You do not need to have access to a cow to make fresh ricotta. And there are many different ways of curdling the milk, such as lemon juice.

500 g





Skill level

Average: 4.5 (3 votes)


  • 4 litres non-homogenised full-cream organic milk
  • 1 tbsp table salt
  • juice of 1 lemon or 1 junket tablet (see Note)

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.


Lemon version

1. Slowly heat the milk, stirring constantly, until it is almost at boiling point and a fine froth has formed on top. Add the salt.

2. To test if the temperature is right to add the lemon juice, remove some milk with a spoon and add a drop of lemon juice to it. If it’s ready, the milk will curdle immediately.

3. At this point, add the remaining lemon juice. Stir with the handle of a wooden spoon. At this point, the milk will begin to curdle. Turn the heat down to its lowest setting and leave for 4–5 minutes. If the milk begins to boil through the curds forming on top, add a little cold water.

4. After 5 minutes, the ricotta will have formed on the surface. Remove the curds with a slotted spoon and place them into perforated containers to drain. This ricotta will have a slight taste of lemon, which is not at all unpleasant. Eat while still warm.

Version with junket tablets

1. This is the simplest method, which really produces cottage cheese - that tastes like ricotta! Bring the milk almost to the boil, until it has a nice cooked aroma. Add the salt and allow the milk to cool to about 39°C (until the milk is warm to touch).

2. In a separate glass, dissolve the junket tablet in water. Add the dissolved tablet to the warm milk and leave to set until you can stand a spoon upright in it. At this point, break up the curd with the handle of a wooden spoon.

3. Once the curd is broken up, allow it to sit for a few minutes, then ladle into perforated containers. Eat while still warm.



• Junket is a digestive enzyme that curdles milk and is available in most supermarkets. 

Recipe from Preserving the Italian Way by Pietro Demaio, Published by Plum, RRP $39.99, Photography by Chris Middleton.