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!
- 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.
Did you love this Ricotta Cheese recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese (4 ingredients)
- 4 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
- 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.
Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.
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Adapted from: “No Whey.” Canadian Living, Sept. 2018, 9.