I think ricotta is one of the most underrated cheeses out there. It's cottage cheese's softer, creamier, infinitely-more-delicious older sister. Seriously. Cottage cheese is a poor substitute, certainly not an equal.

If you can't find it in a store, or would prefer to make your own for other reasons, this recipe should prove helpful.

How to use ricotta? You could try this ricotta spinach lasagna, cheesy stuffed shells, or lemon ricotta pound cake. It's also delicious spread on toast and topped with jam or cooked berries.


  • 4 cups whole milk (do not use skim)
  • 2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar or fresh lemon juice
  • salt (optional)


  1. Pour the milk into a pot and gently warm over medium heat.
  2. Just before the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the lemon juice or vinegar. Stir gently to distribute the acid, then let it sit for 10 minutes.
  3. After 10 minutes, it should have separated into clumps of white curd and thinner liquid whey. If there is still a lot of milk, add another tablespoon of lemon juice/vinegar and wait another 5 minutes.
  4. Line a strainer with cheesecloth (a kitchen towel or wet paper towel can also work in a pinch), and place the strainer over a bowl. Pour the mixture into the strainer and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. If you want a very soft ricotta, remove it from the strainer after 10 minutes, and if you want a very dry ricotta, keep it in for longer. For more uses, 15-20 minutes will give you a good texture. Use immediately or refrigerate for later.