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Fresh Homemade Ricotta

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 4-1/2 cups ricotta

Freshly made ricotta is so good, you’ll want to eat it by the spoonful. With so few ingredients, the quality of each is very important. The better your milk and cream, the better your cheese will be. A high-quality sea salt will also make a difference. If you’d like to make a little less, the recipe is easily halved.


  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. flaky sea salt, such as Maldon
  • 1/2 cup fresh, strained lemon juice (from 2 large lemons)

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per 2 Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 45
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 30
  • Fat (g): 3
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Cholesterol (mg): 10
  • Sodium (mg): 130
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 2


  • Line a colander with 3 to 4 layers of lightly dampened cheesecloth, and set it in a clean sink or large bowl.
  • Clip an instant-read or candy thermometer to the side of a heavy-duty 7- to 8-quart pot. Put the milk and cream in the pot and slowly warm it over medium heat, stirring occasionally with a silicone spatula, until it’s 185°F, about 20 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, stir in the salt, and then slowly pour the lemon juice over the surface of the milk. Once all of the lemon juice has been added, stir gently for 1 to 2 minutes to encourage curds to form.
  • Gently ladle the curds into the prepared colander. Fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the curds to loosely cover. Drain until it reaches your desired consistency, 30 minutes for a soft ricotta and up to 24 hours for a very firm, dry, dense ricotta. Refrigerate if draining for more than a couple of hours. Transfer the drained ricotta to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 weeks.


Rate or Review

Reviews (16 reviews)

  • stupidcheese | 04/11/2020

    Nowhere in this recipe does it say that ultra pasteurized milk will NOT curdle. I wasted a gallon of milk and about 5 lemons (based on the comments about lemon acidity) on trying to make mess of a pot curdle. I wasted money on organic milk and the best cream I could find. I am so angry and disappointed. The stores are out of ricotta bc of the virus and Easter—thought I could save the day by making this for our annual ricotta pie.

    If you’re reading this—do not use ultra pasteurized milk—go Google it. It won’t work.

  • marion535 | 12/13/2019

    Wonderful, foolproof recipe. Yields the most delicious ricotta to serve on its own or in recipes and lasts for weeks. My white pizza reached new heights!

  • nm38 | 02/16/2019

    We used goat milk instead of whole milk and cream and it was delicious!

  • namest | 12/30/2018

    I'm married to a Italian and he had never had homemade ricotta before. I've never been a fan of ricotta no matter what brand I bought. Now we can't believe what a difference homemade makes in the flavor of any dish. My first batch I thought not curdling. Walked the dogs and came back to throw it out but it set up just fine and tasted amazing. The best quality freshest whole milk makes all the difference. We have a local dairy so if you can find that, use their milk as opposed to a grocery chain.

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