This step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make homemade mozzarella cheese in just ONE HOUR (including clean-up). Not only will you love how easy this recipe is to make but you’ll also love how the cheese will melt in your mouth at first bite!
(Do you love to be in the kitchen trying new recipes? Check out all of my recipes here.)
This homemade mozzarella cheese is yet another recipe that I never thought I’d make, but I’m so glad that I did! I’ve had this on my “to make list” for a couple years now and I figured it was time to get around to it. Now I know how awesome it is I can’t keep it to myself.
I was so intrigued when making this cheese because it was part science experiment and part recipe! Not only that but I was also impressed that from start to finish, clean-up included, it took me less than an hour to make! Talk about easy recipes!
How To Make Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
1 1/2 teaspoon citric acid powder
1/4 tablet vegetable rennet
1 gallon whole milk
1 teaspoon cheese salt
- Dissolve the citric acid in 1/4 cup cool water.
- Dissolve the vegetable rennet in 1/4 cup cool water.
- Pour the milk into a stainless steel pot. Gently stir in the citric acid mixture. Over medium to medium-high heat, heat milk to 88° F, continuing to stir. (I used a candy thermometer to check the temperature). Don’t be alarmed when the milk begins to curdle (see photo #2).
- Add the vegetable rennet mixture and stir. When the milk reaches 100-105° F, turn off the heat. Cover with a lid and let sit undisturbed for 5 minutes. (While you’re waiting, bring another pot of water to just below boiling, around 190° F.)
- At this point the curds (white part) should have pulled away from the sides of the pot and you should see a lot of whey (yellowish clear liquid) around the sides (see photo #3). If the whey is still a milky color, cover and wait a few more minutes.
- Ladle the curds (see photo #4) into a strainer and place in the other pot of water (the curds should be submerged in the water). Let the curds sit for 5 minutes. (See photo #5)
- Gently stir the curds under the water. Their internal temperature should be 135° F.
- Ladle the curds onto a cutting board. (The cheese will be warm so be careful not to burn yourself.) Sprinkle the salt and stretch the cheese (which seems more like kneading dough, to me). (See photo #6) It will begin to tighten, and become firm with a glossy sheen.
- Shape the cheese into desired balls, being careful not to over-work the mozzarella.
I can’t begin to tell you how fabulous this cheese tasted!
If you have kiddos in your household that like to experiment, I think they’ll love to make their own cheese. This would definitely be a fun activity for the whole family. One recipe barely put a dent in the supplies I purchased (except for the milk) and I’ll have plenty to make even more yummy mozzarella cheese!
Fun Ways to Use Homemade Mozzarella Cheese
- As an appetizer on a charcuterie board alongside your favorite meats and cheeses
- Mix it in macaroni and cheese or on top of soup
- Melt it in grilled cheese
- Make homemade mozzarella cheese sticks
- Serve it stand-alone as a cheese ball
No matter how you decide to use your mozzarella cheese I have no doubt that you won’t be disappointed with this easy recipe!
Your ancestors would be proud of you!
Well, thanks! I appreciate you saying that!
I just wanted to say thank you for this great recipe. I haven’t actually tried to make it yet because I need to stock some of the ingredients but it sounds like the flavor would be awesome and Italian dishes are my favorite foods. I know once I am successful at making this I will never buy store brands again. Fresh is always better!!! I got to go to the store now but will let you know how it turned out. Thanks again.
You’re welcome, Bill! I look forward to hearing how it turned out.
How can I print this recipe. I want to save it for future uses.
I think I missed the part where we add the cheese salt? Also, where would you find these ingredient s? I’d love to try this out! Thanks!
Hi Anna! You’re absolutely right, I failed to add that step. (Sorry. I’ll get that added in for everyone else.) When you remove the curds from the water for the last time and begin stretching the cheese, add the salt.
If you click on the ingredient links, you can find the products on Amazon.
Thanks for stopping by!
How much cheese does this recipe yield?
I’m not really sure on the ounces, but the cheese ball in the picture is what this recipe yielded.
Thanks for stopping by Laurie!
Well, I think the reason I wanted an answer to this is to determine if it is cost effective. I found mozzarella on clearance the other day at Winn-Dixie–about a baseball size–for $1.50. I’m not too hung on preservatives. This was fresh, and it did wonderful in my lasagna. Before I invested in the salt and the rennit and the milk, I’d need to know if it would be worth my while, financially.
Susanne, I don’t think it would be cost effective for you! A gallon of milk alone would be more expensive than what you’ve found on clearance.
Thanks for stopping by!
About how long do you thing the cheese will last? And what is your preferred method of storing it?
I store mine in a plastic ziploc container. I’d say it’ll last 7-10 days in the refrigerator.
Thanks for stopping by Ashley!
I just wanted to say, I have bought mozzarella and I have bought mozzarella. There is a huge difference in the taste and texture of different cheeses. My man brought home some on sale stuff. It’s still in the fridge. A fantastic quality mozzarella cheese actually melts in your mouth. It’s like silk. I just want to know, do I use regular whole milk I buy at the grocery store?
You sure do, Tammy! Enjoy!
Found this on pinterest and am using for a class at my library next week. Super simple instructions and everything came out great in my test run. Thank you for sharing this how-to!
Melissa, I’m so excited that you’ll be sharing this at your library! Thanks for letting me know!
Wow! Thanks for sharing, I never realized how easy it was to make cheese! I really want to try this now, I just need to buy the ingredients. Hopefully mine turns out as great as yours!
I was shocked at how easy it is to make too, Morgan! I hope you have as much fun making (and eating) it as I did!
WOW ! It worked , and it is delicious! Easy peasy, who knew ? Thanks a bunch .
That’s exactly what I said when I finished mine! :O)
Thanks for stopping by and letting me know, Lynda!
Hello. I was really excited to try this. I bought all the stuff to make it and followed your directions but the cheese came out like ricotta cheese. Does that happen sometime? I’m sure I could still you this in lasagna or something. Any pointers on getting the result of actual mozzarella?
Hi Rachel! Did it ever get to the consistency of the picture in step #5?
The only thing I can think of is that it needs stretched longer. I hope that helps!
I don’t think it ever got to step 5. I also tried it with a different milk and still got the same thing! But the mozzicotta does make some mean lasagna though. :) I’ll keep trying with different types of milk. Or do you have a brand recommendation? I am trowing a party when it actually comes out right! My husband is going to kill me when he finds out I’m buying another gallon of milk for this. lol
Well, I’m glad that it was yummy in the lasagna!
I used 2% milk. Hopefully you will have better success next time!
If you used 2%. Why did you list While milk in your ingredients list?
I apologize for the confusion, Tammy. If the recipe says I used whole milk, that is what I used. (I must have been confused when I left the comment about using 2%.)
Thanks for stopping by.
Rachel, If you use ultra-pasteurized milk, the proteins cannot set to make curds. Check the label on the milk or try another brand that is just regular pasteurized. That may help. Unless that wasn’t the problem :)
I thought I was going to have ricotta cheese, too! I kept following the directions, a little disheartened, and then magically, as I was kneading the little tiny pieces of curds, they suddenly turned into the most beautiful mozzarella cheese ball. thank you. thank you. thank you for sharing your talents with us, Tshanina!!
Yay…it’s almost like magic isn’t it Theresa?! So glad you enjoyed the recipe!!!
I’m thinking the milk wasn’t heated enough.
I had a similar problem. I looked at the directions for the rennet that I bought and it called for a 1/2 tablet. When I used the 1/2 tablet my problem was resolved. I hope this helps!
Now you can also make ricotta from the whey. Easy and so yummy.
What is the measurement when I’m using liquid rennet? I’m just about to begin.
Nancy, I’ve only used rennet in tablet form!
Did you, or can you use organic milk?
Pati, I did not use organic milk, so I’m not sure how to advise you!
LI used organic whole milk and it came out fine.
Can the cheese be frozen afterward?
Also, what can you do with the whey?
Use it to make bread.
Hi Holly! Although I’ve never tried it, I would imagine it could be frozen.
Here’s a great article with 16 uses for whey – http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/06/16-ways-to-use-your-whey.html
do you think that this would work with almond or soy milk?
Elizabeth, although I’ve never tried it, I don’t think this recipe would work with almond or soy milk.
I haven’t cooked with those milks a lot, but when I did add soy milk to my scrambled eggs it ended up having a weird flavor.
thank you so much for your response!!
instrad of using citric acid powder you can use 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar. You can also use the junket tablets that usually are in the pudding/baking section of the store. It is the same as rennet, but you don’t have to get it some place special. We used to share a Jersey cow with another family and I made all the butter and mozzarella. You can also add seasonings to your cheese at that last stage. It also freezes very well if you happen to make it last that long!
awesome post. Never thought of making it. But want to try it now. Nancy would like recipes if you have any to share. Does Walmart carry items listed
This was really useful thanks as I can’t seem to find rennet tablets.
If you’ll follow the link to the vegetable rennet under the ingredients list it will take you to Amazon where you can purchase them.
Thanks for stopping by!
I am wondering if you could make this with Lactose free milk?
I haven’t tried lactose free milk so I honestly don’t know if it will work with it or not.
Thanks for stopping by!
I am going to try in a week or 2 and I will let you know how it turns out.
Did you ever try this with lactose free milk? If so, how did it turn out? I love cheese, but it does not love me in return. Have you ever seen the movie French Kiss, where Meg Ryan’s character ate a ton of cheese, and was then curled up in a ball, in pain? Yeah, that’s me. We used to live 45 minutes from the French border, and we loved going over for the day, or sometimes, just for dinner. Of course I always ordered the cheese plate (I mean, it’s France, and it’s probably illegal not to order one, anyway), and would relish in the sheer deliciousness of it, despite my husband rolling his eyes at me the entire time, but later I would be a puddle of weeping misery. Totally worth it.
I’d like to try to make this with lactose free milk, but it’s expensive, and I’d rather not do it, if I know it doesn’t work! Crossing my fingers I’ll hear back from you, and you’ll tell me that it worked and was crazy delicious. ;)
I have not tried the lactose free milk yet. (Life has been busy.)
I am going to try it this weekend or next week. I will let you know how it comes out.
Have you tried the lactose free milk yet? I left a comment below before I read this one I am in the same boat as Shoe Queen when it comes to cheese.
I would LOVE to try out this recipe, however, I have a question… what “gallon” did you use? I tried converting “Gallon” to “Litres” and there’s a UK and US gallon with different results; UK was 4.5L and US was 3.7L… Which is closest to what you used?
Hi Justine, 3.7 liters is closest.
Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy!
What is special about cheese salt?
To be totally honest, I’m not sure. The cheese salt was in the original recipes I used so that’s why I included it in my recipe.
Thanks for stopping by, Danette!
Cheese salt is just that the salt is without iodine. Iodine harms and inhibits bacterial growth and well-being that is essential to any good cheesemaking. Iodized salt can also slow the aging process drastically.
Hey all. Just finished reading all your posts. A couple of observations.
1. If you use liquid rennet you use 1/4 teaspoon power gallon of milk. Dilute in non chlorinated water prior to adding to milk.
2. Cheese salt is non iodine salt. Also known as kosher salt.
3. When using fresh cows milk you do not need the citric acid.
4. With your leftover whey make ricotta cheese. Just boil the whey to 200 degrees then let sit till it cools to 140 degrees. Place in cheese cloth and let drain for about 1 hour or until it gets to the consistency you want.
I have tried to make mozzarella a few times, and failed! It is hard for me to admit that I cannot make this work for me cause I am usually very successful in the kitchen. I want to try again now cause your pictures are awesome. And I so want to have delicious homemade mozzarella for cheap!
Kudos to you for trying, Kati!
Thanks for stopping by!
How ironic – I am just finally getting around to making this cheese myself for the first time today! I’m guessing you have the same book I do – have you tried any others from it?
Hi Lisa! I don’t have a book, but would love to check it out.
Have fun making your cheese!
My cheese turned out great, too! Yes, I’ve made several cheeses from this book – did the paneer the other day – and they’ve all been good. The book is One Hour Cheese by Claudia Lucero. :)
Yay! I’m so excited to hear that, Lisa! And thanks for the sharing that book. I can’t wait to check it out.
Looks so easy..but I think I’m just going to screw it up! It’s quit unfortunate that we don’t have easy access to the rennet here. :'( Thanks for sharing! :)
That is a bummer, Ann!
Thanks for stopping by!
Wow, looks simple. Didn’t know that cheese making could be easy at home.Thank you for sharing with us at #HomeMattersParty. We would love to have you next week again.
It sure is, and is also so fun to make!
Thanks for stopping by Sahana!
Can I substitute carrageenan for vegetarian rennet?
I have only made it with rennet so hopefully someone else can chime in on the carrageenan!
At what point did you add the citric acid. I didn’t read through all of the comments to see if that was brought up. Thanks!
Dissolving the citric acid in water is the very first step.
Thanks for stopping by, Rose!
my pot is not stainless steel, will this be a problem?
No, that shouldn’t be a problem. Enjoy, Peggy!
Hi I am in South Africa, please explain what is rennet? Maybe I can find something else here that I can use.
Hi Ansa! Here’s a great article that explains what it is – http://cheese.about.com/od/howcheeseismade/f/What-Is-Rennet.htm
Thanks for stopping by!
Rennet, South Africa – Cheese Making Shop – South Africa
Rennet. Rennet is the curdling enzyme that sets milk during the cheese making process. We have it available in South Africa in free powder and capsule form, from animal as well as vegetarian, vegan, microbial varieties. Also known as chymosin or rennin.
How much cheese does this make? If it uses a whole gallon of milk I would hope it makes a lot of cheese!
The cheese ball in the pictures is how much it yields.
Thanks for stopping by!
Hello, I’m new to the cheese making world. I have ordered rennet, citric acid and salt but I’m a little lost on what milk to use. Many sites say to not use UTH milk and this and that and so forth. What kind of milk did you use? It looks like a store bought one. Did you look for something special when buying it?
Hi Andrea! I didn’t use a special milk, just the store brand of whole milk from wherever I was shopping at at the time.
I tried this this weekend and it didn’t work out so well. Taste was good but it never got to where I could stretch it and was more like a ricotta texture. After 2 days in the fridge it did set up but during the making, after “kneading”, which was more like squishing my hands through thick mud, for at least 30 or 40 minutes, the texture was just like dry’ish ricotta. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t go as planned, Michele!
I am lactose intolerant and wonder if this would work with lactaid milk. I did read that overly pasteurized milk may not work, and I just wondered if anyone had tried it with lactaid milk. I would love to be able to have mozzarella I could actually eat without taking a bunch of pills first!!
The lactose intolerant pills are your best bet if you’re going to make cheese with cow’s milk. Years ago when a baby was lactose intollerant they could tolerate goat’s milk. I wonder how the recipe would need to be modified or even if that’s possible if you used goat’s milk. Maybe do some research. I know you can make cheese from goat’s milk, but I’m not certain what types.
[…] about easy cheese recipes, this step-by-step tutorial shows you how to make Mozzarella Cheese in one hour…and that includes […]
After you place the curds in the second 190 degree water, do you turn that pot of water off while it sets for 5 minutes? I assume so since you’re trying to get the temp down to 135 degrees, but just wanted to make sure before I tried it.
Yes, that is correct, Karen!
Would this work with lactose-free milk?
I honestly don’t know if it will work with lactose-free milk or not.
Thanks for stopping by!
I made this cheese as best as I could with the recipe provided, but maybe there is someone out here that can help me trouble shoot….I had to use dbl strength liquid vegetable rennet (I’m not sure if that has anything to do with my issue or not) and I used the instructions for the gal of milk on the bottle of rennet instead of 1/4 tablet…. mys cheese tastes good, but is a bit chewy and squeaks on your teeth as you eat it (my kids thought it to be quite a funny food lol), But I'[m wondering if I wasn’t able to knead it enough/ stretch it etc or if it was the rennet I used for it…? I used Barber’s whole milk. – thanks for any assistance that could be given to this first timer :)
I have had great success using tartaric acid to make mascarpone. Do you think i could substitute this for the the acetic acid you used? If so, any ideas on the quantity of tartaric a=ocid I should use?
Hi Jamie! Unfortunately I haven’t worked with tartaric acid so I don’t know how to guide you. But, I’m the type of baker that likes to try things so I would definitely try it!
If you do use the tartaric acid please let us know how it turns out!
This may sound stupid, but have tried it on pizza and does it melt good?
Doesn’t sound stupid at all! Honestly, it’s never lasted long enough to try on pizza so I’m not sure how well it melts.
If you try it on pizza, please let us know how it turns out!
This recipe turned out great! Thanks for the great information and instructions! Best mozzarella ever!!!!
Yay, Suzette, thanks for sharing!
Hi! I have been so excited to try this recipe, however when I attempted to make it tonight it did not curdle at all- it was still the consistency of the milk I started with. Any idea on what may have gone wrong? I want to try again this week but want to try to troubleshoot beforehand. Any feedback would be most appreciated!
Hi Courtney! It sounds like it may need to be heated longer.
Its really a nice and easy way to make cheese at home. I am very much excited for trying this. Thanks for sharing your idea, Tshanina Peterson.
I imagine have an agreement with Amazon to promote products but I would note that some of the products to make the cheese are found at a better price through Walmart.
2 questions… Are the ingredients available (other than milk) at stores and/or where can one find them? And when would you add other ingredients ( like basil, pepper flakes, etc) if one wanted to. Are there any rules to additions? Ok, 3 questions!
More than likely the ingredients are available at stores, but I’m not sure where to point you since I purchased mine on Amazon.
I haven’t added other spices to mine but I bet it would be scrumptious! I’ve heard that you need to place flavorings (garlic and large pieces of spices) in a cheese cloth and add it when you first start warming your milk. I would think you could add your basil and pepper flakes at that same time. Or you could sprinkle them on top when you serve your cheese. I hope that helps!
I have now attempted this recipe twice, following it to a “T”, and have had 2 epic fails! The first time, I found regular pasteurized (brand specifically designated that they NEVER ultra-pasteurize)…a miniscule amount of teeny tiny curds resulted and I attributed it to the most probable thing–the milk. So, I sourced fresh cows milk, followed the recipe exactly, and just peeked into the pot and absolutely “zero” curd formation…am a little frustrated. I have 2 questions: 1) What could I be doing wrong?! …and 2) Is there anything I can do with the liquid product I have left? Seems like such a waste to throw it out. Very disappointed as I was looking forward to a nice margherita pizza (I am locally…as in friends and family (lol!)…famous for my pizza and I thought this would kick it up a notch). Any advice would be welcome. Thank you, in advance.
Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that this recipe hasn’t worked for you.
In the comments section below the post someone shared that “When using fresh cows milk you do not need the citric acid.”
For the leftover whey she also recommended to make ricotta cheese: “Just boil the whey to 200 degrees then let sit till it cools to 140 degrees. Place in cheese cloth and let drain for about 1 hour or until it gets to the consistency you want.”
If you don’t knead the cheese till it firms up, or you feel it hasn’t turned out right, it makes fabulous “ creamy “ fresh cheese” to which you can add herbs or other flavourings. I’ve added chopped basil to some of it, and garlic and sun-dried tomatoes to another scoop, and served it to spread on crackers as a cream cheese. It doesn’t last, it’s so good!
Great idea, thanks Wendy!
If you out it in the microwave for about 15 sec when it comes out use your spatula to knead it and it gets stretchy and shiny. The heat and stretching makes it shiny like mozza
Hi! I just ordered the ingredients and am eager to make this! Does it get stored in water, like the fresh mozzarella I see in stores? Thank you!
How exciting Anita!
You can store it in either the leftover liquid from making it or water. I look forward to hearing how you like it!
Hi there I tried making this and I think it turned out ok. It wasnt overly elasticly as I was hoping but it was still delicious and worked for my pizza wondering. Thanks for the share
Glad it worked for your pizza, Patricia. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
I read through all the comments, I hope. Didn’t see the one question I still had.
After you get to 100-105* … add the Rennet ..: Turn Off the heat and cover … It seems silly But did you leave it on the hot burner or remove it? (I, of course, have an electric stove)
Kim, after turning off the heat I left it on the hot burner.
So I used a gallon of straight from the cow milk. I followed instructions except the milk got too hot I think…I misread my thermometer and added the rennet at 105 degrees. Stirred it. Let it sit for 8-10 minutes. My whey never looked yellowish. It still looked milky. I guess I should have waited longer cause I went ahead and got the curds out and in the pan of water. The thing is, I never got hardly any curds. I actually drained the cheese and kneaded it with a spatula and reheated in microwave to get it stretchy and shiny. But there’s just not hardly any there😂😂. Is it possible because I heated the milk to too high temp?