How Do You Drain Ricotta Cheese Without a Cheesecloth?

Last Updated on June 29, 2023 by Lauren Beck

In my culinary escapades, I’ve encountered moments when the absence of a cheesecloth posed a challenge in draining ricotta cheese. But fear not, fellow food enthusiasts! 

This article explores clever and effective methods to drain ricotta cheese without a cheesecloth. Get ready to unlock the secrets of achieving the perfect texture in your ricotta-based creations.

Ways To Drain Ricotta Cheese Without a Cheesecloth

  1. Paper Towels: Place a few layers of paper towels on a flat surface. Spoon the ricotta cheese onto the paper towels and gently press down. The paper towels will absorb the excess moisture, leaving you with drier ricotta cheese.
  2. Fine-Mesh Sieve: If you have a fine-mesh sieve or strainer, it can work as a substitute for a cheesecloth. Simply place the ricotta cheese in the sieve and allow the liquid to drain through the mesh. Remember to place a bowl underneath to catch the liquid.
  3. Coffee Filters: Coffee filters, usually used for brewing coffee, can also be a makeshift draining tool. Line a sieve or strainer with a coffee filter and spoon the ricotta cheese onto it. The coffee filter will effectively drain the excess liquid while keeping the cheese intact.

Why Do You Need To Drain Ricotta Cheese?

Draining ricotta cheese is essential for several reasons:

  • Texture: Draining helps remove excess liquid, resulting in a thicker and creamier texture for the ricotta cheese. This makes it easier to work with in recipes.
  • Consistency: By draining, you can achieve a consistency suitable for your dish. For example, drier ricotta is preferred for fillings in cannoli or ravioli, while moister ricotta works well in desserts like cheesecake.
  • Enhanced Flavors: Drained ricotta cheese allows other flavors to shine in your dishes, as it won’t dilute or water down the other ingredients.

How Do You Drain Ricotta Cheese Quickly?

Draining Ricotta Cheese

If you’re short on time and need to drain ricotta cheese quickly, here’s a handy method:

  1. Transfer the ricotta cheese to a fine-mesh sieve or strainer.
  2. Gently press down on the ricotta with a spoon or spatula to expedite the draining process.
  3. Place a bowl underneath the sieve to collect the liquid that drains off.
  4. If desired, you can also gently stir the ricotta to help release more liquid.

Remember, while this method may not yield as thorough a draining as other techniques, it can still help remove excess moisture when time is of the essence.

Is Ricotta Cheese Pasteurized?

Most commercially available ricotta cheese is made from pasteurized milk, which is heated to kill bacteria and extend the product’s shelf life [1]. 

However, it’s always a good idea to check the label or consult the manufacturer to ensure that the ricotta cheese you’re using is pasteurized.

Can Ricotta Cheese Be Frozen?

Yes, ricotta cheese can be frozen to extend its shelf life. However, freezing can alter the texture of ricotta, making it grainier and slightly drier upon thawing. 

It’s best to use frozen ricotta cheese in cooked dishes, such as lasagna or baked pasta, where the texture change is less noticeable. 

Thaw the frozen ricotta in the refrigerator before using it in your recipes.

Can I Use A Coffee Filter Instead Of A Cheesecloth?

Yes, a coffee filter can be a viable alternative to a cheesecloth for draining ricotta cheese. Its fine texture allows for effective drainage while keeping the cheese intact. 

Simply line a sieve or strainer with a coffee filter and proceed with the draining process as usual.


Through my culinary endeavors, I’ve discovered that the absence of a cheesecloth shouldn’t hinder the pursuit of perfectly drained ricotta cheese. 

With ingenious alternatives like paper towels, fine-mesh sieves, and even coffee filters, achieving the desired texture is within reach. These methods offer practical solutions, whether you’re aiming for a creamy filling or a smoother consistency. 

Embrace the versatility of these makeshift draining tools and elevate your ricotta-based dishes to new heights. So fear not, fellow food enthusiasts, and let your creativity flourish in the kitchen. Happy draining and cooking!


Lauren Beck
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