How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese

How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese ~ this is super easy, and so satisfying. Fresh homemade ricotta cheese is worlds away from the stuff in the supermarket and it’s ridiculously quick to make, with just 2 ingredients!

freshly made ricotta cheese in a jar

If you think making homemade cheese is something you could never attempt, think again. Ricotta cheese is the perfect home cheesemaking project for a beginner, and once you try it, there’s no going back.

a bottle of milk

What you will need to make homemade ricotta ~

pouring milk into a pot for making homemade ricotta cheese

Here’s the easy no stress method. Don’t let the fancy complicated tutorials put you off. I think those people secretly want to keep cheesemaking all to themselves. Just heat your milk just until it wants to boil, then add fresh lemon juice. The curds will appear almost instantly, like magic.

Making homemade ricotta cheese

Strain the whole thing through cheesecloth or a mesh nylon nut milk bag and you’l be left with soft fresh ricotta cheese. Use it immediately or within a few days. It’s fabulous in so many dishes.

Honey Roasted Plums with fresh ricotta in a small glass bowl with spoon

What to do with your homemade ricotta ~


How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese pin

Reader Rave ~

“This was great and so easy! I added salt and pepper. It really kicked up my frozen pizza. Thanks”  ~ H. Washington


freshly made ricotta cheese in a jar
3.78 from 53 votes

How to Make Easy Ricotta Cheese

A super easy fresh ricotta cheese you can make right on your stove top, in minutes!
Course cheesemaking
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Yield 3 -4 cups
Author Sue Moran


  • a half gallon of whole milk
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice


  • Open out your cheesecloth and line the colander with a double layer of the cloth, covering all sides of the colander.  Set that over a deep bowl for draining and set aside.
  • Pour your milk into a heavy bottomed pot and set on medium heat.   Let it heat slowly, until it's just about to boil.
  • Add in your 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and almost immediately you will see the curds form.
  • Keeping it on the heat, let the curds fully form.  Don't stir it much, just check to see if the curds have fully separated from the whey.  The liquid should be translucent.  This won't take long, just a minute or so.
  • Take it off the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Then, using a slotted spoon or skimmer, skim the curds out and into your cheesecloth lined strainer. You can gently pour the liquid from the pan straight into the lined colander if you like.
  • After a few minutes, pull up the cheesecloth and gently press to release more whey. The more you drain the cheese the firmer it will become. I like it soft so I just let the moisture drip for a few minutes and then put my fresh cheese in an airtight container until I'm ready to use it. The cheese will keep 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

notes and variations

Feel free to double the recipe for a larger batch.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    November 13, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    Can I substitute the lemon juice for acv my husband is allergic to citrus?

  • Reply
    October 26, 2020 at 6:01 am

    5 stars
    You may like to know that tried this recipe using goats milk for a friend who is basically non-bovine dairy. It worked extremely well – even if I did mess up my milk to lemon juice ratio. The extra lemon really added extra depth to the flavour. My intention is to use this as a substitute for cream in a fresh avocado soup recipe. I used 1 litre of goats milk and it made at least a cup of ricotta.

    • Reply
      October 26, 2020 at 6:02 am

      I’ve tried the same thing Wendy, I pressed mine into little rounds, it was fun! Thanks for the feedback, I’m sure others will want to try this.

  • Reply
    Else van Wyk
    September 28, 2020 at 3:47 am

    Hi Sue
    Can I use any plant based milk for your recipe?

    • Reply
      September 28, 2020 at 6:14 am

      You can’t make it with this method, but I have seen recipes for imitation ricotta made with almonds and nutritional yeast.

  • Reply
    Patricia Walker
    August 2, 2020 at 8:15 am

    This is the second time I’ve made this ricotta. This time I halved the recipe because I had a quart of milk. It looks good and tastes delicious but it only made about a cup. Do you think that is about right? Seems it should have been at least a cup and a half. I followed the recipe, heating the milk up slowly before adding the lemon juice. I let it cook a full two minutes or slightly more (the recipe says ‘just about a minute’. But it still didn’t look at translucent as in your video. I let it sit off the heat for 5 minutes and poured it into a cheesecloth lined stainer. D o you think I should have cooked it even longer to get to more translucent whey?

    • Reply
      August 2, 2020 at 8:18 am

      You can let it sit longer, and sometimes that will result in more separation, Patricia. I usually go by eye, and let it cook a little longer if the whey is still milky.

  • Reply
    July 1, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I have never tried Ricotta, I’m not sure why, but I usually just replace ricotta in my recipes with cream cheese. I have looked at this recipe and the one for cream cheese, and they are the same except for the blending part. So do cream cheese and ricotta cheese actually taste that similar?? Have I been denying myself a wonderfully tasting product just because I absolutely love cream cheese!! Oh say it isn’t so!! ? I will be trying both of the recipes today and I can’t wait to see how good they are going to taste. Thank you so much! You may have just changed my life! I had 4 packages of cream cheese on my grocery list (yes, I love it in everything) but now I think I just need milk!! Total life changer!

  • Reply
    June 14, 2020 at 4:58 am

    Several years ago I purchased Ricotta from the store and I hated the grainy texture. I’ve not tried it since. Is homemade any better as I’d love to give it a try. I make my own yogurt so I do have my hands in already, so to speak.

    • Reply
      June 14, 2020 at 5:15 am

      Homemade ricotta is very creamy and delicate, so I think you’d love it Sandy.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2020 at 12:20 am

    Would like some feedback please if anyone can help. I made this ricotta recipe and yes it was delicious however my curds were not lumpy and the consistency was definitely more cream cheese -like. I am trying it again today see if the result changes however, I was wondering if my result was because where I live, we don’t have fresh milk like most people. Our milk is all taken in, turned into powder and then reconstituted. We get full milk, semi skinned and skimmed but all from powder. Do you think this could be why my curds are not so lumpy? Thanks a lot. Wendy.

  • Reply
    Susan from PA
    April 28, 2020 at 3:55 am

    5 stars
    I am happy to know this. I love recipes with Ricotta, but it’s always so expensive that I never keep it on hand.

    Now I can make my own! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Carol Ann Brubaker
    March 30, 2020 at 4:51 am

    Would this be suitable for making cannoli filling?

    • Reply
      March 30, 2020 at 7:07 am


  • Reply
    Pastora Cate
    October 13, 2019 at 3:24 pm

    5 stars
    I tried this and it was great! I’ll do my ricotta cheese this way from now on. Thanks!

    • Reply
      October 14, 2019 at 8:44 am

      I’m so glad Pastora, enjoy all your ricotta 🙂

  • Reply
    Sherry Gregory
    June 13, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Do you have suggestions for how to use the left-over liquid? Is this left-over product whey? Since this is my first attempt to making any kind of cheese do not want to waste anything that is nutritional or good for fermenting. Thank you – always enjoy your posts.

    • Reply
      June 13, 2019 at 9:55 am

      Hey Sherry, yes, it is whey, and you can use it in soups or stews, or smoothies. I would not use it as a substitute for milk in baking as it’s not rich enough.

  • Reply
    Barb T
    March 13, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    5 stars
    This is one of the easiest things I’ve ever made, and I’m so proud of my homemad cheese!!

  • Reply
    Elena Balsamo
    February 14, 2019 at 6:05 pm

    Can I use any plant base milk?

  • Reply
    Claudia W. Lown Cope
    February 13, 2019 at 5:55 pm

    This process works for making cream cheese also. Use 4 cups whole milk and 3 tablespoons lemon juice, one spoon at a time. When process is complete, as in ricotta cheese, place kurds in blender until smooth. If too thick, just add a little of the whey. Form and refrigerate. Will kept several days. Hope this is an appropriate post for here.

    • Reply
      February 13, 2019 at 6:39 pm

      Oh thanks Claudia ~ I am planning to make my way through all these fun projects, I’ll try the cream cheese next!

    • Reply
      Lois Gibbson
      October 17, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Good to know thx.

  • Reply
    February 12, 2019 at 11:25 am

    Will this work with Lactaid whole milk?

    • Reply
      February 12, 2019 at 11:34 am

      Yes, you absolutely can make it with Lactaid 🙂

  • Reply
    February 11, 2019 at 10:07 am

    This looks really great and, as you say, easy. I’m Keto so I will be using whipping cream. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      February 11, 2019 at 10:32 am

      Hey Catherine, I’ll be interested to hear how that goes, I’m under the impression that using cream won’t curdle very well. I sometimes add a little cream to enrich my ricotta, but I thought heavy cream was more difficult to use. I might have to try again, it does sound luxe!

  • Reply
    August 27, 2018 at 11:31 am

    This is wonderful and so easy. I didn’t get 3 – 4 cups though. Probably, pushing it, maybe 2. I left mine a little loose too. I had to use lactose free milk. I wonder if that affected the amount? There might be a scientific explanation. Lol! Thank you! Making your honey plums for dessert tonight. Can’t wait!

    • Reply
      August 28, 2018 at 7:14 am

      That’s interesting that it works with lactose free milk, Alene, and that could have affected the amount you got, not sure.

      • Reply
        August 28, 2018 at 12:35 pm

        Made it with the roasted plums. Very very good! Had the leftovers for breakfast. I’m going to experiment with other fruits too. Buying another half gallon of lactose free milk again. I wonder if it would work with 2% or 0 fat?? Maybe I’ll make half to test it. It’s already missing lactose and to cut the fat might be a little too many changes.

      • Reply
        September 5, 2019 at 5:46 pm

        Hi! I know this is an old post, but I just found it and tried it, and I’m hoping you can help me troubleshoot what I might have done wrong. I didn’t get the yield that was listed on the recipe. I used almost 3 quarts of wonderful, fresh whole raw milk (I didn’t read any stipulations on the milk). I also used bottled lemon juice. ( I used the recipe before reading “fresh squeezed” in the body of the blog.) Anyway, I only got 1 c of ricotta from 3 QUARTS of milk!!! Any tips/ideas/help would be greatly appreciated!

        • Reply
          September 5, 2019 at 6:55 pm

          Hey Heidi ~ the yield will vary from batch to batch, but make sure you heat the milk to an actual simmer first, and be sure to let the curds rest off the heat before scooping. And don’t forget you can definitely use the leftover whey in cooking and baking, so I won’t go to waste.

  • Reply
    August 19, 2018 at 10:47 am

    Can you use a nut milk bag in place of cheese cloth?

    • Reply
      August 19, 2018 at 10:51 am

      You can, and you can also use nylon mesh bags, I like those the best because they’re so easy to rinse out and clean.

  • Reply
    Antonia Ayala
    August 19, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Hi Sue,
    Is there anything you can make with the liquid that is left over from the ricotta making process? Thanks, Antonia

    • Reply
      August 19, 2018 at 8:41 am

      The whey is pretty thin, Antonia, but you can use it. You can use it for stock, or as a cooking liquid for rices and grains, for instance. You can freeze it for later, too.

      • Reply
        February 11, 2019 at 4:47 pm


  • Reply
    H Washington
    January 10, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    5 stars
    This was great and so easy! I added salt and pepper. It really kicked up my frozen pizza. Thanks

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