summer ricotta with grilled vegetables

Letter of recommendation: Make ricotta this summer. I was originally going to write “Ditch the burrata and make some ricotta this summer,” but neither wish to besmirch burrata nor do I plan to go tomato season without it. Should a burrata tree (it grows on trees, or must based on the frequency in which it appears) spontaneously appear on my terrace, I will be the happiest and most popular girl in all of the Lower East Side this summer. But since like most of us, I’m still buying it at stores where it’s quite expensive, spoils quickly, and is only sometimes spectacular, I’m here to make the argument that homemade ricotta is not only rich, delicious, and a cinch to make, but that in almost all of the places we’re serving burrata, ricotta* would be deliciously welcome too.

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Plus, it’s an incredible potuck addition or host gift, and you get to feel absolutely triumphant in pulling it off. As someone who does not have a, say, covetable summer pad (no pool or big yard for grilling), we spend a lot of time heading to other’s homes for gatherings which means always transporting something good to share, and because it’s, ahem, me, it’s homemade. Enter: ricotta. From a storebought tub, it’s unspectacular. Homemade? Luxurious. It’s blissful spread on toasted bread, drizzled with olive oil, and finished with flaky salt. You could even add a drizzle of honey or balsamic, if either are your thing. But with a few additions — fresh tomatoes or any vegetable in season, thinly sliced and grilled to heap on top, plus grilled bread — it’s even more special, the appetizer (or light lunch) platter of my summer dreams.

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-11
summer ricotta grilled vegetables-12

[* “But doesn’t burrata contain ricotta?” is a valid question and the answer is that it often does, but not when it’s very good. Burrata is a cow milk cheese from Apulia made with a thin outer layer of mozzarella which is filled with stracciatella. Stracciatella in this case are shreds of fresh mozzarella, usually leftover from mozzarella-making, soaked in cream. Good burrata, burrata filled with these creamy shreds, is otherworldly. But very often it’s filled with just ricotta, while delicious, is not nearly as special or worthy of the price tag and you do not always know what you’re getting until you open it. Thank you for coming to my Deb Talk.]



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13 years ago: Martha’s Mac-and-Cheese, Crisp Salted Oatmeal White Chocolate Cookies
14 years ago: Cherry Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake
15 years ago: Homemade Oreos and Cellophane Noodle and Roast Pork Salad

summer ricotta grilled vegetables-09

Summer Ricotta with Grilled Vegetables

  • Servings: Make 1 cup ricotta; Serves 4, as shown
  • Source: Smitten Kitchen
  • Print

As shown, this feeds four people for appetizers, but it’s easily doubled or tripled. This is not authentic ricotta, which isn’t made with milk or cream, but with the whey byproduct from cheesemaking. This is a slightly updated version of my 2011 Rich Homemade Ricotta; I use less cream these days but love the extra softness and luxury that even a smaller amount provides. Shown here are a mix of the vegetables that looked good at the market on Monday — some spring red onions, small summer squash, and fresh peas in their pods — but almost any vegetable you like will work grilled or roasted here.

  • 4 cups (910 grams) whole milk
  • 1/4 cup (55 grams) heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons (45 grams) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • To Serve
  • 1 pound (455 grams) mixed summer vegetables, thinly sliced
  • 8 slices from a large sourdough loaf
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon, halved

Make the ricotta: Line a fine-mesh or other tiny-holed strainer with a layer or two of cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl with enough clearance that the bottom of the strainer won’t touch the bowl once it has 4 cups of liquid in it, or the cheese won’t drain. In a heavy medium-large saucepan, heat the milk, cream, and salt over medium-high heat until just below a simmer — it will look like it’s foaming and register just below 200°F. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in lemon juice. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then pour it through the cheesecloth. Drain for 10 minutes, or until it’s a nice soft ricotta consistency, and up to 10 minutes longer if needed. [The amount of time it takes to drain has to do with the size of your cheesecloth holes.] Transfer ricotta to a bowl to serve. Drizzle with olive oil, and finish with salt and pepper.

Grill the bread and vegetables: Brush or drizzle your vegetables and bread with olive oil. I grill my vegetables, even small ones, directly on my grill grates at fairly high heat but I know there are baskets that might lead to fewer falling in, I’m just stubborn. Grill the vegetables, bread, and lemon halves until they’re lightly charred underneath (depending on how robust your grill is, this could take 2 to 6 minutes), then flip the vegetables and bread and cook on the second side. Season with the vegetables with salt and pepper and transfer everything to a serving platter.

Serve: Right before serving, drizzle everything with additional olive oil, squeeze at least one lemon half over the vegetables (leave the second half on the platter), and season with additional salt and pepper. You could also drizzle some balsamic vinegar over, or keep it on the side.

Do ahead: Leftover ricotta is not a thing that exists, but it theoretically keeps for 3 days in the fridge.

A few items I’m using here: Reusable cheesecloth, which I even run through the washing machine, this glass pot, this little burner, and this oval platter.

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172 comments on summer ricotta with grilled vegetables

    1. Zoe

      Hahaha I don’t mean this to be rude, this really honestly made me laugh, is this a joke?

      Clearly you could, but I think Deb is sharing how homemade will take it to another level

          1. Kimba

            Rose, I don’t believe Laura was being “truly disingenuous”, she was asking a genuine question. No rebukes, polite or otherwise, are required.

            1. Carol Giffen

              Yes, Kimba, I agree. I can imagine a 10 year old learning to cook (actually anybody at any age) being totally seduced by the picture and all those wonderful grill marks on the bread and vegetables. If she could present that to her family she would be Queen of the Dinner Table! But, the ricotta feels a bit beyond her. I’d tell her to go for it and we’ll tackle the ricotta later. Dinner will be delicious!

          1. Sarah

            Paula S – I like to use it as the liquid in yeast bread, pizza dough, pie dough, even cake(if it is not too delicate a cake or the flavor too delicate). Others use it for watering plants. Search the comments here for “whey” and see what they say. It is a shame to waste so much liquid, so I am glad it has uses. Best of luck!

          2. I didn’t look at Deb’s list so maybe repeats and agree with @Sarah using in bread dough.

            If you have a dog … all of mine have LOVED whey, my cats also and none had any digestive issues as with milk. Plus, I have used it with ill dog to get more liquid in him.

            Also, around plants and trees … like plant food :)

            1. Sarah

              With feeding the whey to animals are you concerned about the salt or vinegar or lemon juice in it? Does that bother them? Thanks!

              1. I don’t add salt and I use buttermilk for the acid.

                I think, but all animals are different so ask your vet … but that said, the amount of “acid” is small.

                At any rate, the whey has not bothered any of my dogs or cats. Also, it has not harmed any plants … not being a smart aleck there, but “acid” (vinegar or lemon juice) straight up kills plants and I use vinegar as weed killer.

          3. Pamela Shad

            Suggestion for the leftover whey: I spent an incredible week on Cumberland Island where the chef at the Inn made his own ricotta with lemon juice and used the leftover whey to make grits in the morning with March Hen Mill’s Jimmy Red grits. OMG. It was a whole other level of grits….

    2. EKP

      Ricotta is most amazing homemade, but decent stuff can be bought. Look for brands that only include milk (preferably whole; no skim at my house), milk products (like whey), and an acid (lemon juice, vinegar, citric acid). Many brands use binders, which reduce the quality of the product.

  1. Sarah

    Homemade ricotta is great. I used the whey it produces as the liquid for several things: pizza dough, pie crust, bread, even cake. Making ricotta produces a lot of whey and I got a lot of “use” out of it. I am hoping to try making more ricotta out of the whey one of these days.

    1. Mia

      Hi Sarah, for using the whey in doughs… do you just use it one-for-one in place of water? I’m imagining making ricotta, using the whey in pizza dough, and then putting the ricotta on my pizza :D

      1. Sarah

        Yup – one for one in place of water or milk or buttermilk.

        Re: using whey in the the dough and ricotta on the pizza: YES!!! That is what I did! I used whey in the dough and let it rise in the fridge overnight.

        I actually dried the ricotta a bit too much, so it was not really spreadable (I like ricotta spread on good bread and sprinkled with salt).

        The overnight whey dough, the drier ricotta, with broccoli and no tomato, was possibly the best pizza I have ever made. I hope it works for you!

      1. Not a stupid question! I make my own cheeses from our two cows. The whey is what I have leftover from making the cheese. So, on average, for about 8 gallons of milk, I’ll get a 6-7 pound wheel of cheese and about 6-7 gallons of whey. From 4 gallons of that whey, I can get as much as 2-3 pounds of ricotta (though sometimes I don’t get hardly any — depends on the cultures, time of year, and where the cows are in their lactation).

        1. Molly

          Jennifer I’m so impressed with your cheesemaking skills! I’m in the planning stage of starting a farm and it sounds like you’re basically living my dream! Do you have a blog? Would you be up for an email exchange?

          P.S. Deb is this ok? Your people are cool people!

            1. Emily

              They are the best. I can spend a half hour at a time just reading the comments on your recipes… after I read the recipe! Thanks for remaining my favorite blog ever!

    1. Sarah

      This is a different Sarah from the one who asked the previous question! Do you think that, if I make ricotta as Deb does, or similarly, I can use the whey from that to make more ricotta?

      1. I’m not sure. You can certainly try, and you might get something, but my hunch is that the yield would be so slight that it wouldn’t be worth it. But I could totally be wrong!

        We use our leftover whey to feed the pigs and dogs, water the plants, etc. Or I just dump it down the drain… Oh! And you can always use it in baking or popsicles and smoothies….but since I only use a fraction of the leftover whey in other food, it hardly seems worth it most times. (We have SOOO much milk!)

        1. Sarah

          Thanks! A few more questions!

          Is there much nutritional value to whey?
          Do you water houseplants with the whey? The garden?
          I would guess it gives popsicles or smoothies a kind of sour taste?
          How long do your ricotta and whey last in the fridge?

          I have made ricotta from milk and used that whey for pizza dough, bread, pie crust, cake and it was great, but there is just so much whey from one little batch of ricotta. I hate to waste so much! I am going to try to use that whey for ricotta and see how many times I can get away with it before I have to just use the whey as it is.

          1. Yes, there is nutritional value to whey. I water both house/porch plants and garden plants. I didn’t notice a whey flavor in the popsicles I made. (A friend of mine makes iced tea with whey instead of water: when I tried it, I noticed a flavor, but it wasn’t bad.)

            Ricotta, if it’s salted, can last about a week. (It freezes well, though I only use the frozen ricotta for baking.) I’ve never frozen whey, but I’m sure it’d be fine —- though thawed whey would be for culturing cheese or baking, not making more ricotta. Good luck!

            1. Sarah

              I had never thought about salting ricotta after making it, to help preserve it. I guess you just sprinkle some on top.
              Thank you so much for your tips!

      2. I don’t know if this qualifies as whey ricotta and FWIW, I did not know that authentic ricotta was made from whey … but I make ricotta with yogurt whey, i.e. the whey produced by making homemade yogurt. I like it better than “milk” ricotta but agree with Deb and many that any homemade is better than storebought … even the whole milk premium brands.

        Yogurt whey ricotta: 2 cups whey from making Greek yogurt, 1/2 gallon whole milk … same procedure as the recipe.

        Also agree whey for bread, for pets (my dogs go crazy for whey), plants.

    2. deb

      Thank you! That is so, so cool. I’d started researching it this week and your video is helpful! I read that you can still add milk to the whey to increase the yield?

      1. Yes, and I’ve tried that, but — just checked my notes — it was a total flop, ha! Full disclosure: I only tried it once, and I’m pretty sure it was my fault, not the recipe’s.

  2. Tori

    I am a fervent maker and re-maker of the rich homemade ricotta because, as someone who is lactose-intolerant, I love that I can use lactose-free milk to make it. Can’t wait to pair it with some really good sourdough and veggies from my garden!!!

    1. Mary

      I was combing through the comments hoping I’d find out that this approach works! Do you swap lactose-free half and half for the cream? I’ve never found lactose-free heavy cream…

      1. Ellen

        Having looked into this recently, I learned that heavy cream has very little lactose–so little that lactose-free heavy cream isn’t manufactured. YMMV, of course, with respect to what bothers your stomach, but the lactose intolerant person in my life does seem to do fine with heavy cream (especially in small amounts). I also understand that lactase (the enzyme in lactose pills) can be purchased in liquid drop form and simply added to liquid milk and cream products, and I’ve been holding that idea in my back pocket in case heavy cream ever does become an issue in my house or there’s some reason we can’t get lactose-free products.

      2. Ella

        Mary; I am extremely lactose intolerant. Many lactose intolerant folk can tolerate some cream; I am not one of them. But I love cream! So I buy lactase enzyme drops from amazon. It takes some planning, because you have to treat the liquid 1-2 days before you consume it, but it’s extremely effective.

        That said, for even most highly lactose intolerant people, ricotta from lactose free milk + a bit of cream is likely fine. The lactose largely stays in the whey/clear liquid left over, and doesn’t stay in the solids & fat. This is why butter and hard cheeses have almost no lactose; they’re the solid/fat portion, and the lactose drains out in the liquid. It’s also why skim milk has much more lactose than cream. Just don’t drink the whey!

        1. Cheryl

          OMG if the cream thing is true (for me), it’s a total game changer. I bookmarked this to do as a Father’s Day treat, mourning my ability to fully take part. I’m lactose intolerant and the pills don’t work too well for me. I only cheat for cheese but usually stick to a small bit of hard cheese. Crossing my fingers!

      3. Tori

        Honestly I have always skipped the heavy cream and made up the volume with whole milk. I have no complaints about that but I also don’t have anything to compare it to, haha!

    1. deb

      Regular shelling peas — it’s such a great trick. They’re slightly crunchy inside, but you basically can grill them, really char them even more than I do here, in their pods and then just eat the peas, edamame-style. Great with lemon, olive oil, mint, sea salt, etc.

      1. Janet

        This is why I loved reading through the comments!! Whodathunk you could grill shelling peas and eat them edamame style!! Fresh peas are in at my local farm stand…..guess I’ll be making a trip there today! Can’t wait!

  3. I’ve made your ricotta, and it’s certainly lasted more than 3 days in my fridge! I have a little tub in my fridge from over a week ago and it’s still fresh.

    I used one bag of 2% milk (I think it’s about 5.5 American cups ) and half a cup of whipping cream (35%). It’s spectacular, but a bit too rich for my taste. I look forward to trying it with a lower amount of cream.

    1. Sarah

      I have made ricotta similarly to this recipe and it was moldy after a few days. I used pasteurized, but not homogenized, whole milk that came from a local dairy. I have also heard that it should not last more than a few days. Is there anything in particular you do that might make it last longer? I would love it if it did!

      1. Unfortunately I can’t think of anything in particular! I make it as directed and toss it in the fridge in a plastic or glass container. The only thing I can imagine is that because I just take out what I need, my little tub spends probably only a minute out of the fridge at a time. The milk I use is typical commercial milk. *shrug*

      2. Janet A

        You might try sterilizing your equipment, particularly anything that contacts the cheese as it is cooling. Bowls fresh from the dishwasher or hot water washing are probably fine, but I always steam my cheesecloth (in a steamer insert in a pot of hot water) or in the Instant Pot. You could boil the cloth, but then you have to reach into a pot full of hot water to fetch the cloth; whereas a steamed cheesecloth cools quickly once the steaming stops.
        I got used to being extra-careful about sanitation when making beer when my brew got infected with sourdough yeast that must have been in the air of our kitchen. Not dangerous but definitely not good.

        1. Sarah

          Thank you! When you steam the cheesecloth, I assume it is not touching the water, but does it pick up any water in the process? I take it that you don’t have to squeeze it out. How long does your ricotta last when you do this?

  4. Can one use ultra-pasteurized milk for this, or does the ricotta require regular milk?

    Using ultra-pasteurized milk allows me to make yogurt in the Instant Pot without the first heating-and-cooling session. If I can use the resulting whey after I drain the yogurt for ricotta (perhaps adding more milk), then I have an easy bonus!

    1. Deanna

      I’ve tried using ultra heat pasteurized milk to make ricotta (because the shelf stable cartons were my go to during lockdown), and mine at least would not curdle. By the time I’d added enough lemon juice and white vinegar to curdle it, it made the tiniest little curds and was too tart to eat. I skimmed a study investigating whether UHT milk would curdle, and it seems like it needs a strong acid and a decent amount of it, so your results might be similar to mine, although I’m hoping it was just my milk!

      1. Patty

        I had the same issue with ultra-pasteurized milk not forming curds on a previous attempt. Going to try again using a different milk. Fingers crossed!

          1. Sherra

            Yes, I thaw it in the fridge and either stir through or dollop on top of pastas. Haven’t used it on pizzas, but yummmm – will give it a go. Could be gorgeous on Deb’s asparagus pizza!

            1. Sarah

              The first time I made ricotta (the only time so far!) I dried it a bit too long and it was not spreadable. Dolloped on the pizza, it was great. I am thinking that after thawing, it may have to be strained again so that any liquid from freezing/thawing does not make the pizza soggy?
              I definitely recommend it on pizza, at any rate, and be sure to use the whey as the liquid in your dough! I did that and let it rise overnight in the fridge. It was the best dough I have ever made.

      1. Carol Giffen

        I freeze homemade ricotta (different recipe), paneer (essentially this recipe, but pressed to extract more whey) and homemade crème fraîche. The texture changes a bit, but not a problem when used as an ingredient like when making lasagna. Or a sauce.

  5. Marcia Rubine

    I used to have a vintage brown Pyrex pot like that, an I have no idea what happened to it. Enjoy yours before it escapes. Beautiful Ricotta btw.

  6. Alyssa

    Have you tried this with goats milk or sheeps milk? Or has anyone else? We have a dairy allergy (cow milk specific).

    1. Heather S.

      i’ve made ricotta at home with goats milk! just regular ol’ quarts, from TJs. it worked a treat! (my husband has an allergy to cows milk, so we’re AWASH in goat butter, yogurt, goat + sheep cheeses of all kinds…) i’ve mourned not being able to add the cream (adding vegan cream to this didn’t interest me, but, you do you!!), but haven’t been sad even one time i’ve made cream-less goat ricotta!

      1. Norma

        If you ever have access to a cream separator, goat’s milk makes ultra thick (spreadable) cream if you use the same setting for cow’s milk.

    1. deb

      I’m concerned it won’t be acidic enough. However, if it doesn’t curdle, you can always try again with more citrus, or switch to lemon or vinegar. Not all will be lost.

  7. Molly

    Oh my goodness, Deb – you and your comments section are the best! Also really appreciated your ‘Deb talk’ on ricotta in burrata – it really SEEMS like ricotta in burrata would be delicious because it’s so delicious on its on, but now that I think about it all the really good burratas I’ve had were of the cream/mozzarella shreds-stuffed variety. Always excited to learn something new on SK! :)

    PS I absolutely LOVE homemade ricotta but have never tried it in this grilled bread/veggie application and can’t wait to make it!

  8. Gucki

    You just saved my summer! I love making your galettes (every single one of them) and even fussy non-eater son number 3 likes them. Only he’s developed a lactose intolerance and I cannot for the life of it find lactose free ricotta here in Spain. And in my hometown in Italy the one I find comes in tiny, overprized tubs and tastes depressingly bland. I am so deeply grateful to you. And not for the first time in these past…ugh…dozen years or so. Have a lovely summer!!

  9. narya

    I have the ingredients to make some fresh mozzarella, which means I’m going to have a lot of whey leftover–have you stumbled across a good recipe for ricotta that uses the whey? Because then I would end up wit TWO fresh cheeses and no whey. (I had no idea ricotta was usually made with whey . . .)

    1. narya

      and now I see that there is A WHOLE THREAD IN THESE COMMENTS THAT I MISSED. [in Emily Littella voice: “Never mind.”]

        1. narya

          I used both the Serious Eats recipe and the Cheesemaking dot com recipe to get an idea of how to do it; they use the same ingredients. (This all started because a coworker had a ton of rennet & citric acid and gifted some to me; she was shuffling through pandemic “hobbies” and offloading stuff from the previous hobby when she switched to a new one.) The Serious Eats recipe gives a TON of information; you’ll still need to get a feel for how to work the cheese. The main thing that has held me back from making more is the leftover whey; I ended up using it in baked goods. I’m excited to try using the whey for ricotta, though.

  10. More Deb Talks! Please!

    (I have made ricotta before and it’s ridiculously easy & delicious, but I stopped doing it because I didn’t want to waste the whey and even though I bake a lot and all, it just drowned me.)

  11. Ingrid

    Mmmm… you had me at “burrata tree.” I think I just found my own personal Big Rock Candy Mountain.

    But homemade ricotta is simple and delicious, especially with the extra cream. With veggies and bread, who needs anything more?

  12. Pamela Cooper

    Hi Deb, I wanted to follow up with you to let you know that my adaptation of your key lime pie into tartlets worked out beautifully! They were delicious and gone in a flash. The recipe was so good that I made the pie version the next weekend along with your broccoli salad when my son and daughter in law came for memorial day BBQ. Both were delicious! I’m considering making your homemade ricotta cheese and grilled veg to bring to a winery with friends this Saturday. Question: do I have to do it with WHOLE milk or can I use low fat milk and half and half? I hope you can answer before I need to shop on Friday. Thanks in advance!

      1. Jill

        It didn’t come together (or separate??) very well and refused to drain. I wound up throwing everything away. I had enough milk and cream to do a batch of Ina’s since I already had roasted the vegetables and bought the boule. Worked like a charm.

    1. Jessica

      If it helps, I’ve had trouble making ricotta from many recipes that call for lemon because of the variance in the acid of different lemons. Because white vinegar has uniform acidity, it can be a more foolproof way to achieve the desired result. Cooks Illustrated has a wonderful article about it, though they’re paywalled. Hopefully you can find a recipe that works for you, but wanted to pass that along in the meanwhile!

    2. Eeka

      I’ve made ricotta a number of times. As others have said, lemon juice acidity can vary. If mine didn’t start forming curds, I’d stir in more lemon juice, or vinegar. That would do the trick!

      1. What @EEKA said. I have used various acids: lemon juice, buttermilk, yogurt, yogurt whey. And I use locally produced pasteurized but not homogenized whole milk … still sometimes (rarely, but still) I need to add more acid.

    3. Marisa J

      I may currently be in the “total fail” category too! Going on 30 min of draining. Have adjusted the cheesecloth (2 layers down to one) and added lemon juice and now vinegar. Will give it 10 minutes more but I’m losing hope.

  13. KatieK

    Store-bought ricotta has always made me kind of gag; I guess it’s okay when mixed with lasagna or three/four cheese raviloi. This recipe is a fair amount of effort and expense if I would have the same reaction. Can anyone weigh (not meant as a joke) on why I have this feeling? I don’t like most goat cheeses but like feta. I know, I’m odd.

    1. deb

      I do not care for storebought ricotta at all and love it homemade. [I mean, big brands of ricotta, not some cute little Italian deli that might make their own.]

      1. marinara

        Such a yummy recipe! My housemates and i just had a breakfast with homemade ricotta spread on toast, topped with strawberries, arugula, and balsamic reduction! So easy and incredibly tasty! Can’t wait to make this version next :)

    2. Eeka

      Make it for a party. That way, if you don’t care for it, it will not be wasted.
      You can also look up Baked Ricotta recipes – herbs! garlic! – if you don’t think plain ricotta is festive enough for a party :)

    3. Tori

      I don’t really like store-bought ricotta either. When I make lasagna, I always use a bechamel instead. However I do like this ricotta. It’s thicker so the texture is more appealing to me. I have also made this ricotta and then used it for stuffed shells, so in a pinch, if you make it and dislike it, you could do that or something similar!

    4. I have made very reduced amounts of ricotta keeping to the ratio, but also knowing that if things don’t come together, i.e. curdle, I add a little more of whatever acid I’m using.

      I don’t know for certain, but my inkling is that cheese making, like bread/dough making has variables due to temperatures, bacteria present and ??? so it sometimes takes some fails/experience.

    5. Mel

      Ok I’m getting psychological here but I wonder if it’s some kind of anti-choking reflex, ricotta is quite dry and pasty, chevre often is too. I only say this because for my entire life I have not been able to eat peach and apricot skins, I get goosebumps just touching the fur, and I’ve put it down to that!

  14. Mary

    My husband makes a small batch of Deb’s homemade ricotta every couple of weeks when we can’t finish a gallon of Wegman’s whole milk ourselves. (We are retired, so it’s just the two of us.) It could not be cheaper, nor easier, and can be used in so many ways! Then he uses the whey as the liquid in homemade bread. Thank you, Deb, and seriously–for those of you hesitant to give it a try–go for it!

  15. Kae

    The vegetables aren’t even off the grill yet, but I’m resisting just eating the ricotta by the spoonful. Replaced half the milk with 1/2 and 1/2 because this house keeps odd things in stock, and it’s so lush I don’t want to eat anything else ever again.

  16. Den M.

    That bread (ciabatta?) is outrageous. Is it whole wheat, looks darker than white. I will try to find at whole foods, yours is probably Zabars!!

  17. donna

    Since serving at room temp for dinner party can I grill veggies in AM while it is cool, not distracted, and still have them be yummy? Or day before? Grill bread and then put in plastic bag in AM also since not serving hot? Since it is for a party this weekend I don’t have time to experiment.

    1. Deanna

      It wouldn’t work. The protein in milk that forms the cheese curds is casein, which isn’t found in plant based milks. I know it can seem like almond milk curdles when added to hot coffee, but it’s more that the emulsification is breaking rather than actually curdling (which is casein denaturing and rearranging in new structures due to the temperature and change in pH). I think you’d be better off finding a recipe for vegan ricotta than adapting this recipe.

      I just remembered more food chemistry than I ever expected to! Good to know the class wasn’t a complete waste

  18. Donna

    My husband and I made this last night for friends. We made the cheese exactly as directed except we “let” it briefly boil over while our backs were turned. Since we didn’t actually have cheesecloth, we used a really old linen dish towel and a fine meshed sieve. It turned out perfect!! We made asparagus, orange pepper, sugar snap peas, onion and zucchini. It was all delicious and pretty simple to make as so many Smitten Kitchen recipes are.

  19. Kaitlin

    i’m sorry, how can it be 15 years since homemade oreos first appear here? that is unconscionable. next year, they get their driver’s license…

  20. Stacey M

    My question is about your suggestion to salt the vegetables after grilling. I usually salt everything before, and would let zucchini sit in a colander for a while to release some water. Can you share your thoughts on before vs after? Ricotta looks delicious and will be making it soon!

    1. Staci

      My chef friend taught me to never salt veggies before if you want them to brown. Whether sauteing or grilling, they’ll get more brown if you don’t salt them. He told me that the salt releases the liquid, which causes steaming instead of browning. But if you don’t salt, then you get brown and you can salt later to the same effect. I don’t know if that’s right or not, but that’s what I was taught!

  21. Chele

    “Leftover ricotta is not a thing that exists, but it theoretically keeps for 3 days in the fridge.” 😂 You speak the truth. Great idea featuring these items together. My summer is all set, thanks!

  22. bea

    Hi, I live in the land of easily available fresh ricotta and if you need any suggestions for leftover ricotta, it can be used as a relaly simple pasta sauce (just plain with some grated cheese, or just herbs, black pepper, oil…. or on top of a simple tomato sauce). It can be used as filling for quiche, adding a few eggs, and vegetables; it can also can be paired with fruit compote, or honey, or jam, on bread. You can make ricotta gnocchi, or something called “gnudi” wich are boiled balls of ricotta mixed with cooked spinach and smothered in melted butter and parmesan….. tipycal Tuscan lent dish.
    We don’t ever use it as a topping for pizza, though.

  23. Sara

    I made this as an awesome Father’s Day appetizer yesterday! I used yellow summer squash, radishes, carrots, red onions and romano beans (I think? they were flat wide green beans from the farmers market). The carrots I pre-cooked for a few minutes. The carrots and radishes I sliced thinner after cooking to make it easier to put on the toast.

    I cooked way to many veggies for the 4 of us, but that was kind of intentional because now I have so many grilled veggies for lunch all week!

  24. Susanna

    Just keep in mind that often ricotta making doesn’t work if you use ultra-pasteurized cream (which is honestly the majority of cream available these days). The curds won’t form. I learned this the hard way, very frustrating.

  25. Vera

    We have friends coming for a backyard barbecue next month and I’ve decided this dish needs to be at the center of the menu! I should have shelling peas ripe in my garden, and homemade sourdough. But now I keep struggling with how to make it a whole meal (worth a 2 hour each way drive for them!) Grill and slice up a couple of steaks and add a salad? Have this as an appetizer and make a whole separate chicken skewer meal?

    1. k

      Vera, it’s already a whole meal if no one misses, wants, and/or demands meat. :) If I were in your spot, I might, yes, add grilled steaks and a salad, or I might grill a variety of sausages or seasoned tofu and find a cool way to grill potatoes. (The last time I tried the latter, I didn’t have much success, so I’ll keep trying.) Or I might make a room-temp/cold grain-based salad. I’d also offer a varied spread of beverages, including non-alcoholic options if my friends were planning the two-hour drive back home the same day. Basically, what would delight your friends? What makes for a variety of textures, temperatures, flavors, and food “groups”? What will make everyone feel cared for? What will make everyone linger now and savor the memories later? It sounds like you have a lovely day planned – enjoy!

      1. Bridgit

        K, I totally agree with your line of questions and ideas. A few other thoughts to add: Would your guests love a decadent dessert, a garbanzo bean salad, fruit an rice crispy treats and melted chocolate to go with the build your own vibe of the dinner?
        Usually if I’m planning a dairy focused meal, I try to make the dessert less dairy focused (almond cake perhaps), but if you/they are meat people, it seems like this would be delicious with thinly sliced flank steak, either hot off the grill or chilled w pickled red onions.

  26. Lisa O

    I have made your ricotta countless times! In a pinch I will purchase and use “basket ricotta” from my area’s health food store also. My tip to share is using a nut milk bag instead of cheesecloth for straining. I have never once made nut milk, but that bag gets used a bunch! Also awesome for squeezing spinach, shredded zucchini, etc.

  27. Laura in Milwaukee

    Just here to report that first of all, the ricotta was DELICIOUS and that second of all, I used the left over whey and cream I had on hand from this recipe to make your Strawberry Cream Scones. Used 1/2 c of whey, 1/2 c of cream, and the scones are alllllso amazing. Thanks for another hit, Deb!

  28. Ruth

    I wasn’t in love with the ricotta–wondering if I might have drained it too much? I was hoping it might be moister. If I try it again, I might drain for 10 minutes rather than 20 and use a little more salt and perhaps lemon zest?

    But… I substituted the whey for water in a loaf of no-knead bread (half whole wheat, half bread flour) and holy cow. One of the best loaves I’ve ever made or eaten (in my apparently not so humble opinion)!

  29. Fatima

    Do you remove it from the heat as soon as it hits 200, or do you let it sit at that temp for a while? (As you would with yogurt?)

  30. Ailsa Crawford

    I started making ricotta about a year or so ago.I don’t do it often, but have found that straight pasteurized milk is more likely to curdle. I curdle it with lemon juice. I sub 1/2 cup of milk for a cup of any cream, because we are such pigs! It is less grainy than what I can buy and tastes wonderful. I would like to use other sorts of milk, like sheep or goat. Latest use for homemade ricotta was a recipe of gnudi.
    However, I did wear an apron!

  31. Jennifer B

    This was absolutely easy and delicious! I made a big platter for fathers day. Had a little leftover ricotta I stirred into rice and topped with leftover veggies for dinner the next day. This ricotta is going into the rotation. Thanks!

  32. Rose

    I just made the ricotta and wonder if anyone has a great use for the whey? It’s a bit salty for sweet recipes and I’ve never made cheese before so I’m a bit out of my depth on this. But I hate to toss 2+ cups of liquid…

    1. Laura in Milwaukee

      I made Deb’s strawberry and cream scones using whey for the liquid and they were amaaaaazing. You can use it pretty much anywhere in baking that calls for milk or water. You can also make whey lemonade!

    2. Sarah

      I have used leftover whey from ricotta as the liquid for yeast bread, pizza dough, pie crust, even a simple cake with fruit in it. Frankly, I don’t remember adjusting for the salt content and we loved the outcomes! I don’t know how Deb’s recipe compares to the one I used as far as salt content. My guess it is not much different. For the sweet recipes, maybe lower the salt that goes into that recipe. Try it on something simple and not too expensive to make!

    3. Janet A

      Use the whey in bread, muffins, cornbread, pancakes, etc. to replace other liquid. It is great in soups–like potato leek soup, lentil soups, etc. Use it as the liquid in making polenta. Use it to poach fish.

  33. Lindsay

    I made this tonight and it was lovely. I didn’t have enough lemon juice for both the grilled lemons and to curdle the milk, so I used vinegar instead and it worked perfectly. The grilled lemons were so good, I’m glad I didn’t skip it! Didn’t have any nice farmers market produce but Costco snap peas, cherry tomatoes and peppers were great!

  34. Cy

    I love reading the comments on sk! I’m making this soon. I took a cheese making class; “three cheeses in 3 hours with wine tasting”. We made goat cheese, mozzarella and burrata. It was fun and surprisingly easy. Not quite as fun as the salumi course I took, but that’s another story……. Anyway Deb thanks for another fun recipe, can’t wait to make it!

  35. Brooke

    Hi question did you use the little burner to grill the vegetables or did you use a separate grill? I’m loving the burner!

  36. Neil Phillips

    Thanks for the ricotta recipe. It’s easily done and delicious with the veggies. I used my Norpro jelly bag and stand to strain the cheese. The Norpro easily kept it out of the liquid.

  37. Meg Johnson

    Gosh. I’m willing to try again but my ricotta was a watery mess. Perhaps cheesecloth was too loose and two layers not enough.

    1. I made this tonight for my husband and me. Oh my gosh. Amazing! The ricotta was so light and refreshing. I’ve never seen my husband eat so many vegetables lol! I will make this again and again…

  38. I was not thinking this much when I was buying ingredients before reading this recipe, now I am consciously shopping more efficiently I think haha. Also have you tried different veggie combinations or things to replace ?

  39. Sharon

    This is an absolutely brilliant combination and it will absolutely show up at my next dinner gathering. Is that a grilled lemon I’m seeing in the picture? Because that’s a groovy idea.

    I wanted to suggest a new tool for your cheese and yogurt making – a nut milk straining bag. I make a lot of yogurt and a huge improvement over cheesecloth. It will last forever, easy to clean. This is the one I bought, but there are tons of options.

  40. Jessica

    Made this for the Fourth of July and it was spectacular, came out just as advertised, I really liked the faint lemon taste and had leftovers (I squirreled away a spoonful or two) on toast with plum jam today. Heaven.

  41. Charity

    Since it’s blazing hot in the south, I opted to roast my veggies rather than grill them. Tonight I are the leftover veggies and ricotta over grits made with the whey. I’m going to be hard pressed to make grits any other way now.

  42. Sharon

    Yes I just made this for a summer lunch. I added homemade pesto. The ricotta cheese was so good and easy to make. Impressed my guests for sure. Thanks for the recipe

  43. Dirk Diggler

    What you are making here is not ricotta but cottage cheese. Ricotta (as the actual name suggests – it means “recooked”) is made from the whey liquid you have after making the cottage cheese.

  44. Jenna

    I did everything I could to mess up this ricotta – adding the lemon juice with the rest of the ingredients before heating, stirring, cooking at a weird temperature that took forever – and it still turned out great. Everyone loved it, including the baby. And I took other’s advice and watered my plants with the whey. Win, win, win!

  45. Erin

    Deb, this recipe is SO GOOD. My ricotta came out a bit firmer than I anticipated (I’m not sure if the amount of lemon juice would impact this, but I did only let it drain for 10m) so I decided to whip it with some extra cream- it was AMAZING! Whipped ricotta is a fave appetizer at a local restaurant, and this exceeded my experience there. After that, I went with roasted veggies, heavy on the tomatoes, and drizzled with some basil vin. Altogether, this was the perfect way to wind down after I got the kids to bed- wine, roasted veg, good bread, and fresh cheese. Thanks for all of your amazing and inspirational content!

  46. Federico

    You recognise it’s not really ricotta so why call it ricotta then. Widespread misunderstanding about what ricotta actually is, what it’s made and what it’s supposed to taste like (and how good it is when made properly) is a big reason in my mind why it’s impossible to find any good ricotta outside of south Italy.

    Really like your recipes and website otherwise!

  47. This post started me on a “ricotta with ….. on toast kick”: roast tomatoes, dried figs/ham/caramelized onions (personal fav), spinach and sausage, pretty much any bit of stuff in the frig that sounded good. I make my own sourdough bread: various grain combos but all worked!

  48. I made it and can’t believe how blinking easy it is to make but … wait for it … so delicious. I will never buy ricotta again. I had no idea. It’s so good with so many things besides roasted veggies (which is delish). But as a base for any dip; beneath any Italian sauced food/veggie; in sandwiches and wraps; on toast or baguettes; add lemon zest and wow, it’s a whole new thing!

  49. Megan A Callow

    This made such a gorgeous summer dinner, with roasted veggies and toasted baguette. I drained mine for 10 min exactly and it still ended up thicker than I wanted. PRO TIP: save the whey until you’re getting ready to serve, so you can thin out the ricotta as needed (I had already watered the plants with mine! But leftover cream worked well too). The listed amount of salt was not nearly salty enough so I added lots more to taste; the flavor from the lemon juice was divine. Next time I’d even consider a little zest too, and/or some red chili flakes. Drizzle that baby with a delicious oil and fresh basil, and slather it on thick!! So yum.

  50. David Wittrock

    Love your writing. If you have a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot or Mueller, there is a setting for Yogurt that heats the milk to 185 for the pasteurization, then keeps it warm until convenient. You can then cool it to 110 to add a spoonful of yogurt and add it back to the cooker. 15 hours gives you a fairly runny yogurt which you can drain, as for the ricotta. For the draining, I want the whey without milk solids because they spoil and I was tired of cheesecloth. Now, I use micromesh towels I bought at an auto supply store. Washable, cheap, colorful, and available to lie around to wipe my hands and clean up spills.

  51. Ana

    Hi! I just made the ricotta cheese. What do you do with the leftover whey? I hate to throw it out.

    Thank you,
    Ana Fergus

  52. Veronica

    I have a question about the cream. The only “heavy” cream I can get contains carrageenan, and it does not thicken when cooked. I can also get table cream, which I think is 18%. It’s runnier when cold but thickens when heated the way cream is supposed to. Which would be better for this?

  53. Adena

    Do I want to make the ricotta closer to when I serve it so it’s warm? Or do I want to make it hours beforehand so it is cold? Thank you

  54. Debbie Dakins

    This tastes wonderful and was as easy as it sounds. The only issue I had was with getting the ricotta out of the cheesecloth. Most of it scraped out okay, but about 1/3 of the mixture had seeped between the inner layers of the cloth, and I couldn’t get to it without ripping the cheesecloth apart. Maybe my cheesecloth was subpar? What I could rescue turned out delicious though!

  55. Vicki K

    This looks amazing!! One suggestion – I would SO love to be able to print out the recipe (I love to put them in plastic sleeves when I’m cooking or baking so I don’t get ingredients all over my phone, or have my phone time out at exactly the wrong time) WITH a pic of the recipe. The print option only prints the text without a picture of the delicious outcome, and the photos on the Smitten site are SO pretty. Thanks for considering adding that capability/functionality! 😃