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Hi! I'm Ari, photographer and recipe developer behind Well Seasoned. As a former NYC chef, I'm spilling all my tips and tricks from the restaurant industry with you! To learn more about me click here.

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Fresh ricotta cheese served on bread with prosciutto on the side

Homemade Ricotta

Posted by: Ari Laing

Homemade ricotta cheese could not be easier to make! With a total hands-on time of less than 5 minutes, most of the work is in waiting for the ricotta curds to drain. Homemade ricotta is luscious, creamy, and perfect on crostini, in lasagna, or served on a cheeseboard. You will make this recipe all the time!

recipe +-

Posted by: Ari Laing
Fresh ricotta cheese served on bread with prosciutto on the side
Print Recipe
5 from 17 votes

Homemade Ricotta

Homemade ricotta cheese is so unbelievably luscious, creamy, and delicate in flavor, you will never want to buy store-bought again. It's zesty from fresh lemon juice and light as air, making it perfect for spreading on crostini, used in lasagna, or served on a cheeseboard. We cannot get enough, and neither will you!
Prep Time3 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Resting Time1 hr 10 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: homemade cheese, how to make ricotta cheese, whole milk ricotta
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 357kcal
Author: Ari Laing


  • Cheesecloth
  • Saucepan or large pot
  • Instant read thermometer
  • Fine mesh strainer or sieve


  • 4 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice about 1 ½ lemons
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt


  • Heat the milk and cream. Place 4 cups whole milk and 1 cup heavy cream in a stainless steel or enamel cast iron sauce pan. Warm over medium heat to a temperature of 190-195F.
  • Coagulate with lemon juice. Remove from the heat, then add lemon juice and salt, stirring once gently to combine. Let sit at room temperature or 5-10 minutes.
    Ricotta curds in a sauce pan after 10 minutes with lemon juice
  • Strain the curds. Place a fine mesh strainer on top of a large, non-reactive bowl. Line the strainer with a piece of cheesecloth that has been folded over 2-3x.
    how to setup cheesecloth over fine mesh sieve to strain homemade ricotta cheese
  • Gently pour ricotta curds and whey (the liquid) over the cheesecloth and allow to drain for 30-60 minutes. The longer the ricotta sits, the thicker it will be. Begin checking at 30 minutes, draining the excess whey at the bottom of the bowl. (You can set this aside and use in other recipes, see note below!) If you're happy with the texture, move to the next step. If not, let it sit another half hour, when it has further thickened.
    Strained whole milk ricotta over cheesecloth
  • Drain excess liquid. Carefully lift the cheesecloth out of the strainer, twist to seal, then very lightly squeeze out excess liquid. Transfer ricotta cheese to a bowl for serving or place in a storage container for use at a later time. Homemade ricotta is best served warm with a drizzle of high quality finishing oil and a sprinkling of flaky sea salt.
    straining fresh ricotta in cheesecloth over a large bowl



  • Shelf life for homemade ricotta cheese will vary based on the type of milk you use. For instance, organic milk has a longer shelf life than non-organic. In a restaurant, 3 days is the maximum time this would be served. Properly stored homemade ricotta will last up to 1 week.
  • White wine vinegar can be used in place of fresh lemon juice, but the ricotta won't have that pronounced, zesty lemon flavor.
  • Excess whey can be used in baking recipes as a substitute for milk or water. You can use it in smoothies (though with the addition of salt in this recipe, you might not want that), add it to soups/stews, or use it as a brine for other homemade cheeses (such as mozzarella). It can also be used to water plants!

For more recipes that use ricotta cheese, check out the following:


Sodium: 418mg | Calcium: 314mg | Vitamin C: 5mg | Vitamin A: 1270IU | Sugar: 13g | Potassium: 378mg | Cholesterol: 106mg | Calories: 357kcal | Saturated Fat: 18g | Fat: 30g | Protein: 9g | Carbohydrates: 14g | Iron: 1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @wellseasonedstudio and hashtag it #wellseasonedstudio!