Homemade Ricotta

I grew up with farm fresh homemade ricotta thanks to my grandmother and great aunt; I can vividly remember seeing tasty logs of it refrigerating. I was like a kid in a candy store, sneaking a taste whenever I got the chance…it was that good!

On my own I had made a ricotta-like cheese, but didn’t always want to take the time…due to other interests in my younger years:). But, after seeing a recipe on Food52:


I was inspired to make it myself again, and after my first taste I was quickly reminded that finding time to make homemade is so worth it!

During cheese making the soft white curds rise to the top, separating, leaving the whey underneath, a watery liquid that most people dump. FACT: there are a variety of uses for the watery whey, AND…traditionally, ricotta is made by reheating the whey by-product from certain hard cheeses. But a ricotta-like cheese can also be made by extracting curds from milk – now days a popular method for many home cooks.

This ricotta posting is about making a homemade ricotta-like cheese by extracting curds straight from milk.

SPECIAL NOTE: My mission was to create as close to the taste I remembered growing up; buttermilk is the key – a larger ratio will give the ricotta more of a savory cheese taste, and that is perfect for the recipes I like to use ricotta in.

Makes about 16 ounces


  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large thick bottom pot
  • Candy thermometer
  • Colander with a triple layer of cheesecloth or clean kitchen towel; fit over another deep pot
  1. Combine the milk, buttermilk, cream and salt in a large, a heavy-bottomed pot and place over medium heat and attach the thermometer.
  2. Heat the milk on medium high, to a gentle simmer.
  3. Once the milk is very hot, 175-180 degrees, it will start to curdle around the edges of the pot. When you see this, let cook 2 more minutes and then turn off the heat.
  4. Let the pot sit there, undisturbed, for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Soft chunks of white curds will rise to the top, leaving the whey underneath.
  6. With this recipe, the whey is watery but milky-white with a pleasant, taste and aroma (kinda like skim milk), so I don’t discard. Instead, if used within a couple days, I add it to recipes calling for milk, such as, sauces, soups, smoothies, or breads, otherwise I freeze it in one cup containers, for a later use.
  7. *See “Curds & Whey” located under the cheese category, or click on the blue link at top of this page – for uses.
  8. Anyway, using a wire-mesh skimmer or large slotted spoon, gently lift the curds off into the colander, leaving as much of the whey behind as possible. Go slow – try not to break up the curds too much. When you’ve transferred them all, pour off the whey, to salvage any curds that are stuck to the bottom.
  9. Let the cheese drain for about half an hour or until the draining slows.
  10. Before placing in an airtight container, squeeze the ricotta inside the cheesecloth to remove any excess water.
  11. Pack the ricotta into a covered container and store in the refrigerator. It’s at its best during the first 3 to 4 days, but it will keep for about a week.

8 thoughts on “Homemade Ricotta

  1. Mary Constant February 17, 2012 at 8:27 PM Reply

    I am a big fan of your recipes! I just noticed that your ricotta is the same as Jennifer Perillo. I saved yours a long while ago and use it often. thanks!

    • lapadia February 17, 2012 at 9:28 PM Reply

      Mary! Thanks so much for your comment, I am thrilled my recipe has been working for you all this time. Actually JPerillo’s has the same ingredients, however she has a lower ratio of buttermilk, which will give a sweeter taste…perfect for dessert type recipes!

  2. Bevi February 18, 2012 at 7:21 AM Reply

    Linda, I am going to make stuffed shells using the Prince recipe, but use your ricotta. So after that I will be using your whey for other dishes! I can’t wait! I have decided to expand my technical base. Ciabatta this week, ricotta next week! You and Cynthia are my heroines!

    • lapadia February 18, 2012 at 12:38 PM Reply

      Sounds like a good plan, Bevi! Re: recipes, let me mention that your Kiev recipe is to die for…and your “bino’s”! Not to mention the roast chicken:)

  3. Bevi February 18, 2012 at 7:22 AM Reply

    PS, I love your photo of the bino bites! That tickles me pink!

    • lapadia February 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM Reply

      :) I love bino bites!!!! In a couple weeks I will be changing header to something for March…

  4. The Wimpy Vegetarian December 14, 2012 at 9:17 AM Reply

    I love homemade ricotta! I use a similar recipe – thanks so much for the reminder to make up a batch. When I have it around I use it in all kinds of things:-)

    • lapadia December 14, 2012 at 6:36 PM Reply

      Yes!! Love homemade ricotta, will need to have a batch of “holiday ricotta” waiting for a recipe or two, myself!

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