Whole Milk Ricotta

Whole Milk Ricotta is very easy to make.  However I used a recipe during my latest cheese making workshop that simply amazed me.

Normally, I find that Ricotta made with Whole milk and white vinegar is quite tasteless.  So I looked for a better recipe, which I believe I have found.  When drained this now becomes Ricotta Salata.

whole milk ricotta

The finished Ricotta is creamy, sweet and easy to make.  You only need three ingredients.  Whole milk (obviously), citric acid, and cheese salt.

Here is the method;

Easy Whole Milk Ricotta

 Yield: 4 cups or around 700 gm
Preparation Time: about 1 hour


  • 4 litres (1 gallon) full cream milk
  • 2 tspns Citric Acid
  • 1 tspn Cheese Salt


1. Add milk to a large stainless steel pot

2.  Add 2 tspn of citric acid per 4 litres of milk (dissolved in 1 cup cool water). Add 1/2 of this Citric Acid solution to the milk (save the rest of the citric acid). Stir briskly for 5-10 seconds.

3. Add 1 tspn salt

4.  Heat the milk slowly on low to medium stirring well to prevent scorching.

5.  At 70-75°C watch for small flakes forming in the milk and the separation of small curds.  If after a few minutes you do not see the flakes forming, add more of the Citric acid until they form (do this in small 1 Tbsp increments to avoid over acid milk).  You will use less for raw milk, and more for pasteurised/homogenised milk.

6.  Continue heating to 90-93°C then turn the heat off. The thermal mass of the whey will hold at this temperature for quite some time.

7.  As the curds rise, use a perforated ladle to gently move them from the sides to the centre of the pot. These clumps of curd will begin to consolidate floating on top of the liquid.  Let the curds rest for 10-15 min.

8.  Ladle the curds gently into draining moulds lined with butter muslin (fine weave cloth). Let the curds drain for 15 min up to several hours.

For a fresh light ricotta, drain it for a short while (until the free whey drainage slows) and chill to below 10°C. For a rich, dense and buttery texture allow it to drain for an extended period of time (several hours), before chilling overnight. Move to a refrigerator. Consume within 10 days
I had to use all of the Citric Acid solution for it to work, however it was fine.
I was simply amazed at the quality of this Ricotta.  I chose to drain it for about an hour, and it formed a solid block of cheese in my Ricotta hoop which when salted and aged for a few weeks becomes Ricotta Salata.  It could even be cut into wedges and lifted, but crumbled easily with a smooth texture.  If you press this cheese with light weights for an hour or two it becomes much firmer.
I could eat it by the spoonful, but it definitely cannot stand alone.  This cheese needs to be added to recipes to get the full benefit from it.  It’s just too bland otherwise.


  1. says

    Hi Gavin, really like this recipe, but sometimes have problems with the curds and whey separating fully – my whey is still milky and of course the yield is then low. I use the full 2 tspns citric acid (and have sometimes tried even a little more), follow all the Green Living suggestions about using different batches of whole milk etc, and follow your recipe above to the letter – and sometimes it separates and sometimes it doesn't. If I add more citric acid… how much citric acid is too much?! Thanks for any help you can offer, Leanne

  2. Anonymous says

    Very instructional as usual Gavin and very clear. Are you going to do a video?

    Many years ago when I was in hospital the person in the next bed was supposed to be on a low fat diet and when they brought his dinner loaded with cheese I, being the know-it-all I was, said, hey cheese is full of fat, whereupon I was told to mind my own business. In the intervening years I learnt that Ricotta cheese was made from whey being an otherwise waste product from making regular cheese, and that it was FAT FREE. I naturally assumed therefore that my hospital neighbour was being given Ricotta. Now I see I have to change my thinking yet again as your latest Ricotta is made with full cream milk. I wonder, can it truly be called Ricotta if it is made with anything other than whey? and should a full cream milk Ricotta be given another name?


    • says

      Hi David, I have a free weekend coming up, so good idea about the video.

      You are probably right about this version of Ricotta. It is not fat free at all! The resulting whey was crystal clear when drained so there was not much left in it.


  3. narf7 says

    What is cheese salt Gavin and where can I get it? I live in Tasmania so I would imagine I would have to buy it online?

    • says

      Hi narf. Cheese salt is course non-iodised salt. You may be able to pick it up at a specialty store, and definitely on-line. Try Green living Australia and tell them Gavin sent you!

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