Microwave Ricotta

"Make your own ricotta in your microwave! Store-bought ricotta is loaded with gums and additives to keep it from separating... but it inevitably will when heated, leaving you with gritty pellets of cheese floating in water... in the middle of your lasagna. Make your own ricotta (technically, this is a type of paneer, but who's counting?) in less than 5 minutes in the microwave. Lemon juice will add a noticeable citrus tang, which is nice for sweet pastry, but may not be ideal for savory applications. Also, lemon juice may need as much as an extra 2 tsp. Milk becomes more acidic as it ages and may need less coagulant, so if your milk is less than fresh, reduce the acid a bit. UHT-treated milk (the kind that comes in boxes, or any organic milk) will give less-than-ideal results (smaller yield, and sticky curds). Adapted from a recipe by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats. http://bit.ly/cU38G1"
photo by Maggie photo by Maggie
photo by Maggie
photo by Maggie photo by Maggie
Ready In:
3/8 cup




  • Moisten 4 layers of cheesecloth or two layers of food-safe paper towels and lay into a colander set over a bowl.
  • Combine milk, salt and vinegar or lemon juice in a 4-cup glass bowl or measuring cup. Microwave on high until bubbles form around the edge, 2-4 minutes. (An instant read thermometer should read 165-170°F). Remove from microwave and stir gently for 5 seconds; solid white curds should separate from translucent whey. If not, microwave up to 30 seconds more (if using lemon juice, add an extra 1-2 tsp before reheating).
  • Transfer curds to lined colander using a slotted spoon or wire-mesh skimmer. Cover exposed curds with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate until desired texture is achieved (see next step). The whey may be used for bread-making or for enriching a garden.
  • 5 minutes drain time will give a soft, almost cream-cheese-like consistency, great for immediate consumption drizzled with olive oil, salt and pepper as a snack or appetizer, or with honey and berries as dessert. 15-20 minutes of draining will give you a cottage-cheese-like consistency good for moist savory applications like lasagna, manicotti, ravioli or spinach dip, for moist sweet things like cheesecake, or for uncooked pastry applications like cannoli filling. 2-24 hours will result in a dry, firm, crumbly curd best for pastries like ricotta pancakes, ricotta gnochi, or tortas.

Questions & Replies

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  1. YES!!! Try this it is mmmmm phenomenal! I think I found this recipe just seconds after you posted it, definitely meant to be!!! I followed the recipe almost exactly as written, and used distilled white wine vinegar. I didn't have whole milk, but I did have half and half and skim milk, so I used 1 cup of each. Wow, I think it took 7 minutes from start to clean up, and here I am enjoying a delicacy! I took your suggestion to consume while warm with berries and honey, but used agave sweetener since that's what I had. Mmm just perfect! I can't wait to prepare this for my next dinner party, it looks and tastes like a sophisticated italian dessert, definitely will impress! I don't think I'll share the recipe just yet... eventually, but I just have to let them be in awe for a little while! :D Thanks for sharing such a unique and fabulous recipe! We need more recipes like this that are so thoughtful in nutrition and committed to using "real" food. What a payoff! Thank you thank you thank you!!!
  2. Hooray! This recipe allows me to have a lactose-free soft cheese. I use Lactaid whole milk and only add 1/2 the recommended white vinegar along with the salt. And for the easiest cooking ever? Use your microwave probe and cook to 190 degrees. When cycle is finished, I check that curds are forming, and if not, I add the rest of the vinegar and microwave for 30 seconds. A yogurt strainer is such an easy to clean substitute for the messy cheesecloth. Love this in lasagna, or as a substitute for cream cheese or even for sour cream on baked potatoes.
  3. after several rapid Zmails ( thanks!) i decided to make this in 2 batches. I used 8 cups of whole milk, 2 tbsp salt and 8 tbsp white vinegar and microwaved it in 5 minute increments until it seperated, probably 20/25 minutes tops. poured in into a cheesecloth lined colander and drained. Repeated all again so i could make the amount i needed. It turned out amazing and creamy and had some leftover to eat for breakfast with strawberries! will make again for sure now that i know what i'm doing and can speed things up a bit. Thanks for great communication Dr and i too love Serious Eats so thanks for posting the recipe here. I used the leftover whey in roll recipe too and they turned out great! Bonus!!
  4. This is amazing and really healthy. I can use organic milk to make EASY HEALTHY Ricotta. Plus it's a Microwave recipe. GAD! That's fabulous! THANKS Dr Gaellon
  5. I won't give any stars, since this was my own fault....skim milk by itself doesn't make good ricotta...it makes rubber! I will try this again with whole milk. Just FYI.


I'm a 48 y/o gay Jewish man in the suburbs immediately north of New York City. I'm a general internist, practicing and teaching at a medical college north of NYC. I also earned a Masters in Public Health degree in 2013. After a Walt Disney World trip in Dec 2006 where I had to rent an electric scooter because I couldn't manage the walking, I decided to have gastric bypass surgery, which was done Feb 28, 2007. I lost 160 lbs (though I've gained back about 60 of that since). I can't eat as much as I used to, so I want every bite to be extra good!
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