Even you can make homemade ricotta cheese with this easy 4 ingredient recipe!
When you think of ricotta cheese, the first thing you think of is lasagna, right? While that may be true, ricotta can be used in a lot of other great recipes or even just enjoyed on crostini or toast with veggies or honey on top!
Ricotta is awesome added to pancakes, cheesecake, inside of crepes or even spooned on top of a tomato pasta. With just a few simple ingredients and some basic steps, there’s no need to buy ricotta at the store!
What is Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta is a white, soft curd cheese with a mild creamy flavor that easily blends in with strong flavors like tomato marinara and basil pesto. It works well with stronger herbs and seasoning like roasted garlic when used as a spread for bread and crackers. It’s a pretty versatile cheese and making your own means you’ll always have some on hand when you need it!
Ricotta vs. Cottage Cheese
While they look similar and are interchangeable in most recipes, cottage cheese is strictly made with cow’s milk and comes in large or small curds. Cottage cheese is less expensive and easier to find than ricotta, but ricotta’s flavor has more depth and it tends to be a bit sweeter.
Ingredients and Variations
Milk is the main component in ricotta cheese, but not always cow milk. It’s can also be made with goat, sheep, or even buffalo milk. I use regular cow’s milk in this recipe.
Heavy cream and a dash of salt give ricotta it’s creamy flavor, but it’s the vinegar that creates those curds that burst with flavor as it rests.
Without an acid, ricotta won’t make curds, but if vinegar isn’t available, lemon juice is a good substitute.
How to Make Homemade Ricotta Cheese
It’s fun and as easy as 1-2-3 to make homemade ricotta!
- Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large pot.
- Stir until the mixture comes to a boil. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in vinegar.
- Let the mixture rest 30 minutes. Take two layers of cheesecloth and line a strainer or colander with it. Spoon the ricotta curds into the strainer and drain according to recipe instructions.
Stir it up and store it in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until it’s ready to use! Now that wasn’t so hard, was it?
- Ricotta will last about 5 days in the refrigerator before it needs to be drained, stirred, and re-seasoned with a little salt before using again.
- It can be frozen, but it will be watery once it’s thawed because the cell structures that were once frozen will break down, so it may not perform as well in recipes. In this case, drain and make dips or spreads with thawed ricotta.
What Can be Made with Ricotta Cheese?
Aside from a classic lasagna, ricotta cheese can be used for many things including filling homemade ravioli.
- Manicotti – perfect for weeknights
- Baked Ziti – so easy to make
- Calzones or Stromboli – cheesy and flavorful
- Blueberry Crepes – freezer friendly
- Cheese Cannelloni – a crowd favorite
Did you love this Ricotta Cheese recipe? Be sure to leave a comment and a rating below!
Homemade Ricotta Cheese (4 ingredients)
- 4 cups whole milk
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice
Combine milk, cream, and salt in a large pot.
Heat over medium heat while stirring just until the mixture comes to a boil.
Remove from heat and add vinegar. Stir just a few times to combine.
Leave the mixture to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.
Line a strainer with 2 layers of damp cheesecloth. Gently spoon the ricotta curds into the strainer.
Allow to drain at least 45 minutes.
Adapted from: “No Whey.” Canadian Living, Sept. 2018, 9.