?? I saved the leftover whey to bake bread with tomorrow. Can’t wait to try that as well! Thank you! Loved the step-by-step pictorial as well, that made it much easier to know what to expect. =)

  6. Hi Eliza I just finished making this but after lemon it took me way more than two minutes to get it to the consistency you have above so I could dump it into cheesecloth. Have not tasted it yet. will let you know. really it took 25 minutes of stirring.

    • Gerard,
      Thanks for the feedback, and I wonder why it took so long. Maybe it has something to do with the fat content in either the milk or cream used? When I make it, I use heavy whipping cream and 1% milk. The suspense is killing me – did you like the finished product?

  7. ha! I had the same problem with my mixture not getting the consistency. I look for information about this, and I found that if you stir too much you breaks the curds that have formed. in fact, they recommend not to stir at all. I did stop stiring and voilá in no time my mixture looked like your pictures!


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