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Fresh homemade ricotta

Ultra-Creamy Fresh Homemade Ricotta {+Video!}

  • Author: Emilie Raffa
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes (resting + strain time)
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 1 heaping cup (265 g)
  • Category: Homemade Ricotta
  • Method: Boil
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This easy, ultra-creamy, 4-ingredient ricotta recipe is super simple to make. All you need is milk, cream, lemon juice and salt, plus cheesecloth and a fine mesh strainer. Ready in less than 1 hour, including straining time. This is a small batch recipe, about 1 cup, which is perfect for most recipes, like cookies and ravioli filling- no waste. Method adapted from American Sfoglino.


  • 3 cups whole milk (DO NOT USE ultra pasteurized milk)
  • 1 cup cream (ultra pasteurized is fine)
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice, strained 

Notes, Tips & Substitutions:

  • Read the entire recipe a few times before starting. Some of the steps happen quickly!
  • Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk; it won’t curdle properly.
  • White or red vinegar can be used instead of lemon juice.
  • If doubling the recipe, you won’t be able to drain the mixture in a 7 or 8 inch strainer; it won’t fit. Work in batches and adjust your strain time accordingly. Or use 2 strainers if you have them.


  • Line a fine mesh strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. Set over a large, deep bowl.
  • In a heavy bottom pot, add the milk, cream and salt. Adjust the heat to medium-high.
  • Bring the mixture to a rolling boil, approximately 200-206 F/ 93-97 C. Do not boil aggressively; the ricotta will be rubbery. Tip: stir the mixture frequently as it begins to heat up. Do this with a wooden spoon in a “figure 8” motion so nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Scorched milk = bitter ricotta. The mixture is heated correctly when you see frothy bubbles along the sides and larger bubbles in the center. Use a digital thermometer to check (optional). Once the mixture has come to a boil, the next steps happen quickly and in succession. Do not lolly-gag around! 
  • In this order: immediately add the lemon juice. Stir only one or two times to distribute. Turn off the heat. Do not stir; the mixture will start to curdle. Let it sit (untouched) on the warm turned off burner for 10 minutes. Small and large curds will float to the surface.
  • Using a slotted spoon, transfer the curds into your lined strainer to drain.
  • Strain at room temperature, about 10-15 minutes for light and fluffy ricotta. If you want a drier texture, strain for longer. The ricotta will get more firm when stored in the refrigerator; take this in account when estimating your straining time.
  • Portion the ricotta into an air-tight container. Store in the fridge, for up to 4 days. Enjoy!

Keywords: homemade, ricotta, Italian, easy, recipe, milk, cream, lemon, juice, vinegar, cucina povera