How to make Ricotta at home

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raisin bread honey figs ricotta luscious vegetarian cookbook sonia cabano blog eatdrinkcapetown
Raisin bread toast with honeyed figs and ricotta. Photo Sean Calitz, from my cookbook Luscious Vegetarian, published by RHS

A while ago I gave a recipe for raisin bread toast with honey figs and ricotta, and promised a post on making ricotta. It really couldn’t be easier and since it’s not always to be found in the shops when you most need it, why not give it a bash at home?

Ricotta is a very mild-tasting, soft white cheese with a curd-like texture. Mixed with some flour, seasoning and beaten egg it makes yummy fritters to drench in honey for a sweet, or use it in combination with vegetables as filling in savoury tarts and pastries. Altogether more rich and decadent, use ricotta to make pashka with preserved fruits, honey and nuts, or simply stir some into a buttermilk batter for breakfast pancakes.

Ricotta is extremely easy to make provided you use a thermometer. Muslin can be tricky to find, so I use a clean, lightly-rinsed J-cloth instead to line the strainer. Since it’s low fat, it’s a healthy treat too.

Makes about 4 cups (1 litre).


1.9 litres fresh low-fat cow or goat’s milk, preferably organic

1 litre buttermilk


  1. Place a large strainer or fine-holed colander in the sink and line with dampened muslin or a rinsed clean J-cloth.
  2. Take a large stainless steel pot – about 6 litre capacity – and gently heat the milk to 90 degrees Celsius.
  3. Remove from the heat and whisk in the buttermilk. Let it stand. After a while the whey will start separating from the curd. After 10-15 minutes, when curds and whey have completely separated, pour it into the lined strainer and leave to drain for about an hour or two. (If you don’t want to let the whey go to waste, position the strainer over a bowl, and use the resultant catch in your smoothies. Will keep in the fridge up to 4 days.)
  4. Transfer ricotta to an airtight, spotlessly clean container and refrigerate until needed. Use within three days.


Home-made ricotta
Home-made ricotta photo by Sean Calitz courtesy RHS

This recipe originally appeared in my cookbook Relish – Easy sauces, seasonings and condiments to make at home, published in 2012 by Random House Struik


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Celebrating life with food, wine, friends & happiness! Writer, cook and blogger. Author of four cookbooks. Passionately South African, proudly Capetonian.