Farmer Cheese

This homemade farmer cheese is rich, creamy, lovely, and easy as can be to make at home. Sorta like a poor man’s (or shall we say, lazy man’s) homemade ricotta. Here’s how to make it.

A round of farmers cheese resting on a piece of cheesecloth in a bowl.

This farmer cheese recipe requires very little effort or expertise and relies on everyday ingredients you probably already have on hand. And it creates a soft, light, creamy cheese with just a hint of lemon. It’s sorta like a poor man’s ricotta although it works equally well in place of cream cheese. Rely on it to stuff pasta shells, lend oomph to salads, dollop on a white pizza, spread on pancakes, or any other manner in which you’d use a lusciously soft, fresh, subtly flavored cheese. Try your best to source local fresh milk for the best flavor and longevity.–Renee Schettler

Farmer Cheese

  • Quick Glance
  • (2)
  • 25 M
  • 1 H, 30 M
  • Makes about 1 cup
5/5 - 2 reviews
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Pour the milk, cream, and salt into a 3-quart (2.8-liter) stainless steel saucepan, place it over medium-low heat, and warm the milk to 190°F (88°C), stirring occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. This could take up to 15 minutes or so. Watch the temperature carefully because you’ll be waiting, waiting, waiting and then all of a sudden towards the very end it will increase dramatically.

Remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice, slowly stirring once or twice. Let the pot sit for 5 minutes. Do not stir the mixture during this time. It will separate into very small curds and some watery whey. That’s okay. In fact, that’s desired.

Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl. Pour the curds and whey into the sieve and let it strain at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Discard the drained liquid or reserve it for another use. Remove the farmer cheese from the strainer and, if desired, gently press it into a decorative mold (as you see in the stunning photo at the top of this page) or simply mound it on a plate or in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour to help the cheese firm slightly. Eat the farmer cheese right away or transfer it to an airtight container and stash it in the fridge for up to 1 week. Originally published March 19, 2016.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Love this farmer cheese recipe! I've always wanted to make my own ricotta and this was easier and more delicious than I ever imagined. It's so creamy and satisfying. I spread it on my morning toast, scooped a spoonful onto a bowl of pasta with marinara sauce, and dolloped it on white pizza.

I started out with the heat on medium because I didn't want to scorch the milk but then turned it up to high because it was taking so long. I didn't realize the milk would be boiling before it got up to temp. It took about 15 minutes to reach 190°F. After 5 minutes, I had lots of curds. They don't really look like curds; they look more like the egg in egg drop soup.

This made just over 1 cup cheese. I kept the whey for a few days but never really figured out what to do with it and tossed it. (Of course I talked to my friend just after that, and he uses whey to make pizza or bread.) I ate some of the cheese right away, and I think that was when it was at its creamiest. And it was luscious on the pizza, so I'd say it was best at room temperature or a little warmer. My farmer cheese lasted for 5 days.

This farmer cheese is delicious—creamy with a hint of lemon in the background. We ate most of the farmer cheese for lunch as part of a composed salad.

It should be refrigerated for awhile in order for it to set properly. If you use it right away, it won't have much structure. The leftover portion kept well for the few days that we stored it in the refrigerator.


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  1. In Belize, where I live now, it is almost impossible to find lemons. Limes, however, are plentiful. Would lime juice work as a substitute?

    1. Hi Wilma, we only tested the recipe with lemon juice. I have however, seen lime set cheeses. You might need to play around with the amount of lime juice. Please let us know how it turns out.

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