Cheese: love it or hate it, you can’t escape it. As food and cooking videos surge in popularity (Tasty videos gathered 1.8 billion views in the month of September alone!), videos of cheesy items made by Tasty or sampled by those at prolific publishing company INSIDER flood Facebook feeds on a regular basis. Their ubiquity has evolved into something of contention, and highly specific meme groups like “what if cheese, but too much?” and “what if cheese, but never too much?” have grown in popularity as hubs debate over these videos and spur furious arguments over whether something can actually be too cheesy as a result. And we’ve found that the absolutely inarguable answer is (drumroll, please!) Nothing can ever be too cheesy. And what better way to up your cheese game, than by making your own fresh homemade ricotta cheese.

We decided to tackle homemade ricotta as the first on our cheese to-do list, since it required very little prep work and the process was less complicated than some more advanced cheeses that we’ll be trying later on.

Recipe inspired by Emma Christensen at Kitchn.

Easy Ricotta Cheese

  • Prep Time:10 mins
  • Cook Time:2 hrs
  • Total Time:2 hrs 10 mins
  • Servings:5
  • Easy


  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon citric acid–found at local food co-ops or on Amazon!
  • Salt to taste
  • Cheesecloth
  • Large pot
  • Colander
  • Instant-read kitchen thermometer–highly encouraged!
Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 1

    Heat milk to 200° F, or just before it gets to a full boil. Add citric acid and stir.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 2

    Let the mixture sit for 10-20 minutes off the heat to form cheese curds.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 3

    Scoop out the cheese curds into a colander lined with two layers of cheesecloth to separate the curds from the whey, and let it drain for 10 to 60 minutes. Depending on the consistency you want, you can drain it more or less. We found that draining it less gave a creamier result.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 4

    Remove more of the liquid by squeezing it until you have your desired consistency.

    Jacqueline Yee
  • Step 5

    Enjoy! Use the ricotta in your favorite lasagna, pancake or cookie recipe. We chose to top off our avocado toast with it. Add some basil, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, and cracked pepper, and it’s the perfect way to compliment and enhance the ricotta’s creaminess!

    Jacqueline Yee

(Toast inspired by Niki Achitoff-Gray at Serious Eats)

One problem that we ran into was that we failed to heat the milk up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit the first time, so there wasn’t as much whey (the watery yellow stuff that’s full of protein–if you want some serious #gainz maybe you could try chugging this!) as we had hoped. However, after straining out the curds, heating it to the correct temperature, and adding another ½ teaspoon dose of citric acid, we got the whey we anticipated. Buying an instant-read thermometer would be a worthy investment for your homemade ricotta cheese endeavors to make heating the milk up to the right temperature and getting the desired result the first time that much easier.

All in all, the process of making homemade ricotta cheese was like an (absolutely delicious) science experiment, and it was so much easier than we anticipated. It was rich and creamy on avocado toast, and if left unsalted, you could try your hand at either making ricotta cookies or spreading it on some toast with some honey and berries. I honestly think I can never go back to the store-bought stuff after trying this–you could say that we know the whey (Moana reference FULLY intended). Stay tuned for the next homemade cheese on our list: fresh mozzarella!