Milk Ricotta Cheese Making Recipe

This is a generic recipe for making Ricotta using milk, no whey. Ricotta originated in Italy and is normally made from re-cooked whey, the word “ricotta” means “re-cooked” in Italian. Whey based Ricotta yields little cheese, thus this is normally only reasonable when you have a large amount of whey from making a large amount of cheese.

For times when that isn’t feasible, Ricotta can be directly made from milk, with a significantly higher yield.

Ingredients – Metric

Makes 0.5 to 0.6 pounds depending on type of milk (skim vs whole).

  • 3 liters whole or partly skimmed Cow’s Milk.
  • 90-140 ml standard 5% acidity white vinegar.
  • 5 grams salt.

Ingredients – American

Makes 1.3 to 1.7 pounds depending on type of milk (skim vs whole).

  • 1 US gallon whole or partly skimmed Cow’s Milk.
  • 4-6 fluid ounces standard 5% acidity white vinegar.
  • 1 Teaspoon salt.


  1. Pour milk into vat (i.e. double boiler stockpot) on stove or directly on lowest heater element.
  2. Sprinkle salt into milk and stir in thoroughly.
  3. Warm milk slowly to ~85°C/185°F to (re-)pasteurize, stir slowly so doesn’t catch or have cold areas. Maintain temperature through whole process in stockpot (i.e. turn heat off and on for short intervals as required).
  4. Trickle and slowly stir in 90 ml/4 ounces of vinegar. If good curd formation and clear translucent whey does not occur after 2-3 minutes, add more vinegar and stir in.
  5. Using perforated or slotted ladle, start moving the curds from the edge into the middle of the vat so that they flocculate.
  6. Wait ~15 minutes for curds to de-whey and coagulate.
  7. With perforated or slotted ladle, ladle curds into one large (i.e. 6″/152 mm diameter) Ricotta draining mold or two small ones on draining board.
  8. When most of curds out of vat, drained off whey through strainer down sink drain to catch remaining small curds.
  9. Place in basket and smooth top of curds in hoop.
  10. Let curds drain until free whey drainage is slow, i.e. 1 hour for fresher lighter taste or for several hours for richer denser and stringer flavour.
  11. Invert and remove cheese from basket and place on plate in household fridge to set.
  12. Cheese is ready to be eaten or used in cooking recipes after one night to 10 days in fridge. Cover with bowl if starts to dry out.


  • Instead of vinegar, use citric acid or strained lemon or orange juice.
  • Adjust salt amount up or down depending on results and personal preference.
  • Add cream to milk at start if like creamier Ricotta.
  • If adding herbs, mix in bowl with curds before placing in basket, examples are:
    • Crushed garlic & herb.
    • Crushed garlic & black pepper.
    • Diced onion & chive.
    • Diced olive.
    • Lemon.
    • Chocolate and sugar.
  • If no basket is available, use cheesecloth lined colander.

Tricks & Traps

  • Whole milk will require more vinegar to coagulate than 1% milk.
  • Watch milk temperature closely when get close to target otherwise you will scorch/burn milk.
  • Shelf life of cheese is much less if no salt is added.