Even you can make homemade ricotta cheese with this easy 4 ingredient recipe!

When you think of ricotta cheese, the first thing you think of is lasagna, right? While that may be true, ricotta can be used in a lot of other great recipes or even just enjoyed as toast or on crostini or toast with veggies or honey on top!

Homemade Ricotta Cheese in a bowl with a spoon

Ricotta is awesome added to pancakes, cheesecake, inside of crepes or even spooned on top of a tomato pasta. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic steps, there’s no need to buy ricotta at the store!

What is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta is a white, soft curd cheese with a mild creamy flavor that easily blends in with strong flavors like tomato marinara and basil pesto. It works well with stronger herbs and seasoning like roasted garlic when used as a spread for bread and crackers. It’s a pretty versatile cheese and making your own means you’ll always have some on hand when you need it!

Ricotta vs. Cottage Cheese

While they look similar and are interchangeable in most recipes, cottage cheese is strictly 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’s flavor has more depth and it tends to be a bit sweeter.

ingredients to make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients and Variations

Milk is the main component in ricotta cheese, but not always cow milk. It’s can also be made with goat, sheep, or even buffalo milk. I use regular cow’s milk in this recipe.

Heavy cream and a dash of salt give ricotta it’s 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.

process of straining Homemade Ricotta Cheese

How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

It’s fun and as easy as 1-2-3 to make homemade ricotta!

  1. Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large pot.
  2. Stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in vinegar.
  3. Let the mixture rest 30 minutes. Take two layers of cheesecloth and line a strainer or colander with it. Spoon the ricotta curds into the strainer and drain according to recipe instructions.

Stir it up and store it in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until it’s ready to use! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Homemade Ricotta Cheese on a toasted piece of bread


  • 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, ricotta cheese can be used for many things including filling homemade ravioli.

Did you love this Ricotta Cheese recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below! 

Homemade Ricotta Cheese in a bowl with a spoon
5 from 30 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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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
Cook Time 40 minutes
Drain Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 4


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice


  • Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large pot.
  • Heat over medium heat while stirring just until the mixture comes to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and add vinegar. Stir just a few times to combine.
  • Leave the mixture to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.
  • Line a strainer with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth. Gently spoon the ricotta curds into the strainer.
  • Allow to drain 30-45 minutes.
5 from 30 votes

Nutrition Information

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, Pasta, Side Dish
Cuisine American

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Homemade Ricotta Cheese on bread with a title
Homemade Ricotta Cheese in a bowl with a title
close up of Homemade Ricotta Cheese in a bowl with writing
ingredients to make Homemade Ricotta Cheese with plated dish with writing

Adapted from: “No Whey.” Canadian Living, Sept. 2018, 9.


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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    1. Hi Ku’ualoha, I have always drained the liquid off but I bet it would be delicious used to make homemade pasta, bread or in a creamy soup! I would love to hear what you end up using it in!

  1. Mine came out delicious. Used a full cream milk and used lemon juice. Cheese had a sweet smell after it was strained. Used it for ravioli, love it!

  2. I have done this 2 times. Followed every step. Never got any curds. Used white vinegar and whole milk. What am I doing wrong? Ps…I’m a very experienced cook and baker

    1. I can’t say for sure Jayne, we made this ricotta again this week and it turned out beautifully. Did you allow the mixture to just come to a boil? Did you use vinegar or fresh lemon juice?

    2. Hi Jayne,
      I suspect I know what your issue might be. Are you using a reactive pan? I have made this a few times (always in my enameled cast iron dutch oven) with great results! Right now, as we speak, I doubled the receipe in side by side pots, enameled cast iron dutch oven on the left and my aluminum pot on the right. The ricotta in the aluminum pot is not curdling, so I suspect this is the reason. I beleive the recipe only works in a non-reactive pot. My $.02 cents.

  3. Holly: Thank you for the recipe for homemade ricotta cheese. Planned on making lasagna had all the ingredients except the ricotta. Found the recipe here at your website, my son helped me but it together. It was simple. Did not have fresh whole milk but always have several cans of Nestle NIDO Fortificada Instant milk in my cupboard. Used the dry milk in place of the whole milk, just followed the directions for making four cups of milk. Followed your directions for the ricotta step by step. Wow! Now, have the ricotta cheese for my lasagna. Thanks again for posting this recipe.5 stars

  4. Sounds super easy. I’m gotta try it, since we use a lot of Ricotta. Does ultra-pasteurized Heavy Cream work, b/c that’s the only kind I find in my supermarket. Thanks

  5. This looks great, but unfortunately, all of the heavy creams at my grocery store has additives (either gellan gum or carageenan). Will this still work if I use one of those creams? Thanks!

    1. Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Vincenzo. I’m not sure what would cause it to be hard as I haven’t had that problem. Did you add heavy cream? Did you drain it for only 30-45 minutes?

    1. 1 percent milk will work but the final product won’t be as rich if whole milk was used.

  6. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me
    out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.5 stars