Nov 022011

Homemade 30 Minute mozzarella Cheese Recipe - Bonus ricotta cheese - Make homemade cheese more quickly and easily than you thought possible.

I recently decided to try my hand at home cheese making with friends, and it came out delicious!  I’ve been making yogurt cheese and kefir cheese, which simply require straining the yogurt of kefir, but this was my first “real” cheese.  I used the “30 Minutes Mozzarella Cheese” recipe from Ricki Carrol’s book “Home Cheese Making“.  Ricki also features this recipe on her website at

Homemade 30 Minute Mozzarella Cheese Recipe


1 1/2 level teaspoons citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cool water
1 gallon pasteurized whole milk (raw milk from a safe source or even powdered milk may be used – see Ricki’s site for directions)
1/4 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/4 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/4 cup cool, unchlorinated water
1 teaspoon cheese salt (optional)


1.  Gently bring the milk up to 55 degrees F in a large, stainless steel pot.  While stirring, add the citric acid solution to the milk at 55 degrees F and mix thoroughly.

Note:  You may use skim milk, but the yield will be lower and the cheese will be drier.

Boys making mozzarella cheese @ Common Sense Homesteading

My youngest stirring the cheese. This recipe is so simple the boys usually tackle it on their own.

2.  Heat the milk to 90 degrees over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Remove the pot from the heat and gently stir in the diluted rennet with an up-and-down motion for 30 seconds. Cover the pot and leave undisturbed for five minutes.

3.  Check the curd.  It should look like custard, with a clear separation between the curd and why.  (If the curd is too soft or the whey is too milky, let set for a few more minutes.)  Cut the curd with a knife that reaches all the way to the bottom of your pot.

cutting curd

4.  Place the pot back on the stove and heat the curds to 105F, gently moving the curds around with your spoon. (Note:  If you wish to make this cheese without a microwave, see directions below.)  Remove from heat and continue to stir slowly for 2 to 5 minutes.  (Stirring for 5 minutes will result in firmer cheese.)

sliced curd

5.  Scoop out the curds with a slotted spoon and put into a 2 quart microwaveable bowl.  Press the curds gently with your hands, pouring off as much whey as possible.  Reserve the whey.  (You can use it to make ricotta cheese.)


6.  Microwave the curds on high for 1 minute.  (***If you do not have a microwave, see directions below the string cheese photo.)  Drain off all excess whey.  Gently fold the cheese over an over (as in kneading bread) with your hands or a spoon.  This distributes the heat evenly throughout the cheese, which will not stretch until it is too hit to touch (145F inside the curd).  Rubber kitchen gloves are very handy at this stage.

7.  Microwave two more times for 35 seconds each; add salt to taste after the second time. After each heating, knead again to distribute the heat.

8. Knead quickly until it is smooth and elastic. When the cheese stretches like taffy, it’s done. If the curds break instead of stretch, they are too cool and need to be reheated.

Homemade 30 Minute Mozzarella Cheese Recipe - Bonus ricotta cheese

9. When the cheese is smooth and shiny, roll it into small balls and eat while warm. Or place them in a bowl of ice water for half an hour to bring the inside temperature down rapidly; this will produce a consistent smooth texture throughout the cheese. Although best eaten fresh, it can be stored in the refrigerator at this point.

Homemade 30 Minute mozzarella Cheese Recipe - Bonus ricotta cheese #30minutemozzarella #homemade #mozzarella

Note: If you are using store-bought milk, and your curds turn into the consistency of ricotta cheese and will not come together, switch brands of milk. It may have been heated at the factory at too high a temperature.

Yield:  3/4 to 1 pound from 1 gallon milk

Update:  After experimenting a bit more, I found you can also pull this into strips or strings (think “homemade string cheese”).  Pull the strips, drop them in the water to cool, then pack them tightly in a pyrex container or wrap in plastic wrap (I prefer pyrex).  They’re not as pretty as the store bought ones, but they work just the same.

homemade string cheese

homemade string cheese recipe

Although the original recipe recommended storing the cheese in water, I prefer storing it in a tightly sealed container without water. Water storage makes the cheese soft and washes out the salt.

***If you do not have a microwave:

After step 5, heat the reserved whey on the stove top to at least 175F.  Add 1/4 cup of cheese salt to the whey (you could probably substitute kosher salt, but cheese salt is best).  Shape the curd into one or more balls, put them in a ladle or strainer, and dip them into the hot whey for several seconds.  Knead the curd with spoons or gloved hands between each dip and repeat this process several times until the curd is smooth and pliable.  Please be careful!  This is really hot, and working with more liquid increase the risk of getting splashed!  If you use the non-microwave method, you cannot use the whey to make the Ricotta from Heaven below, because the whey will contain too much salt.

Optional Lipase Powder

If you want to add lipase powder to give the cheese more flavor, use 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes. To start, probably try the mild and see how you like the flavor. Add the lipase and water mixture at the same time you add the citric acid solution. If you add lipase to this cheese, you may have to use a bit more rennet, as lipase makes the cheese softer.

Ricotta From Heaven

(also from Home Cheese Making)


Fresh whey, no more than 3 hours old, left over from making hard cheese

Directions (other options available at www.cheesemaking .com)

1.  Heat the whey in a pot until foam appears,  This usually happens just prior to boiling; if the mixture boils, it will taste burned.

2.  Turn off the heat; let the whey set for 5 minutes.

3.  Gently skim off the foam and place the whey in a colander lined with butter muslin.

4.  Let drain for 15 minutes, then refrigerate.  This ricotta will keep for up to one week in the refrigerator.

Yield:  About 1/2 pound per gallon of whey

*Note – I later read that the 30 minute mozzarella whey is not recommended for making ricotta (it says this in the cheesemaking kits), but mine works just fine.  I’m glad I didn’t read that I wasn’t supposed to do it before I did it.

We ate one batch of mozzarella fresh, and then I made more to put on homemade pepperoni pizza.  :-)  It was delicious.


The ricotta was lovely, too.  Very smooth and creamy, and just a tiny bit sweet.  I think it would be great in homemade lasagna.  The leftover whey can be used for fermenting vegetables, such as beet kvass, or you can chill it and add some flavored drink mix for a nourishing beverage.  My kitties like to drink it plain.  I warm it up for them on cold mornings.

I’m looking forward to trying other cheese recipes, but these were great ones to start with – very quick and easy.

Another family favorite that may be even easier, although it takes a bit longer, is fromage blanc.  Fromage blanc is a soft white cheese that is great as a spread or dip.  (Or for topping spuds – yum!)  It can also be used in cooking.The recipe only has five steps – that’s it!  Learn how to make fromage blanc in this post.

You may also enjoy our other recipes, such as, “Never Buy Bread Again – 13 Homemade Bread Recipes“.

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Featured at Pennywise Platter Thursday, Fight Back Friday and Real Food Wednesday.

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  46 Responses to “Homemade 30 Minute Mozzarella Cheese Recipe – Bonus ricotta cheese”

  1. Looks Great… Cant wait to try it one of these days.

  2. Very tasty! It was great to make something that I've always had to buy in the past.

  3. Is there a way to do this without a microwave?

  4. Yes – it's covered in detail on Ricki's site. The link is in step 4.

  5. This looks a lot easier than I thought. I can’t wait to try this!

  6. FYI, if you make mozzarella and get the ricotta curd instead….make lasagna :) It’s a great sub in for actual ricotta and if you used lipase in the recipe it tastes a bit like the two together like you would do anyhow for making lasagna. We’ve lovingly referred to that mistake as mozzaricotta in our house.

  7. [...] At this point you an use it “as is”, or add flavorings.  It’ll keep for up to two weeks refrigerated in a covered container.  One gallon of milk yields about 2 pounds of cheese (which is about twice as much as a batch of mozzarella). [...]

  8. Where do you get rennet? Thanks!

    • Greer – I buy rennet either at our local homebrew store, or online through Cultures for Health. The link to CFH is at the bottom of the post, or on the sidebar of the blog. They are really nice and very helpful, and have lots of free information on their site.

  9. [...] you’ve tried the 30 minute mozzarella cheese and the fromage blanc cheese (or even if you haven’t) and would like to tackle a slightly [...]

  10. To really get mozarella with excellent taste, use lipase powder. About a quarter teaspoon per gallon of milk. Makes a world of difference.

    • I have never made cheese, so could you tell me what type of lipase powder you recommend? I saw sharp, mild, beef, and lamb lipase powders on Amazon. Also, when do you add it? Thanks

      • If you want to add lipase powder, use 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon, dissolved in 1/4 cup cool water and allowed to sit for 20 minutes. To start, probably try the mild and see how you like the flavor. Add the lipase and water mixture at the same time you add the citric acid solution. If you add lipase to this cheese, you may have to use a bit more rennet, as lipase makes the cheese softer.

  11. Can you use whey from yogurt to make ricotta cheese?
    Have been looking around on your website-very interesting.

  12. You must be kidding… I’ve watched my mom and also made cheese and NEVER added any acids or any kind of chemicals. Research people forget the fast easy way and go do it the right way!
    Many Blessings,

    • LightFeather – there are many ways to get a job done. If you blog, or have a site you would recommend for traditional mozzarella making (which this recipe does not claim to be), please feel free to link up a post to show how you make cheese. As far as I know, there is no way to make traditional (naturally acidified) mozzarella in 30 minutes, but I may be mistaken.

  13. In order to be accurate this is a cheese like mozzarella!
    Real mozzarella is made from water buffalo milk in Italy and has several certifications to prove its origin (STG & DOP). The taste is really different from this cheese, much whiter too.
    As a french, cheese and their certifications are really important, they are what protects our culture and our farms financially sustainable.
    I understand that buying mozzarella di buffala in the US might not be very convenient nor reasonable but please help us protect our local food system by not naming your products mozzarella or parmesan when it’s not.
    I don’t mean to be rude, I love your blog and read it frequently, but this is important for me :)

    • Caroline – I understand your train of thought, but the cheese is not my product, it’s the cheese lady’s product, I’m just sharing her recipe. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines mozzarella as “a moist white unsalted unripened cheese of mild flavor and a smooth rubbery texture”. This cheese is no way intended to be a traditional mozzarella – the flavor and texture of those is superior – it’s intended as a quick and easy introduction to cheesemaking.

  14. Thanks so much for these instructions! I bought a cheese making kit a few years back and was all excited to try it, but only did it once because the recipe made absolutely no sense (and *insisted* we had to use non-homogonized, whole milk). We’re going to give it another shot with plain old milk and see what happens!

    • Non-homogenized whole milk will give a better quality product, but regular store milk should work, as long as it’s not ultra-pasteurized. The super high temps damage the protein in the milk so much it won’t make cheese anymore.

  15. [...] tentatively planning to have the boys make 30 minute mozzarella around 1pm, bottle wine around 2pm, and bake some sourdough crackers around 3 [...]

  16. [...] in the sauce pot, or add in in layers as you place the potatoes in the pan.  I had some leftover homemade mozzarella, so I sliced it and layered it in the pan.  (Layer of potatoes, layer of cheese, another layer of [...]

  17. Thank you for this post. I have been making mozzarella a few times. Very new to it, my first batch turned out great no problems. But, I have made 4 batches since then and they all have not turned out. This morning I tried again, and it turned to what someone calls “mozzaricotta” ;) I was going to give it to the cats but then came across this site. So, I am going to use it for lasagna. :)

    Still not sure what my problem with mozzarella is though. This time maybe I stirred it too much but….Thank you for your post and I will keep trying.

  18. This IS PERFECT for pizza. I have a recipe for 100% while wheat that I love. A treat for the weekend! Thanks!

  19. How much cheese did you get from one gallon……looks reeeeeeeeeally good.

    • You will get roughly 1 pound per gallon for hard cheeses and 2 pounds per gallon for soft cheeses. Yield depends on the butterfat content. More fat = more cheese. :-) This is why certain breeds are preferred for cheesemaking.

  20. I’ve seen this recipe before, but I don’t own a microwave and I don’t want one, so is there a way to make this without using a microwave? Please. :)

  21. Thanks for your recipe, and also for the mozza one. I have made mozza 3 times now, and the last time with our own goat milk. Delicious! Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I will, in turn, pass it on. :)

  22. I go to Amish country a couple times a year to buy farm fresh foods, bulk food items and such. I’ve toured cheese manufacturing sites and watched large vats of cheese being processed. It all looked pretty intimidating to me. I’m glad I happened upon your instructions for making Mozzarella Cheese. I feel a bit more confident now. I too will pass this along….thanks.

  23. HI guys! I have used 2 different milk brands…one was 2% and one was whole milk…I googled the second one’s brand (whole milk) and they don’t do UHT….and both times I’ve got milk with a few small/tiny clumps…looks like what you’d get if you mixed 1 tablespoon cottage cheese in a gallon of milk…this is an epic fail both times!!! What am I doing wrong? The milk is in a stainless steel pot, heated to 55 farenheit added the 1 1/2 tsp citric acid in 1/2 cup cool water…stirred constantly to 90 degrees…added 1/4 tsp rennet in 1/4 cup cool water mixture in a lifting motion with slotted spoon for 30seconds…set aside with lid for 5 minutes..nothing, 10 minutes, nothing…etc… all I’ve got is 1 gallon of wasted milk…twice ;(

  24. This looks fun to make. I think I’m going to try it with my boys.

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