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a bowl of homemade ricotta topped with olive oil and ground black pepper

Instant Pot Ricotta Recipe

Instant Pot Ricotta is a deliciously creamy mild homemade ricotta you can use in any recipe you want or just serve as a spread or dip. Toss in some berries or other fruits and you have a scrumptious and healthy dessert made with your instant pot in minutes.

For another way to use this delicious cheese, give our Ricotta Bread recipe a try. Looking for more instant pot recipes? Try this Instant Pot Egg Bites recipe made with cheddar cheese and fresh garlic. Or try our Feta Pasta recipe flavored with feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and basil. 

Also known as instant pot pressure cooker ricotta cheese, the creamy ricotta you get from this recipe is so much better than store-bought ricotta and all you really need is milk and lemon juice.

In fact, you can use vinegar or citric acid instead of lemon juice so all you need is milk. Cheese-making does not get any easier than that!

You do not have to settle for expensive store-bought ricotta cheese. Our instant pot ricotta cheese recipe is simple and all you need is milk, salt, and lemon juice.

Not only does it taste better, but it is also less expensive than store-bought ricotta cheese. 

What’s more, you can also make this instant pot ricotta cheese recipe your own way!

Hence, if you want creamier ricotta or if you want to use a different kind of milk for dietary reasons. And homemade ricotta cheese making is fun. 

Ingredients needed:

These are the simple ingredients for this instant pot ricotta recipe. For detailed directions and exact measurements, scroll down to our recipe card. 

  • Whole milk: Full fat works best.
  • Fresh lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice or bottled.
  • Kosher salt: You can use whatever salt you like.

How to make Instant Pot Ricotta from scratch?

  1. Boil: First, pour the milk into your instant pot or pressure cooker and cover it with a regular pot lid instead of the actual lid. Select the yogurt function and adjust it to boil. 
  2. Remove: After the time is up, remove the lid, making sure no condensation drips into the instant pot. Remove the inner pot and put it on a trivet. 
  3. Coagulate: Next, add the lemon juice or citric acid and stir it gently a few times until you see the milk coagulate. You will see white chunks of curd separate from the yellow liquid whey. It takes less than a minute. 
  4. Rest: Immediately, stop stirring, and let it stand uncovered for five minutes. 
  5. Pour: Next, line a sieve, colander, or another fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth, butter muslin, a nut milk bag, or even a thin cotton sack towel. Set it over a large bowl and pour the cheese mixture into the colander. 
  6. Drain: For moist and creamy homemade ricotta cheese, let the cheese drain for five minutes. If you want firmer ricotta, you can let it drain for up to four hours at room temperature. 
  7. Chill: After it drains, stir in the salt and transfer the cheese to an airtight container to refrigerate. 
  8. Serve: Finally, you can serve your ricotta cheese as a spread, on its own, or in your favorite recipe. 

Making ricotta cheese on the stove:

  1. Boil: First, pour the milk into a large saucepan on medium-high heat until it boils. Continue to boil for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 180 to 190 degrees F.
  2. Remove: Then, remove the pot from the stove and add the juice. Stir gently until it starts to coagulate then stop stirring immediately and let it sit for five minutes uncovered. 
  3. Drain: After, place a cheesecloth or cotton towel in a strainer over a bowl and pour the cheese mixture in. Let it drain for five minutes for soft cheese or up to four hours for harder cheese. 
  4. Chill: Once it drains, add salt and whatever other flavors you like and keep it in the fridge in an airtight container for up to five days. 

Recipe variations:

  • No lemon juice: If you do not have any lemon juice, you can use citric acid or distilled white vinegar instead. 
  • No lactose: Feel free to use lactose-free milk for this recipe. It may not be as creamy as the original, but it will still be rich homemade cheese way better than store-bought ricotta. And for those with allergies, anything made with lactose-free milk is delicious.
  • Other milk: You can also try using almond milk or coconut milk for this homemade ricotta cheese recipe. 
  • Flavor: Add your own favorite flavors to your ricotta such as garlic, onion, or honey for a unique taste.

How to serve:

This homemade ricotta cheese is simple and uses only three ingredients. Serve on toast or crackers for a delicious snack or you can use it in your favorite recipe. Here are some other ideas:

  • Serve in a small bowl with a spoonful of berries or one of our toppings like strawberry preserves or blueberry sauce. 
  • This goes great on top of salads or soups.
  • Try using your homemade ricotta in a recipe like chocolate chip ricotta muffins for a delicious dessert. 
  • Of course, this cheese is also perfect for making lasagna and other Italian pasta dishes.
  • Ricotta cheese is also a terrific base for making different kinds of dip like our spinach artichoke dip. 

Frequently asked questions

What if I do not have a yogurt setting on my instant pot?

Although most instant pot models now come with a yogurt setting, some of the older models do not.

If you do not have a yogurt function on your instant pot, heat up your milk on saute using the normal or medium setting, stirring occasionally. It will be done when it reaches 180 to 190 degrees F.

What is the easiest and fastest way to strain ricotta cheese?

Line a strainer over a bowl and line it with cheesecloth. Add the cheese and let the mixture sit for at least five minutes.

Then, press with a rubber spatula to squeeze out other fluids. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight. 

Because cheesecloth is cotton, you can use other cotton fabrics as well such as a jelly bag, flour sack towel, or even a clean coffee filter. Many say that butter muslin works really well too. 

Is ricotta cheese healthy?

Yes, ricotta cheese is full of phosphorus, selenium, and calcium as well as vitamin D and can reduce inflammation when you use cow’s milk. However, using lactose-free milk or some other kind of milk may change what is in it.

Remember, it is just milk so whatever vitamins and minerals are in your milk is what you consume with the cheese. Also, the neutral-flavored liquid that you get, called whey, is full of other vitamins and beneficial probiotic organisms. 

What is the difference between cottage cheese, mascarpone, and ricotta?

While ricotta has a grainy texture like cottage cheese, mascarpone is a smooth and creamy cheese typically used as a spread. It is similar to heavy whipping cream and is often used in dessert recipes. 

Ricotta has bright white chunks and a tangy flavor, and mascarpone is more like sweet cream cheese. Cottage cheese is more like ricotta but is lumpier no matter whether the curds are large or small. 

How to store leftovers:

  • Store: Your ricotta can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about five days. 
  • Freeze: It is also safe to freeze your instant pot ricotta for up to 90 days.
  • Thaw: Don’t forget to thaw your ricotta in the fridge overnight before serving for best results.

More easy instant pot recipes:

Pressure cooker homemade ricotta cooking tips:

  • Most instant pot models have a yogurt function. But if yours does not, you can cook it on saute until it reaches 180 to 190 degrees F. 
  • Similarly, if your instant pot model does not have an inner pot, just pour the cooked milk into a small saucepan instead. 
  • Your ricotta mixture is only as good as the milk you use. Get the best you can find and be sure you do not get the ultra-high-temperature (UHT) pasteurized milk. The process used for this milk changes the milk proteins and it will not curdle as you want it to. 
  • The thin yellowish liquid whey leftover in the pot after making cheese in the instant pot or pressure cooker is full of healthy ingredients like minerals, vitamins, amino acids, and probiotic organisms. You can use it in sauces, soups, and smoothies.
  • Be careful not to stir your cheese too much. It will make your ricotta cheese grainy. 
  • You can make this with an instant pot or a pressure cooker, whichever you prefer. However, the cooking time may have to be adjusted. 
  • For softer cheese, do not let it drain as long. 

Instant Pot Ricotta

  • Prep Time20 MIN
  • Cook Time10 MIN
  • Servings 4 servings


  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice or 3/4 teaspoon citric acid


  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Herbs
  • Drizzle of olive oil


  • Pour the milk into the inner pot, and cover with a lid that fits on top of the Instant Pot.
  • Select the YOGURT function and adjust until the digital display reads BOIL.
  • When the cooking time has been completed, remove the lid, careful not to let any condensation drip into the pot.
  • Remove the inner pot and place it on a trivet.
  • Next, stir in the lemon juice or citric acid, and continue to softly stir until the milk starts to coagulate. This will take about 30-40 seconds. Stop stirring and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  • After that, line a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl and carefully pour the mixture onto the sieve.
  • For moist, creamy ricotta, let the cheese drain for 5 minutes. For firmer ricotta, allow the cheese to drain for about 4 hours at room temperature.
  • When the cheese is done draining, stir in the salt to taste.
  • Transfer the cheese to an airtight container and refrigerate.
  • Use in recipes or serve as a spread with some olive oil, pepper, and dried herbs.

Nutrition Facts

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Beti | easyweeknightrecipes

Beti | easyweeknightrecipes

I love, LOVE ricotta, but I have never tried to make it! I can't wait to try your version! Thank you!

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Erin | Dinners, Dishes and Dessert

Sounds absolutely fantastic!! My family would love this!



It seems like a simple recipe. I found another recipe I have used and it called for whey. To get the way I had to make Greek yogurt but I don’t anymore so have had to buy ricotta cheese again. I’ll try this recipe one day as it it about $4 on sale in Hawaii. How many cups does this recipe make?



Will this fit in a 3 quart instant pot?

Catalina Castravet

Catalina Castravet

yes, it will.

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