Did you know that it’s super easy to make homemade ricotta cheese with just 4 ingredients?
To make this deliciously creamy ricotta cheese recipe, all you need is milk, cream, salt & vinegar; no special tools required.
Ricotta is great in lasagna but perfect on toast, for topping pasta, and great in crepes or mixed into dips.
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta, Italian for recooked, is a soft curd cheese with a mild creamy flavor that easily compliments strong flavors like tomato marinara , basil pesto, or roasted garlic. It’s also great with fruit and a drizzle of honey over crostini.
Ricotta vs. Cottage Cheese
While they look similar and are interchangeable in most recipes, cottage cheese is made with cow’s milk and comes in large or small curds. Cottage cheese is less expensive and easier to find than ricotta, but ricotta has a more depth of flavor and tends to be a bit sweeter.
About The Ingredients
Milk is the main component in ricotta cheese, but not always cow milk. It can also be made with goat, sheep, or even buffalo milk. I use regular cow’s milk in this recipe, be sure you don’t use ultra-pasteurized milk (UHT).
Heavy cream and a dash of salt give ricotta its creamy flavor, but it’s the vinegar that creates those curds that burst with flavor as it rests.
Without an acid, ricotta won’t make curds, but if vinegar isn’t available, lemon juice is a good substitute.
How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese
It’s fun and easy to make fresh ricotta cheese!
- Boil milk, cream, and salt in a large pot (per the recipe below).
- Remove from the heat, stir in vinegar and let rest until it forms curds.
- Strain the curds in a colander and enjoy your homemade ricotta!
Don’t discard the leftover whey (the leftover liquid strained from the cheese curds). Whey is great to add to baked goods like bread or pizza dough! Place the colander over a bowl to catch the whey.
- Ricotta will last about 5 days in the refrigerator before it needs to be drained, stirred, and re-seasoned with a little salt before using again.
- It can be frozen, but it will be watery once it’s thawed because the cell structures that were once frozen will break down, so it may not perform as well in recipes. In this case, drain and make dips or spreads with thawed ricotta.
What Can Be Made with Ricotta Cheese?
Aside from a classic lasagna, this ricotta cheese recipe can be used in so many dishes! It’s is the perfect addition to pancakes, cheesecake, inside of crepes or (my personal favorite) spooned on top of tomato pasta.
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Homemade Ricotta Cheese (4 ingredients)
This Ricotta Cheese tastes way better than store-bought, it’s perfect for homemade pasta dishes!
Prep Time 5 minutes minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes minutes
Drain Time 45 minutes minutes
Total Time 1 hour hour 30 minutes minutes
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat milk, cream, and salt over medium heat while stirring. Cook just until the mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from the heat, add the vinegar, and stir to combine.
Let the mixture rest undisturbed for 30 minutes to allow curds to form.
Line a strainer or colander with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth. Gently spoon the ricotta curds into the strainer.
Allow to drain 30-45 minutes.
Homemade ricotta cheese will last up to 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
Calories: 254 | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 262mg | Potassium: 344mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 833IU | Calcium: 295mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
Course Appetizer, Side Dish Cuisine American
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Adapted from: “No Whey.” Canadian Living, Sept. 2018, 9.