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Homemade Ricotta Cheese

Making homemade ricotta cheese is the cheapest and tastiest way to get fresh ricotta in your recipes. The Instant Pot is the secret to easiest results, but you can also make it on the stove.
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Course: cheese, spreads
Cuisine: Italian
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 2 cups


  • Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker
  • Strainer
  • Thermometer
  • Cheesecloth


  • ½ gallon whole milk
  • ¼ cup distilled white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp salt


  • Instant Pot: Add the 1/2 gallon milk into your instant pot liner. Set the pressure valve to “sealing” or “steam” (depending on model).
  • Press the YOGURT button. Allow the pot to heat up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. It will stop automatically when it reaches 180 degrees. Use a thermometer to make sure that the temperature is measured correctly.
  • Stovetop: Pour the 1/2 gallon milk into a large saucepan and heat over medium heat. Simply monitor the heat of the milk while you are warming it using a thermometer. Heat until the milk reaches 180 degrees and stir occasionally so that the milk does not burn.
  • Once the milk has warmed up and the pot has stopped, remove the liner from the pot (if using the stove method, remove the pot from the stove). Add the 1/4 cup vinegar into the milk and stir. Set a timer for 10 minutes and leave the milk.
  • When the 10 minutes are up, you should see that the milk has formed into clumps.
  • Use a cheesecloth to line a strainer. Pour the liquid into the strainer so as to remove the additional liquid and be left with only the cheese. Let the ricotta sit in the strainer for another 10-15 minutes to remove any leftover liquid.
  • Transfer the cheese into a bowl. Add the 1/4 tsp salt and stir. Enjoy!


Recipe copyright The Foreign Fork. For educational or personal use only. 
  • Some pots may not be able to correctly read the temperature unless you use 8 cups of milk, so if you are cutting the recipe in half, make sure to use a thermometer to make sure the liquid has reached 180 degrees Fahrenheit. 
  • Whole milk is the best choice by far, but you can also get away with 2%. Do not use skim milk or 1% as the fat content isn’t high enough. 
  • For a wetter ricotta, don’t let the cheese drain as long in the cheesecloth. If you want a drier ricotta for things like dessert, you can drain the ricotta for longer. If you press the cheese under a weight, more liquid will leave it, making a drier cheese. 
  • The leftover “cheese water” that we discarded is called whey. You can choose to save this whey and use it in bread baking or for homemade pizza dough. 
  • My favorite way to eat this ricotta cheese is spread on top of a piece of toast. I top it with zucchini, pistachios, honey, and black pepper. Ohhhh my goodness. 
  • If you don’t have an Instant Pot or pressure cooker, you can make this recipe on the stove. You will have to monitor the milk so that you know when it reaches 180 degrees. In this case, stir the milk as it’s heating up so that it doesn’t burn on your stove.
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