The Pioneer Woman · Jun 15, 2016

How to Make Homemade Ricotta by Joanne

You know when you taste a homemade version of an ingredient you’ve always brought from the store, and you have a WHOA moment because it’s so much better? That’s how homemade ricotta is. The difference is astonishing!

There are some cases where store-bought versions of things can be pretty on par with homemade, but it’s the freshness factor that makes homemade ricotta so much better. It’s good enough that you can spread it onto a piece of good bread, drizzle with a little olive oil, and call it a day.

And when you use homemade ricotta for lasagna, stuffed shells, or pancakes? It makes them even better.

Sometimes making ingredient-type foods at home can be a little more work than maybe is realistic for our busy lives. But homemade ricotta is so easy and so good that I think it’s easy to justify. Let me show you how simple it is!

Add milk and heavy cream to a pan. I like a 4:1 ratio, but you can play with that a bit to make it creamier or lighter as you wish.

Add salt to the mixture, so the ricotta will be seasoned.

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.

Remove the pot from the heat, then add two tablespoons of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice. I tend to prefer vinegar, but it’s up to your taste. Just make sure you use a good quality vinegar, or fresh lemon juice, since you’ll be able to taste it a little bit in the cheese.

Stir everything together, and you’ll see that the mixture will curdle.

Line a strainer with a moistened paper towel or cheesecloth, and pour the mixture through to let the whey liquid drain away from the cheese.

20 minutes of draining yields my favorite texture, but you can let it drain longer if you want a thicker ricotta.

The ricotta is now ready to be used!

I love ricotta spread onto crusty bread, but there are so many more uses for it. You can make ricotta pancakes, ricotta cheesecake, stuffed shells or manicotti, lasagna, cannoli, put ricotta plops on pizza, and more. Enjoy!

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