Homemade Ricotta Cheese


How to make ricotta cheese with whole milk, yogurt, vinegar, and cream. Homemade ricotta is really easy and is great in many Italian dishes.

Photography Credit: David Lebovitz

Please welcome author, pastry chef, and delightful raconteur David Lebovitz of DavidLebovitz.com who shares with us his way of making homemade ricotta cheese. ~Elise

With so many fabulous cheeses made in France (where I live) I guess there’s not the need to import more from elsewhere.

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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 épicerie, 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.

What Can You Make With Ricotta?

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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Homemade ricotta - similar recipe with whole milk and buttermilk from Heidi of 101 Cookbooks

Ricotta made with whole milk, cream, salt, and lemon juice from Baking Obsession

David Lebovitz

David Lebovitz learned much of his craft at Chez Panisse, where he worked in the pastry department for more than twelve years. He is the author of several books, including The Perfect Scoop, Ready for Dessert, and My Paris Kitchen. David has lived in Paris since 2002, where he leads culinary tours.

More from David

61 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. meldbel

    hi can ricotta be made with yoghurt only? or if mild is compulsory, can i use low fat? thats all i hv right now

    Show Replies (1)
  2. Leo

    I made a half recipe using non-fat dry milk, Chobani non-fat Greek yogurt, and heavy (36%) cream. I used 3/4 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup cream, and a bit more vinegar. The result was beautiful and tasty.

    Kitchen hack: I didn’t have any cheese cloth so I used a reusable coffee filter to drain the curd. It worked great.


  3. Lisa

    Dear David, I just made this recipe. Thank you for taking the mystery out of a delicious cheese. It’s easy and only requires equipment that you already have in your kitchen.

  4. Erika

    Is it possible to make ricotta using lactose-free milk? My husband is lactose-intolerant and while he can eat hard cheeses, soft cheeses such as this give him trouble.

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Susan

    David, thank you so much for this recipe. I cannot believe how easy it is and how very, very good. I used a half recipe and got just about 12oz from it, drained for an hour. I plan on using it in the lasagna I’m making tonight and can’t wait to make the ricotta pound cake recipe sitting patiently on my to-try list. This is SO simple I can hardly wait to make more!


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