Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Please welcome author, pastry chef, and delightful raconteur David Lebovitz of DavidLebovitz.com who shares with us his way of making homemade ricotta cheese. If you haven’t yet picked up David’s latest book The Sweet Life in Paris you’re missing out! ~Elise

With so many fabulous cheeses made in France (where I live) I guess there’s not the need to import more from elsewhere. But for those of us that occasionally make recipes calling for a large amount of ricotta, there aren’t any 2-pound tubs available, just tiny plastic containers in the supermarket. You can find very good ricotta by taking a trip to an Italian ├ępicerie, although if you need a large quantity, you’ll quickly find yourself headed for the maison des pauvres. (The Poor House.)

Making ricotta really is easy and for the price of a quart or two of milk, you can have a lovely mound of freshly-made, still-warm ricotta with very little effort. Homemade ricotta makes a wonderful base for Italian cheesecakes, ravioli fillings, and lasagna. I like to serve a spoonful of this with sliced fresh fruit; peaches, nectarines, or berries are lovely, along with a drizzle of honey. It also make a nice accompaniment to a stewed apricot compote, fresh or ripe figs, or poached dried fruits in the winter.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese Recipe

  • Yield: Makes 2 cups.

I always use whole milk yogurt, but if you do try it with low-fat yogurt, please let me know in the comments how it works out. I don't recommend non-fat yogurt for this recipe. This recipe can easily be halved or doubled.



  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • Optional: 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt


1 In a large pot, bring the milk, yogurt, heavy cream (if using), vinegar, and salt to a boil. Very gently boil for one to two minutes, until the milk is curdled.

2 Meanwhile, line a strainer with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl.

3 Pour the milk mixture into the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth around the curds and squeeze gently to extract any excess liquid.

Storage: Homemade ricotta is best served slightly warm, although it can be refrigerated for up to three days, if desired.

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Ricotta photo by David Lebovitz.

To Make Ricotta from Whey - by David Fankhauser
Making ricotta cheese using only whole milk and buttermilk - recipe from Sam Breach of Becks and Posh
Homemade ricotta - similar recipe with whole milk and buttermilk from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks
Ricotta made with whole milk, salt and lemon juice from Apples and Butter
Ricotta made with whole milk, cream, salt, and lemon juice from Baking Obsession
Make Ricotta at Home from A Chow Life
How to make ricotta at home using rennet - from Saveur
Homemade Chevre and Feta - from PurpleHouseDirt

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Showing 4 of 75 Comments

  • fethiye

    If you cool the mix before straining it, you will get more ricotta. It keep curdling for a while as it cools…

  • arugulove

    I have made ricotta before but not with yogurt. Just milk and cream. Interesting…I wonder how different it tastes? I’m wondering if there’s more of a nutritional benefit if it’s with yogurt?

  • David

    fethiye: That’s interesting. Since I’m so frugal (a gift from my mother), it’s good to know. Next time I make this, I’m certainly going to try that and see if I can maximize my yield. Thanks!

    arugula: I’ve not made ricotta with just milk and cream but am wondering how it coagulates without an acidic ingredient or rennet added?

    Some nutritionists argue that cultured yogurt don’t do all that much for you, unless it has bifudus in it. (Aside from the vitamins and calcium present in most dairy products.) So even though I’m not a nutritionist, I make it a point to try to eat, and use, yogurt with that in it. And hopefully gain any nutritional benefits.

  • Toni

    My grandma used to boil spoiled leftover whole milk without any other ingredient. The resulting cheese was not as creamy as ricotta but a thicker version that in Catalonia is called “mat├│”. I use lemon juice or vinegar to force the curdling.

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