Homemade Ricotta Cheese – As Easy as 1, 2, Cheese!

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A beautiful round of “ricotta” cheese made in our very own kitchen. Easy to make and delicious to eat! 

When will lived in the small rural village of Point Hope, Alaska, ricotta cheese was nearly impossible to get. The main way to acquire this cheese was by way of a kindly person hand-carrying it in on a flight from Anchorage. The desire to cook with ricotta and the scarcity of this cheese prompted us to learn how to make it. As it turned out, it was simple.

Living in the city of Ulaanbaatar in the dairy-loving country of Mongolia, you would think any cheese we would like would be at our fingertips. Interestingly enough, we have never seen ricotta in any of the grocery stores we frequent. Fortunately, milk as well as vinegar are readily available – all we need to make our own “ricotta.” We place ricotta in quotes to avoid the argument that what we are making is not authentic ricotta. The ricotta we turn out in our kitchen is delicious and works well in any recipe that calls for ricotta cheese.

So, in a few easy steps, you, too, can make your own ricotta cheese. You can use the initial warm ricotta to create delicious savory or sweet spreads. You can also let it dry out a little longer to make terrific pasta fillings or ricotta gnocchi.

Homemade Ricotta Cheese


  • 5 cups milk (I use whole, but 2% fat or more would also work.)
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar


  1. Heat milk to about 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) over medium heat.
  2. Stir in vinegar. You will notice the milk split into curds and whey. Let cool slightly.
  3. Hang double layer of cheesecloth in a plastic storage container. You can also line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a bowl for the same purpose.
  4. Pour heated milk into cheesecloth to separate out the whey.
  5. Let drain for at least 30 minutes before using. The longer you drain, the drier the end result will be.

Pear and Ricotta Tart

Creamy, sweetened homemade ricotta cheese makes for a lighter, healthier delicious alternative to cream cheese in this cheesecake-like tart. In this version, slices of pears have been brushed with peach preserves prior to baking.

I was surprised how easy it was to make a ricotta-style cheese at home. My first batch of ricotta went into Jack’s moose cannelloni. A second batch was split between blintzes and a pear and ricotta tart. Infused with vanilla, the beaten egg and ricotta base was smooth, creamy and light. The sliced pears were brushed with a vanilla peach jam which added another subtle layer of flavor.

Pear and Ricotta Tart


  • pie crust
  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 d’Anjou pears, halved, cored and sliced
  • 1 heaping tbsp of peach preserves


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Press pie dough into a 9-inch springform pan and bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven.
  3. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees F.
  4. Beat together ricotta, eggs, sugar and vanilla.
  5. Pour ricotta mixture into pre-baked pie shell.
  6. Arrange sliced pears on top of ricotta mixture.
  7. Brush pears with preserves.
  8. Bake for 50 minutes, or until tart no longer jiggles in the center.
  9. Let cool. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to serve. Remove from springform pan just before serving.