I know what you may be thinking: homemade ricotta sounds like one of those things (along with handmade pasta and sourdough bread) that would be nice to make yourself – if you also had time to spend a week in a cabin in the woods foraging for your own meals. But stay with me, because the technique is actually so easy that any newbie can tackle it on a lazy weekend afternoon, and the flavor payoff is so worth the tiny bit of extra work.

I shared my easy technique in the “summer” section of my book, and it was such a popular recipe that I had to share it here, too. Though you’ll still want to buy the book to get the recipes for all my favorite ways to use it up.

It’s definitely felt like spring here in Austin the last couple weeks, making me soooo excited for all the outdoor entertaining that’s on the horizon this summer. I’ll be mixing up batches of this ricotta the day before dinner parties, and serving it as the centerpiece to a gorgeous antipasto platter (see top pic), folded into a simple veggie pasta, and even in desserts! (see last pic.) Keep scrolling to see the technique in action, and the recipe is printed at the bottom. That’s right, only 4 ingredients required, and you’ve probably got them all in your fridge right now.

Here’s what you’re gonna do: bring milk, cream, and salt to a boil while stirring, then reduce the heat to low and add lemon juice. Don’t freak out when the mixture begins to curdle — it’s supposed to happen!!! Just remove it from the heat and pour the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve to let the liquid drain off.

After 45 minutes, discard the liquid, and refrigerate the ricotta in a covered container for up to 4 days. Told ya you could do it. I’d love to hear if y’all give it a try — leave a comment and let me know how it turns out, along with all your ideas for using it up! 

One of my go-to’s? Fresh berries with ricotta cream, mint, and crumbled amaretti cookies is the perfect light dessert for capping off the first al fresco dinner party of the season.

*photos: Buff Strickland for Camille Styles Entertaining

Homemade Fresh Ricotta

Serves 2 cups

How to Make Your Own Ricotta

By Camille Styles

Ingredients

  • 6 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Line a fine mesh sieve with two layers of cheesecloth. Place the sieve over a large bowl.
  2. In a heavy pot over medium heat, bring milk, cream and salt to a boil, stirring frequently. When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to low, add lemon juice and let simmer, stirring constantly. When the mixture begins to curdle (about 3 minutes), remove from heat.
  3. Pour the mixture into the cheesecloth-lined sieve and let it drain completely (this takes about 45 minutes.) Discard the liquid and refrigerate the ricotta in a covered container. Store in the fridge for up to 4 days.
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