This creamy ricotta cheese is so simple to make and can be used in so many dishes!
Making homemade ricotta cheese is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Literally! All you need is 3 ingredients, and you can have creamy and delicious ricotta cheese in under 40 minutes. I use the cheese to spread on bread, in homemade ravioli and lasagna, and in ricotta cookies, but there are so many other uses for ricotta such as salads and sandwiches!
The ricotta-making process is like a science experiment, so this may be a good recipe to include kids on. When you add acid to milk (or in my case half and half), it curdles and separates into casein and whey. This occurs because adding acid to milk lowers the milk’s pH, causing the milk proteins to unwind and clump together into curds. You are left with an opaque liquid (whey) and clumpy curds (casein). The casein is the ricotta cheese and the whey is leftover liquid rich in vitamins and minerals that can be used to cook rice, oats, vegetables, stews, and more. Try not to throw the whey down the drain because it’s very nutritious! Most people use whole milk for their ricotta, but I opted to use half and half, a mixture of heavy cream and whole milk, which resulted in creamier ricotta cheese. I made ricotta with milk as well and found the half and half version to be creamier. It’s really up to personal preference though. If you want less creamy ricotta, feel free to use milk.
Once the ricotta comes together, I like to refrigerate it before I use it. I made some delicious spinach ravioli and now have enough frozen ravioli for the next few months! This fresh ricotta should be used within 4 days.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese
yield: 2 cups
total time: 35 min.
- 1/2 gallon half and half
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 1/2 tbsp. white vinegar
- Add half and half and salt into a pot and bring it to a light simmer over medium heat. Mix the half and half every 3 minutes to prevent burning on the bottom of the pot. Add the vinegar in and stir for 1 minute. Turn the heat off, place the lid on the pot, and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes.
- Line a colander with a cheesecloth. Place the colander over a large glass or metal bowl. Pour the pot contents into the cheesecloth and drain the cheese for 3 min. Squeeze out some excess liquid. I prefer my ricotta cheese to have more moisture, so I don’t squeeze out very much liquid.
- Place the ricotta into a container and allow it to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, cover the container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
*Nutrition facts are estimates.
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