Introduction: How to Make Great Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

Picture of How to Make Great Fresh Mozzarella Cheese

This has been Revised a little bit because some people have had a little trouble with the original. Even I had a few bad batches. The main differences are the times in the microwave. Follow the instructions carefully and you should end up with an almost 100% foolproof batch of Mozzarella Cheese

If you like fresh home made Mozzarella Cheese then try out this Instructable. If you have never had fresh Mozzarella Cheese, try it out any way. There is a world of difference between the packages stuff you buy in the store and the cheese you make yourself. It will only take a couple hours out of your life but it will be well worth it.

There are a lot of recipes on the internet but a lot of them seem to skip an important step or 2 or don't really explain it well enough, so I have made many batches through trial and error combining things that I have learned and experimented with (so you don't have to) and come up with this recipe that seems to work real good.

There are also a lot of recipes out there saying make Mozzarella Cheese in 30 minutes. Realistically, it ain't gonna happen if you want to do it right. Plan on it taking about an hour and a half to 2 hours. As you make more batches you can cut it down to maybe an hour or so.

I use whole milk for mine but you should be able to use skimmed, 1%, or 2% milk also. If you have access to farm fresh milk your even better off and I'm jealous. You can also use goat, buffalo or camel milk.

Step 1: Equipment You Will Need:

Picture of Equipment You Will Need:

1. At least an 8 quart pot either enameled or stainless steel. (Do not use aluminum, cast iron or other reactive pots)
2. Thermometer. (A candy thermometer will probably work but a good digital thermometer is much better for accuracy.)
3. A couple measuring cups or something to dissolve the Citric Acid and Rennet in.
4. A big strainer to strain the Curds from the Whey.
5. A long sharp knife to cut the Curds up with.
6. A slotted spoon to stir the Curds and dip them out with.
7. Large bowl for the drained off Whey. (Glass is best)
8. Small bowl to put the Curds in. (Glass is best)
9. Microwave

10. Nylon netting for draining Curds. (I use this with the strainer. You can get this stuff at most fabric stores. It is just nylon netting. Get the plain white and probably not the colored stuff)
11. Plain white cloth if you want to make Ricotta Cheese with the Whey that is left over.
12. Small strainer to dip out the curds.

1. 1 gallon Milk. Let the milk set out either in the gallon container or in the pot until it gets to about 50 degrees. (I have only used whole milk, although you can also use 2% or skimmed milk. Do not use ultra-homogenized milk though. If you are lucky enough to get milk fresh from the farm, that's even better)
2. 1 Rennet tablet crushed. (The Rennet tablet is used to coagulate the milk. You can also use liquid Rennet if you can get it. You can get The Rennet tablets at a lot of specialty or smaller stores and it is usually in the pudding aisle or in the Ice Cream section with the chocolate, nuts and stuff. About $2.00)
3. 2 teaspoons Citric Acid divided. 1 teaspoon is dissolved in water and the other one is sprinkled directly into the milk. (The citric acid is what gives the cheese it's stretch. Get it at some health food stores for around $4.00 for 4 ounces or at a pharmacy which can cost $12.00 to $14.00)
4. 1/2 cup water divided in 2. (Do not use chlorinated water. Bottled water is fine.)
5. 1 - 2 teaspoons salt.

Step 2: OK First Things First

Picture of OK First Things First

1. Pour 1 teaspoon Citric Acid into 1/4 cup unchlorinated water and stir. Crush the Rennet tablet and pour it into the other cup of unchlorinated water.
The Citric Acid should be dissolved by the time you have to use it. Most of the Rennet will be dissolved but there will still be some residue left.
2. If you haven't done so already, pour milk into your pot.
Make sure the milk is around 50 degrees when you pour in the Citric Acid

Step 3: Pour in the Citric Acid.

Picture of Pour in the Citric Acid.

1. Pour the dissolved Citric Acid in the milk and stir for 1 minute.
2. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of Citric Acid in the milk and sir for another minute. You will probably see the milk start to curdle very shortly.

Step 4: Heat Milk to 88-90 Degrees F. Stirring Occasionally.

Picture of Heat Milk to 88-90 Degrees F. Stirring Occasionally.

This is not an error. You are not trying to pasteurize the milk. If you get it too hot or too cold, the Rennet will not make curds. Use a low heat so it doesn't go past the 88-90 degrees. It should take about 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: At 88-90 Degrees Turn Off the Heat and Stir in the Rennet Solution for 15-20 Seconds.

Picture of At 88-90 Degrees Turn Off the Heat and Stir in the Rennet Solution for 15-20 Seconds.

Cover the pot with the lid and LEAVE IT SET UNDISTURBED FOR AT LEAST 15-20 MINUTES until you can get a clean break. I usually let mine set for 15-30 minutes. Time is not critical here as long as you get the clean break.

Step 6: Wait for a Clean Break.

Picture of Wait for a Clean Break.

This is what a clean break looks like. When you poke your finger into it and move for an inch or so and lift it out, the Curd and Whey should separate shortly. If it is still liquidy (Is that a real word?) and sticks to your finger let it set a while longer.

Step 7: Cut the Curd.

Picture of Cut the Curd.

Cut the Curds into 1/2 inch cubes from top to bottom as shown. Then do the same thing at a 45 degree angle.

Step 8: Let the Curds Set Undisturbed for 5-10 Minutes.

Picture of Let the Curds Set Undisturbed for 5-10 Minutes.

Just let them sit there.

Step 9: Apply Low Heat and Heat to 108 Degrees.

Picture of Apply Low Heat and Heat to 108 Degrees.

Apply low heat and stir the curds occasionally to keep them separated until they reach 108 degrees. This will take about 15 minutes. The Curds will shrink and start to sink as the Whey is expelled from them.

Step 10: Turn Off the Heat.

Picture of Turn Off the Heat.

Turn off the heat and continue stirring every few minutes for an additional 20 minutes. The Curds will keep shrinking.

Step 11: Drain the Curds.

Picture of Drain the Curds.

Drain the Curds into a strainer or colander and let set for about 15 minutes. Either use a small strainer to dip them out or just pour into the big bowl through the large strainer. Let the Curds drain until no more Whey comes out of them. This might take 10 - 15 minutes. You can either dump the Whey or save it to make Ricotta.

Step 12: Pour the Curds Into the Smaller Bowl.

Picture of Pour the Curds Into the Smaller Bowl.

Pour the Curds into the smaller bowl and break them up with your hand a little bit.

Step 13: Heat the Curd.

Picture of Heat the Curd.

OK here comes the tricky part.

Place the Curds in the microwave on high for 30 - 45 seconds. If you have it on too long you will cook the Curd and it will turn to mush. Better a couple shorter cycles than one that's too long. The Curds will start to separate from the Whey. I have an 1100 watt microwave. If yours is a different wattage you might have to adjust the time.

Step 14: Squeeze the Curds

Picture of Squeeze the Curds

Using the slotted spoon or your hand GENTLY squeeze the Whey from the Curd. Pour off the Whey.

Step 15: Microwave Again.

Picture of Microwave Again.

Microwave again for 15 - 20 seconds and pour more Whey off. As you are gently squeezing the Whey out work it into a ball also.

Step 16: Stretching. OK Here Comes the Fun Part.

Picture of Stretching. OK Here Comes the Fun Part.

Microwave again.
Put back in the microwave for another 20 seconds. Add Salt. At this point if it's warm enough it should start to become pliable and stretchy. YEAH!!!!. Grab 1/3 to 1/2 and lift. It should start to stretch under it's own weight. If not put it in the microwave for a few more seconds. As you work through the stretching process also knead it like bread a couple times. If necessary microwave occasionally until your cheese looks like the last picture.

Step 17: Work Into a Ball.

Picture of Work Into a Ball.

At this point knead it like bread dough into a ball. If it breaks apart on you just put it in the Microwave again for a bit. As soon as it is nice and smooth and shiny it's done.

Step 18: CHEESE!!!!!!!!

Picture of CHEESE!!!!!!!!

You now have some Great Home Made Mozzarella Cheese.

Step 19: Final Notes.

Before I perfected this recipe I was getting 12-14 ounces of cheese. Lately I get about 16-18 ounces. It probably depends on how much you work it. Wrap in plastic or put in a Zip lock bag and refrigerate if you can keep from eating the whole thing right then and there. That's when it is at it's best. It should keep in the refrigerator for at least 6-10 days. I keep my fridge set just this side of freezing so things keep a lot longer.

With the left over Whey you can make great Ricotta Cheese. If you would like to check that Instructable out go to:

Do you like Pizza? Check out my Quick Simple Individual Pizza Instructable at:

There you have it. Try it out and let me know how it works out for you. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions leave me a note here or email me at

If you liked this Instructable (Or even if you don't) Please rate it.



natan1213 (author)2017-06-12

I will be using junket rennet tablets. I have heard that it is not as strong as other rennet tablets. How much should I use to make this cheese?

SandraLTSmith (author)2017-05-21

Lovely easy to follow instructions until 13. I don't have a microwave (live off grid!), could you add alternate instructions for like me please.

firedog72 (author)2017-05-18

I have used this recipe many times,it's definitely the way to go if you are trying to make mozzarella quick. I also make mozzarella cheese using cultures, it takes much longer that 2 hours, but in my opinion, it has more flavor. View my websites if you are interested.

561yorkiesmama (author)2017-03-12

Great recipe. Hardest part was the agony of waiting to eat it, with mouth watering.

Beccasnana (author)2016-01-19

Hi Garima. Somethings are a bit complicated but, well worth the effort. I followed the steps one by run without rushing or distractions. Made beautiful cheeze Im using tonight for lazagna. I make almost everything from scratch with the best ingredients I can find and/or afford. Ive had a few serious flops when even my cat poop, garbage eating dog wouldn't touch. Started as a kid cooking for a large family. Mom really appreciated.the break. Keep cooking

DeniseR83 (author)Beccasnana2016-12-30

I had a dog like that named buddy. When he'd get caught "eating" he'd get this dumb, smiling look on his face and his eyes would squint almost shut. How could you yell. He was the neatest garbage picker i ever saw, He didn't scatter the garbage he placed it neatly on the floor. Oh well.

Sawowie XD made it! (author)2015-03-14


I can't believe how simple this was, the hardest part was converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius.

I was a little scared that I might heat it up too much in the microwave, so it took me a while to get it hot enough to all 'melt' together.

It was so good, used it all straight away on my home made pizzas :D

DeniseR83 (author)Sawowie XD2016-12-30

Thank you so much for showing us your hard work......Pizza's look tasty.

ClintC15 (author)Sawowie XD2016-05-10

Nice job!

annew36 (author)Sawowie XD2016-04-13


GarimaU (author)2015-10-28

All methods are so complicating.. The easier way is refrigerate butter and cheese(paneer). When it becomes cool. cut their pieces and grind these in grinder. then refrigerate the paste for 2 hrs or when it becomes hard. Its Mozzarella cheese.

You can use it in pizza.

hemantoberoi (author)GarimaU2015-12-31

Hi GarimaU,

Just to set the stage, I'm a professional chef, as in, I derive a 100% of my remuneration by cooking for other people who pay for it, and I've been doing this the better part of 20 years, so lets just say I have some experience in this area.

What you mentioned: refrigerate butter and cheese, grind together and its Mozzarella is not Mozzarella. I guess you probably use Amul Butter? and local or home made cottage cheese? What you end up with is a fat enhanced cottage cheese. Sure it might melt on a (store bought) pizza base, but that doesn't make it Mozzarella by any chance, no matter the colour of the moon that evening.

Mozzarella cheese, though is a bit like paneer it its chemical makeup, however is not as stiff and is higher in 'creaminess'.

In my humble opinion, dear GarimaU, you're an ignorant woman, who probably lives in the NCR region, and you don't seem to bother to do your research before spewing out repitition, garbage and recycled rubbish.

DavidS581 (author)hemantoberoi2016-02-04

your first 3 paragraphs were really informative but then you have to ruin it in the last paragraph when you turn into an Ahole

DeniseR83 (author)DavidS5812016-12-30

exactly....Humble, NOT HIM.

DeniseR83 (author)hemantoberoi2016-12-30

WHY DO YOU HAVE TO INSULT? Does it make you feel superior? Sadly it does.......what a joke Stay in the kitchen and don't talk to the customers because you seem to be ignorant in the humble dept.

GarimaU (author)hemantoberoi2016-05-27

thand rakho paaji..

GarimaU (author)hemantoberoi2016-02-04

You can give your opinion and I can give mine.. If you don't know the easier method then don't debate unnecessary. :)

PS: A humble request too.

StevenH142 (author)GarimaU2016-05-23

hemantobe roi is absolutely correct. The entire premise of a mozzarella

cheese is the process which makes it mozzarella cheese. What you proposed is not a cheese, but more of a processed cheese product that would/might be fine for a quesadilla. I want low fat gooey stretchy low fat cheese for pizza and lasagna, not butter laden goo.

pecorinorob (author)2016-06-09

So I know I'm late on this but I just would like to put in my 2 cents. I am a professional cheese maker. Specifically pecorino. Now that means I make cheese day in aND day out (or rather 2 days out of the week). Garimau is absolutely incorrect with her recipe. So that said, please don't follow it if you want real mozzarella. I'm sure it's good but not mozzarella.

EanM (author)pecorinorob2016-06-17

I'm about to try to make mozzarella - if this isn't a "good" recepie, do you have a link to one that is?

DeniseR83 (author)EanM2016-12-30

that's what I say.....what the heck?

ata1anta (author)EanM2016-06-21

Go ahead with this recipe. I made it over the weekend and it turned out great!

DeniseR83 (author)pecorinorob2016-12-30

Then why are you not suggesting ways to correct her recipe if it is so
wrong. AND what are we making if like you said it is not mozzarella? other wise why come here to yak........

ata1anta made it! (author)2016-06-21

Attempted this over the weekend. Rousing success! I did some things a little different.

I used raw milk (it's legal in PA). Will try with store-bought milk for the next batch and save raw milk batches for special occasions (it's about $8/gallon).

Rather than cutting the cheese in the pot, I just kept heating it until 105F and then turned it off and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes.

With the intention of heating it in the pot rather than the microwave, I added a little less than 1T salt to the whey and started to heat it. I ended up being impatient and used the microwave to heat the curds to stretch. The bowl I heated it in also had some whey so when I needed to re-heat the curds, the whey was still hot enough to use.

When I was done stretching, I dumped the leftover whey back into the pot and brought it to a boil for the ricotta step.

The ricotta I made is to the left, the mozz is right next to it.

DeniseR83 (author)ata1anta2016-12-30

Looks yummy thanks for the tips.

ZeeaR (author)2016-05-08

Can I substitute the citric acid..? I can't find any around here...

DeniseR83 (author)ZeeaR2016-12-30

It's usually found in the canning section of your grocery store. It's used to can tomatoes and vegetables. It was $4.59 for a 7.5oz container. It was made by the Company BALL. They also make the glass canning jars.

StevenH142 (author)ZeeaR2016-05-23

Vitamin C is citric acid, so you can go that route if needed.

JeffreyO9 (author)StevenH1422016-05-24

No, vitamin c is ascorbic acid.

msw100 (author)JeffreyO92016-09-30

You are wrong too,you people are dangerous,you will poison someone before your finished

msw100 (author)StevenH1422016-09-30

No its not, thats a dangerous statement to make.

JosephV43 (author)ZeeaR2016-07-11

I use white vinegar and a pH meter (available on line for about $20). Adjust pH to 5.3 and use 2% milk. Comes out perfect every time.

ata1anta (author)ZeeaR2016-06-21

In some places its called "sour salt". If you look close on the label of the sour salt, it should say citric acid. You can probably substitute lemon juice or vinegar, but I have no idea of the proportions so you'll have to check some cheese making forums.

ClintC15 (author)ZeeaR2016-05-10 has it.

Cheronly (author)ZeeaR2016-05-09

i dont know where you live ZeeaR but you should be able to get Citric Acid in amy Supermarket. It is usually with the baking goods section, such as Bicarbonate Soda, Baking Powder etc. Here in Australia i buy McKenzies brand. Good luck

Gadget93 (author)2016-10-13

Why is the microwave used? Why not just use a pan?

TXSmurf (author)2016-10-03

I used raw fresh milk from the nearby farm. I DID not pasteurized it! I got it up to 55F before putting citric acid....then followed instructions. Instead of having SMOOTH top of curds, I got a lot of broken curds and lots of coagulated stringy, stretchy cheese before I cut the curds. I went through heating as instructed and got more of streetchy cheese, I just collected freely floating curds around and stuck it into stretchy cheese ball...., then picked the whole thing up and put it into the strainer, and started kneeding/stretching it and heating it in the pot of hot water (160F) to reheat instead of using microwave.

I got me a hard, shiny all over, Mozzarella rubber ball!

Where did I go wrong!

dmpietz (author)TXSmurf2016-10-12

I've had that problem. Two ideas I have are

You didn't get the curds hot enough initially. I burn my hands on the hot whey (+185F) when first working the curds. or Not enough citric acid. I am trying a batch right now and am planning to going heavy on it. Will let you know the outcome.

KellyM206 (author)2016-10-06

Lat week I made Fresh Mozzarella Stretching Curd when I got a recipe from another website .

It did worked well but I think there is some more easiness in the recipe referred here. Only by using the complete ingredients including optional ones, you can have the best quality cheese.

Katjav4 (author)2016-05-31

Hi, your recipe looks really good and I'd like to try it. But for one thing, we only get liquid rennet in Holland. Any ideas how to convert the amount needed?

ata1anta (author)Katjav42016-06-21

From other recipes I've seen, 1/4 tsp = 1/4 tablet and is good for 1 gallon milk.

Katjav4 (author)ata1anta2016-06-21

Thank you for looking that up, that's very helpful

PaulaP51 (author)2016-06-15

Hi there,

thank you for all the below info, may i ask what quantity you use for the below method?

PaulaP51 (author)2016-06-15

Hi there,

thank you for all the below info, may i ask what quantity you use for the below method?

nyquil junkie (author)2015-09-24

I process over 50 gallons of milk a week into Mozzarella and I have made ever possible mistake you can make. My process is a bit different but how you are doing it seems to work for you. There are so many variables going on when people fail at this cheese its hard to say what they do wrong unless you are there watching them. However here are a few tidbits of info to help you guys along.

How the milk was pasteurized means a great deal for the end product. Ultra pasteurized milk (shelf stable stuff usually in a box) is useless and wont work. Any milk pasteurized over 160F will not work, or make it nearly impossible. The best milk is raw but raw milk is a bog no-no, no matter what the Internets tell you. Milk pasteurized at 145F and held there for 30 min works the best, but I pasteurize all our milk at 161F for 1 min. Improper heating during this process is a critical detail, so if you are getting milk from the store, you have no idea how they did it, slow heat, held heat or flash heated.

Whole milk will make milky mozzarella. The more it is skimmed the firmer and dryer it is. This is also a critical detail if you are aiming for cheese you can form into a block and slice. WHole milk mozz wont do this very well, and total skim milk will make something akin to brick cheese. it all melts so it comes down to how much milky you want in a mozz.

The citric acid is another important detail. Not enough will result in a sticky sllime ball, and too much will result in a pot full of what is called "squeeky cheese" curds, which actually are really good fried as they wont melt. When you get the citric acid level just right, you get good stretchy cheese.

The microwave is the step I dont use. What I do is heat a pot of water up to 150-160F and have it on hand to heat the curd ball. drop it in, wait a few seconds and take it out, youll see the cheese go smooth and stretchy. You can dunk and reheat it all you like.

Stretching the cheese is important, but not to make it melt, but to work the whey out of it. when its been pulled enough, it will be smooth and firm like hot taffy. Roll it into a ball, or as we do it drop it in a bowl or a container and use it as a form. Once cold it will be firm and easy to slice or grate.

Rennet is also very critical. Not enough, and the curd wont form to a clean break. Too much will give you a rubber ball. Vegetable rennet tends to work much better than animal rennet. Be wary of the label, some rennet liquid says 1/4 tsp sets 2 gal, others say 1/6 tsp. This will throw your chemistry off enough to make you swear and curse. Junket rennet is not for cheese so avoid it.

The process in this instructable will work fine, as everyone here has seen. But doing it a little different works also. The way we do it (and we process out 4 to 8 pounds a day...) is as follows, varying amounts depending on how much you make.

Heat the milk to 60F. Slowly stir in the citric acid, that has been dissolved in a cup of warm water. If you have the correct amount, as you heat the milk you will see it not change much, other than a few flecks of curd forming on the spoon. This is a sign you have the citric acid level right for that particular milk. on a med heat we get the milk up to 88F and then stir in the rennet, that was diluted in a cup of very cool almost cold water (50F to be picky about it). Do not stir it very much, as the curd knits stirring it will give you a pit of fine rice like curds. However these often melt as the whey heats and all is Ok. Once you have the clean break, stir it slowly every now and then and heat it to 120F, and as you do take note of the curd.... if you are really lucky and you got the chemistry right, the curd will melt, and form a stringy mass in the pot.... you can lift it out of the pot with the spoon and it will stretch under its own weight off the spoon. This is an excellent sign and once you get that mess to about 115-120F you can lift it out and go right to stretching it.

I tried this instructable myself just for kicks and half the time it worked and half the time it didnt..... which is how making mozz goes for the first 100 gallons. It's a learning curve. This instructable is a fine method for making 1 gallon batches.

Hey, I make pecorino. I'm working on purchasing some water buffalo to make mozzarella cheese. That said, I am looking for an education in this process. Obviously pecorino isn't mozzarella. Any way you can educate me a little more in depth than thus comment? I have a full cheese house and I use a steam boiler to heat my milk. Full 175 gallon steam vat. I would like to master the process before investing in water buffalo. Currently I'm milking 80 sheep with 30 lambs to add next year to make my cheese weekly. Processing approximately 160 pounds of pecorino a week and another 60 plus poundsize of ricotta (extra tidbit of background info)

DanT33 (author)nyquil junkie2015-11-18

Thanks a ton for the additional information!

Do you make any other cheeses, or have any advice for additional DIY milk type products?

thanks again!

DavidV193 (author)2016-05-01

I followed NyQuil junkies instructions worked great. I did change a few things. I add the citric acid @ 60 F ( 1.5 tsp diluted in water) the Rennet @ 85

let sit for 15 min add the other .5 tsp citric acid sprinkle in stir lightly.

put back on the heat until it reaches 89 F pull off heat let sit 20 min

the curd forms nice.

Do not break curd just put it back on the heat when it reaches 120 F the ball should form.

Have Fun

annew36 (author)2016-04-13

Thankyou very much for this step by step article... It works!!!

YLD-EATS (author)2016-02-14

I made it! Three times now. Then I tried someone else's mozz recipe. FAIL. You're the best.

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