Ricotta cheese is probably the easiest cheese to make, especially when making ricotta in an InstantPot. I’ve made ricotta over the stove top a few times before, but the stove top recipes require constant stirring, otherwise you’ll burn the milk to the bottom of the pan. However, the InstantPot has a perfect setting for making ricotta! Just place the milk in the InstantPot, hit the yogurt setting until it reads “boil,” close the lid and allow the milk to come to temperature.
The next thing you’ll need is either lemon juice or citric acid. I prefer to use citric acid, which I purchase from Amazon. It adds no extra flavor to the cheese, whereas lemon juice can add a bit of a tang to the ricotta. But if lemon juice is all you have on hand, by all means go ahead and use it. Sometimes I’ll add garlic to ricotta if I use lemon juice to help balance out the flavor. Stir the ricotta and leave it alone for a while. Then, when small curds have formed, you can strain it through a cheesecloth.
Once the ricotta is done, I recommend serving it on crostinis with tomatoes drizzled in oil and vinegar and sprinkled in salt and pepper. You can also use it in your favorite recipe that calls for ricotta, such as lasagna or pizza. Two other delicious recipes come to mind that pair ricotta with cherries: Crostata Ricotta e Visciole and Baked Ricotta Blintzes with Fresh Cherry Sauce. Try the recipe below!
- 8 cups (1/2 gallon) whole milk
- ⅓ cup lemon juice or ½ tsp citric acid
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pour the milk into the pot and cover.
- Select “yogurt” button.
- Adjust digital display to “boil” and cook for the full recommended time.
- When cooked, take the lid off quickly without letting condensation drip into pot.
- Remove the inner pot to a trivet or plate.
- Add lemon juice and stir gently a few times—for about 30 minutes— until milk begins to coalesce (gentle stirring prevents the cheese from becoming too grainy). You’ll see bright white chunks of curd separating from the whey, which is a yellowish liquid. At this point, stop stirring. Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
- Line a colander with cheesecloth. Set the colander over a large bowl and carefully pour the cheese and whey into the colander.
- Creamy ricotta: let the cheese drain for 5 minutes.
- Firmer ricotta: let cheese drain for 3-4 hours at room temperature.
- When the cheese is done draining, stir in the salt.
- Transfer the cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate. Refrigerate ricotta, stored in an airtight container, for up to 5 days, or freeze it for up to 3 months.