Homemade ricotta mixed with fresh lemon and basil. Smear it on toasted bread or fill pasta shells– whatever way you serve this up, it’s bound to be delicious.

Are you like me and have this forever growing “recipe bucket-list”? Things like homemade fruit leathers, giant cinnamon rolls have snuck their way onto my mile long list, but on the very tippy-top of that long list was to make my own ricotta cheese. It was when I saw Megan’s recipe (courtesy of the fine folks of America’s Test Kitchen), I knew it was time to cross that recipe off of my list and get elbow deep into some ricotta cheese baby.

First of all I had no idea how easy it was, or else I would have made it a long time ago! You just need a few ingredients, cheesecloth and a trusty digital thermometer and poof, ricotta. This recipe is light and bright from the lemon and basil, which complements the ricotta’s smooth and creamy texture. But if you desire plain ricotta just simply leave out the lemon and basil.

This stuff is good. Reeeal good. It’s safe to say I won’t be buying store bought ricotta ever again. Period.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
The recipe calls for whole milk, I suppose you could try to make it with two percent or even skim, but whole milk is where it’s at. The creamy factor is out of this world!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Make sure to place cheesecloth on your grocery list, along with a digital thermometer that clips to your pot, if you don’t already have one in your kitchen.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Start by squeezing a few lemons and straining out all the pulp and seeds. My lemons were mighty juicy, so it only took 2 to get 2/3 cup of lemon juice. But always buy a couple extra just in case.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Line a mesh strainer or a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it inside the deepest—and I mean deepest—bowl you have.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, pour in an entire gallon of milk.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
While you patiently wait for the milk to heat up to 185ºF, stir … stir … stir! It will help prevent the milk from scalding.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
The moment the milk reaches 185ºF, remove the pot from the heat and pour in the lemon juice. Now we wait, and specifically directed, DO NOT DISTURB for 25 minutes! In this time the lemon juice will coagulate the milk to form the curds, which will be the ricotta!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
The moment the buzzer rings, pour the ricotta slowly into the cheesecloth-lined strainer. I recommend doing this step by a sink in case you need to drain out some liquid from the bowl.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
I twisted the cheesecloth and squeezed to get the most moisture out.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
If you wanted more of a loose ricotta, don’t squeeze, just stop draining when the liquid stops flowing freely.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Just look at that cheese!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Grab a few fresh basil leaves, roll and mince the heck out of them until you get 1/3 cup.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Throw the basil in with the fresh (and still warm) ricotta!

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Zest in half a lemon.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Season with some salt and black pepper, and then gently fold it all together until the lemon and basil are incorporated.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
Transfer the ricotta to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.

Tasty Kitchen Blog Homemade Ricotta with Lemon and Basil
I literally can’t stop thinking about how delicious this cheese tasted and how easy it was to prepare! You can spread it on bread, bake it in pasta—the options are endless! Until you run out and that’s a total bummer deal. But now you know just how simple it is to whip up some ricotta in your very own kitchen! So go give it a try!

Enjoy! And if you give this Homemade Lemon & Basil Ricotta recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

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