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Ricotta cheese draining in cheesecloth-lined sieve.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Try this easy 60 minute recipe for three-ingredient homemade whole-milk ricotta cheese, and never buy supermarket ricotta again!
Cook Time 15 hrs
Inactive Time 45 mins
Course Appetizer, cheese
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 8
Calories 293 kcal


  • sieve/strainer
  • cheesecloth
  • instant-read thermometer


  • 1 gallon whole milk NOT ultra-high temperature pasteurized (see note)
  • 2/3 cup vinegar (white or apple cider) may substitute freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt optional, adjust to taste and to needs of final recipe - omit for desserts


  • Heat milk over medium heat in large pot for about 15 minutes, until it reaches 180-185F (check frequently with an instant read thermometer). Do not boil.
  • Once the milk reaches temperature, turn the burner off. Slowly pour in 2/3 cup vinegar or lemon juice, while stirring with a spatula. Continue to stir slowly for about 1 minute, or until visible curds begin to form.
  • Let mixture sit for 10 minutes to slightly cool and continue to separate.
  • Line a sieve with damp cheesecloth (see note). Ladle larger curds into cheesecloth-lined sieve, and pour the remainder over the top. Place over a large bowl.
  • Let cheese drain for 10 minutes for very soft, wet ricotta; 30 minutes for a firmer, spreadable cheese suitable for most recipes, or up to 2 hours if desired. Season the cheese with a pinch of salt during draining if desired, taste, and add more if needed. The whey that accumulates in the large bowl underneath can be saved and used for another purpose or discarded.


** Ultra-high temperature pasteurized milk, usually noted on the label as "UHT" or "UP" will note form large curds during cheese-making. Most commercially available organic milks as well as some conventional fall into this category, and should not be used for cheesemaking
** Substitutes for cheesecloth: coffee filters, double layer of high quality paper towels, or extremely thin dishcloth
Keyword 60 minute recipe, cheese from scratch, dairy, homemade cheese