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
3.88 from 58 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.

Cook's notes

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
    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

    5 stars
    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

    • Reply
      Janet K
      August 13, 2021 at 10:49 am

      I have not yet made this recipe but I am hoping to use the left over whey to marinade chicken breasts. I had a really juicy chicken breast dish at a local restaurant that was brined/ marinaded in ricotta whey. I looked on line for recipes for cooking the chicken and found several. The dish at the restaurant was “pollo arrostito”.

      While I had not made this recipe, I have tried several of your other recipes and have enjoyed them all. Thank you for sharing with us!

      • Reply
        Sue Moran
        August 13, 2021 at 11:40 am

        That’s fascinating Janet, I’ve never heard of that, please let us know how it goes.

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