I’ve been dreaming of making cheese for years, but I’ve never felt ready to dive in until recently. After sharing my cheese-making dream with a friend, she mentioned that she often makes ricotta and it takes her no time at all. That small reassurance did just the trick. A few days later, I bit the bullet and made my first batch of cheese, ricotta cheese!
What surprised me the most was how easy fresh, homemade ricotta cheese is to make! In 20 minutes, I had a bowl full of fluffy, white ricotta cheese. I was so excited that I couldn’t even wait for the cheese to cool and kept shoveling spoonfuls into my mouth. Yes, it was quite the sight.
Let me share with you how I make Homemade Ricotta Cheese using my Instant Pot pressure cooker. I can’t overstate how quick and easy the process is with or without a pressure cooker.
Without further adieu, ladies and gentlemen, this is how I make my 3-ingredient homemade ricotta cheese.
I start by stirring the salt and milk together in my Instant Pot insert. I heat up the milk using the Boil setting on my Instant Pot, which is accessed by pressing the Yogurt button until the LCD displays Boil.
As the milk warms up, I collect the lemon juice in preparation for the curdling. After the Instant Pot beeps, I switch it to the sauté setting and stir until the milk reaches 190°F, which I measure with my OXO Digital Instant Read Thermometer.
I hit Cancel to turn off the Instant Pot, pour in the lemon juice, and quickly stir it all together. The milk should begin to separate immediately.
I let the pot stand on its own for 10 minutes and prepare for the next step by placing cheesecloth in a colander above a bowl.
After roughly 10 minutes when the milk mixture has separated out into white, cheese curds and yellow, watery whey, I pour it all into my cheesecloth set up.
My favorite hack for straining cheese is to place the cheesecloth in a salad spinner to speed up the process. I like using my affordable IKEA Tokig Salad Spinner, which can also be purchased on Amazon for just a few dollars more.
Once the curds are in the cheesecloth, I spin the salad spinner to quickly remove just the amount of whey I want. With the salad spinner hack, there is no more need to sit and whey-t for gravity. Though, if you prefer that path, you can use either the salad spinner or colander-bowl combination.
Naturally, the more whey you remove, the drier and crumblier, and the less removed, the creamier and thicker the ricotta cheese.
This is the point in the recipe when I hit a fork in the road. Do I want to devour my creation now or practice some self-control and pack it up for later? I may choose the former a bit too often, but considering how quick and easy this Homemade Instant Pot Ricotta Cheese is to make, I can whip it up whenever I need more Ricotta Cheese in my life.
I would love to hear if you try making your own 3-ingredient Homemade Ricotta Cheese! Thanks for reading Up As I Go!
Items used in this post:
- Instant Pot
- Glass bowls
- Thermometer – I use an OXO Good Grips digital thermometer for an instant, accurate read on temperatures
- Salad spinner or strainer and mixing bowl
- Stirring spoon
- 1/2 gallon milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup lemon juice
Add milk and salt to Instant Pot insert and stir to combine.
Close lid and set valve to seal. Press Yogurt button until LCD displays Boil to set the milk to heat up.
A few minutes later when the Instant Pot beeps, open lid and use a thermometer to check the temperature of the milk. Press Sauté button and keep warming the milk until it reaches 190°F.
When 190°F is reached, press Cancel button on Instant Pot.
Add lemon juice to the milk and give it a quick stir. The milk will begin separating immediately.
Let the pot of milk sit undisturbed for 10 minutes for it to separate into white curds and yellow, liquid whey.
Directly pour the curdled milk into a cheesecloth-lined salad spinner or cheesecloth-lined colander placed over a bowl.
Let the ricotta drain depending on how thick you want it. If using a salad spinner, spin ricotta to desired thickness.
Scrape the ricotta cheese out of the cheesecloth to use right away or store in the refrigerator.
Depending on how much milk you begin with, it may take longer to heat up to the initial 190°F.
I used 1% milk, though a fuller fat milk will produce higher cheese yield.
Recipe from this Ricotta Cheese recipe.