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Homemade Lemon Basil Ricotta

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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.
Course Homemade Ingredients & Condiments
Cuisine Italian
Keyword cheese, homemade, ricotta, ricotta from scratch
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Additional Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 30 mins
Servings 12
Calories 196
Author Laurie McNamara


  • 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.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 196kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 330mg | Potassium: 433mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 547IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 359mg | Iron: 1mg