Ricotta is the gateway drug to cheesemaking. Everyone who ever makes cheese starts here. And it’s incredibly easy too.






Skill level

Average: 4.1 (10 votes)


  • 4 thick slices sourdough
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • ½ lemon, zest finely grated
  • salt and black pepper, to serve

Braised onions

  • 300 g pickling onions, peeled and left whole
  • 25 g butter
  • 2 tsp golden syrup
  • 125 ml (½ cup) white wine
  • 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable stock
  • 1 star anise


  • 1½ litres unhomogenised full-cream milk
  • 300 ml thin cream
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. For the braised onions, preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the onions and butter in a small ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Cook the onions, shaking the pan regularly for about 10 minutes or until lightly browned all over. Add the golden syrup and shake the pan to coat. Add the wine, stock and star anise and bring to a simmer. Transfer to the oven and bake for 1 hour or until the onions are well-browned and the liquid has reduced and thickened.
  2. Meanwhile, for the ricotta, combine the milk, cream and salt in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Bring the mixture to 85°C, then stir in the salt and lemon juice. Stir for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat, cover and stand for about 15 minutes for the curds to form. Spoon the curds into a sieve lined with cheesecloth and stand for another 10 minutes. This recipe will make more ricotta than you need but it will keep refrigerated for 1-2 weeks.
  3. Preheat a chargrill pan over high heat. Toast the sourdough on both sides and drizzle with a little olive oil. Spread the toast with the fresh ricotta, top with a few of the braised onions, then sprinkle with thyme leaves, a little lemon zest and finish with a little salt, pepper and extra olive oil.



Adam Liaw cooks, laughs, and explores culture with some of Australia's most beloved in The Cook Up With Adam Liaw.

Photography by Danielle Abou Karam.