How to Make Ricotta Cheese

 In Cheese, Teach Me to Cook

There’s a lot of things I prefer to buy pre-made. Pasta for example – it takes a lot of failure, time and mess to create a product at home that’s better than the dried stuff that comes in a box.

Ricotta Cheese, however, takes one pot, 20 minutes, almost no effort and it costs a fraction of what you would pay at the store. So let me give you the skinny on the process and then you too can have fresh ricotta cheese at your beck and call.

Start with a medium-sized sauce pot and a half gallon of Whole Milk (2% will work but Whole is best).

Bring the milk to a boil (watch closely so the milk won’t boil over or burn to the bottom) then turn off the heat and add ¼ Cup distilled, white vinegar, or the juice of one lemon, then stir it around for a second.

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Leave it alone and come back in a few minutes. The milk might begin to curdle right away, or it might take a few minutes. If after 5 Minutes the milk has no curds, add another tablespoon of acid and wait.

Once your milk has been separating for about 10 minutes, place a strainer over a bowl with a cheesecloth (recommended) or a kitchen towel if you’re in a pinch, preferably threadbare.

Pour the milk mixture through the strainer slowly so as not to overflow the strainer.

Allow the Mixture to drain, (if using a towel you might have to encourage it by stirring it with a spoon) then pull up the sides of the towel or cheesecloth, twist the top and squeeze the dickens out of the cheese ball (Be careful, it might still be hot).

Without untwisting the towel, set the ball of cheese back onto the strainer and leave it for 5-10 minutes so any excess liquid can drain off.

Untwist the towel and dump your neatly pressed ball o’ cheese into a serving bowl. Or the strainer, or whatever you feel like.

Crumble up the cheese into bite-sized pieces and try a bite! Use in lasagna, fajitas, tacos, breakfast hash, or anything you want! This may be subbed for queso fresco as well.

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