You’ll want to keep this ricotta cheese recipe handy. Once you make it, you’ll never rebuy store-bought ricotta cheese! With its velvety consistency and subtle flavor notes, its versatility has endless possibilities.
What does ricotta cheese taste like?
The short answer is homemade ricotta cheese tastes OMG yum!
Ricotta’s creamy texture and mild taste are a delicious foundation for various desserts and savory dishes. The flavor is slightly sweet and has a subtle tang. It’s like a cross between sweet cream and buttermilk.
How to make easy ricotta cheese?
“We know what it tastes like, but how do we make it?” It’s surprisingly easy with a handful of ingredients, most of which you already have in your pantry.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 4 cups of whole milk (avoid using ultra-pasteurized milk)
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons of rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
See the recipe card below for complete instructions.
Helpful tips when making your ricotta:
- Adjust the texture: If you prefer a smoother and creamier ricotta, consider using a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth with a looser weave. For a drier, crumblier ricotta, strain it for longer and add a plate and a can to speed up the process.
- Experiment with seasoning: Add a teaspoon of salt during the heating process to enhance the flavor of the ricotta. You could also add herbs or spices depending on what you want to make with it.
- Cheesecloth substitute: If you don’t have cheesecloth (one of my kitchen essentials), you can use coffee filters inside your strainer.
What can I use instead of white wine vinegar in ricotta?
You can also use white distilled vinegar if you don’t have rice wine vinegar. The vinegar will give the cheese a more neutral taste and is an excellent all-around choice if you’re still thinking about how to use your ricotta cheese.
Another option is lemon juice. It’s a classic choice that brings a bright, citrusy note to the cheese. You could also use citric acid, which is used in the commercial ricotta cheese-making process. I haven’t used this, but if you’re interested in learning more this article will show you the whey.
How Long Does Ricotta Cheese Last?
Now that you’ve made your easy ricotta cheese, you’ll want to store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For maximum freshness of texture and flavor, it’s best to use it within 3 to 4 days. The cheese will begin to lose moisture around the 4th day, so it might be best to use it in lasagna or stuffed shells. You’ll know it’s time to throw it away if there are signs of mold or the texture is off.
Easy Ricotta Cheese
- Heavy bottom pot
- Mesh strainer or colander
- Cheesecloth or coffee filters
- 4 cups whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt optional
- 3 tbsp rice wine vinegar (or lemon juice) see notes
- Line a colander or mesh strainer with a moistened cheesecloth, or evenly spread coffee filters to cover the colander.
- Add milk and heavy cream to a heavy-bottomed pot. Stir in salt, if using.
- On medium heat, bring to a rolling boil, stirring occasionally.
- Add vinegar, or lemon juice to the pot and remove from heat. Stir until the milk begins to curdle. Let sit for 5 minutes, then strain the curds from the whey using the prepared colander. Let the ricotta strain for at least 20 minutes.
- Use immediately or place ricotta in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3-4 days.
- Milk: For cheese that is lighter in fat, you can substitute 2% milk in place of the whole milk. It will be less creamy, but still delicious.
- Vinegar: You can substitute distilled white vinegar, white wine vinegar, or lemon juice in place of the rice wine vinegar.
- Cheesecloth: If you don't have cheesecloth, I highly recommend it. It's an inexpensive kitchen essential and it's reusable. You can substitute by using coffee filters to line the colander. A fine mesh strainer would also work in a pinch.
- Strain time: If you want a soft-textured ricotta, which is great for whipping or desserts, then strain for 20 minutes. The longer it strains, the grainier in texture it will be.