How to Make Ricotta Cheese

I want to live in Italy. I’d like a modestly renovated old Villa in Tuscany. I’d tend to my own garden- full of vegetables and herbs. I’d have chickens to give me fresh eggs and goats for making fresh goat’s cheese. If I lived in Italy, I’d scour the markets daily for fresh ingredients I can’t seem to find here in the United States. I’d search for the country’s best cheeses and meats and keep my kitchen well-stocked at all times.

If I lived in Italy, I’d eat Nutella pastry for breakfast with a miniature cup of espresso. I’d hang out with old Italian grandmothers during the day and learn the secrets of Italian cooking. I’d ask them to share their tricks for making breads with a wonderful, crusty exterior and tender middle.

If I lived in Italy, I’d drink red wine every day… maybe even have the sparkly variety with lunch. I’d sample a new Gelato flavor every week… conquering 52 flavors in a year. But I’d be skinny, because I’d only be sampling.

If I lived in Italy, I’d sip Prosecco at 5 o’clock every day. I’d serve up prosciutto-wrapped melon as an afternoon treat.

If I lived in Italy, I’d cook up fresh ricotta every week and make pastas by hand.

If I lived in Italy, I’d I’d take in the beauty of the landscape and the art, and I’d learn to speak Italian (there’s an App for that). The stress and worry that I experience living in Southern California would disappear… because I’d be living in Italy.

Last week I was in Italy visiting cheese companies. I learned more than you can ever imagine about cheese and how it’s produced. The quality of the cheeses was so amazing that I don’t think I will ever be able to eat a mainstream, mass-produced cheese again. The first thing I did when I came home was make homemade ricotta cheese. I can’t believe I’ve never made it before… from beginning to end it took about 20-25 minutes. Unlike the ricotta-in-a-tub dry stuff that you purchase in the market, the homemade version turned out rich and creamy. I can’t wait to use it tonight in an authentic ravioli recipe that I managed to wrangle from one of the cheese company gals that I dined with in Italy. I’ll be sharing that one with you too :)

There are a whole lot of homemade ricotta recipes on the internet… all seem to be slightly different. I went with a recipe that I found on Jennifer Perillo’s blog: In Jennie’s Kitchen. I’ve met Jennifer, and I know she’s a talented food writer and recipe developer. Her method for making ricotta was just perfect.

My instructions can be printed out here: Fresh Ricotta Cheese.

And my adventures in Italy… visiting all of those cheese companies… you can expect some posts sharing my experiences coming up soon!

Leave a Comment




24 Responses to “How to Make Ricotta Cheese”

  1. 1

    Maria — May 17, 2010 @ 7:25 AM

    We make our own yogurt, so I think we should start making our own cheese. It’s been on the list for awhile, I just keep forgetting. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. 2

    Heather — May 17, 2010 @ 7:34 AM

    wow, this is SUPER simple! i’ll never buy store-bought ricotta again (and p.s. everything you’d do in Italy? i’d do that too :) )

  3. 3

    Danette — May 17, 2010 @ 7:46 AM

    This post makes me thing we are the same person! Except that I live in Canada :) Oh my, that ricotta looks heavenly!!!! I will be making that this week!

    I would like to send you our (my husband and I have been making it for three years) recipe for Limoncello! I’ll email it to you tonight! Sitting outside in the sun, drinking this over ice, you’ll feel a little closer to Italy! :)

  4. 4

    Paula -bell'alimento — May 17, 2010 @ 7:48 AM

    Love it! I’m going to be making Ricotta soon but today I’m making Mascarpone! Can’t wait to read all about your trip : )

  5. 5

    Barbara — May 17, 2010 @ 11:18 AM

    This looks wonderful, Lori. And simpler than I would have thought too.

    Can’t wait to hear your Italy stories!

  6. 6

    Gera @ SweetsFoods — May 17, 2010 @ 12:10 PM

    One of my favorite cheeses and nothing compared to homemade stuff…this is simple and with yummy results :)

    Cheers,

    Gera

  7. 7

    tammy — May 17, 2010 @ 12:24 PM

    I am so excited about trying this. thanks so much.

  8. 8

    veronica — May 17, 2010 @ 1:47 PM

    Your Italy comments are all EXACTLY what I would love to do! My one and only visit to Italy was to Milan, Rome, Florence, Venice, and Bologna. I fell in love with the country, the vistas, the food, and the people. It’s just so beautiful. Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to your Italian adventures. :)

  9. 9

    megan — May 18, 2010 @ 8:58 AM

    It actually looks easier then yogurt, I could do this! Sounds wonderful and how fun for you to visit all those cheese shops in Italy. That would be a dream come true!

  10. 10

    bellini valli — May 18, 2010 @ 10:31 AM

    I want to live in Italy too, or at least visist for several months.

  11. 11

    Jen Schall — May 18, 2010 @ 6:19 PM

    Yum.. I have recently started making my own fresh ricotta based on a recipe that Jennifer Perillo posted on her site (which looks similar to this one). I can’t get enough of it.

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 18th, 2010 @ 6:21 PM

      @Jen Schall, Yep, this is Jen’s recipe… I give her street cred at the end of my post :)

  12. 12

    Chefdruck — May 18, 2010 @ 8:06 PM

    Lori,
    I too want to live in Italy, and Portugal, and, of course, Paris. While we wait for our chance to get to live that dream life, I think I’ll follow in your footsteps and make ricotta! I had heard Jennifer talk about it, but had no idea that it was so easy. I love how you posted the recipe in pictures too.

    Vanessa

  13. 13

    yael — May 19, 2010 @ 12:45 AM

    I’ve dreamed of visitng Italy for years, let alone live there. Some day, some day!I’m so excited about this recipe for making ricotta at home- I don’t know about the States, but here in Israel it’s very expensive so I’m anxious to try this homemade version. thanks!!

  14. 14

    Krista — May 19, 2010 @ 10:21 AM

    Oh yes! Me too, Lori! I got to live my dream for one whole week last spring and have been living on those sunny, warm memories ever since. I’m so excited to try this recipe. :-)

  15. 15

    Simply...Gluten-free — May 20, 2010 @ 5:14 AM

    I want to live in Italy too! If you get a place can I be your roomy?

  16. 16

    Josie — May 22, 2010 @ 10:20 AM

    I must try this recipe, Home Made Ricotta, sound divine.
    any ideas of how to make it lowfat, could i substitute maybe low fat milk & half & half?

    • Lori Lange replied: — May 23rd, 2010 @ 3:37 PM

      @Josie, Not sure… I plan on trying that next time, but I’ll probably do a little investigating on the internet for low fat ricotta before I do so.

  17. 17

    Britney — June 17, 2010 @ 12:09 AM

    I came across your blog and website and love it! I can’t wait to try out some of your recipes. I see that you’ve had a fun trip in Italy, I actually live here. My husband is in the military so we’re stationed here for a few years. I love every bit of it!

  18. 18

    Laura Terranova — January 2, 2011 @ 11:19 AM

    I enjoyed the pictures of “How to Make Ricotta” My only problem was the interference of you talking about Italy, when I wanted more information about the recipe. It was not through enough to understand the concept.

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 2nd, 2011 @ 5:04 PM

      @Laura Terranova, Sorry you didn’t enjoy my post. I explained the process in the photos, and the link to the recipe provides all of the details for how to make the ricotta.

  19. 19

    tumba — January 7, 2011 @ 7:26 PM

    Hi,

    I’m confused about your recipe. Isn’t this a recipe for “cottage cheese” not ricotta?

    Ricotta is made from the whey byproduct not the curd. Those curds are casein protein getting separated from the whey protein. With the leftover liquid whey byproduct, you make ricotta. At least this is what I thought and learned from wikipedia and other sources.

    Could you confirm this?

    • Lori Lange replied: — January 8th, 2011 @ 10:06 AM

      @tumba, No, the recipe is for ricotta cheese. The texture and flavor of the end product is very clearly ricotta.