In the summer of 2020, while everyone was making sourdough, my family decided to try our hand at homemade mozzarella. This recipe is surprisingly easy, delicious, and way cheaper than buying fresh mozzarella. We adapted this cheese recipe from Jessica Soward of Roots and Refuge.

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

  • Prep Time:20 mins
  • Cook Time:10 mins
  • Total Time:30 mins
  • Servings:8
  • Medium


  • 1 gallon whole milk - the fresher the better
  • 1.5 teaspoons citric acid
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon rennet - vegetarian works fine
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Thermometer
  • Cheesecloth or large swatch gauze
  • Strainer
  • Heavy-bottomed pot - not aluminum or cast iron
  • Microwaveable bowl
  • Food safe sturdy gloves
Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 1

    Pour the entire gallon of whole milk into the heavy-bottomed pot.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 2

    Sprinkle the citric acid over the milk in the pot.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 3

    Heat the milk on medium-low. Add the rennet to 1 cup of water. Pour the water-rennet mixture into the pot of milk once it reaches 75°F (24°C).

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 4

    Continue mixing the milk mixture and monitoring the heat until it reaches 90°F (32°C).

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 5

    Turn off the heat at 90°F and mix the pot with an up and down motion for thirty seconds. You will see that the mixture has thickened and has solid parts.

  • Step 6

    Cover the pot and do not touch it for five minutes.

  • Step 7

    Cut a grid shape at the top (the curds). The top will be a white, loose solid layer. If it is still not set at all, return the lid and let it sit for a few more minutes.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 8

    Turn the heat on again to medium-low and gently stir the mixture until it reaches 95°F (35°C). Don't worry if you accidentally skip this step! I've accidentally done this before, and the recipe still works out.

  • Step 9

    Put a strainer over a microwaveable bowl and lay the cheesecloth/gauze over the strainer. Pour the mixture through the strainer, being careful not to lose the curds.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 10

    Squeeze the curds in the cloth to remove any excess whey (the liquid in the bowl). There are many creative uses for whey if you wish to save it! Otherwise, you can discard it.

  • Step 11

    Empty the curds into the microwave-safe bowl and microwave the curds for 1 minute.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 12

    Wearing gloves, start to press the curds into one solid. Pour out any whey that was released during the microwaving.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 13

    Microwave again for 30 seconds. Remove any whey, then begin to knead and stretch the cheese. Knead the salt into the cheese.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 14

    Microwave again for 30 seconds. Keep kneading the cheese until it can stretch to one foot without breaking.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 15

    Form the cheese into its final shape. Either press it firmly into a rectangular container and cut the cheese grid-wise into small cubes, or break off small pieces and form into little balls. Place the cubes/balls into the fridge to set.

    Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 16

    Cheese can be enjoyed immediately or stored in the herbed oil recipe below.

Here are some suggestions for how to use the leftover whey.

One great use for the cheese is to make caprese salad by adding tomato slices, basil leaves, sea salt, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Another delicious pairing for the cheese is herbed oil. Once the cheese is cooled, I refrigerate it with the oil. My family loves to put both the oil and the cheese on French bread. 

Herbed Olive Oil (For Cheese or Bread Dipping)

  • Prep Time:3 mins
  • Cook Time:1 min
  • Total Time:4 mins
  • Servings:16
  • Easy


  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 5 sage leaves
  • 5 sprigs rosemary
Lara Jacobowitz
  • Step 1

    Wash all fresh herbs and remove any stems. Feel free to swap out any of the herbs for alternative ones or dried herbs.

  • Step 2

    Peel the garlic and put it into a microwaveable bowl.

  • Step 3

    Pour the olive oil and herbs into the bowl. Microwave for 1 minute.

  • Step 4

    Transfer to a jar and let cool down.

  • Step 5

    Add the chilled cheese balls/cubes into the jar and seal tightly. Store in the fridge and shake before serving. Lasts about two weeks if refrigerated. Don't be alarmed if the oil congeals, just let it sit at room temperature.