Homemade Garlic-Chive Ricotta Spread

And by “homemade”, I mean that you’re making the ricotta as well.

It’s a Bit of a Family Reunion!

In that garlic and chives are both part of the allium family.

What You’ll Need

  • large saucepan
  • instant-read thermometer
  • colander
  • cheesecloth
  • knife
  • chopping board
  • bowl
  • measuring cup
  • measuring spoons
  • wooden spoon
  • garlic press (optional)


For the ricotta cheese

To make ricotta, all you need is whole milk, lemon juice1, and salt. And the salt is optional. Now, think about how impressed all your friends will be when you tell them that you made your own cheese. La-de-freaking-da!


  • 2 quarts (or liters) whole milk, raw or pasteurized (NOT ULTRA-PASTEURIZED!!!2
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the spread

  • 4 tablespoons chopped chives
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or put through a press
  • salt and pepper to taste

How to Make the Garlic-Chive Ricotta Spread

Make the ricotta cheese and impress even yourself with how easy it is

  1. Line a colander with a triple thickness of cheesecloth and place it in the sink.
  2. In the saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat to approximately 195°F (90°C), stirring the whole time to avoid burning the milk. Remove from heat.
  3. HeatMilk

  4. Add the lemon juice and salt, then give the mixture a quick stir to distribute the juice. Let stand for 5 minutes or so.
  5. By this time, the curds should have coagulated or clotted; you should see white curds in a thin, milky whey. If you don’t see this, add a little more lemon juice and wait for another few minutes.
  6. CurdsWhey2

  7. Carefully pour the curds into the colander and let drain for 15-30 minutes (or longer, if you want a very firm and dry ricotta).
  8. DrainCurds

  9. When finished draining, you can transfer your ricotta to a different container. Place it in the fridge if you want to make the spread later—it’ll firm up a bit more. You should have about 2 cups of ricotta cheese.
  10. FinishedRicotta

  11. Post a picture to Facebook, so that you can show all of your 1794 friends that you just made some cheese.
  12. Place one cup of the ricotta in a bowl. Add the chives and garlic. Using a wooden spoon, stir together until well mixed. Salt and pepper to taste. If it’s too solid or thick, mix in a little cream or half-and-half until the spread reaches the consistency you like.
  13. MakingSpread2

  14. Be real Pinterest-y and garnish with some more chopped chives.
  15. GarnishedSpread

  16. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, so that the flavors can meld together.
  17. Serve with crackers or raw vegetables.

1Lemon juice is a coagulant that enables the cheese curds to separate from the whey. Other coagulants include certain kinds of vinegar (e.g. a good white wine vinegar) and citric acid. But I’m assuming that you probably don’t have any citric acid next to the boxed macaroni and the Cheetos.

2I’ve never used raw milk—I live in Indiana and unless I join a cow share, or buy my own cow, I can’t get any legally. But I CAN get pasteurized milk. Ultra-pasteurized is heat-treated to a higher temperature, which affects the proteins; thus, you can’t make ricotta with such milk.


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