Make Ricotta Cheese with the Instant Pot SMART & DUO (or any pot)

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!

Both the Instant Pot DUO and SMART have a setting under the yogurt function that brings the milk slowly up to the perfect temperature (80°C or 176°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 SMART & DUO (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"
  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 colagulate (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. Let strain 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 stove top 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 staring 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.

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