Making Ricotta Cheese At Home

Have you ever thought about making your own cheese?  It sounds difficult, but there are a few types that are really quite simple!  (Then again, yogurt is supposed to be easy and I’ve given up on that for the time being after having only about a 33% success rate.)

I’ve experimented with making mozzarella, ricotta, and mascarpone cheeses, and have had great success with ricotta and mascarpone (which are basically the same process, mascarpone just uses cream instead of milk).

Using one gallon of milk and one pint of heavy cream, I get about four cups of ricotta cheese, for a cost of about $4.79.  You can buy a container of two cups for around $2.79 at King Soopers, so it’s not a huge cost savings – probably less than $1 for two containers.

However, the one big advantage is that it is probably better for you, since you don’t need to put any stabilizers or additives in when you make it fresh!  And, it’s always impressive when you say that you make your own ricotta cheese.

There are tons of tutorials about how to make ricotta, but I’ve found that this one from Smitten Kitchen works best for me.  The use of a bit of heavy cream really helps make a thicker product, and I think results in less waste.

You don’t even have to use lemon juice (which can be kind of pricey) – I use vinegar and actually have had better success with that versus lemon juice, though if you’ll be using the ricotta in a sweet dish or ricotta is the main star of the dish, you might want to use lemon juice as the vinegar is a little sour-er.  Go here to see how to try your hand at making ricotta!

Do any of your make your own ricotta or other cheeses?



  1. This is SO timely! My friend and I were just talking about making cheese vs. buying cheese. I have made mozzarella and ricotta with success…and I’ve had a couple of times when it came out – okay. We kind of came to the conclusion that it’s a cool/fun thing to do, but not necessarily a big savings. We both do canning and a lot of scratch cooking, so we had all the supplies (like thermometers and strainers) already, which means we didn’t have big up-front expenses.

    At this time, I’ll make cheeses or yogurt if I have the time, if I don’t have a list of other things I really oughta do (like right now, I need to get some potatoes canned or dehydrated before they all start sprouting) and if I can get the milk on sale or better, on clearance. But yesterday at Sam’s I was able to get 5 lb. of cheese – cheddar or mozzarella – for less than $12, and I don’t think I can make it for less under normal circumstances.

    • Yep, I agree with you and Heather – it’s really NOT that much cheaper to make it yourself, so the biggest benefit is knowing what’s in it.

      One exception might actually be fresh mascarpone… I haven’t priced it recently but I know it’s around $6? or so and I haven’t seen it even available many places, so that’s probably something I would always make myself. (Not that I would use it that often, anyway!)

      I *almost* did OK on mozzarella, except that I forgot when I halved the recipe that I needed to halve the amount of water I used when, um, making the actual cheese ball or whatever. It was a disaster and never came together into a ball, but I did strain it and use it in lasagna – kind of an already-melted mozzarella, LOL.

  2. Heather says:

    We have tried yogurt and failed also. Try that again later. As for cheese we tried cottage cheese and it was easy and good. just be warned it is not the same as the store. It tastes much fresher and my husband does some type of farmers cheese that he ads fresh garlic and chives to that is wonderful on little pita’s (also homemade) topped with a slice of tomatoe and broiled. While making your own cheese is not all that much cheaper we enjoy doing it when we can because we know what we put in it.

  3. well, you girls absolutely amaze me!

  4. I make my own cheese too! I’ve started with store bought cow’s milk, but soon I hope to graduate to fresh goat’s milk. I am getting pretty good at mozzerella and ricotta. I can get about a pound out of a gallon of milk so I only make it when milk is on sale for under $2 a gallon. One thing that I’ve found out is that it will not work with milk that is anywhere close to the expiration date. It won’t stretch. It still tastes good, but doesn’t get stretchy and melty. Maybe, I am just doing something wrong, but the 2 times that my cheese has done this my milk was about 3 days from the sell by date.

  5. Sharon F. says:

    Heather, I often made home made yogurt and it was great and easy – when I lived in Texas. Then when we moved here the same recipe never worked! I gave up on it till a friend told me about the crockpot technique, which works GREAT! Her recipe is much like this one except with a whole gallon of milk. I put in about 3 cups of powdered milk to thicken it – my friend strained it with a colander and cheesecloth. Either works, and makes incredible yogurt! I save out a little yogurt before adding flavor as a starter for the next batch.

    • Heather says:

      Thanks for the advice. We used the crock pot method and something went wrong. I mean bad wrong. I think it may have been the starter we used. We will try it again and I like the method you showed. Wish us luck.

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