Skip to content

Ricotta Cheese

Ingredients to turn one gallon of milk into one pound of cheese

  • 1 gallon fresh milk (the fresher the milk, the more predictable the cheese)
  • 2-3 tsp. active cultured buttermilk (1/2 cup plain yogurt will also work, yogurt must contain live and active culture)
  • 1/2 tablet Junket® Rennet Tablet (1/4 tablet will work, but takes a bit longer to coagulate)
  • salt


  • 5 quart pot with lid. Heavy stainless is the best, but a light enameled pot can be used if you stir continuously during heating, or heat over boiling water. (Avoid aluminum which can dissolve in the acid.)
  • Wooden spoon to stir whey while heating (a long handled spatula works too)
  • Thermometer (32-220 °F or 0-110 °C) to monitor temperature of whey
  • Receiving container to catch draining whey (a clean plastic bucket will do)
  • 1 quart bowl to receive dipped curds
  • A fine meshed strainer to dip out floating curd
  • Large strainer to suspend over receiving pot
  • Fine weave cloth a boiled handkerchief or a non-terry cloth dish towel to drain ricotta

INGREDIENTS: Whey left from turning a gallon of milk into cheese. This will make about 6-8 ounces of ricotta (almost a cup)

1. Place the whey left over from making basic cheese in a non-reactive pot. Cover and let sit overnight (12 to 24 hours) at room temperature to develop sufficient acidity.

2. The next day, heat the acidified whey over a moderate fire with stirring (do not let it stick or burn) until its temperature is near boiling (220°F or 95°C). Do not let boil over.

3. Remove from heat. Cover and allow the “cooked” whey to cool undisturbed until it is comfortable to the touch (several hours)

4. DO NO STIR UP THE CURD. Gently scoop out most of the fine, delicate curds with the fine strainer and place in a bowl.

5. Set up a receiving container with a large strainer lined with a fine clean cloth. Pour the remaining whey through the cloth (it filters slowly). After most of the whey has drained through, add the curds and let continue to drain.

6. Allow the whey to drain out for 1-2 hours. Then pick up the corners of the cloth, suspend like a bag over a sink to allow the last of the whey to drain out of the ricotta. This will take several hours. It can be done in the refrigerator overnight.

7. Remove the drained ricotta from the cloth, pack into a container, cover and store in the refrigerator. Use it soon after making. Alternatively, ricotta will freeze very well.

What is your go-to Junket recipe?

We’re always updating our collection of recipes here and we would love to include some of your favorites.  Fill out the form below and be sure to add the story behind the recipe you send in.