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!

4.6 from 5 reviews
Ricotta with Instant Pot DUO, SMART, ULTRA (or any pot)
 
Author: 
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.
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 quart (1L) high quality whole milk
  • 1 lemon, squeezed (about 4 tablespoons of juice)
  • 2 pinches salt(optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  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.
Notes
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 cookerip-smart recipe script (what’s this?)

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38 Comments

  1. Hi Laura, I would love to download the lovely recipe for ricotta to my device but I don’t see a script icon. I’m very excited about making my own ricotta. Two questions…would you advise freezing the finished product? Would it matter if I used 2% milk for this recipe?

    Thanks,
    Shelly

    1. I don’t really think this warrants a script. I suspect it would take longer to load a script than to press the two buttons needed.

      Yes you can use any milk down to skim milk. Though personally I wouldn’t. I like my full cream milk. Some of the supermarket milks have been deconstructed then rebuilt to a formula only they understand. Some of these may not work – it depends what they leave out in the reconstructing phase. But you will have to try your particular brand and find out. There is one local brand I refuse to use because it won’t even thicken to make a bechamel sauce (milk thickened with flour).

      Personally I would not freeze this cheese. Just make a small quantity and use it fresh. Freezing will alter its structure.

  2. I don’t have one of those fancy PCs with a yoghurt setting. But I do have a sous vide circulator.
    I did a preliminary test with just water and discovered that the water inside the jar only came to 78º even after several hours. The water in the tub measured 80º. I think evaporation from the jar accounted for the difference. So armed with that knowledge I did the following:
    Set the circulator to 82º
    Added milk to a sterilised jar to about an inch from the top. (about 800ml)
    Put the jar in my sous vide tub (a converted beer cooler) and filled the tub with water to the same level as the milk.
    Added insulation beads to the tub – the lid didn’t fit over the jar – and turned on the circulator.
    When the tub reached temperature, I measured the milk: 80,6º.
    Then continued with the recipe as above.
    The one problem I had was that I needed all the lemon juice (it was an old lemon) and I didn’t quite leave enough space in the jar for the extra juice. Next time I will transfer the milk to another container. Or use less milk. (or more and a bigger jar)

    Perfect. and delicious.
    The photo shows the setup before the balls were added.

  3. I have tried this several times and it does not coagulate like in the pictures….I have used lemon juice….tried vinegar…and it still looks runny….I do put it in my yoghurt strained and my family still says it is great but I feel I am loosing a lot of the product….I have an instant pot smart and love it ….has made many other items such as yoghurt and several wonderful items but just can’t get this ricotta cheese down….thanks for any assistance….carol

    1. Carol, what kind of milk are you using?

      Ciao,

      L

  4. I have been using whole milk….Horizon organic milk….I thought my lemon juice was “old” for the first time so went out and bought fresh lemon juice with the same results….thanks for any assistance…Carol

    1. It is my experience that bottled lemon juice should be relegated to the garage. (It is excellent for cleaning tools). Any time I have tried using it in the kitchen, the recipe has failed dismally. Try squeezing some fresh lemons instead.

    2. The problem might be the milk. Many organic milks are ultra high temperature pasteurized. I have read that affects the ability of the proteins to coagulate.

      1. Never mind, I should have kept reading.

  5. Greg..thanks for the advice…I was wondering if that was what I was missing…I will give it a go tomorrow when I purchase a real lemon….don’t want to give up because everything else I have made has been fabulous…I am addicted walking in the supermarket “looking what I can put in my instant pot”…..will keep you posted….
    Thanks again,
    Carol

    1. Carol, you can also replace the acid with the same amount of white wine vinegar – but the fresh lemon juice is better. ; ) A while ago I learned that bottled “lemon juice” is made from lemon leaf and skin extract. So it has that “lemon flavor” but without all of the acidity of actual juice squeezed from a lemon. I buy it for my husband to squeeze into his tea – I can’t stand seeing him leave lemon halves in every nook and cranny of the refrigerator!

      Greg, I didn’t know you could clean tools with the juice!!!

      Ciao,

      L

      1. It may be peculiar to Australia. A lot of our hardwoods will blacken tools used to cut them. It is caused by tannins in the timber. Many of our species have very high levels of tannin. When they blacken, lemon juice, even the bottled stuff, will clean them up like magic. A lot of them have a lot of silica in the wood too, blunting tools like nobody’s business. But that’s a whole other story.

        As for the bottled stuff having the “taste” of lemon… Not any I have ever bought. It is even further from “lemon” than “Maple flavoured” syrup is from the real thing. Not in my kitchen.

  6. Laura, can I use whey from my homemade yogurt in place of the lemon and if so, would it be equal amounts?

    1. If it’s acidic enough whey could work. I have not tested this myself so you’ll have to experiment: just keep adding whey until the milk starts to break-up (make it with lemon first so you you know what to look for). If it doesn’t work with the whey, just add lemon and the whey will drain out with the rest of the milk “liquid”.

      Ciao,

      L

  7. Carol,
    Horizon milk is often ultra pasteurized. This may have something to do with the problem. Try pasteurized milk instead (sometimes hard to find in organic).

    1. Thanks for this info, Anna!

  8. Hi,

    I’m new to pressure cooking and am excited to get started. I bought an Instant Pot Smart, and so far I’ve made several of your rice recipes, and also frozen chicken thighs to experiment.

    I have a lot of milk to use up and want to make this. My question is two-fold:

    1. can I use more than a quart at a time for this recipe, so long as I don’t exceed the maximum line?
    2. Do you happen to know what the capacity of my bowl/insert is, and/or of the maximum line? I just re-read the manual and didn’t find it. Also, I’m not near my pot to see if it says. But I did read somewhere that the markings in the pot don’t correspond to actual known measurements (I don’t know if that’s correct). Apologies if the answer to this should be obvious.

    Thanks so much for your site – I’m having a lot of fun already! And without you I suspect my pressure cooker would languish in the garage;)

    Mary

  9. Whoops I am now looking at my pot and see it is 6 quarts – sorry!

    What would you suggest as the maximum amount of milk to use to make a bigger batch of cheese?

  10. Also, do you think I could use a lime instead of a lemon? I have limes I have to use up, too. Sorry for all the questions!

  11. Thank you. After some experiments with milk in Toronto I can share my results:
    1) It doesn’t work with skimmed milk. Nelson, PC, etc skimmed milk + real lemon(s) — no result at all.
    2) To achieve better results — use regular milk with 3+% of fat.
    3) For even better results — use Goat Milk. 3.8%+ of fat. IMHO, Goat Milk based ricotta cheese is 50% tastier. Do not forget to put some salt.
    4) Half of the lemon is not enough for 1L of milk — use whole lemon.
    5) Concentrated lemon juice that you can buy in grocery stores — doesn’t work at all.

  12. And small add-on.
    I’ve changed the step 3. After the program is finished — open the lid and do all the magic with lemon juice and salt. After stirring — close the lid and leave it for 20 mins. In such warm isolated environment the result is better, IMHO.

  13. Has anyone tried to use good fat free 1/2 &1/2 to make fat free ricotta ? Did it turn out or waste the 1/2&1/2 ? Thanks

    1. I wouldn’t use FF half and half for this — it’s filled with corn syrup and thickeners. I would use 2% milk, which works wonderfully for ricotta and paneer, if you’re trying to reduce the fat.

  14. How would I make this in my Cuisinart electric pressure cooker?

    1. You need a setting that will bring the milk ALMOST to a boil, then stop. If your Quisinart has one of those, you are good to go. If not, you can still do it by choosing a setting that will will bring milk (or water!)to a boil. Measure with a thermometer. You will also need to stir so it doesn’t burn on the bottom.. Once you are almost at a boil, turn off the heat and continue with the “add salt and lemon juice” step. People have been doing it without a thermometer for centuries too. But it makes it easier to judge.

  15. How long after it comes out and youve added lemon and salt does it start to curdle? Mine is curdling…but not a lot.

    1. Teresa, mix it delicately and wait a few minutes. It will curdle all it’s going to curdle by then. If you think the lemons are too sweet, squeeze in a bit more juice to make it more acidic.

      Ciao,

      L

  16. Made this today and it turned out perfect! Thank you so much! Can’t wait to make lasagne with my homemade ricotta cheese!

  17. You should be able to take the next step and make paneer with the product by continuing the straining under slight pressure. I forget the exact details and the additional straining is to desired texture.

    Yum
    Helen

  18. Can you tell me how to make Kefir with my Instant Pot?

    It’s great for making paneer. I didn’t realize that I could make ricotta the same way.

    1. I’ve made kefir – Kefir is a different type of process. It’s not cooking. See here for one. http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-milk-kefir-cooking-lessons-from-the-kitchn-202022
      H

    2. Diane, if you have the DUO or the SMART you can use the “ferment” setting (Yogurt button, then Adjust button to “less”) to make kefir.

      Once you have your kefir grains all set-up in milk, add a trivet and enough water to come half-way up to the jar. The program runs a little “hot” so the kefir will be ready in 6 hours instead of 24. I would only do this occasionally so as not to stress out the kefir grains. But, to be honest, this is only handy for the winter or if you need to hurry-up the process. When it’s warm enough in your kitchen to not require heating, the kefir will ferment on its own on the counter without any help!

      If you need basic kefir-making instructions, this tutorial video is really nice:
      http://www.culturesforhealth.com/learn/milk-kefir/how-to-make-milk-kefir/
      BTW, I have used UHT milk, and I only make 2 cups of kefir at a time. If you find that you’re making too much kefir at once, put a fresh batch of milk/grains in the fridge to slow it down (up to a week) and then bring it out when you’re ready to make more. And, they don’t mention this in the video, but the over-cultured kefir is fine to consume. The clear-ish liquid is extra-tart so you can either mix-it back in to the separated “curds” or just pour that out, and then strain the kefir as usual – the strained kefir will actually be thicker and creamier.

      And, if you’re drinking kefir for the first time don’t have a big honkin’ glass – you have to work up to it. The first day have just a teaspoon, the second day two, thrid four, fourth 8 (or two tablespoons), and etc. until you get up to a glass. There will be times where you stop taking kefir and re-start. I do this seasonally. But when you re-start you can go straight to a big glass since your digestive system will already be acclimated to it and know what to do.

      Have fun! Hmm… maybe I should write a post about it!! : )

      Ciao,

      L

      P.S. You can also raise your sourdough bread using the “ferment” setting. Just add wax paper in the cooker, the dough, and go.

  19. Can I use 2% milk or should I just go buy whole milk to be safe

    1. Jenifer, I would go with the whole milk. If you look at the ingredient list of “part-skim” milk ricottas on products, even from the Whole Foods brand, they have to add a bunch of gums and whatnot to stick the milk solids together. Go with “whole” milk – it’s only 3.5%, anyway. ; )

      Ciao,

      L

  20. I just put 2 quarts of milk in my instant pot, put on the lid and went to push the yogurt button. NO YOGURT BUTTON IS ON MY INSTANT POT!!! Mine doesn’t have it…..is there a way to make the ricotta cheese using another button? I could cry. I was looking forward to the ricotta. I just got my pot on Prime Day and didn’t even realize it had no yogurt button.

    1. Sorry. No. Not all the InstantPots have this feature. And enough people have tried to make it yoghurt using other settings that we know it won’t work with the others.

      However for Ricotta, all you are doing with the yoghurt setting is raising the temperature to 80ºC.to scald the milk. You want to bring it nearly to the boil but not quite. Just use any of the settings that will heat things without needing to lock that lid. Sauté or Sear come to mind. Use that and monitor the temperature like a hawk. Use an accurate thermometer. As soon as the temperature reaches 78ºC turn off the device. The heating coil should have enough remnant heat to raise the last couple of degrees. Then continue at step 4.

      1. So for the Instant Pots without the yogurt feature, we use the “saute” setting with NO LID, or with the lid on vent? I’m disappointed mine doesn’t have it either!

  21. I have a IP ultra just made my first ricotta followed the recipe it came out perfect. Thank you.

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