Homemade Ricotta

Making Ricotta cheese is simple and the end product is so much better than any store bought variety. This versatile cheese can be used for savory and sweet dishes from filling for ravioli, lasagne and vegetables to ricotta cheesecake. Rennet can also be used to make the cheese instead of lemon juice, buttermilk or white vinegar.

Makes about 3 cups


  • 2 quarts whole milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 to 1/2cup fresh lemon juice (need 2-3)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ingredients


  1. Pour the milk and cream and salt into a large stainless steel soup pot. Attach an instant read or candy thermometer to the side of the pan. Heat the mixture to 220F. Add the lemon juice and stir only once.
  2. Have ready a fine mesh colander lined with several layers of damp cheesecloth placed over a large bowl.
  3. As the curds form, gather them with a slotted spoon and transfer them to the colander. Allow the curds to drain at room temperature for at least two hours. Transfer the cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate. Use within a week.
  4. Note the leftover liquid (whey) can be saved and added to yeast dough.
  5. Variation: After the cheese has drained, pack it into damp cheesecloth-lined small molds. Unmold and serve with warm honey and toasted almond slices for a great dessert or with dried and poached fruit such as white peaches, nectarines or apricots.

This recipe was featured on Season 23 - Episode 2305.

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Yes !


if you use some vanilla and sugar, it tastes like non-melting Dove Bars. I don’t make it too often since I eat it before I can store it.

Hope Gordon

Watching the episode about foods of Rome, Maryann mentioned making homemade Ricotta and the recipe on her website. As a vegetarian, being able to find a way to make ricotta without animal based rennet is terrific!! Thanks Maryann!!

debra Colavecchio

Wonderful recipe! I have always wanted to make ricotta cheese and this recipe brought success! Only issue I have is I could eat most of it before it’s ready! So tasty. And not mention, easy!!!!!! Thank you!

Toni Wieland

I’m a little confused about the recipe instructions.
The written recipe says to add the lemon juice before reaching the 220 degrees and then to stir only once.
However the video shows adding the lemon after the milk and cream and then whisking till it reaches 220 degrees which Mary Ann says can take 10-15 minutes.
What/which is correct for the best result?
Love your show. Thank you.

Holly Palda

What is the answer to the question about the discrepancy between the video and recipe regarding adding the lemon juice. Which produces the best result?


What is the answer, to the difference between written recipe and the way Mary Ann showed in video. What way should put lemon juice and salt in? Can you whisk right away until it reaches 220F or what


I would love a recipe to make more cheese from the whey as you said could be done.

mary ann

To clear up the error on the cheese making; add the lemon juice once 220F is reached and stir in or whisk in, either method will work to form the curds.


Disappointed in this recipe. I have more whey then Ricotta? Followed recipe and cheese was great but for 19 cups of milk barely got a pound. Little less. 🤔

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