Protein in Ricotta Cheese

Ricotta cheese is a creamy, smooth, and delicious dairy product loved by people of all ages. It is widely used in dishes such as lasagna, stuffed shells, and pizzas.

But did you know that besides its fantastic taste, it has many health benefits and important nutrients?

In this article, we will explore the nutrition facts and health benefits of Ricotta cheese in simple and easy-to-understand language.

So, whether you are a cheese lover or just curious about this dairy product, keep reading to learn about Ricotta cheese.

What Is Ricotta Cheese?

Ricotta cheese is formed from whey, which is a byproduct of the cheese-making process.

It has a mild, sweet flavor and a smooth, creamy, slightly grainy texture. Ricotta, unlike many other forms of cheese, is not aged and is supposed to be consumed fresh.

It is a flexible ingredient that may be utilized in a wide range of meals, including lasagna, ravioli, and cheesecake. Due to its lower fat level compared to other forms of cheese, it is commonly considered as a healthier alternative.

Ricotta Cheese Is Used for What?

Ricotta cheese is used in various dishes to add creaminess, flavor, and texture. Some popular uses for Ricotta cheese include:

Baking: Ricotta cheese is often used in baked goods like cheesecake, tiramisu, and cannolis, as it helps to create a creamy and smooth texture.

Pasta Dishes: Ricotta cheese is often used to fill pasta dishes such as lasagna, stuffed shells, and ravioli.

Sauces: Ricotta cheese can be blended into sauces to add creaminess and flavor.

Toppings: Ricotta cheese can be used as a topping for pizzas, crackers, or toast for added creaminess and flavor.

Spreads: Ricotta cheese can be mixed with herbs and spices to create a delicious spread for sandwiches or crackers.

How Can You Make Ricotta Cheese from Milk?

Making Ricotta cheese at home is quite simple! Here’s a basic recipe that you can follow:


  • 1 gallon of whole milk
  • 1 cup of heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or white vinegar


  • Heat the milk and cream in a large pot over medium heat until it reaches a temperature of about 200°F.
  • Stir in the salt and lemon juice or white vinegar.
  • Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to curdle.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place it over a large bowl.
  • Pour the curdled mixture into the strainer and drain it for about 30 minutes.
  • The liquid drained into the bowl is the whey, and the solid in the cheesecloth is the ricotta cheese.
  • Discard the whey and transfer the ricotta cheese to a clean container.
  • Chill the ricotta cheese in the refrigerator until it’s cold and firm.

And that’s it! Your homemade Ricotta cheese is now ready to be used in various dishes. This recipe makes about 2 pounds of Ricotta cheese and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

protein in ricotta cheese

Is Ricotta Cheese Healthy?

Ricotta cheese can be part of a healthy diet as long as it’s consumed in moderation. Here are some reasons why Ricotta cheese can be considered beneficial:

Good Source of Protein:

Ricotta cheese is a good source of protein, which is important for building and repairing tissues in the body. Protein in ricotta cheese strengthens our bodies.

Low in Fat:

Ricotta cheese has a lower fat content than other types of cheese, which can benefit those watching their fat intake.

Rich in Calcium:

Ricotta cheese is a good source of calcium, which is important for strong bones and teeth.

Contains Other Important Nutrients:

Ricotta cheese also contains other important nutrients such as phosphorus, selenium, and vitamins A and B12.

Difference Between Ricotta Cheese and Cottage Cheese?

Ricotta Cheese

Cottage Cheese

Made from whey, a byproduct of cheese-making

Cottage cheese made from whole milk or skim milk

Smooth and creamy texture

Chunky and curdled texture

The mild, slightly sweet flavor

The mild, slightly tangy flavor

Lower in fat than many other types of cheese

Typically has a higher fat content than Ricotta cheese

Used in baking, pasta dishes, sauces, and spreads

Used in recipes like salads and dips and as a protein source

How to Prepare Homemade Ricotta Cheese?

Making homemade ricotta cheese is simple and only requires a few ingredients: milk, lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and optional seasonings. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Pour 4 cups of whole milk into a large saucepan and heat it over medium heat.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to the milk and stir gently.
  • Heat the milk until it begins to curdle, which will take about 5-10 minutes. You will know it’s done when you see clear yellowish liquid (whey) separating from the white solids (curds).
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Pour the curdled milk into the filter to catch the curds. Let it drain for 15-20 minutes or until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Season the ricotta cheese with salt and other desired seasonings, such as herbs or spices.
  • Transfer the cheese to an airtight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Tips for Perfect Homemade Ricotta

Use White Vinegar Instead of Lemon Juice:

White vinegar can be used as an alternative to lemon juice as the acid to curdle the milk.

Drain for Creamier Consistency:

If you prefer a creamier texture, reduce the draining time to achieve the desired consistency.

Check the Label:

Avoid using ultra-pasteurized milk, as it may not curdle properly. Look for whole milk or a combination of whole milk and heavy cream.

Use Fresh Ricotta Immediately:

Fresh homemade ricotta cheese is best used immediately, or it can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Ricotta Cheese Nutrition Facts

The nutritional value of ½ cup (124g) Ricotta Cheese is as follows:

Nutrition Fact

Estimated Value



171 kcal

Total Fat


Saturated Fat






Total Carbohydrates




Protein in Ricotta Cheese








Health Benefits of Ricotta cheese

The protein in ricotta cheese provides many benefits. The following are some of the key health benefits of ricotta cheese:

Protein in Ricotta Cheese:

Ricotta cheese is a good source of protein, providing about 14 grams of protein per 100 grams of cheese. This makes it a great choice for vegetarians and people who need to increase their protein intake. 

Low in Fat:

Compared to other types of cheese, ricotta cheese is relatively low in fat. This makes it a good choice for people trying to maintain a healthy weight or reduce fat intake.

Rich in Calcium:

Ricotta cheese is a good source of calcium, with about 200-300 milligrams of calcium per 100 grams of cheese. This is important for maintaining strong bones and preventing osteoporosis.

Good Source of Vitamins:

Ricotta cheese is a good vitamin A, B12, and phosphorus source. Vitamin A helps to maintain healthy eyesight and skin, while vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining healthy nerve cells and producing red blood cells.

Contains Probiotics:

Some types of ricotta cheese are made with probiotic bacteria, which can help to promote a healthy gut and boost immunity.

Versatile Ingredient:

Ricotta cheese is a versatile ingredient in various dishes, from sweet to savory. It can be used as a filling for lasagna, stuffed shells, or pancakes or topping for pizza, crackers, or fruit.

Allergies Caused by Ricotta Cheese

Like many dairy products, ricotta cheese can cause an allergic reaction in some sensitive individuals to lactose or casein, the proteins found in milk. Though protein in ricotta cheese is high, it may cause some allergies too. Some common symptoms of a dairy allergy include:

Hives: An itchy skin rash that can appear as raised, red welts.

Swelling: Swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Gastrointestinal Symptoms: Nausea, diarrhea, bloating, gas, or abdominal pain.

Respiratory Symptoms: Runny or stuffy nose, coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Anaphylaxis: A severe, whole-body reaction that can cause difficulty breathing, rapid heartbeat, and low blood pressure.

If you suspect a dairy allergy, seeing an allergist for proper diagnosis and treatment is important.

Types of Ricotta Cheese

Some of the most common types of ricotta cheese include:

Traditional Ricotta:

This is the most common type of ricotta cheese, made from whole or skim milk and sometimes mixed with cream. It is a creamy, slightly sweet cheese with a grainy texture.

Whole Milk Ricotta:

As the name suggests, this type of ricotta cheese is made from whole milk and has a higher fat content than traditional ricotta. It is creamier and has a more pronounced flavor than traditional ricotta.

Skim Milk Ricotta:

Made from skim milk, this type of ricotta cheese is lower in fat and calories than traditional or whole-milk ricotta. It has a slightly lighter texture and flavor.

Part-Skim Ricotta:

This type of ricotta cheese is made from a combination of whole milk and skim milk. It has a moderate fat content and a creamier texture than skim milk ricotta.

Flavored Ricotta:

Some varieties of ricotta cheese are flavored with herbs, spices, or other ingredients to enhance the flavor. Popular flavors include garlic, basil, sun-dried tomatoes, or lemon zest.

Sheep’s Milk Ricotta:

Made from sheep’s milk, this type of ricotta cheese has a tangier, nuttier flavor and is denser and creamier than cow’s milk ricotta.

Goat’s Milk Ricotta:

This type of ricotta cheese is made from goat’s milk and has a tangy, slightly sweet flavor and a smooth, creamy texture.

ricotta cheese

Storage and Food Safety

Storing ricotta cheese properly and ensuring food safety are important to ensure the quality and freshness of the cheese. Here are some tips for storing and handling ricotta cheese:

Store in an Airtight Container:

Keep ricotta cheese in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic to prevent it from drying out or absorbing flavors from other foods in the refrigerator.

Refrigerate Promptly:

Ricotta cheese should be refrigerated immediately after purchase or preparation. The optimal temperature for storing ricotta cheese is between 33°F and 40°F.

Use by Date:

Check the “use by” or “best by” date on the packaging of the ricotta cheese. If you have homemade ricotta cheese, it should be consumed within 3-5 days.

Smell Test:

Before using ricotta cheese, give it a smell test. If it has a sour or off odor, it is likely to have gone bad and should be discarded.

Avoid Cross-Contamination:

When handling ricotta cheese, be mindful of cross-contamination, and wash your hands and utensils thoroughly before and after taking the cheese.

Keep Separate from Raw Meat:

Store ricotta cheese separately from raw meat, poultry, and seafood to prevent cross-contamination and minimize the risk of foodborne illness.


Ricotta cheese is a versatile and delicious dairy product with numerous health benefits. It is a great supplement to a balanced, nutritious diet because of protein in ricotta cheese and calcium content, low fat and calorie content, and probiotic qualities.

Whether you prefer to use it in sweet or savory dishes or enjoy it on its own, ricotta cheese is a versatile and nutritious food that will delight your taste buds and support your overall health and well-being.

So, add a serving of ricotta cheese to your daily diet, and enjoy the many health benefits it offers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Ricotta cheese comes in various low-fat or reduced-fat forms, despite some varieties, such as whole milk ricotta, having a higher fat content.

For example, ricotta made with skim milk has just 6 grams of fat per one-cup serving as opposed to ricotta made with whole milk, which has 12 grams.

If you choose the low-fat or reduced-fat variants, ricotta cheese can be a component of a diet that helps you lose weight.

Ricotta cheese can make you feel full and satisfied due to high protein in ricotta cheese and relatively low calorie and fat levels, which can lower your risk of overeating.

Ricotta cheese is not a typical probiotic food; however, depending on the production method and the type of milk used, it may contain certain probiotic bacteria.

Some brands of ricotta cheese contain probiotic microorganisms, which can strengthen the immune system and promote better gastrointestinal health.

Yes, you can freeze ricotta cheese. However, it may change the texture and consistency of the cheese after it is thawed.

When freezing ricotta cheese, it’s best to divide it into smaller portions, making it easier to thaw only the amount you need.

Also, you can freeze ricotta cheese in its original packaging or transfer it to a freezer-safe container.

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