Homemade ricotta mixed with fresh lemon and basil. Smear it on toasted bread or fill pasta shells, either way it’s delicious and an easy way to make homemade ricotta cheese.
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.
TO Make this Lemon Basil Ricotta Youu will Need:
- whole milk
- lemon zest and juice
- fresh basil
- salt and pepper
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.
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.
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.
In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, pour in an entire gallon of milk.
While you patiently wait for the milk to heat up to 185ºF, stir … stir … stir! It will help prevent the milk from scalding.
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!
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.
I twisted the cheesecloth and squeezed to get the most moisture out.
If you wanted more of a loose ricotta, don’t squeeze, just stop draining when the liquid stops flowing freely.
Just look at that cheese!
Grab a few fresh basil leaves, roll and mince the heck out of them until you get 1/3 cup.
Throw the basil in with the fresh (and still warm) ricotta!
Zest in half a lemon.
Season with some salt and black pepper, and then gently fold it all together until the lemon and basil are incorporated.
Transfer the ricotta to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
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!
Homemade Lemon Basil Ricotta
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2/3 cup lemon juice
- 1/3 cups fresh basil, minced
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1/3 teaspoons black pepper
- Line a mesh strainer or a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth and set it inside a very deep bowl and set aside.
- In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, pour in an entire gallon of milk. While you patiently wait for the milk to heat up to 185ºF, stir … stir … stir! It will help prevent the milk from scalding.
- 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!
- Once timer goes off, pour the milk/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.
- Twist the cheesecloth and squeeze to get the most moisture out. If you want more of a loose ricotta, do not squeeze, just stop draining when the liquid stops flowing freely.
- Add the ricotta to a mixing bowl and add the minced basil, lemon zest in with the fresh (and still warm) ricotta and mix to incorporate.
- Transfer the ricotta to a container with a tight fitting lid and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
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THANK YOU in advance for your support!
I make kefir and komboucha, havent tried my hand at cheese. You have me intrigued!
I saw this on yesterday on TK and my face fell off in a river of drool. Nice. freaking. job.
when i saw this on TK i just about died…it looks so fun to make!
I can't get enough of this. Seriously!!
Sounds amazingly delicious. I have never made cheese before, but this sounds like something I could do!
I cannot not believe how easy that is…of course I will have to go out and buy a thermometer but that will not be a problem. I am dreaming about all of the possibilities out there for how to eat this…yum!
Wow, this looks amazing! I love ricotta, regardless of the fat content. Would this work with skim milk? Man, I am so tempted. You've just expanded my bucket list! 😉
Oh my! I am sure that is amazing!! How delicious!
Awesome post, I had no idea how to make ricotta, can't believe how simple it sounds! I want to give it a try, thanks for sharing!
Great recipe! I made it this morning and it's fantastic. My only question is that I didn't get that much ricotta. Definitely not 1.5 C (that I would need for your stuffed shells recipe.) DId I do something wrong?
Lizzy, I really don't know. Hmmm, did you use a gallon of whole milk? Really racking my brain on that one because I got two cups total out of it.. not sure what could have went wrong. 🙁
I used a gallon. Maybe the temp was off my a degree? It's still excellent and I'll just have to eat it on bread. Thanks. Live your blog. Maybe the southwest chicken chili last night. I'm only sorry I didnt double it.
Well that's a bummer about the ricotta… but I'm glad you liked the chili! Have a super weekend!
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You probably should not be squeezing out your cheeses. I’ve seen on several websites that squeezing is a no-no – it can make the cheese too hard, or something. Just let it drop. Also it works best if you hang it – hanging the gathered muslin bag from a cupboard knob works well for me. BTW I make ricotta the traditional way (whey?) with whey left over from making chevre – goat milk cheese. I supplement with additional goat milk if needed. I also use distilled white vinegar (1/2 C – more reliable) instead of lemon, but this looks lovely and I am going to try it – it is a traditional method. I am fortunate in that I have a neighbor who keeps goats and chickens. She keeps me in milk and eggs and discounts for me – I bring her home made bread.
Hey Laurie. Simply love this recipe. I take it to parties and use it in my lasagna minus the lemon. I have a question about the nutrition info at the bottom of your post. It states that a serving is 1g, however there are 196 calories. I’m wondering if this is 1oog or maybe 1 oz, although 196 calories for an ounce seems a lot too. I take this recipe to my girl parties and many of us count calories/macros and such and I sometimes get questions about it. Thanks in advance of you have the time to respond.
Did I miss the pepper in the instructions?