Homemade Ricotta Cheese

There are few things I love more in life than fresh ricotta cheese. Seems like a simple and silly thing, I know, but this stuff is SO good! We’ve been making it and using it during our hands-on cooking classes and it’s been a HUGE hit. So I knew I had to share it with all of you!

Not only does making your own ricotta make you feel like the most amazing chef and home-maker, it’s so EASY! Literally 4 ingredients turn into this rich, creamy, cheese that has a million uses! My personal favorite is to eat it straight out of the bowl, or just spread on some good crusty bread, drizzled with honey and/or olive oil - you really can’t go wrong. But it can also be used as a spread on toast, to make gnocchi, as filling for pasta, or even in pancakes!

And as always, when you make your own at home, you guarantee the quality of ingredients and the fact that nothing crazy gets added in! Whole milk, fresh cream, a pinch of salt and some fresh lemon juice is all you need to make the best homemade ricotta. The key here is to keep an eye on the pan. First as you boil the milk because it can bubble up and over rather quickly. Then you want to use your judgement as you add the lemon juice to make sure the curds are forming. Because lemons can always vary in the amount of juice they have and the level of acidity, I can’t say the EXACT amount you’ll need to form the curds. Watch the video to see what it should look like, and them trust yourself to duplicate the results! You won’t be sorry! We even found if you add a little TOO much lemon, it actually gives the cheese a really nice flavor. Yay for delicious mistakes! Check out the video and recipe below!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese
Makes about 2 Cups of ricotta

4 C. whole milk
2/3 C. heavy cream
pinch of salt
juice of 1 lemon

Set a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Line it with a double layer of cheesecloth. Set aside.

In a large pot, combine milk, cream and salt. Heat over medium-high heat until just boiling. Stay close because it can boil over quickly once it gets going. Stir occasionally as it heats to prevent milk from burning.

Once boiling, add in about half the lemon juice. Stir and reduce the heat to low. Keep an eye on the mixture. If it starts to curdle right away you have enough acid. If not, add more lemon until bright white curds form and a opaque, yellow liquid is left in between. Stir for about 2 minutes.

Pour mixture into prepared strainer and allow to drain for 40-45 minutes. Drain longer for a thicker texture, less for a more smooth cheese.

Store ricotta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.