Homemade Ricotta Cheese {In Under an Hour}

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Homemade ricotta cheese is one of those things that I almost hate introducing (assuming you haven’t delved into the creamy world of homemade ricotta yet) because once you make it, you may never be able to go back to the often-gritty, compact, chunky store-bought stuff, and I don’t want you giving me the stink eye for destroying all of your convenient grocery store dreams.

I’m sorry for today. Kind of. Well, actually, not really. But let me tell you why before you think me a cold-hearted soul.

The reason I’m not genuinely apologetic is because

a) hopefully you know me well enough by now to know that obviously buying store-bought ricotta cheese will not make you a lazy, bad, terrible, dishonorable person (if it does, then let’s start a club) and

b) homemade ricotta is so easy (and I mean that in a very honest “easy” way, not a 15-step, 20-ingredient, slightly misleading “easy” way) that you’ll be wondering where it’s been all your life.

Have you ever made homemade yogurt? Yeah, ricotta cheese is about a billion times faster and simpler, plus most of the process is you just standing around watching it all happen.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese

I don’t make homemade ricotta cheese every time a recipe calls for it (is this the time we should decide on an official name for our club?), but every time I do, I speak to my inner person and tell her that she really should put this on the regular rotation.

Alas, life seems to have a way of, well, getting in the way and so instead of firing slothful inner persons, I just relax knowing that homemade ricotta is only a few minutes away the next time I can swing it.

Homemade ricotta cheese is so much creamier than your average, store-bought version (even the whole milk variety), and if you give it a whirl in a blender after it’s strained and chilled, it’s almost other-worldly in it’s luscious soft creaminess.

Consider today’s post a friendly warning (think of me as the kindly middle school teacher strongly hinting that you might want to study up on all the continents) for what’s to come Friday.

You might want to have a batch of this handy. I won’t be giving you a pop quiz on the world’s greatest land masses but you’ll be glad you listened and obeyed. Trust me.

A quick note about equipment: other than a pot and spoon, using an instant-read thermometer will come in very handy (and alleviate any temperature guesswork). Also, I use my nut milk strainer bag thingy for straining the ricotta cheese (and homemade yogurt, too). It works like a dream (and washes up easily for reuse) but you can also use cheesecloth inside a colander.

Scroll down below the recipe for a handy step-by-step tutorial on this easy homemade ricotta. 

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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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Ingredients:

  • 8 cups milk (2% or above for creamier ricotta)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon coarse, kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine the milk, heavy cream, and salt in a medium pot. Heat on medium, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching (you can kick up the heat to speed up the process if you don’t mind stirring attentively the whole time), until the milk is steaming just below a simmer and registers 180 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
  2. Off the heat, stir in the vinegar. Immediately, the milk will start to separate. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes.
  3. Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth (coffee filters work great, too, if you stagger them or they are large enough) or open a nut milk strainer bag over a large bowl. Spoon in the large curds first if you want to avoid splatters and follow it up by pouring in the rest of the mixture.
  4. If using a nut milk bag, carefully lift it up and out of the bowl and hang it so it can continue to drip into the bowl. Let the ricotta strain for 10-60 minutes, depending on the texture you are after. I usually go with right around 15 minutes for super creamy ricotta.
  5. Scrape the ricotta out of the colander or bag; use immediately or refrigerate up to a week or so.

Notes:

I’ve made this once with 1% (never with skim or non-dairy milks – lower fat milks may not separate as well into the curds and whey) and my favorite combination is the one I’ve listed in the ingredients. Feel free to play around with the type of milk/cream used.

Don’t discard the whey! I use leftover whey in pancakes (in the place of buttermilk) and in my homemade bread (subbing it in for the water), among other things.

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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

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