Homemade Ricotta Cheese
In 30 minutes

Let me explain a little something about myself.  And I’m not telling you this to make you feel sorry for me, or elicit sympathy comments.  It’s a fact of  my life and I’ve been living with it for quite some time.

I have an acute cheese deficiency.

As a result.  I always want to eat cheese.  All the time.  Chew it up with my teeth and eat it.

Don’t cry or anything, but at this point in the post it would be alright if you got a look of concern and let your chin quiver a bit.  You’d have to be a cold hearted kitten hater, not to.

It isn’t something that’s been officially diagnosed of course but that doesn’t make it any less real.  If you’re conducting a clinical study on cheese deficiencies I’d love to be a part of it.  Especially if treatment involves feeding me cheese.

So as a result of this “cheese deficiency”, when I go to a restaurant, a lot of times I look for the dish that contains the most amount of cheese.  Conversely, one time when my mother was ordering pizza she realized that all the toppings were the same price, so she ordered an all meat pizza, figuring she was getting the most bang for her buck that way.  (no beverages included in the meal please)  Turns out a ham, bacon, sausage and pepperoni pizza  might make for a happy wallet, but not necessarily a happy intestine.

Recently I went to an all organic, whole foods, grown locally etc. etc. restaurant and ordered a salad that came with … cheese.  When I tried to replicate the salad at home (as I often do with restaurant dishes) it just wasn’t right.

The cheese in the salad was ricotta.  It was the creamiest, dreamiest, most delicious ricotta cheese I’ve ever eaten.  When I searched for the best ricotta cheese in the grocery store  … it just wasn’t the same.  The grocery store ricotta was grainy.  Which is good in certain dishes, but it just wasn’t right for this salad.  I tried whipping it, mashing it and stirring it, but nothing could get rid of that grainy texture.

So yesterday on a whim I made my own ricotta cheese.  It took 4 ingredients and 30 minutes.  And if you too have a cheese deficiency, you should do it immediately.  You might have everything you need in your fridge right now.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese 


4 cups homogenized milk

1 cup cream (any cream … I used whipping cream)

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Ricotta Ingredients


Put everything in a pot and heat over medium – medium/high heat until it just starts to boil.  Do NOT stir at any point.  Remove from heat immediately.

Ricotta 2

Let the milk sit for 15 minutes to allow the curds and whey to separate.  If you can’t bare to leave it alone, go find a tuffet and sit until it’s ready.

Ricotta 4

Meanwhile set up a strainer covered in cheesecloth over a large bowl.

Ricotta 3

Once the mixture has sat for 15 minutes remove the curds (such a grotesque word) with a large spoon into the cheesecloth.

Do this carefully so as not to break up the curds.

ricotta 5

Let the cheese (yes … it is now a form of cheese) drain for about 15 minutes.

ricotta 6

After 10 or 15 minutes, it will look like this.

Ricotta 8

And will taste like this …

Ricotta final

In case your Tasternet isn’t working let me describe it for you.  The makeshift Ricotta is creamy, creamy, creamy with a slight sweetness to it because of the heated milk and cream.  There’s also a hint of a nutty flavour.  It’s the perfect ricotta for desserts or on an English Muffin with some fig jam and honey.  Add some lemon juice to it and it would be a beautiful lemon ricotta.  If you want a slightly less sweet ricotta just omit the cream and add in another cup of milk. (cream sweetens more than milk when heated)  This is a slightly bastardized version of a ricotta that was featured in Bon Appetite magazine last month.  I cut back the salt and used whipping cream as opposed to a regular cream.  Another recipe I referenced used  buttermilk.  So take your pick.

Oh!  I almost forgot.  About my cheese disease.  If you insist, you can send condolence cards to my email address or Facebook Fan page.  If you insist.


  1. jonquil says:

    I have to try this, it looks fab.

    And Karen, anytime you want to check out the cheese in the land of cheese (aka France) I’d be more than happy to have you over!

  2. Amy in StL says:

    Wow, I feel so bad for you having to bear the weight of such a horrible disease! AND a hangnail – oh the humanity! I have always disliked milk, so even as a young child I was fed a lot of cheese (which I continue to eat in goodly amounts) – this hopefully has prevented ever developing this disease.

  3. Susan says:

    It looks very yummy. How much cheese was the result of the 5 cups of milk and cream? It’s difficult to tell from the photos. Just trying to determine what the saturated fat content of a cup of it with milk instead of cream would be. My fella loves cheese, but is restricted to 15 grams per day of saturated fat. That determines how much of something he can have.

    • Karen says:

      Susan – The completed recipe makes around a cup. Slightly more perhaps. Don’t forget, you can try to just use milk. ~ karen

  4. marilyn says:

    had to chuckle about the cheesecloth karen i swear i spend at least 172 hrs trying to find the cheesecloth for customers like you so you are not alone! even the grocery store employees can’t find it!

  5. Claire says:

    Sounds divine! Can the whey be used for anything, or just tossed?

    • amyfaith says:

      Whey actually has *lots* of the protein left in it, and is really good for you. It’s pretty darned tart, but you certainly can drink it (back in the old days, everyone did). I use it in place of water when I make rice. I don’t notice any flavor change, but then I only cook brown rice, so YMMV.

      • amyfaith says:

        I guess I should say I USED to use it, back when I ate dairy with blissful ignorance (and a stuffed up nose). sigh.

  6. Heather says:

    When I can’t find cheese cloth, I’ve used a large coffee filter, and it seems to work okay.

  7. Sue says:

    Found your blog a few months ago and I’m amused daily! I made this same ricotta a few weeks ago, but I was left with LOTs of whey and only a little ricotta…not sure what went wrong….but that little bit of cheese was devine!!

    • Karen says:

      Sue – You probably didn’t use enough acid. (your lemon wasn’t acid enough) If that happens again, add more lemon juice. ~ karen

  8. magali says:

    where do you buy cheesecloth? I tried to find some to drain my pumpkin puré, but in the end I had to use one of those plastic strainers with extra tiny holes. would that work for the cheese as well? I have a feeling it wouldn’t…

    • Karen says:

      Magali – All grocery stores carry cheese cloth. Their favourite thing to do is hide it. I spend a total of 172 hours a year searching my grocery store for cheese cloth. It could be with the baking stuff, or the canning stuff, or sometimes it’s on one of those end displays. Other times it’s in with the kitchen utensils. Honestly. They hide it and they move it ALL the time. The best thing to do is just ask for it and someone in the grocery store will guide you towards it. ~ karen

      • Sara says:

        If you live in the States and are willing to shop at Walmart it can be found in the craft section there – particularly at this time of year when people are decorating their yards with “spider webs” for Halloween using cheese cloth. I’m assuming this means it could also be found at craft stores? I’m not crafty so I don’t shop craft stores. I just happened to buy cheese cloth once when I was attempting to make lebni – an amazing yogurt cheese I had in Dubai. Dannon yogurt didn’t quite cut it, but now with all the yummy Greek yogurts on the market, I’m almost brave enough to try again.

      • Geliac says:

        you can also find cheescloth in the paint dept of any hardware store.

    • sandra says:

      I buy cheesecloth from the fabric store. You can get loads of the stuff for next to nothing… and with Halloween coming you’ll need lots for all those spooky outdoor decorations you’ll be hanging while eating your home-made cheese.

    • amyfaith says:

      I second the craft/fabric store. All the cheese cloth I’ve ever found at grocery stores is a really loose weave so you have to use like, 8 layers. I’ve had good luck just using unbleached muslin – it’s cheap and dead easy to find. Just make sure to wash anything you buy at a craft store before using with food.

    • Dee says:

      There are online fabric stores that sell different grades of cheesecloth, each with a separate purpose. I think the 50 grade is recommended for cheesemaking. Could save 172 hours a year that can be used making/eating cheese if a big roll of cheesecloth is sent directly to home;-)

  9. Kelly Jo says:

    I share your cheese deficiency…I think we should start a group. Love this simple recipe and am pinning it for future use!

  10. Liz S. says:

    I am in love. I never knew I could make something like this.

    As for your “condition”, think there may be a cheese eaters anonymous group. You meet in the cover of darkness. I am looking for a local chapter of the group for my toddler.

  11. amyfaith says:

    I have a sad, sad tale of my own. After years of sinus problems and chronic bronchitis, I finally went through major allergy testing and discovered – to my great dismay – that dairy was one of the main culprits (wheat too, unfortunately. Asian food has become my new best friend.). My symptoms have improved tremendously, but now I’m left with a cheese deficiency the size of Alaska! Luckly, goat dairy doesn’t seem to be a problem, but chevre only goes so far. I miss sharp cheddar! aged gouda (with the yummy salt crystals)! ooey gooey melted meunster on my toasty sandwiches! :-(

    So my question to you, Karen, is this: since the fat in goats milk is so tiny and doesn’t separate out, can it be used to make ricotta?

    Actually, now that I think more about it, perhaps I should just get up off my lazy azz, walk into the kitchen and try it.

    Sorry. Never mind.

  12. toni says:

    I think you and I should start a cheese-0-factory….I too am know far and wide for my cheese addiction….hence the nickname “cottage cheese thighs” from my dead-to-me ex-husband!
    Why do they even bother with the crackers? grapes? toothpicks?…just take a BIG BITE and ……float to heaven…..sorry…was transported….pray for me!…..Toni

  13. Diana says:

    Fess up…what was the salad that inspired the homemade ricotta?

  14. Michele says:

    I too have a “cheese deficiency,” I just didn’t know the name for it! We should start a support group (otherwise known as a cheese of the month club).

  15. Amanda says:

    I’m so sorry for your cheese deficiency. I have one, too. Worse, I actually have issues with casein, so cheese and I aren’t technically “friends.”
    But since it’s cheese, I eat it anyway as much as I can muster, and just pay the consequences. For I so love the cheese…

  16. Emie says:

    There’s also Paneer Cheese that’s made basically the same way…. except I think you add the acid after the milk is already heated. It appears to be a bit more dense than yours and it’s good on crackers.
    Thanks for sharing your process, Emie

  17. brie says:

    this sounds divine – thanks!

  18. Amy Schmucker says:

    Damn. I just love you. And your cheese problem. Because now I can make it cure my cheese problem. I would send you money if I had any, just to feed you extra cheese. 3am cheese cravings are the worst.
    Whole foods happens to have a most excellant very impressive cheese counter. I go in and have a cheese tasting. I tell the cheese man behind the counter, “Bet you can’t convince me to eat something other than cheddar”. Free samples get thrown at me so fast…I walk away full.

    I am going out to find some cheese cloth very soon so I can make this. Thank you from the cheese lovers all over the world.

  19. Jen says:

    I was all set to try this…and then I remembered I couldn’t find my tuffet…Hilarious. As always. Carry on….if you can…you poor dear. xo

  20. I never realised how easy this was to make. I will have to make it. Any idea how long it will last in the fridge?

    • Karen says:

      Perfecting Pru – This isn’t a “true, true” ricotta cheese. It’s a quick and easy version but is really good. And … no. I have no idea how long it will last, LOL. But I would imagine around 4 days. But that’s a total guess! ~ karen

  21. Mary says:

    Sympathies Karen. I also suffer from cheese deficiency; mostly because cheese gives me migraines. Did this fresh ricotta bring on a migraine? (Like anyone could tell in Southern Ontario this week with the barometer bouncing up & down. Rain one day, warm & sunny the next)

  22. Emily says:

    Yum! I always love the idea of making my own ricotta – especially since you can only find tiny pots of it at the grocery store here in Dublin. I wonder how long would it keep?

  23. Julianna says:

    I can’t believe I’m going to help an addict, but here goes: no salt, all whipping cream and 1tsp. lemon juice = Marscapone Cheese.

    Now I want a Cannoli.

  24. Hayley says:

    That would go fabulously with the spiced ginger pear jam I just made. And possibly keep me from eating bowlfuls of just jam by itself. Possibly.

    • Joe says:

      Spiced ginger pear jam + this creamylicious ricotta on a toasted english muffin. Pretty sure my day will be wasted dreaming about this.

  25. Marti says:

    Impressive! How often do you see “tuffet” used in a sentence? Very impressive. Sorry for your suffering.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you for your heartfelt condolences. As you can see, between migraines and a cheese deficiency I have quite a lot to contend with. Plus I have a hangnail. ~ karen

      • Marti says:

        There oughta be a study somewhere. I’m sure the U.S. Congress, in between bickering sessions, could vote to start one. Contact the Wisconsin congressman… maybe don’t tell him you’re from up north. See what he’ll do for you.

      • Langela says:

        I think Congress would definitely go for it, especially if meant spending ridiculous amounts of money.

      • Laura says:

        NOOOOO!!!!! Not a hangnail! Anything but a hangnail!

      • Karen says:

        Laura – It’s true. A hangnail. ~ karen

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