15 Minute Creamy Ricotta Cheese from Scratch (with white vinegar)

Learn how easy it is to make creamy ricotta cheese using none other than white vinegar and whole milk. And the whole recipe takes 15 minutes plus it saves you some money. All you need is a trusted thermometer and you’ll be ready to make ricotta cheese lasagna and more!

Close up of a wooden bowl of homemade ricotta cheese drizzled with olive oil and a brass spoon in it
One spoonful of creamy homemade ricotta and you’ll be sold.

Some things are just worth making from scratch because the process is so gratifying. Homemade pasta comes to mind. And other things that might seem like they’re more trouble than they’re worth, actually end up being a no-brainer.

Like making homemade ricotta cheese. It just has to be hard to do, right? I’m ready to prove that you can do it and get some darn creamy results. Like lick-the-spoon results.

You’ll be dreaming up all the places you can use it.

Ways to use homemade ricotta ♥️: use as the base for crostini and figs, mix it in the chicken and dumpling soup batter, or plop on charred pepperoni pizza. All so good!

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Got milk? Make homemade ricotta!

You might be thinking…”why would I make ricotta cheese from scratch when I can buy it?”

clear embossed bowl of homemade ricotta cheese with a brass spoon.
Fluffy and light, homemade ricotta has such sweet flavor!

Here are a few reasons:

Tastes better. While there are many delicious store-bought ricotta cheese brands, there is nothing like making your own and being able to control the quality of the ingredients and seasoning.

Better texture. Handmade ricotta cheese is fluffy and light while store-bought can be like a thick paste. Spread some on a piece of toast with jam and you’ll taste the difference!

More economical. Save yourself some money and make ricotta cheese from scratch. A half gallon of milk costs about $2-3 while a container of ricotta is usually double that. And you save yourself a trip to the store.

Ingredient rundown

Only 3 ingredients and you’ll be in ricotta heaven!

ingredients to make homemade ricotta cheese including milk, vinegar and salt.
3 ingredients: milk, salt and vinegar.
  • Whole milk. Each time I tested this recipe, I used whole milk. For one test, I used 50% heavy cream and because it didn’t contain enough whey, it didn’t work.
  • Kosher salt. Originally, I didn’t test with any seasoning but I found that a little salt brought out the milk flavor even more and didn’t interfere with the curd formation.
  • White vinegar. Sometimes you’ll see ricotta cheese made with lemon juice as the acid. I didn’t want any hint of lemon flavor and found white vinegar to add a nice tang that would play well with savory recipes.

Equipment needed

  • Oil and candy thermometer that attaches to the side of a saucepan
  • Saucepan – I used a 4 quart.
  • Cheesecloth
  • Strainer

Homemade ricotta cheese: step by step

Organize all of your equipment and gather all your ingredients.

thermometer attached to side of pan reaching temperature for homemade ricotta cheese.
Milk to temperature for ricotta cheese.
large stock pot with thermometer and wooden paddle stirring milk to make ricotta cheese.
Stirring to add the vinegar and curd forming.
  1. Pour the milk into a medium size sauce pan with the thermometer attached to the side. Make sure the tip of the thermometer is in the milk but not resting on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Heat the milk over medium heat to 185-195˚. Stir in the salt and stir to dissolve. Be careful not to boil or scald the milk
slotted spoon stirring milk with homemade ricotta cheese.
You’ll start to see more creamy curds.
slotted spoon draining homemade ricotta cheese over cheesecloth with pot of cheese nearby.
Spoon —don’t pour—ricotta into cheesecloth.
  1. Once the milk has reached temperature, remove from heat and immediately add the vinegar. Stir and you should start seeing curds develop. Add more vinegar as needed and let the cheese rest for 10 minutes.
  2. Allow the cheese to cool before using a slotted spoon to drain into cheesecloth-lined strainer.

Tips for the best handmade ricotta cheese

Start with less vinegar and then add more as needed —1/2 Tablespoon at a time—until curds start developing.

Don’t pour the cooled ricotta cheese and whey over the strainer. This will keep your cheese creamier.

Keep the whey and repurpose it to add to sourdough bread dough, pancake batter or biscuits for amazing flavor.


Storage

  • Homemade ricotta will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days. Chill in an airtight, sealed container.
  • Pour or strain off any whey that appears during refrigeration.

Made this recipe?

I’d love it if you’d share your review and leave a star rating and comment!


Close up of a wooden bowl of homemade ricotta cheese drizzled with olive oil and a brass spoon in it
5 from 1 vote

15 Minute Creamy Homemade Ricotta Cheese from Scratch

Prep Time:1 minute
Cook Time:5 minutes
Resting time:10 minutes
Total Time:16 minutes
Servings 2 cups

Equipment

  • cheesecloth
  • strainer

Ingredients
 

Instructions

  • In a saucepan with a thermometer attached to the sides, heat the milk and salt over medium heat until reaching a temperature of 185-195˚. Adjust the heat to maintain the temperature of the milk.
    ½ gallon whole milk, 1 teaspoon salt
  • Once the temperature has been reached, pour the vinegar and stir into the milk. Turn off the heat and allow the milk to sit for 10 minutes. Hopefully the milk will separate into curds.
    3 T white vinegar
  • Use a slotted spoon to gently spoon the curds into cheesecloth set over a bowl or pan. Drain the ricotta. Taste and correct for seasoning.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Italian
Author: Lori Murphy
Did you make this recipe? Tag @josieandnina or tag #josieandnina!

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