You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to make your own cheese at home!

  • Uses the stovetop
  • Intermediate
  • 35 minutes, plus 2 hours cooling time
  • Makes 2 cups

Prepare Ingredients

8 cups
pasteurized (not UHT or ultra-pasteurized) whole milk
1 teaspoon
¼ cup
distilled white vinegar, plus extra as needed

Gather Cooking Equipment

Large bowl
Large saucepan
Rubber spatula
Instant-read thermometer
Plastic wrap

Line colander with triple layer of cheesecloth (let extra cheesecloth hang over edge of colander). Place cheesecloth-lined colander in sink. Place large bowl next to sink.

8 cups
pasteurized (not UHT or ultra-pasteurized) whole milk
1 teaspoon

In large saucepan, combine milk and salt. Place saucepan over medium-high heat and cook, stirring often with rubber spatula, until milk registers 185 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 12 to 15 minutes.

Heat the milk until it registers 185 degrees.

¼ cup
distilled white vinegar

Turn off heat and slide saucepan to cool burner. Slowly pour in vinegar and use rubber spatula to stir until milk solids clump together, about 15 seconds. Let sit, without stirring, until mixture fully separates into solid curds on top and watery, yellowish whey underneath, about 10 minutes.


Use rubber spatula to gently pull milk solids (called curds) away from edge of saucepan to see if they have clumped together and if liquid left behind (called whey) is mostly clear. If whey still looks like milk instead of mostly clear liquid, stir in 1 more tablespoon of vinegar and let mixture sit for 2 to 3 minutes until curds separate.


Carefully pour mixture into cheesecloth-lined colander in sink (ask an adult for help, saucepan will be heavy and mixture will be hot). Let sit, without stirring, until whey (liquid) has mostly drained away but cheese is still wet, about 1 minute.


Working quickly, strain ricotta and transfer to bowl. Let cheese cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes.

DIY Ricotta 3-Up Image

Working quickly, gather edges of cheesecloth into bundle and transfer cheese (inside cloth) to large bowl next to sink.

Slide cheesecloth out from under cheese (leaving cheese in bowl) and discard cheesecloth.

Use rubber spatula to break up large cheese curds.


Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cold, about 1½ hours. Stir cheese before serving. Ricotta can be refrigerated in airtight container for up to 5 days.

While it sits in the refrigerator, the ricotta absorbs some of the extra whey (liquid).