How to make ricotta in the electric pressure cooker

Pressure Cooker Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta does not need a pressure cooker- it can be made with any ‘ol pot with lots of supervision and stirring – but the automated programs of Instant Pot makes the process soooo much easier!

The Instant Pot DUO, SMART and ULTRA have a setting under the yogurt function that brings the milk slowly up to the perfect temperature (83°C or 181°F) needed for making fresh ricotta cheese. If you don’t have either of these pressure cookers, follow the alternate instructions with a thick-bottomed pot (or your pressure cooker base) from the recipe, below.

Real Ricotta

Real Ricotta, at least is in Italy, is not actually made directly from milk – it is made with what’s left after making mozzarella cheese.  That’s why when you buy water buffalo milk mozzarella, here, often they’ll throw in a tub of  ricotta for free. In fact “Ricotta” means “cooked again.”  What we’re doing here, is cooking the milk only once to short-cut our way straight to the ricotta phase.  So save the strained liquid – it’s still full of proteins and nutrients that you’ll want consume.

Recipe Update
I updated this recipe March 2017 to move the addition of salt at the end. In making this over and over again I realized that the salt added at any time during the making of the ricotta reduced the effectiveness of the lemon and/or vinegar. Salt raises the PH of the milk which means using it early in the recipe you’d have to use even more vinegar or lemon for the same effect. You’ll find making ricotta this way will give you an even more creamy and consistent result!

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Ricotta with Instant Pot DUO, SMART, ULTRA (or any pot)
Nutritional Information
(per serving)
  • Serves: 8 oz. (250g)
  • Serving size: ¼ cup (75g)
  • Calories: 108
  • TOTAL Fat: 8g
  • TOTAL Carbs: 2g
  • Sugar Carbs: 2g
  • Sodium: 52mg
  • Fiber Carbs: 0g
  • Protein: 7g
Recipe type: pressure cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
This recipe makes approximately 8 ounces (250g) of ricotta cheese.
  • 1 quart (1L) high quality whole milk
  • 1 lemon, squeezed (about 4 tablespoons of juice)
  • 2 pinches salt(optional)
  1. Add the milk to the Instant Pot, close the lid and set the valve to "vent."
  2. Push the [Yogurt] button and then [Adjust] until the display says the words "boil" in the display-- or for the ULTRA choose the [yogurt] program and then select the recommended Temperature under “more” (181°F).
  3. Once the program is finished (in 20-30 minutes depending on the starting temperature and quantity of milk), remove the Instant Pot stainless steel insert and put on a trivet on the counter.
  4. Pour in half of the squeezed lemon juice and stir slowly and delicately - the milk should begin to coagulate (as in the pictures, below). If nothing happens after about two minutes, add the rest of the lemon juice and keep stirring slowly.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer, or a regular strainer lined with a fine cheesecloth (or unbleached paper towel, or coffee filter) and sprinkle with salt (if using).
  6. Drain from 5 to 15 minutes (depending on how fine the strainer is) until only the milk solids remain.
  7. Using a spatula, or spoon, pull the outer edges of the ricotta towards the center to form a small round loaf - lightly pressing and squeezing.
  8. Flip the loaf onto a small serving dish or plastic refrigerator container - where it will keep for up to 5 days.
  9. Save the strained liquid and use in any pressure cooker recipe in place of stock (for example to make rice) or in place of water for future baking projects.
Using a heavy-bottomed pot (regular pot or stovetop pressure cooker base):
  1. Add milk to the pot and place on medium-low heat.
  2. Stir often to ensure the milk does not stick to the bottom of the pot.
  3. Using a thermometer monitor the temperature of the milk until it reaches 80°C or 176°F (this is before it boils). If you do not have a thermometer- stir until the milk is starting to foam into a boil (small bubbles).
  4. Once the correct temperature is reached, remove the pot from the heat
  5. Follow the remaining instructions above, starting with step 4.
This recipe can be doubled or tripled to make as much ricotta as you like - but we recommend trying the first time with just 1qt/1L of milk to get the hang of the process first.

Make Creamy Ricotta with Instant Pot, or any pot!
Make fresh ricotta from scratch using the Instant Pot or any heavy-bottomed pot (such as your stovetop pressure cooker base).
Ricotta from teh pressure cooker

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  1. I use my Instant Pot’s yoghurt setting to make Paneer. It’s exactly the same process as Ricotta, except that once the whey has drained off, you press it with a heavy weight (usually a pan full of water) to make it in to a firm block. That way it becomes easier to slice/dice and add to curries, etc.

  2. Just to alert you many milks no longer say ultra pasteurized because they are using a different method to get the long expiration dates. It still impacts the ability to make cheese. So if it was working before and quit recently and you notice the milk you buy suddenly lasts forever, that could be the problem. One reason goat milk can be better is it’s less likely to be ultra pasteurized or equivalent. If you have an option where you live of a small local dairy, you’ll do better. If not, try brands until you find one that works. I like having my milk last longer, but I hate that cheese making has gotten more challenging. Source for this information was from a class I took at The Beverage People in Santa Rosa, CA in early 2017.

    1. Is goat milk more expensive than cow’s milk?

  3. I made the ricotta yesterday. It turned out great. Only problem my strainer and muslin weren’t fine enough and I lost some curds. I will correct that problem.

    1. Use a flour sack towel, one layer.

  4. sodium chloride is NaCl. It is a salt of a strong acid and a strong base. the pH of a sodium chloride solution is approximately neutral (pH 7 or so). table salt may have other effects, but it won’t change the pH. I can believe it will change the process by changing the salinity , but it is not by changing the acid/base balance.

    1. Not sure if this post is too old, but I’ll try! The directions say to set the pot to “vent”. I have the Ultra and you can’t really leave it “open”. Once you close the lid, it’s sealed. The instructions don’t really address this. I have read all the comments available and can not find an answer. TIA!

      1. You can use a dinner plate as the lid since the setting/pot is not “under pressure”. Or sells a glass lid for your model/s (I have one). Happy Pressure Cooking! We LOVE LauraP.!

  5. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I did ricotta this way the other day and it turned out great. Overnight I made yogurt and it was a fail. I think it was a problem with the starter. I Goog’e’d to see if I could use it for something else. It suggested adding lemon juice or vinegar to make ricotta. I did it and it worked, but I only got about 1/2 the am’t. that I did before. Could it be because of the starter problem (less solids) or should I have run it through another yogurt boil cycle before adding the juice?

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