This 4-ingredient homemade ricotta tastes vastly better than anything you could buy at the store and can be ready in just about 30 minutes!

I never thought I liked ricotta until I made it from scratch. The difference in taste and texture between homemade ricotta and store-bought is dramatic. If you, too, think you don’t like ricotta, I have no doubt this recipe will change your mind.

Homemade Ricotta: Tips

  1. Get Organized. You’ll need to line a fine-meshed sieve with a few layers of cheesecloth. It’s helpful to have some kitchen clips or clothespins on hand to fasten the cheesecloth to the sieve.
  2. Stay focused. Every cook at some point in his/her life has made the mistake of walking away from a pot of near-boiling milk or cream only to return to find the pot boiling over. In this recipe, you’ll bring 4 cups of milk and 2 cups of heavy cream with a teaspoon of kosher salt to a simmer over medium heat. Do not walk away. As soon as the milk-cream mixture comes to a boil remove it from the heat. Add 3 tablespoons vinegar and let it sit for 1 minute, until the mixture begins to curdle.
  3. Be Patient. It takes 20 to 30 minutes for the curds to separate from the whey. If you line your sieve especially well, it will take longer. Once the ricotta (the curds) has reached a consistency you like, spoon it into a serving vessel or storage jar and use as you wish. A few ideas follow. Save the whey! You can use it to make bread; you can use it to thin out the ricotta to the consistency you like on subsequent days.

How To Make Ricotta, Step by Step

First, gather your ingredients: whole milk, heavy cream, salt, and vinegar.

Homemade ricotta ingredients.

Combine the milk, cream, and salt in a pot:

A pot filled with whole milk, heavy cream, and salt.

Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Monitor closely and stir occasionally.

Once it comes to a simmer, turn off the heat, and add the vinegar:

Let it stand for a minute or until it curdles:

Strain it through a few layers of cheese cloth in a sieve set over a bowl:

In just about 20 minutes, it will be done:

By the end, you will have two cups of ricotta and 4 cups of whey:

Taste the ricotta: you may want to season it with more salt.

Homemade ricotta in a bowl.

Store in the fridge for at least 1 week.

How to Use Your Homemade Ricotta

Drop it onto pizza 🍕🍕 This 4-ingredient homemade pizza dough is a favorite as is this simple sourdough pizza. Find this specific recipe in my pizza newsletter.

Homemade pizza topped with homemade ricotta.

Bruschetta with Thyme-Roasted Grapes

bruschetta with thyme-roasted grapes

A Summer Lunch: Tomatoes, Basil, Grilled Bread, Homemade Ricotta

A summer lunch: tomatoes, grilled bread, homemade ricotta

An Irresistible Appetizer: Whipped Ricotta with Olive Oil and Herbs

homemade ricotta with herbs and olive oil

Endive and Fava Tartines with Herbed Ricotta

endive and fava tartines
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Creamy 4-Ingredient Homemade Ricotta

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.8 from 4 reviews

Save Recipe


Source: The Barefoot Contessa via Goop

Salt: If you are using Morton Kosher salt or sea salt, use 3/4 teaspoon.

Milk and Cream: If you can find milk and cream that is not “ultra-pasteurized”, buy them. I never can find non “ultra-pasteurized” heavy cream but it doesn’t seem to matter. 


  • 4 cups whole milk, see notes above
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1.5 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, see notes above
  • 3 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar or other white vinegar you like 


  1. Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a deep bowl. Line the sieve with two layers of folded cheesecloth (so roughly 4 single layers).
  2. Pour the milk and cream into a stainless steel or enameled pot. Stir in the salt. Bring to a full boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally — do not walk away. Turn off the heat and stir in the vinegar. Allow the mixture to stand for 1 minute or until it curdles. It will separate into thick parts (the curds) and milky parts (the whey).
  3. Pour the mixture into a cheesecloth-lined sieve and allow it to drain into the bowl at room temperature for 20 to 25 minutes, occasionally transferring the liquid that collects in the bowl to another storage vessel. In the end you will have 2 cups of ricotta and 4 cups of whey. Transfer the ricotta to a bowl, discarding the cheesecloth. Save the whey — you can make bread with it.
  4. Taste the ricotta. Season with more salt if you wish. Use the ricotta immediately or transfer it to a storage vessel, and refrigerate. The ricotta will keep refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. It will thicken considerably once chilled for 24 hours.
  • Prep Time: 2 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Category: Cheese
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American/Italian