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Buttermilk Ricotta

Hands-on time 30 mins
Total time 50 mins
Yield Serves 26 (serving size: 2 tablespoons)
I grew up in New York, where excellent ricotta was readily available. I've always found the part-skim variety to be too lean, almost chalky. When I moved to the South, I embraced buttermilk, which creates a superbly zingy ricotta that mimics the rich mouthfeel of the full-fat version. It's marvelous served warm alongside crusty bread. Try folding in some grated raw garlic, lemon zest, and parsley. 


  • 1 gallon whole milk, non-homogenized, super-fresh
  • 2 teaspoons citric acid powder
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Nutrition Information

  • calories 58
  • fat 4.7 g
  • satfat 2.8 g
  • monofat 1.1 g
  • polyfat 0.3 g
  • protein 4 g
  • carbohydrate 0.0 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 16 mg
  • iron 0.0 mg
  • sodium 32 mg
  • calcium 108 mg

How to Make It


  2. Pour the milk into a heavy-bottomed Dutch oven.

  3. Over medium-high heat, raise the temperature to 190°.

  4. Turn the heat to low & add the acid powder. Stir gently.

  5. Keep stirring. Watch closely. Look at that! You're making cheese. The curds are separating from the whey.

  6. Turn off the heat.

  7. Using a wooden spoon, lightly agitate the curds in the warm liquid, encouraging the formation of a "raft" of curds.


  9. Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth. Place that strainer over a vessel that can hold the strainer without your assistance and keep the drained whey out of contact with the draining cheese.

  10. Strain this mixture for about 20 minutes at room temperature.

  11. After straining, transfer the ricotta to a mixing bowl.

  12. Add some of the hot water, folding with a rubber spatula. It's not necessary to add all of the water--the more you add, the moister the final cheese.

  13. Now drizzle the buttermilk & heavy cream into the cheese. Sprinkle in the salt. Fold gently with a rubber spatula.

  14. Transfer to a small container & refrigerate, covered, until ready for use. Use the ricotta within a week.

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