Homemade Fresh Ricotta


This easy homemade fresh ricotta cheese recipe only requires three ingredients—milk, buttermilk, and salt—and yields a light, fluffy ricotta that's a delicious blank canvas for sweet or savory recipes, or you can enjoy it as a decadent toast topper. Source high-quality local dairy if possible for the richest flavor and best results. 

homemade ricotta
Photo: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food Styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Prop Styling by Kathleen Cook Varner
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 10 mins
Makes about 2 1/4 lb. (About 5 cups)


  • 1 gallon organic and/or grass-fed pasteurized whole milk

  • 1 quart organic and/or grass-fed buttermilk

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Stir together milk, buttermilk, and salt in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot. Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 180°F on an instant-read thermometer, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from heat; let stand, uncovered, at room temperature, until curds have formed and floated to the surface and are surrounded by clear whey, 2 to 3 hours.

  2. Line a colander with a double layer of damp cheesecloth, leaving at least 6 inches of overhang on all sides. Set colander over a large bowl. Using a fine wire mesh strainer, gently scoop ricotta curds from stockpot, and place in colander. Keep curd pieces as large as possible to avoid overworking, which can toughen the ricotta. Let ricotta drain at room temperature 30 minutes for a creamy texture or up to 2 hours for a drier texture. Reserve whey in stockpot for another use.

  3. Bring corners of cheesecloth together, and lift ricotta. Gently twist over colander to squeeze out any remaining clear whey from ricotta. Continue twisting until whey draining out becomes opaque and milky. Reserve drained whey for another use. Use ricotta immediately, or store in an air-tight container in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Make Ahead

Ricotta can be made up to 1 week ahead and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.

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