Homemade Ricotta

homemade ricotta

Early yesterday morning (before my coffee had a chance to kick in), I made my own ricotta. After a few simple steps and a brief period of waiting, I HAD MADE MY OWN RICOTTA!!! I spent hours bouncing off the walls with excitement. No, it wasn’t the coffee! It was the ricotta!  Ina Garten is a genius; but I already knew that. I absolutely love her and this recipe has clearly changed my life. This ricotta is silky smooth and creamy, not gritty and tasteless like the ricotta you find in a grocery store. Store bought ricotta is super expensive and this batch cost me less than a small tub from the store. How awesome is that?


Later on the in the day I made Ina’s herbed ricotta bruschetta for lunch and it was absolutely divine. I’ll post the recipe soon but first you should making your own ricotta! Put it on your weekend TO-DO list and join the fun!

Thank you Ina for helping me knock of another item from my 31 comes before 32 list!

#25. Make my own cheese from scratch=DONE.

And we’re off!

Milk. Heavy Cream. Vinegar. Cheesecloth. Strainer. Bowl.


Put milk & heavy cream in a big pot.

milk and cream

Add kosher salt. Stir it up.


Boil it.


Measure vinegar.


Pour it in the milk/cream that just boiled.

hello vinegar

Let it sit for a minute.


Curds & Whey! Paging little Miss Muffet, where are you??

1 minute

Pour it over the cheesecloth.


Strain out the liquid.


Let it sit. The longer you let it sit, the thicker it is. I went 40 minutes on this batch.




I MADE MY OWN RICOTTA!!! You should do it too.

Homemade Ricotta

Makes about 2 cups (less if you strain it longer)

(recipe from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy is That? by Ina Garten)

  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons good white wine vinegar

Set a large sieve over a deep bowl. Dampen 2 layers of cheesecloth with water and line the sieve with the cheesecloth.

Pour the milk and stream into a stainless steel or enameled pot such as Le Creuset. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).

Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally discarding the liquid that collects in the bowl. The longer you let the mixture drain, the thicker the ricotta (I left mine sitting for 40 minutes to make it super smooth). Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth and any remaining whey. Use immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days.

  • Lana

    I think I made my version with only whole milk and it still turned out creamy and ricotta-y. I think that Ina lady just wants to fatten everyone up!

  • kelly

    Can’t believe how easy this looks. Just spent $7 for a small container. I will make this. Thanks for sharing, Tracy!

  • Mary Catherine of [Good Graces]

    I’m in love with this. Isn’t homemade cheese amazing? You should check out my little post on making goat cheese (if you’re so inclined)! http://www.good-graces.com/2011/04/handcrafted-chevre.html

    • Tracy

      I AM SOOO INTO THAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was JUST thinking about how I’d love to make goat cheese!!! THANK YOU!

  • cindy

    I am SO doing this! I love Ina too, but you…are a total rad-ass. Yeah.

  • Nicole

    Yes! I can now alternately make cheese and ice cream when buying diary in bulk! I have a recipe bookmarked that would be so freaking fantastic with fresh ricotta. Thanks for making it look so easy 🙂

    Is your birthday coming up? You’re really cranking out that list!

    • Tracy

      YES! August 18th!! I’m trying to bust out as much as possible. Totally not gonna make them all though. oh wells!

  • Vanessa

    This has been on my to do list for an absurd amount of time.. Seriously I’m ashamed.. I need to make this soon. Looks delicious!

  • Petra

    Wow, awesome, you have all my respect! 🙂

  • Megan Gordon

    I love that you did this. I remember the first time I went to Allison’s house for dinner, she made homemade mozzarella, this amazing pasta etc. and I was so blown away by the fact she made her own cheese. She insists it’s as easy as you say it is…guess if you both say so, I’ve got to give it a go. Happy Friday!

  • heather @ chiknpastry

    hrrmmmm…. i do love the idea of making my own ricotta. but! i’m not the biggest ina fan – she sorta gets on my nerves, but not in the same way that sandra lee does, so there’s that!

    congrats on knockin’ off those list items!

  • Lynx

    Has anyone tried making feta cheese? I know I could google for how-tos, but why waste a good post. If I could eat that all the time, I would. But nevermind.


  • Joana

    uau!so cool!
    In my country (Portugal) we usually do ‘fresh cheese’. It’s just whole milk, salt and rennet. You have to try too 🙂

  • Emily @ Wardrobe Block

    Amazed! I also love your utensil table cloth.

  • Carina

    Ooo gotta get myself a cheesecloth now….

  • Michelle

    Oh my, I am seriously salivating!! Have seen the recipe and love Ina but was always to scared, so thank you Tracy because now I feel courageous and will give it a go 🙂

  • linsiloo

    Mmmmm….. this looks amazing! If you like Indian food, you should try this recipe for sauteed arugula & paneer. Paneer is this mild mozzarella-like cheese that is beyond delicious and VERY easy to make. The steps are pretty much the same as this. I blogged the recipe here: http://wp.me/pW913-Pv.

    THANKS FOR POSTING THIS. I’m making this tomorrow. 🙂

    • linsiloo

      ps. it was totally tacky to post my own blog within a comment, wasn’t it? i blame homemade-cheese-sharing excitement… ooooops!

  • Darcee

    Have you ever tried making your own yogurt? I’ve been making my own for the last year, it’s a super easy way using the crockpot. And, if you leave it to strain longer, you get labneh, a kind of cheese. Both are delicious!!!

  • N.

    I never have thought that making ricotta at home is that doable an gives such wonderful results!
    And I can totally understand your excitement!

  • Helen

    I’m going to make this today! I love Ina Garten.
    I’m going to use it in Rachel Allen’s Pasta, tomato, basil & ricotta recipe… simple and delish!

    Hi from UK, by the way. I’ve just found your website from the Joy the Baker podcasts that I’ve just discovered.

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  • Katie

    Oh! I love Ina and I love how easy this looks and I love that I have a new project! Fantastic!

    Also, so cool you have a “31 before 32” list. I have a “26 before 26” list, AND our birthdays are super close together! Good luck on it!

  • marci

    holy cannoli! you & Ina are both GENIUS 😀

  • Julia

    thanks for the inspiration tracy, i made ricotta this weekend! when asked about the impromptu cheese-making urge, i replied, i got the recipe from the lady i met in trader joes!

  • Josh

    I hate to crash the party, guys, but this isn’t authentic ricotta cheese and it’s probably why you find it so distinct from the ricotta you buy in the supermarket. Nothing wrong with that. But, not ricotta.

    Ina’s recipe is for a soft cheese curd (the heavy cream’s high fat content is necessary for a fine, tender curd), while ricotta would actually be made from the whey–the clear liquid that you strained off.

    • Tracy

      Party Crasher!! Thanks for the info, Josh. Someone needs to tell Ina & her cookbook editors! The nerve of them to consider it real ricotta! I kid..I kid… Even though this might not technically be LEGIT ricotta, it still tastes awesome and is way better (to me at least!) than store bought ricotta. It’s also a very good alternative to me and it’s cheaper. Hopefully other people might see that it’s easy to make your own “cheese” as a result of this post, and that was my ultimate goal.

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    You are opening up a whole new world of possibilities for me. Dear lord.

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  • arabella

    I made ricotta! Thanks to you Tracy :)))

  • Leslie

    Dang. I just got done making this and I had way more whey than curds. Only like a cup of ricotta. I think I should have waited longer before I poured it into the sieve. Any suggestions?

  • Kim

    I can’t get mine to form curds. Help!!!!!!

  • Kim

    You are awesome. Followed it to the letter!! Won’t form curds. I have it in my 5.5 Qt Le Creuset now.

  • Kim

    I put in the whole milk, cream and salt. Heated it to a boil. Tool it off the heat. Put in 3 teaspoons vinegar and waited. No curds.

  • Kim

    Think I figured it out. I was using teaspoons instead of tablespoons of vinegar. Just added more and I am waiting.

  • Kim

    We are getting curds!!!! Thank you for the moral support!!

  • Kim

    Thanks again. I was very worried there for several minutes! I made the herbed ricotta bruschetta and it rocked!! Hope you had a great weekend. You sure helped mine end well.

  • Lisa

    Bummer! Followed instructions exactly and my mixture…would. not. separate. I even tried adding some extra vinegar, but alas. Can’t figure out why. I’m no slouch in the kitchen, but this one didn’t work for me. Any clues?

  • pamela

    Made this today, sooo delicious, especially when it was warm…Then I made the herbed ricotta spread on grilled ciabbatta, oh my…genius! thank you thank you thank you!!!!

    • Tracy

      That sounds soo good! I am going to have to make some ricotta soon. I forgot how wonderful it is!

  • Tracy

    …went down to Pike Place Market today and picked up fabulous ingredients to make this. Whole milk and heavy cream and lots of fresh herbs. It’s in the cheesecloth now…can’t wait to try it! So much for a New Years Resolutions…

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