Introduction: How to Make Great Ricotta Cheese From Whey

Picture of How to Make Great Ricotta Cheese From Whey

This Instructable will show you how to make Ricotta Cheese from the Whey that was left over from the Mozzarella Cheese you already made.
Check out my Instructable for making Great Mozzarella Cheese. You will find it at:
There are tons of Mozzarella Cheese recipes on the Internet. I checked a lot of them out and perfected my own recipe and made an Instructable for it to make it as easy as possible to make Mozzarella Cheese. It seemed like a lot of the recipes I found either left out a step or didn't explain it very well.

Unlike Mozzarella, Ricotta Cheese seems to be almost 100% foolproof.
There are recipes out there to make Ricotta from milk, but this lets you get everything possible out of that gallon you used for the Mozzarella.

Things you will need:
1. Leftover Whey
2. Large bowl
3. Reusable coffee filter. You can also use a clean cloth.
4. Large Strainer that you used for the Mozzarella
5. Small bowl to put the final product in

Step 1: Heat the Whey

Picture of Heat the Whey

Pour the Whey back into your pot and heat back up to from 200 degrees to boiling. The temperature here is not critical and you don't have to do it slow. Just be VERY careful not to let it boil over. It WILL make a mess.
Some people suggest letting the Whey set out overnight. I have tried that and also started it right away and haven't noticed any difference.
Turn the heat off and let it cool down some. After a little while, if there is stuff floating on top stir it so that it sinks to the bottom. This will help later so you can just strain most of the liquid and it won't clog up the filter so fast.

Step 2: Strain the Whey

Picture of Strain the Whey

Once the Whey has cooled down to 140 degrees or less, either use a ladle or pour your Whey through the coffee filter. NOTE My pot has a lip on it, so it pours fine like the picture. If yours does not have a lip, it might not pour like that.
Most of the Ricotta is at the bottom of the pot so pour slowly and do not shake up the pot and you should be able to pour most of the Whey through. If the filter gets full just transfer it into another bowl for now, rinse the filter and continue pouring the Whey through until finished. Once the Whey is drained it can be thrown out, used in soups, used to feed animals, used to water plants etc. Didn't know you could get so much out of a gallon of Milk did you?
This step can also be done with a clean cloth. When it fills up, just grab up the 4 corners with one hand and squeeze the Whey out with the other hand. Continue to strain.

Step 3: Drain

Picture of Drain

Once you pour it all back into the filter just let it drain for a while until all the liquid is out of it. It could take a while depending on the size of the holes in the filter.

Step 4: Thats It!

Picture of Thats It!

There it is. Told you it was easy. Try it. It should have a slightly sweet taste and boy is it good. As you can see I got about six and a half ounces. it varies ever time.



JesseC76 (author)2016-09-18

You have to use the whey almost immediately. For best results, you must use a T.A test kit and have food grade caustic soda to neutralize and bring the T.A to a usable level. 1.1 to 0.9

ata1anta (author)2016-06-21

Your instructions were great. After I made my raw milk mozz, I followed your instruction for the ricotta. It was so super easy! I heated the milk to a boil, stirring to keep it under control then let it cool to about 140f. I strained it and ended up with more than I expected. The ricotta is to the left in the pic and the mozz is right next to it.

NanT3 (author)2015-08-19

My mozzarella goat cheese has an after taste. Am I doing something wrong? The end product looks good but the taste is not good. What makes the goaty taste, or maybe it is a sour milk taste. Please help, I am about to give it up after 3 tries

gwen.guyn (author)NanT32016-03-11

Sorry this is not sooner... It's been years since I raised goats, and did make a lot of cheese at that time, due to too many goats and too much milk when herds were combined.
I found out a few things..
1. Get out all the whey. Seems to contribute to that odor.
2. Add some flavor! Herbs, garlic, etc. We liked rosemary, garlic, basil. Made Italian toast, toasted French bread, tomatoes, fresh basil, thin red onion, back in the oven for a few. Used on pasta, gratins, casseroles.
3. After forming into a tight ball, I left it wrapped in the tied cheese cloth, in the back of my refrigerator for months. Air circulating all around that way. Got harder than most brick style cheeses. Grilled cheese!
4. Making ricotta/cottage cheese with rennit was easier, quicker and we used it faster in lasagna and Mac and cheese, on top of chili, etc.
Hope you're still interested and this is helpful.

MichaelS379 (author)NanT32015-12-12

I'm assuming you have the same problem my ex-wife had when she was making goat cheese. You may have a yeast culture in the environment of your kitchen. When ever she tried to make goat cheese in our kitchen the end result was always the same , a cheese product that had a stronger odor than limburger and was inedible. I suspicioned it had to do with her not using proper cleaning procedures in her milk parlor and that she might have been bringing the yeast into the kitchen on her milking utensils. Hope this is helpful and that you find a solution.

PYPERLYNN (author)2015-04-03

I made Mozza today for the first time. It is amazingly good. I made it without a microwave, I used a double boiler and got the internal temp to just over 135 for 5 mins. Was very easy to do just takes an extra 15 mins or so. Texture is just so smooth. Best of all. My wife is so happy on a long weekend, anything could happen now!!!!!!!

TonyC9 (author)2015-02-26

So, made the Fresh Mozz......came out AWESOME! Tried to make Ricotta out of left over Whey, followed this recipe exactly. Got absolutely NOTHING! Had used 2 Junket Rennet tablets to make the Mozz....might the Rennet have pulled out so much of the milk fat there was nothing left for the Ricotta?

lynmiller (author)2014-12-07

Works great! I've tried this with whey from mozzarella, which yielded a little ricotta, and with whey from queso blanca which yielded much more. My friend, a veteran cheese maker, tells me you can tell by the color of the whey about how much ricotta it will make. The whiter, "milky looking" stuff has more cheese left in it. I make mozzarella once or twice a week, so I am still making ricotta from that whey as well.

I ended up letting it heat to boiling, and letting it cool thoroughly. I'm also straining through several layers of cheesecloth instead of a coffee filter, mostly because I don't have patience enough to stand there slowly pouring gallons of whey through a filter. I figure I lose just a little ricotta, but the time saved is worth it to me. OOH, I mix the ricotta with onion flakes, or red pepper, and salt, and we eat it with crackers. Yummy! and it saves me from making lasagna every week.

Thanks lots!

nell.matthews.31 (author)2014-11-07

My lab mate, a Polish scientist, was showing me how to make pirogi. She insisted that we needed unpasteurized milk but none could be found. Finally, we settled on whole milk (which is skim milk with fat added back to 4% milk fat), buttermilk, vinegar, and some plain yogurt, all to acidify the milk. We incubated at room temp overnight. I suspect that, since all you are trying to do is to denature (coagulate) milk casein and similar proteins, just vinegar and heat to 180°F would have worked. In reading further, I learned that the whey protein that remained after filtering the 'cheese' out could be further denatured by higher heat, 200°F to make ricotta (means recooked). The yellowish liquid left after that filtration was high in riboflavin, hence the color. It's all chemistry. I imagine that in the distant past, it was more an art. Anyway, her cheese pirogi are divine.

rusti1 (author)2014-11-02

New here. Well, I kind of cheated :) and have 'whey' from a greek yogurt machine maker, and was looking for a recipe for it. Saw this and would like to make ricotta cheese. Just wondering if it's the same whey?

swiesner1 (author)2014-10-15

Ok here goes, my first shot at Mozerella tonight and I will try the ricotta tomorrow and the gjetost probally the following day. This looks to be a fun project!

eculley (author)2014-07-03

our cheese turned out beautiful the very first time. we used fresh goat milk. made cheddar cheese first and used the whey to make the ricotta. I really appreciate this instructable. thank you.

jasonlough (author)2013-01-16

I'm having an extremely hard time finding milk that actually works to make any kind of cheese. I've tried 2%, vitamin D, organic, and the only one that works for me is Raw milk which is extremely expensive and therefore isn't really an option. I understand it's about the fun and "experience" but spending over $10 on a gallon of milk isn't a viable option for me. any Ideas on Brand names of milk or any other options that may help me in my new adventure?

geosurfrider (author)jasonlough2013-02-10

Well, most milk available in grocery stores has been pasteurized at temperatures over 161F and/or homogenized, which is problematic for cheesemaking because the level of heat affects calcium distribution in the milk. I live in Washington and there are quite a few co-ops where I find Jersey cow (yields more cheese) milk for relatively cheap. around $5 per gallon. You can always start a search at to find a source of local milk in your area.

For Adjustments for Pasteurized or Homogenized Milk:
You can always mix nonfat milk and heavy cream (both are usually not homogenized) together to reach the same fat content in whole milk. The ratio is 1 pint of heavy cream for each gallon of nonfat milk.

If you are using store-bought milk and find that your curds are too soft, you can add calcium chloride. To use this, dissolved the calcium chloride in nonchlorinated water and add to the milk, prior to coagulation. Chlorine can affect the functionality of certain coagulants, so its is best to stick with nonchlorinated or distilled water.

Hope this helps! Happy Cheese making!

mjohnson84 (author)geosurfrider2013-12-10

ditto to the calcium chloride - plus rennet.

mjohnson84 (author)jasonlough2013-12-10

Jasonlough, you can make farmhouse cheddar from regular whole milk from the store. All you need is Mesophilic culture and rennet. oh yeah, and a cheese press - which you could make (I did). Dont give up - if you have a local source for raw goats milk - use that! you can chevre just by heating the milk and adding chevre culture - let it sit for 12 hours, then heat the whey and get some ricotta from that as well. I too, am on the road of trying cheese making. ^^

mjohnson84 (author)jasonlough2013-11-24

there are so many youtube videos making cheese with 2 gallons of regular store bought cows milk. You add calcium chloride which helps the coagulation. I just learned this the last few days. I have a Nigerian Dwarf goat that is giving me enough milk for chevre and ricotta, but for the cheddar I want to make (need to get going on that cheese press :/) I would have to mix either the two milks :( or maybe try to freeze the goats milk until I get 2 gallons) I have read goats milk does not freeze well and separates. By accident I left my "cooling" milk too long and it froze in the freezer. It looks fine - no noticeable separation and taste fine. ^^ yay.

mdeblasi1 (author)2012-12-23

I just strained what was probably 3 US gallons of Yoghurt whey.
I got an insignificant amount of cheese/
I'm thinking that I didn't boil the solution long enough, I only brought it up to a boil, then turned off the heat.
The color of the fluid draining off seemed to indicate that it still held a significant percentage of albumen. I managed to save a pint of this liquid, acidulated it and will note what happened once it has sat overnight. I don't have any great hopes, but it's worth a shot.
Thanks for the instructable.

mjohnson84 (author)mdeblasi12013-11-24

interesting. I just noticed the age of this post - oh well, I just finished a batch of chevre and the whey looks so white like milk. It has not had that appearance before, always more watery, yellowy looking, but I still got the same amount of cheese. weird - plan to make ricotta with the whey.

WVSundown (author)2011-04-02

DON'T THROW OUT THE WHEY!!!! You can make another yummy Norwegian cheese from the whey after making ricotta called gjetost (from cow's milk) or mysost (from goat's milk). It is buttery, cheddar-y flavor, a slight sweet/sour bite, caramel-colored cheese that I think is as good if not better than the ricotta. It is used more like a spread, can be used in sauces and soups, or to flavor veggies.

You cook it down over a several hours until it renders down to about 1/4 (or less) of the original volume, then use a stick blender or hand mixer to fluff it and make it creamy, then pour it into containers to cool. It keeps for a good while in the fridge, too. Check the 'Net for more specific recipes. All I added was about 1/4 cup of heavy cream before I started boiling it down. It is my favorite cheese!

transilvanian (author)WVSundown2013-09-12

Thank you, I am looking forward to checking out the making of gjetost, I am always on the lookout for new stuff.

flammaefata (author)WVSundown2013-05-07

Why did you add a 1/4 cup cream to the post-ricotta whey before you made gjetost? Can it be made without adding cream?

Thanks for the extra info on re-using the whey!

WVSundown (author)flammaefata2013-05-07

That was a couple years ago when I had access to fresh milk, but as I recall, there was something in the initial recipe about if one made ricotta after the cheese, adding a little heavy cream would make a more substantial and creamier gjetost . . . and it did!

peacenique (author)WVSundown2012-04-21

Thank you WVSundown!
So now I'm going to get a gallon of milk and make queso blanco; then from the whey I'll make this ricotta; THEN I'll use the remainder for that to make this gjetost! This cheese-making experiment is going to be fun! (and incredibly time consuming!)

WVSundown (author)peacenique2012-04-21

Good luck with your cheeses and I hope you like the gjetost!

caeric (author)2013-06-25

A wonderful instructable, interesting I never stumbled on it before. Never made ricotta, and have thrown or the whey in all my mozzarella batches. Well try this! A comment to the milk wonderers out there. Ultra pasteurized or high temp pasteurized won't work, but once I figured out my issue, Walmart vitamin D milk works just fine for me. After going through several gallons of various milk, my issue was my pot and not the milk. If you're using a double walled pot try something else. Hope this helps!

geosurfrider (author)2013-02-10

Well, most milk available in grocery stores has been pasteurized at temperatures over 161F and/or homogenized, which is problematic for cheesemaking because the level of heat affects calcium distribution in the milk. I live in Washington and there are quite a few co-ops where I find Jersey cow (yields more cheese) milk for relatively cheap. around $5 per gallon. You can always start a search at to find a source of local milk in your area.

For Adjustments for Pasteurized or Homogenized Milk:
You can always mix nonfat milk and heavy cream (both are usually not homogenized) together to reach the same fat content in whole milk. The ratio is 1 pint of heavy cream for each gallon of nonfat milk.

If you are using store-bought milk and find that your curds are too soft, you can add calcium chloride. To use this, dissolved the calcium chloride in nonchlorinated water and add to the milk, prior to coagulation. Chlorine can affect the functionality of certain coagulants, so its is best to stick with nonchlorinated or distilled water.

Hope this helps! Happy Cheese making!

shyfrog7 (author)2013-02-02

Jason you need to make sure the milk you are using is either not pasturized or only pasturized NOT ULTRA pasturized. It is best to use whole milk and I would recommened horizon or dairy gold if you have it locally.
You might try your hand at cream cheese to start because it is so simple and almost always gets good results here is a recipe that I have tried that works out great, I substitute cultured buttermilk for the bacteria becase it is easier to find I use about 1/4 a cup for this recipe

InfinitiGuy (author)2012-06-17

I used the leftover whey from my first cheese making experiment and it made ricotta! For the cheese cloth I found a 5 pack of Lint free flour sack towels at Walmart for $7 which worked great. Just make sure to boil them before you use them the first time.

neffk (author)2012-06-16

I honestly don't know how you got this to work just by re-heating.

The overnight is for the natural culture (if you're doing it that way) to further sour the milk. Otherwise, you should just add some more acid.

It drains a lot faster if you carefully scoop the whey off and then spoon the curds into the filter. Pouring just makes it take a long time to drain. Maybe it'd work better if I had a small-mesk sive like you used....

A credible and compelling site on the interwebs that explains ricotta and various other cheeses you can make at home:

rrkrose (author)2012-05-15

I just tried this because I had some extra whey and it din't work at all. By the end there was no cheese and 90% of the whey had evaporated. :(

frauh (author)2010-08-10

Help! I attempted to use the leftover whey from my quark making. I heated and heated it, but it never foamed up. What's up?

suecheese (author)frauh2012-02-21

how do you make quark?
can you tell me the true differences between quark and cream cheese?

salvatoreiacopelli (author)2012-02-21

OK here we go: In my restaurant, we make our own mozzarella, but from store-bought curds. We cook the curds in salted hot water until stretchable, and form our mozz. Naturally, the curds leech out some milk, and this turns the water white and somewhat 'milky.' Is this whey? And can i use this whey to make ricotta as stated above? Thanks, and btw, this is a great article!

ezekiel88 (author)2010-03-08

Are all wheys the same? Can I use whey drained from yogurt or does it needs to be from making mozzarella?

jwystup (author)ezekiel882010-08-26

I was wondering this too. I make my own "greek" strained yogurt from plain lowfat yogurt. I'm still trying to find a use for the whey. It would be great if I could make ricotta out of it!!

frogmama (author)jwystup2010-12-31

I do the same thing as you. I use 2% milk and Fage greek yogurt as my starter. I am trying this with my last 2 batches (1 gal + 1/2 gal total - about 6 cups of whey)of whey (my second batch I didn't strain out my "leaked" yogurt.

In the past, I have added it to pancakes with good success, and like it the most in homemade blueberry muffins for my freezer. (though I can't write "blueberry-whey" on the label or my kids won't eat them. Muhaha!

frogmama (author)frogmama2011-01-17

Ok, I made ricotta with this last batch mentioned above. I got a bit of yogurt in the whey at the end of straining and left it in (2 tablespoons?)

As far as how much ricotta I got - I didn't measure it or anything, but it came out to about 5-6 tablespoons of Ricotta. Not exactly the most efficient use of the whey, but I don't go out and BUY ricotta anyway, so it was fun to throw on our spaghetti. I watered my plants with the leftover liquid and it seems to have not done any harm. It was a fun *experiment* :)

babelsgp (author)frogmama2012-01-27

I realize this is an old post but in VT, the left over whey from Cabot, is given to nearby farmers as fertilizer. So I imagine your plants loved it!!

eculp (author)frogmama2011-07-19

I had the same result. I got about 1/4 cup of ricotta, which isn't much, but I'll throw it into the lasagna anyway. My mozzarella didn't turn out that great either. I'm still working on it!

counterpoint621 (author)frogmama2011-01-16

I too was wondering the same thing, but sense cheese is mainly fat, and protean you might need to add powder milk. I'll fact check my self on this, but if anyone else could shine some light on this, it would be a great help.

Scooter Stuff (author)2011-11-10

I used about a quart of whey that was strained out of plain whole fat yogurt and got a thin layer on the coffee filter. I don't know if it was ricotta or yogurt that didn't get strained out. Never the less it was a fun experiment. Thanks for the recipe. I will use the left over whey to make the gjetost and let you know how it went.

sturnquist1 (author)2011-08-11

Ok, I've tried this and the whey seems to remain in a liquid form, meaning when I strain it it all goes down the drain. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong? I've tried it both with and without cider vinegar and haven't had any luck. Although my mozzarella is turning out fantastic!

beckettsfool (author)sturnquist12011-10-23

This just happened to me as well. I realized shortly afterward that I had accidentally used Fat-Free milk. Maybe this happened to you as well? Perhaps this isn't the case, though, because my mozzarella turned out rather tough and rubbery, and not in the good way.

lgourmande (author)2011-06-21

Are you saying that the whey left over after making ricotta can be boiled down to make another cheese? That's exciting!
I make ricotta, quark, fromage blanc and strained yoghurt and I have only used whey for baking bread, muffins, pancakes and crepes. I once made a blended drink with whey-dill/whey-basil combo, which twas foamy and tasted very refreshing when I drank it immediately as soon as it was blended. It did, however, become quite disgusting in the fridge later on (might be because I forgot about it till the next day).

I will get my three containers of left-over whey out of the fridge right now and get it boiling! I have all day to do it. Hate to throw out the whey, because I can't bake any more than I already do using whey, since bread or muffins only need a cup and I have about a gallon!
Let you know how it goes!

frogmama (author)2010-11-04

I am a yogurt maker and have found a few places I like to use whey. I'm not that familiar with using Ricotta, but I am going to try this!!

I know for cooking, you can freeze whey until you are ready to use it. If yogurt whey produces a small quantity of ricotta, do you suppose that freezing the whey until you have enough to make making the ricotta worth it would affect the process? Thanks

foodiefarmer47 (author)2010-04-10

So I was given fresh goat's milk; about a pickle jar's amount and told to do this in order to make ricotta:
Heat milk until just before a boil. Add 1/4 cup vinegar and stir. Then strain (through whatever I had; I used a clean t-shirt).
I was told that the cheese I got is ricotta, and the strained liquid is whey.
Is this correct? And if so, how is it that I can use the whey to.. make... ricotta....? Please help! I have all this liquid and don't want to throw it all away! Thanks!

The cheese that would result would be cottage cheese, if you left it as is. If you strain it out, and mash the curds, you would get a cheese similar to ricotta.

The whey left over from what you describe doing would be rather useless...

Thank you! That is really helpful.

Dr. Speer (author)2010-07-21

A great use for leftover whey (if you are lucky enough to have chickens or pigs) is to use it to soak chicken scratch or pig food, then stand back and watch them go nuts over it! It is high in protein and calcium and is good for them!

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