Three Ways to Make Ricotta (Recipe plus Video How-to)

by Sarah Fermented Foods, VideosComments: 37


If you are interested in trying your hand at making cheese, ricotta is a great one to start with.

The deliciously sweet, creamy ricotta curds are slightly off white in color with a taste and texture a bit reminiscent of cottage cheese though considerably lighter.

The great news is that messing up ricotta is just about impossible!  It is one of the easiest cheeses you will ever attempt and the results are so delectable you will no doubt be making it over and over again.

I first learned to make ricotta along with a number of other cheeses 6 years ago when an expert cheesemaker from Wisconsin (where else?) who was planning a vacation in my area emailed me and asked if I would host a cheesemaking class in my home.

The class turned out to be extremely fun and informative and the techniques I learned I have continued to use to this day.

There are 3 different ways to make ricotta that I have discovered over the years in addition to the one approach I learned in that beginner cheesemaking class.   I overview all three approaches in this video lesson.

Choose whichever method suits you best with whatever type of milk or whey you have on hand.

If learning to make cheese is exciting to you, check out my other cheesemaking posts here:

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (37)

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  • Lydia

    same queston as janette made the whey cream cheese tastes so sour should it?thx

    July 9th, 2013 11:04 pm Reply
  • Kathie

    Sarah – This is my 2nd time making ricotta cheese and we loved it – thank you so much for the great videos – as I was reading through the comments I was looking for any ideas of what to do with the whey if we use the vinegar method. I noticed others had the same question. Do you have any suggestions?

    April 12th, 2013 5:09 pm Reply
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  • Renate F.

    Hi Sarah, can I make Ricotta cheese or the other cheese you mentioned from heating Whey that I have from making cheese from raw milk and rennet?? Or is rennet like vinegar too acid to se used again? Thanks Renate

    February 21st, 2013 10:01 pm Reply
  • Cindy

    Hi Sarah,

    Love your video’s. I don’t see the ricotta cheese any more, can we access it any where else?


    February 21st, 2013 5:25 pm Reply
  • janette

    Hi sarah! we love your site..I have just started my family on this new path of healthy living. It is a little over welming but already feel great. my question is about cream cheese/whey. my husband and i made our first whey out of our soured milk..we followed your video to the T..but the next day when we went to eat out cream cheese it tasted so sour and gross:/ i dont know if we did something wrong or if thats the way its suppose to taste. Also if its not good to eat does that mean our whey is also bad? Thanks for all you do for my family :0 you are truley changing lives:) God bless.

    January 31st, 2013 7:54 pm Reply
  • Jill Swanson

    Hi Sarah!

    Thanks for the video! I let my milk sour on the counter for about a day and then tried the 3rd method in teh video and there was no visible separation, so I added some vinegar (even though it was already heated to over 175) and then it separated. Do you think it is b/c I didn’t let my milk get sour enough? I usually sit it out for 3-4 days for cream cheese/whey, so maybe one day wasn’t enough? Also, the liquid separating out from my cheese is white like milk rather than yellow like whey–did I not let it sit long enough?

    Thanks for any help!

    November 7th, 2012 1:13 pm Reply
  • katherine

    First method did not work for me. Heated 1 gal fresh raw cows milk to 175, removed from heat and added 3 tbs vinegar and 1 tsp salt. It barely separated. After a few minutes, returned to heat; heated to almost 200 before finally getting fed up and adding citric acid (called for in the recipe for whole milk ricotta I usually use). Bummed – really wanted it to work without the citric acid. I’ve successfully made whey ricotta using only vinegar and salt, but still never whole milk ricotta.

    November 4th, 2012 8:54 pm Reply
  • barb

    useing tihs method can you use the whey for other things like to make salsa, lemonaid and so on….

    October 27th, 2012 1:45 pm Reply
  • Arlana

    Hi Sarah, I tried to make ricotta today and failed!! I made feta yesterday, could not get to the whey yesterday, put it in the fridge overnight, put it in a pot heated till 190 degrees, added 1 quart of raw goats’ milk and heated back to 190. No curds formed AT ALL!!! I added about 1/2 c vinegar as I had 3 gallons of milk. Still nothing??? can you please tell me what happened? I have followed this recipe alot before with great succes.
    ahtank yu

    June 28th, 2012 3:19 pm Reply
  • Cindy

    Can you freeze this ricotta cheese? How long will it store in the fridge? Thanks!

    June 24th, 2012 11:22 am Reply
  • Tessa

    I just tried this. The consistency is more like mozzarrella than ricotta. Did I let it heat up too long?

    June 20th, 2012 1:02 am Reply
  • Carmella Cannova

    What to do with ricotta? You mix it with whipping cream and chocolate and put in cannolis!

    June 15th, 2012 11:59 pm Reply
  • Jennifer Buntrock Boston via Facebook

    What about cottage cheese? Can we make that at home?

    June 15th, 2012 11:41 pm Reply
  • Caitlin Bourne

    Yay! Now I know what to do with FIVE gallons of milk that I accidentally let slightly sour!

    June 15th, 2012 4:36 pm Reply
  • Our Small Hours

    This has to be one of my favorite videos yet! These videos are so valuable. Thank you for taking the time to share them with us!

    June 15th, 2012 2:48 pm Reply
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  • Janet

    This s great Sarah. Wondering though, how is this ricotta cheese different from making cream cheese the same way. (cream cheese is not heated, just drained separated milk. Is that the only difference?)
    Also, what can you do with ricotta cheese once it is done? is it eaten on crackers like cream cheese or do you use it to cook with it making dumplings, etc.?

    June 14th, 2012 1:30 pm Reply
  • Milla

    “No longer good for drinking?” in Russia we drink ‘Prostokvasha’ all the time! Its amazing, like drinking yoghurt! Just leave it at room temp until it becomes a little clumpy, and then transfer to fridge! Dip hot, toasted sourdough rye bread into it – heaven!

    That said, thanks for the recipe, I’ve always wondered how to make good sweet ricotta :-)

    June 14th, 2012 5:42 am Reply
  • Codayvon

    Ricotta is WHEY cheese. The method you describe is CURD (CASEIN) cheese. Check out the traditional Italian methods (do a google search); too many people seem to confuse ricotta with this curdling process. I don’t get this. If you buy true ricotta, the main ingredient is (or should be) whey — not curd (casein). This looks good anyway; but it aint ricotta.

    June 14th, 2012 12:26 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      Please watch the video!

      June 14th, 2012 3:05 pm Reply
  • Kerry

    I don’t understand why the vinegar is a problem for the plants. The water in my area is alkaline and I use vinegar to adjust the Ph to be more acidic. In fact, farmers use acids in alkaline areas to do the same thing. So in that case, why would the vinegar in the whey be a problem?

    June 13th, 2012 5:33 pm Reply
  • Tricia Swenson via Facebook

    Well, I didn’t realize that whey would only give so much cheese. That was my problem. Next time I go to make it, I’ll do the last method you suggest. Thanks!

    June 13th, 2012 3:40 pm Reply
  • Mary Kate

    Can I still make this if it is a little more then slightly soured? I am hoping you say YES! LOL
    I would love to do this with my milk. :)

    June 13th, 2012 3:37 pm Reply
    • Mary Kate

      I still made this. I added some salt to it, and it tastes great! The children loved it! Thank you so much.
      I also made some sour cream with the soured milk. YUM!

      June 13th, 2012 9:47 pm Reply
  • Dorsey Clark

    Thanks so much for yet another great video.
    One question… you said what you CAN”T do with the whey from the vinegar method but you didn’t say what you could do with it.
    What are your suggestions? :-)

    June 13th, 2012 3:34 pm Reply
  • thehealthyhomeeconomist via Facebook

    @Tricia I hope the video helps you figure things out so the next time it works for you 😉

    June 13th, 2012 3:23 pm Reply
  • Megan

    Thanks for posting this great, informative video, Sarah! Quick question, can I make ricotta from whey that has been in my fridge for approx. *4* months!? Or is that too old?

    June 13th, 2012 1:25 pm Reply
    • Sarah, TheHealthyHomeEconomist

      It will probably work. It won’t work to make gjetost cheese though as whey needs to be very fresh for that. Remember that you won’t get much ricotta from plain whey .. maybe just a few TBL per half gallon or so.

      June 13th, 2012 1:43 pm Reply
  • Tricia Swenson via Facebook

    I was trying to do this the other day…big fail! I’ll have to watch that and figure out what I did wrong!

    June 13th, 2012 12:55 pm Reply
  • Prepper Chicks via Facebook

    awesome ~ sharing!

    June 13th, 2012 12:04 pm Reply
  • Jessica Belsha

    Who knew it would be so easy to make Ricotta! I’m SO glad to have found another use for slightly soured milk. Thanks so much!

    June 13th, 2012 11:19 am Reply
  • Tamara Slack

    Love this!! I’m so excited to make this someday.

    Question: if I can’t get low temp pasteurized milk, what to do?

    And is Hartzler’s (sp?) low temp? A friend uses that from a co-op and loves it. (can’t get raw milk here in Ohio *sad*).


    June 13th, 2012 10:40 am Reply
    • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama


      Hartzler and Snowville are both low-temp pasteurized and grass-fed. However, yes, you CAN get raw milk in Ohio. I am in central OH and have several sources I know of (and we have been getting raw milk for 2 years). Email me if you want to know where.

      June 13th, 2012 11:28 am Reply
    • bonnie

      Just read that we Ohioians can’t get raw milk. My family is part of a herd share and can legally get raw milk. Look into it. I think the web site I found my group on was rawmilk ohio or something like that. Good luck.

      January 5th, 2013 7:24 pm Reply

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