Go Back
Homemade ricotta / cottage cheese in a bowl with crostini and fruit
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

Homemade Ricotta (Small-Curd Cottage Cheese)

Love ricotta? Homemade ricotta and (or small-curd cottage cheese) is EASY to make, only needs a few ingredients, and is ready in less than 30 minutes.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 205kcal


  • 4 cups milk (whole milk preferred) No ultra-pasteurized milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For Ricotta:

  • cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed

For Small Curd Cottage Cheese:

  • cup distilled white vinegar

Optional Add-In:

  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • salt + pepper


  • Bring milk to a simmer or soft boil. (Approximately 180°F.)
    Tip: Microwave milk for about 9 minutes instead of cooking it on the stovetop for faster cook time and easier clean-up.
  • Add lemon juice or vinegar to the hot milk.  Milk will immediately begin to curdle.
    Tip: Lemon juice will make the cheese sweet like ricotta.  White vinegar will yield a more neutral-tasting cheese.
  • Let mixture cool for about 10 minutes.  The solid curds will begin to separate from the watery-whey.
  • Pour the mixture into a fine mesh strainer.  Allow the mixture to sit for at least 5 minutes, or up to an hour for a drier cheese.
    Tip: No fine mesh strainer?  You can line a colander with butter cheesecloth or butter muslin, or multiple layers of regular cheesecloth or muslin.
  • Add the salt, plus more salt to taste if desired.  For a creamier cheese, stir in the heavy cream.
  • Store cheese in a sealed container in the fridge, and use within a week.



Makes approximately 1 cup cheese.  This recipe is easily doubled or tripled, but keep in mind that the cheese only has a shelf life of about 1 week.
Serving Ideas:
  • Serve on sliced, toasted French bread as crostini.  Add fruit, herbs, + honey as desired.
  • Serve as a side dish, topped with peaches, salt, + pepper
  • Serve as a side dish with berries and honey
  • Use in place of store-bought ricotta or cottage cheese in any recipe


Calories: 205kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 44mg | Sodium: 692mg | Potassium: 357mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 615IU | Vitamin C: 9.3mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 0.2mg