Homemade Ricotta Cheese: It Can Be Done! (Even in the Microwave)

Whole Foods makes me mad sometimes. How do they get away with charging people $5.99 for 16 oz of ricotta cheese? It’s just milk heated with a little vinegar. Sheesh! Well, I can do that.

So I did. And it’s so simple! I googled around for recipes for a few minutes until coming across this article and recipe from Serious Eats, which claim you can make homemade ricotta cheese in 5 minutes! I liked this recipe in particular because, first of all, it only takes 5 minutes; second, it didn’t require me to buy any extras like buttermilk, cheesecloth and/or special strainers; and lastly, it has microwave directions! Cheese-making in the microwave? Crazy, I know. But it actually worked!

I used whole milk this time, but I suppose you could use any kind of cow or goat milk. Non-dairy wouldn’t work, however; it has something to do with the whey that comes from animal milk, which reacts when combined with an acidic substance like vinegar or lemon juice. On that note, regarding the acid to add, I saw recipes, which called for buttermilk, lemon and distilled white vinegar. I would have used distilled white or lemon, but all I have here at home is apple cider vinegar. Guess what, it turned out fine. The recipe also says to microwave from 2 to 4 minutes; I needed the full 4, but it will depend on your microwave. You’ll know when it’s done because the milk will have completely curdled.

One more thing, the article discusses drainage time and how long you want to allow the cheese to strain before using it. It depends on what you want to do with the cheese. If you want to eat it right away, i.e. as a dessert or appetizer spread, then 5 minutes will suffice. For use as a filling, like in ravioli or manicotti, then 15-20 minutes. And for baking, like for use in pastries or pancakes, it’s best to strain for at least 2 hours or even overnight. I let mine sit overnight since I plan on baking with it. (I’m planning on making Torta della Nonna, Italian Grandmother’s Ricotta Tart, with it today.)

Doesn’t the picture LOOK like ricotta? It tastes and feels like it too! It does have a slight vinegary tang to it, but I don’t think it will be noticeable once baked. If I wasn’t going to bake with it, I think I’d pour some olive oil over the top, sprinkle over some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper and then slather it over toasted baguette slices. Yum!


Homemade Ricotta Cheese (recipe from Serious Eats)

printable recipe

Recipe makes 1/2 cup (and  is easily doubled)


2 cups whole milk

1/4 tsp table salt

2 tbsp distilled white vinegar or lemon juice (I used apple cider vinegar because that’s all I had)


  1. Line colander with four layers of cheesecloth or 2 layers of food-safe paper towels and set over large bowl. Combine milk, salt, and vinegar or lemon juice in microwave-safe glass 1-quart liquid measure. Microwave on high heat until lightly bubbling around edges, 2 to 4 minutes (milk should register about 165°F on an instant-read thermometer). Remove from microwave, and stir gently for 5 seconds. Milk should separate into solid white curds and translucent liquid whey. If not, microwave for 30 seconds longer. Repeat until fully separated.
  2. Using slotted spoon or wire skimmer, transfer curds to prepared colander, cover exposed top with plastic wrap, and allow to drain until desired texture is reached. Store in covered container in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: