If you love cheese, you’ll want to try this homemade mascarpone immediately. The creamy cow milk cheese has so many uses that you’ll be thrilled to know that you can whip up a batch anytime you need it.

Before we get to the homemade mascarpone recipe, let’s first be clear about what exactly mascarpone is. It is a rich, creamy, knee-wobblingly luscious fresh cow milk cheese from Italy that’s perhaps most commonly experienced stateside in tiramisu. This recipe makes a sorta cheater’s stand-in for proper Italian mascarpone that we guarantee will impress even your fussiest friends. (Not that we recommend trying to impress fussy people. Life is too darn short for that kinda thing.)–David Leite

LC What To Do With Your Mascarpone Note

Not only is this homemade mascarpone recipe ridiculously indulgent, it’s easy as heck to make. And—yes, there’s more!—it’s an insanely satiating way to salvage the last dregs of heavy cream languishing in the fridge. Just add a bit of lemon juice to the cream and you’ve got homemade mascarpone. Works like a charm. Honestly? There’s nothing we can think of that isn’t made more charming by a dollop of mascarpone. Read on for some things we’ve done with mascarpone lately.

Plop atop a bowl of in-season berries.
Slather on a peach half, sprinkle with light brown sugar, and broil until bubbly.
Stir in a little marsala or tawny port and serve with fresh figs.
Cram it inside pitted dates, roast for 5 minutes in a 425°F (218°C) oven, and sprinkle with coarse salt and olive oil.
Fold it into lemon curd and use as pie filling.
Stir it into pasta and baked into noodle kugel.

A bowl lined with cheese clith and filled with homemade mascarpone.

Homemade Mascarpone

5 / 6 votes
Homemade mascarpone has endless uses and it's one of the easiest cheeses that you can make by yourself.
Servings4 servings (makes 1 cup)
Calories405 kcal
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Resting Time8 hours
Total Time8 hours 40 minutes


  • Candy or deep-fry thermometer; cheesecloth or flour sack towel (optional)


  • 2 cups heavy cream (non-homogenized pasteurized cream is best)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Fine sea salt


  • In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat, gently bring the cream to the point where bubbles just begin to appear. (This could take as long as 25 minutes.) Do not allow the mixture to boil. Reduce the heat to low, add the lemon juice and salt, and gently simmer the cream for 5 to 7 minutes as you maintain a temperature of 185°F (85°C). Remove from the heat, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.
  • Place a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and line it with a double thickness of damp cheesecloth, a flour sack towel doubled over itself, a couple paper coffee filters, or a double layer of thick, damp paper towels. Without stirring, gently tip the cream into the lined sieve, letting everything run into the bowl below. Sprinkle a small pinch salt over the cream. Cover and refrigerate the bowl-and-sieve contraption for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours. The mixture will slowly yet surely turn into a rich, creamy, velvety smooth concoction that seems a lot like softened cream cheese and is, in fact, nearly identical to actual mascarpone that’s made and cultured in Italy.
  • Remove the mascarpone from the sieve by lifting the cheesecloth or flour sack towel or coffee filters or paper towels by the corners and twisting them to form a packet. Discard the whey, which is the liquidy stuff in the bowl. Mascarpone will keep, wrapped in the cheesecloth in a covered glass or ceramic bowl in the fridge, for up to 2 weeks. Wipe away any collected whey in the bottom of the dish daily to keep the cheese fresh.


Small Batch Homemade Mascarpone Variation

Anxious about having an entire batch of homemade mascarpone on hand with no one standing between you and the fridge? Frustrated that someone used some of the heavy cream you were saving for this recipe in their coffee? Not to worry. You can make a mere fraction of this recipe. Simply get out your pen and paper and your 4th-grade math skills and figure out the proper amounts. It’ll work just fine.

Adapted From

Mrs. Wheelbarrow’s Practical Pantry

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Serving: 1 servingCalories: 405 kcalCarbohydrates: 4 gProtein: 3 gFat: 43 gSaturated Fat: 27 gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2 gMonounsaturated Fat: 11 gCholesterol: 134 mgSodium: 32 mgPotassium: 117 mgFiber: 0.01 gSugar: 4 gVitamin A: 1750 IUVitamin C: 2 mgCalcium: 79 mgIron: 0.1 mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Cathy Barrow. Photo © 2014 Christopher Hirsheimer. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

We may never buy mascarpone again. This homemade mascarpone recipe was so easy to follow, and the timing was accurate. We tasted the cream after 8 hours, and the edges were set and very thick while the center was still a bit wobbly. Both were delicious. After 24 hours, most of the cream was firmly set. This mascarpone was deemed “a winner” by all our taste-tasters. Everyone tasted the mascarpone plain and then as a topping for buttered baked pears. “Yumms,” “mmmms,” and “ahhhhs” were heard by the plenty. We used damp, double-thick, heavy-duty paper towels instead of cheesecloth, and the damp paper easily peeled away from the cream.

This is an easy recipe that produces rich, delicious, creamy homemade mascarpone that really is very comparable to what you buy—and can pay a lot more for—at the store. I took the temperature of the cream as soon as there were bubbles around the edges but before the cream was fully boiling, and it had a temperature of around 185°F. The recipe does not specify how much salt to add. This allows for a lot of error. I added a small pinch, about 1/2 teaspoon maybe, and that was good. I used regular ultra-homogenized cream since that’s what I had on hand, and the non-homogenized stuff is almost impossible to find. The yield was pretty good, and very little whey was produced (maybe about 1/4 cup after 8 hours draining). I served the mascarpone with strawberries, agave syrup, cocoa nibs, and crumbled lemon scones.

OMG, I made mascarpone, and it was so easy! Who knew that this normally EXPENSIVE item could be so easily made at home! I’ll admit that I wondered if homemade mascarpone would taste as good and work as well as store-bought, and I’m glad to say that it is just as good! Plus you get the personal gratification of saying that you made it. This stuff is so creamy and lovely and definitely something that I’ll be enjoying lots. The recipe is really straightforward and relies on a similar process to making homemade ricotta; however, with the mascarpone you leave the cream and lemon juice to sit a bit longer before straining it. I actually never buy cheesecloth, I simply use 2 coffee filters for straining, and it works just fine. The really nice thing about this recipe is that it’s made with things that you generally have on hand—no specialty ingredients necessary. I definitely have plans for this mascarpone, and now that I can make it so easily, I’m going to find new and exciting ways to use it. My first use will probably be for some frosting for cupcakes. I also plan to spread it on some toast with honey and nuts.

Purists may quibble that mascarpone should be cultured, as opposed to just curdled with lemon, but I’d challenge anyone not to fall head over heels in love with this simple, rich, delicious, creamy, lovely, smooth version of the fresh Italian cheese. This recipe is so easy, forgiving, and impressive—imagine brunch with scones or bagels and a mascarpone spread, perhaps topped with some berries, or with the berries stirred in, or a simple dessert with grilled stone fruit and a nice fat blob of homemade mascarpone atop. I was not prepared for how wonderful it would be and did not purchase berries or stone fruit to play with. Instead, I tried it on a spoon. So good! With fruit, it can only get better! And now, a few technical notes. The less processed the heavy cream, the better it will work, and the higher the possibility of success. I used an ultra-pasteurized organic, and it worked just fine. If the cream doesn’t start to thicken, it is possible to add more lemon juice and try again. Often this will do the trick if the first attempt doesn’t work. I simmered the cream and lemon for 5 minutes and then set it aside for 30 minutes, as directed. I think it could simmer a little less or a little more and still be just fine. Similarly, the 30 minutes could easily be a bit shorter or longer. I stretched out my overnight refrigeration time as well due to my work schedule. I refrigerated it for nearly 24 hours without any adverse effect. I was concerned my cheese would have thickened too much, but not only was there very little whey, the cheese was the perfect thick consistency, just like cream cheese! I confess to being a little leery that a fresh cheese like this would keep for a full 2 weeks, and as it turned out, it would take a lot of effort for me to find out, as the cup of cheese I made will be long gone before reaching anywhere near 2 weeks. One final note: This recipe could easily be halved if the goal is to use up leftover heavy cream.

This homemade mascarpone recipe is a very simple and foolproof way of making homemade mascarpone. (Making it was very similar to making homemade paneer, except you don’t stir very much in this recipe.) I left it to sit in the refrigerator for 8 hours. It made a very creamy, smooth, sweet, and salty cheese. I slathered some on a piece of toasted raisin bread and topped it with my own apricot preserves for a yummy breakfast treat.

This homemade mascarpone recipe works as written. Bringing the cream to a boil will scorch it, so it is necessary  to use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and sneak up on it. It took about 10 minutes on my electric range. The curd is slow to develop, so I left it in the fridge overnight. I like tea towels or flour sack towels to drain rather then cheesecloth. For the second go round, I doubled the recipe and made a few procedural changes. I used 16 ounces heavy cream and 16 ounces half-and-half. The purpose was to reduce the fat content a bit to around 25%. I heated the cream in a double boiler to better maintain temperature, and it took about 25 minutes, after which I added the lemon juice and maintained it for 5 minutes. Gently stirring twice I noticed a curd developing. I removed it from the heat and let it cool 30 minutes (no peeking, please). I placed the covered pot in the fridge overnight—actually, it ended up being refrigerated for part of the next day. It ended up being about 18 hours. I thought it was going to be bad but continued anyway because I wanted tiramisu. So I just dumped everything in a flour sack towel placed in a colander and hung it a bit to drain while tightening and wringing it out. I then hung it in the fridge over a small bowl to drain further till the next day. My yield was right at 2 cups and was just like it should be—soft, creamy, and the consistency of softened cream cheese. Although it seems like a lot of work, it’s all waiting time; the total hands-on time is about an hour. I took a couple shortcuts, but this is overall a good recipe to start with. I did make the noted changes based on my experience making cheeses. I used this for tiramisu, but it can be used in beef stroganoff, on fruits, etc. My preference is eating it cold with a spoon like ice cream with a little chocolate sauce on top.

Originally published May 31, 2015

About David Leite

David Leite has received three James Beard Awards for his writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    This recipe works like a treat. I cannot buy lactose-free mascarpone where I live, so making it with lactose-free cream is an excellent hack. Thanks for sharing.

    A point of note, however, with the recipe. There is no quantity provided for the salt. I only added a pinch where the recipe called for it and it worked well. Plus, I was planning to use the cheese for tiramisu so I didn’t want it to taste too salty, and it didn’t.

    Also, I tried making a double batch once before. Not too sure if it was because I only let it sit in the fridge for 8 hours, but it wasn’t as set/firm in the centre as a single batch over the same time.

    Thanks again.

    1. You’re welcome, Franco. I’m so pleased that this turned out so well for you. If making a double batch again, I’d definitely let it sit for longer. There’s more liquid to drain out so it will take longer.

  2. 5 stars
    I feel like a pilgrim who has reached the promised land. Thanks so much for posting this. I just made a spread out of mascarpone and it was a hit. Now I don’t have to buy it from Trader Joe’s.

  3. 5 stars
    Have to try this over the weekend! And if I hear one more judge on Chopped say “mar-ska-pone” I am going to scream!

  4. Anyone ever tried with soy milk. I know. I know. Just asking….

    ps before this rasn-frasn allergy, I used to make homemade yogurt from real farm fresh milk all the time. Making Greek style left me with whey, whey too good to waste. Here are some ideas:

    1. use to poach or marinate meats
    2. use to boost protein of smoothies
    3. give to any body-building gym rat friends, they will thank you.

    Thx in advance for any tips on a dairy-free version. I know. I know….


    1. Hi Jacqueline, thanks so much for your tips on ways to use whey. I have not seen mascarpone made with soy milk. If you are looking for a vegan alternative, coconut milk and cashew butter might work. Maybe some of our readers have a suggestion as well?

  5. Cats and dogs love whey– so if you’ve got them, give he/she/them a bowl. It’s still full of nutrients, and on a farm it would be fed to the hogs. Technically, ricotta is made from whey left over from mozzarella production.

  6. 5 stars
    Thank you so very much David!!! I really appreciate it! Now I don’t have to go to my fav Italian store and stand in line!! Can’t wait to try it! Thanks again!

    1. Myrna, to be honest, I’m not exactly certain. I’m checking with a colleague and one of us will be back with you…

    2. Hi Myrna, although we have not tested this particular recipe using lactose free cream, I have seen it used for mascarpone. If you try it, please let us know how it turns out.

        1. Hi Miriam, cream can contain 3 to 4 percent lactose. Not much to many people, but can be irritating to those with a lactose intolerance.

  7. 5 stars
    I have been looking for mascarpone cheese at the local store to no avail. I have a great Cannoli cake recipe that this would work great in. Thanks so much!

    1. You’re so very welcome, Janice! We’ve also had a hard time tracking down mascarpone and when we do find it, the price is often exorbitant! So we understand and are just happy to be able to help share the mascarpone love…