Traditional Sweet Whey Ricotta

Learn about the four different types of whey - sweet, acid, cultured and more

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Use leftover whey to make whey ricotta! Traditional whey ricotta is a sweet-tasting and flavorful cheese. It is a delicious way to use up whey!


Units Scale
  • 1 gallon of sweet whey (less than 3 hours old, see notes for details)
  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 2 Tbsp cider vinegar (to curdle the additional milk)
  • 1/4 tsp cheese salt (optional)


  1. Combine the sweet whey and milk in a large pot. Gently heat on the stove to 91C (195F). If you don’t have a thermometer, you will know you have reached the right temperature when white curds rise to the surface. If you aren’t sure if you have sweet whey or acid whey, then please read the notes below. This recipe will not work with acid whey.
  2. Turn off the heat, add the vinegar and stir continuously for 2 minutes.
  3. Using a slotted spoon, carefully ladle the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. Knot the muslin and hang it to drain for 2-4 hours.
  4. When you’re finished draining, mix in the salt.
  5. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week.


  • It is really important to use sweet whey. This won’t work with acid whey (from acidic cheeses made with citric acid or vinegar). And it won’t work with whey from cheeses that have cultured for more than 3 hours (like Greek yogurt, kefir cheese, or cream cheese.) The reason why it is SO IMPORTANT to use fresh, sweet whey is that the bacteria in the whey continue to eat the lactose even after it has drained, slowly acidifying the whey. The proteins won’t curd in acidic whey. 
  • Typically, sweet whey is leftover from making hard cheeses. However, it can also be made with fresh cheese like feta.
  • The yield from adding the 2 cups of milk is 1 1/2 cups of ricotta, which is really good.
  • To make even sweeter ricotta (as a mascarpone substitute) add 1-2 Tbsp of cream after draining instead of the salt.