RECIPE: Fresh Ricotta Cheese

This recipe and process is so simple, I’m almost embarrassed to be devoting an entire post to explaining how to make ricotta cheese. With that said, fresh ricotta is so much better than the store-bought brands, that if I can change the life of just one cheese-lover with this post, it will all be worth it.

Fresh Ricotta Cheese

[yields about 2.5 cups]

– 1 gallon whole milk

– 1/3 cup distilled white vinegar

– salt, to taste


1. Slowly heat whole milk over medium heat in large non-reactive pot. Use a wooden spoon to periodically check the bottom of the pot to make sure that the milk is not scalding. Add salt if desired.

2. Using a thermometer, heat milk until it reaches about 180 deg F. Turn off the heat and add white vinegar. Stir a couple of times to distribute acid then let it sit for one hour. Milk will begin to curdle.

Ricotta cheese curdles

Ricotta cheese curdles

3. After one hour, strain milk/cheese through a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve using a slotted spoon. Cheesecloth is preferable if a dryer product is desirable since you can wring the product to drain all excess liquid.

Straining cheese through cheesecloth

Straining cheese through cheesecloth

4. Refrigerate cheese for up to one week.

NOTE:  Buttermilk or citric acid (or any form of acid) can be used instead of white vinegar but I have found that white vinegar provides the least amount of acidic flavor in the end product. If you are making the ricotta for a dessert application, citric acid may be desirable to obtain a particular flavor. Generally, use 1 quart of buttermilk or 1.5 teaspoons of citric acid per gallon of while milk.