Queso Fresco/Paneer/Cheat's Ricotta

This recipe, or a variation on it, is found in so many cultures - the milk and the coagulant may change, but the basic method is the same.

Its really two recipes in one here - Steps 1-4 produce a softer cheese that can be used like ricotta and then steps 5-7 produce paneer or a fantastic halloumi alternative.


2 litres cow’s milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice (about the juice of 1 Lemon)



nut bag, muslin or cheese cloth


  1. Place the milk and salt in a saucepan and warm over a low heat until it reaches 85c - 95c (a lower heat produces a wetter cheese and a higher heat a firmer one)

  2. Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice while stirring. Let the mixute set for about 15 minutes

  3. Line a colander with the muslin and pour the mixture through. Let it drain for about an hour.

  4. Add salt to taste and store in the fridge for up to a week, or

  5. Spoon the ricotta into a cheese mould or into a colander, lined with a muslin. Cover the cheese with a cloth and place a small weight on top (a small tin or a stack of plates works well).

  6. Leave it to press in the fridge for 4-12 hours. The longer the press the firmer it will be.

  7. Slice and fry immediately or it can be stored in brine (about 5g of salt to every 100g of water) for up to a month.

Kat GoldinComment