Emeril’s Homemade Ricotta

Originally published on September 25, 2011

Emeril has always been an inspiration to me, mostly because he shows how easy and how fun cooking can be! He does that once again with this recipe for Ricotta Cheese, from one of my most favourite cookbooks, From Emeril’s Kitchens. The book features signature dishes from his most famous restaurants, and this recipe for ricotta cheese really will make you feel like a chef.

While Emeril does a great job laying out simple ingredients and explaining how to turn them into silky, delicious ricotta cheese, he did leave out one very important thing: do not stir the cheese while it is cooking! I made that mistake when it first started cooking, and all it does is break up all those delicate curds you’re trying to create. Emeril also does mention that the mixture cannot simmer while it’s cooking, also very important, and why you need to keep it at such a low heat. I don’t have an instant-read thermometer but, you need the liquid to be just slightly above body temperature. I always stick my pinky in the mixture. It needs to be hot, but not so hot that I can’t keep my finger in there for several seconds. If I can’t, it needs to be turned down.

I also didn’t bother with the slotted spoon, finding that I lost too much of the curd that way. Instead, I lined a colander with cheese cloth like Emeril suggests, and strained the cheese over a bowl. Then I bundled the curds up in the cheesecloth and tied a knot at the top, leaving enough string to tie it off my fridge shelf to hang and drain. Half an hour later, there’s beautiful cheese inside; and you can even wring out the cheesecloth to get the very most out of it.

The cheese really is so, so easy to make. And even if you tell people that, they’ll still be impressed that you made your very own ricotta cheese!


2 quarts whole milk 

2 cups buttermilk  
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice  


1.) Combine all the ingredients in a medium pot and bring to 112 degrees Fahrenheit (using an instant-read thermometer) over low heat. Cook, without simmering, until the liquid separates into solid curds and whey, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from heat.

2.) Using a slotted spoon, transfer the solids to a fine-mesh strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth placed over a bowl. Let drain in the refrigerator until the ricotta is thick and the excess liquid has drained away, about 30 minutes. Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.

3.) Serve and enjoy!