SP’s Homemade Ricotta

Here is another super easy recipe that anyone can make at home. Except vegans. Sorry, WebDom!

This ricotta can be used in any application in which you’d use commercial ricotta, but you might need to let it drain a bit longer, or even overnight, so it firms up more, depending on use. We tend to use it within an hour or so of finishing the process.

Ricotta is a very forgiving product to make. You’ll definitely want to experiment and discover exactly which acids you like to use for curdling, and how much cream you want to add, if any. Go crazy and see what you come up with.    

Yields approximately 1 pound of fresh ricotta.



  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1/2 – 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  •  1/2 tsp salt


  1. Pour the milk and cream into a heavy saucepan. Heat slowly to 200 degrees F. If you don’t have a thermometer, heat until just below boiling.

    Mixture of whole milk and cream, simmering.

  2. Turn burner to low (or turn off for an electric stove). Stir in lemon juice and salt.

    You need both.


  3. Continuing stirring until curds begin to form, about a minute. Remove pan from heat and allow to sit uncovered for 15 or 20 minutes. The curds will continue to form and create a solid surface atop the whey.

  4. While the ricotta is forming, dampen a double layer of cheesecloth and line a mesh strainer completely. Set it over a large bowl.

  5. When the curds have had time to form, scoop them gently off the top of the whey and place in the cheesecloth. If you don’t have a skimmer, you can pour the entire contents of the saucepan into your lined strainer (as long as it will fit!). The whey will drain, leaving the ricotta in the cheesecloth.

    Curds set

  6. Allow the ricotta to drain until it has reached the desired consistency for your recipe. The ricotta will keep in the frig for about a week. But it never lasts that long at our place.

    Finished ricotta after draining.


Note: Don’t throw out the leftover whey! It’s a great addition to breads and other baked goods, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, or even added to soups. Store in the frig for up to a week and use a bit here and there. It can also be frozen in smaller quantities.

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