Fresh Ricotta Cheese

Warm fresh ricotta cheese is a delicious luxury that is simple to make with our nigari.

½ gallon of whole milk (Raw, or low heat pasteurization work best)

½ tsp J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works salt, plus more to finish

1 tsp of J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works nigari (this amount may vary depending on your milk)

Place milk in a heavy bottomed, straight sided sauce pan with the salt. Stir gently to dissolve the salt. Heat over medium-high until it reaches 190 degrees. Turn off the heat.

Add 1 tsp of nigari and stir well with a slotted spoon. Watch closely for the milk to start curdling. If nothing happens after 15 seconds or so, then add an additional ½ tsp of nigari and stir well. (Add additional nigari as needed by the ½ tsp until the milk curdles. The freshness of the milk, pasteurization method and whether or not it is homogenized will all affect the amount of nigari needed). Once it curdles cover the milk and let it sit for 10 minutes to fully separate curds from the whey.

Line a strainer with 3 layers of damp cheesecloth over a large bowl.

Using a slotted spoon move the curds gently into the strainer. Pour the whey through the cheesecloth/strainer being careful not to break up the curds. Let the curds drain for 20 minutes.

Either eat immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days. It is delicious warm with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of JQD salt spread on crusty bread.

Yield: about 1.5 cups, depending on the milk used.

Save your whey. There are many ways to use it from feeding plants in your garden, adding additional nutrition to your pet’s meals, using it as liquid to cook beans, and making fresh mozzarella.


  1. Oh my GOODNESS we have been experimenting here at ittle bitty farms with the Nigari. The cheese is TOO DIE FOR!!!! It pairs great with our artisan bread. Thank you for bringing this to our area. Looking forward to offering it in our ittle mobile market along with more salt.

    1. I’m so glad you are enjoying the cheese made with our nigari! Thanks for sharing your comments. What type of milk are you using?

  2. Good afternoon, My 9 yr old Daughter & I just made this recipe with your salt, your nigari,& raw milk. So delicious! Thank you for sharing!

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! It’s easy, fun and delicious!

  3. I bought your nigari at the Winter Blues farm market at the Charleston Civic Center in February.
    Two weeks ago I used it to make ricotta and used the ricotta in my cannoli cake recipe. I have been making this cake for years for my friend. this time she said that she thought that it was the homemade (whole fat) ricotta that made it most like the cake she enjoyed as a youth from a NY bakery. thankS!

    1. Thanks for commenting. I’m so glad to hear about your experience! It really makes a difference.
      If you want to make it even richer add a pint of heavy cream to the milk. Make sure it is low heat pasteurized. You’ll need a little more nigari but it makes an even smoother, creamier ricotta.

  4. Love Making this ricotta cheese with fulL fat milk. It’s delicious. I’d like to make it for a friend with dietary restrictionS. Would it work with fat-free skim milk?

    1. Hi Julie
      Thanks for your comment. I have not tried it with low fat/skim milk but I feel it would work. The process separates the proteins which are still present in skim milk. I think it’s definitely worth a try! Let me know how it works. Nancy

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