I love cheese, it is so good! That is one thing I always have on hand. My all-time favorite cheese has to be mozzarella. I love string cheese, eating it plain, and of course on pizza. Time to learn how to make homemade mozzarella cheese using just 2 ingredients.
If you are a cheese lover like me, then you have got to give this easy homemade mozzarella cheese recipe a try. You can use it the same way you use store-bought cheese. And you know exactly what is going into it.
Traditional cheesemaking requires you to use citric acid and a product called rennet. Similar to the process I show in this mozzarella cheese recipe. But, for this recipe, I will teach you how to make it without using those ingredients. It is super easy to make, if I can do it, you can do it. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Gather the ingredients
In order to make this simple homemade mozzarella cheese recipe you need just the following ingredients:
- Raw Milk or Pasteurized Whole Milk – Do not use ultra-pasteurized milk or homogenized, the cheese won’t turn out correctly, it will wind up kind of like cottage cheese. But, if all you can find is homogenized milk then you are better off following this cheese recipe. Where I show you how to make mozzarella with cheap milk. Again though, the milk can’t be ultra-pasteurized.
- Distilled White Vinegar – This is used instead of the classic citric acid and rennet ingredients.
- Cheese salt – This is optional, you can also use flaky sea salt or kosher salt. Iodized table salt is not recommended.
- Water – This is used for cooling down the cheese. But isn’t an actual cheese ingredient.
- Large pot
- Gloves, optional
- Plastic wrap
NOTE: If you prefer you can actually buy a cool cheese-making kit, which has everything you need minus the dairy/milk to make several different kinds of cheese, including mozzarella.
Step 2: How to make homemade mozzarella cheese with just 2 ingredients
Pour the milk into a large stockpot or I like to use my dutch oven.
Remember to use raw milk (unpasteurized) or you can use normal pasteurized whole milk, but NOT ultra-pasteurized or homogenized. Ultra-pasteurized and homogenized won’t work properly and won’t produce a good curd. Also, if the particular brand of pasteurized milk you buy doesn’t work well, try a different brand.
I find I get the best results with raw milk. But that can be a little more difficult to find for us here in the States. If in the States try places like Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, etc.
Set the heat in between medium-low and medium. We don’t want to heat the milk up too quickly.
Gently keep stirring the milk so it heats evenly and reaches right around 115 F/46 C.
A thermometer really comes in handy for this. But if you don’t have one it should feel like hot bathwater.
Once the milk gets to that temp, turn off the heat, and add in the vinegar. Stir in the vinegar for about 30 seconds so it evenly mixes in with the milk. It will start to curdle almost immediately.
Add a lid to the pot and allow it to sit undisturbed for about 15 to 20 minutes.
NOTE: Classic cheesemaking uses ingredients like citric acid and rennet. But white distilled vinegar works too! It turns out a little different but still amazing.
If you would like to go the more classic route you can pick up a cheesemaking kit that has everything you need minus the dairy of course.
Step 3: Gather the curd and remove the whey
After the 15 to 20 minutes are up, it is time to gather that amazing cheese curd and separate it from the whey.
Take a spoon or spatula and bring the curd to the side against the pot. Make sure to fish around in the whey, because you will always find extra curd hanging out in there.
As you gather it, push it up against the wall of the pot. Then remove it from the whey and place it in a bowl.
NOTE: If you use regular pasteurized whole milk, the curd may look differently, and be in smaller chunks. If you use citric acid and rennet it will develop a film of curd on top, like a custard. Use a knife to cut the curd several times in a grid pattern.
Time to remove as much whey as possible. Using very clean hands or gloves, grab the curd and cup it in your hands and gently squeeze. This will press out the whey.
Allow the whey to fall into the bowl and then discard it into the big pot of whey.
Keep repeating this process several times, using a bit more force each time. You can also place it in the bowl and knead it a bit.
TIP: You can also use cheesecloth if you like, place the curd in the cheesecloth bundle, it up into a ball, and squeeze, this helps remove the whey as well.
Once you have as much whey as possible pressed out of the cheese, wipe any excess whey out of the bowl with a paper towel and place the ball of cheese in the bowl. Or you can certainly use a new bowl. Make sure the bowl is microwave-safe.
Step 4: Heat and stretch the homemade mozzarella cheese
Time to heat that curd/cheese up to right around 160 F/71 C. There is a couple of ways to do this.
I just use the microwave and start with 30 seconds then stir the cheese, and then another 20 seconds or so and that usually does the trick.
Or another method is to heat the whey in your pot up to 170 F/76C. And immerse the cheese in it to heat it up. I show that in this mozzarella recipe.
Once you get the homemade mozzarella cheese to temp, start stretching and folding the dough with a spoon, it will be hot.
If there is any leftover liquid/whey pour it into the pot.
Stretch and need the mozzarella cheese for a few minutes, then shape it into a ball.
If using the whey to heat up the cheese, immerse the cheese and press it with a spoon, then remove it and squeeze out the whey, etc.
NOTE: If you would like to add salt, you can add cheese salt, flaky sea salt, or kosher salt (not iodized salt) right when you are heating and stretching the cheese. Use 1/8th to 1/4th of a teaspoon.
Step 5: Cool the cheese down and eat it
Next, immerse the cheese ball into a bowl of cool water for about 10 minutes. Then add some ice to the water and chill for about 5 to 20 more minutes. Some people allow their cheese to sit in cold water in the fridge overnight before eating it.
TIP: If you want to add more flavor to the cheese, add a few tablespoons of salt to the water as well.
Remove the cheese ball from the water, at this point I like to dab it dry with a paper towel.
And just like that, the homemade mozzarella cheese is ready.
Can I make mozzarella cheese with powdered milk?
Yes! You sure can. Check out this mozzarella chees from milk powder recipe to learn how to make homemade mozzarella using powdered milk. This recipe uses a more traditional method with the use of citric acid and rennet as well as showing the use of a cheesecloth.
How long does homemade mozzarella cheese last?
To store it, wrap the homemade mozzarella cheese with plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container, and place it in the fridge for 1 to 2 weeks. OR store it in the salt water or whey in a small airtight container, it keeps the cheese damp and flavorful without drying out.
If you want to grate it, wait for it to chill in the fridge for a day or so, or put it in the freezer for a few hours.
Why is my mozzarella cheese hard?
The cheese can become hard, if you cut your curd pieces too small or if it is stretched too much. You want to stretch it as little as possible, just enough to create a smooth texture and form it into a ball.
Why won’t my homemade mozzarella cheese melt?
If you make homemade mozzarella cheese and store it in salted water or whey, which some people like to do, it doesn’t melt well. Because the moisture content in the cheese is very high. It is best to use the cheese right away after making it if you want it to melt. Like for a pizza.
What can I do with the leftover whey?
Don’t throw out that pot of whey! It is very nutritious and can be used in a variety of ways. Pour it into a couple of mason jars and store it in the fridge. It can be used instead of water in most baking or cooking recipes, or in the following ways:
- Water the plants with it
- Drink it plain
- Use it to make ricotta cheese
- Make butter with it
- Soup stock
- Feed it to the animals
Here are other recipes that you may be interested in:
Homemade Mozzarella Cheese Only 2 Ingredients Without Rennet
- Large Pot
- Gloves, (optional)
- Plastic wrap
- Half-Gallon of Raw Milk or Pasteurized Whole Milk Do NOT use ultra-pasteurized or homogennized milk, they won't work. (1.89L)
- 7 Tbsp. white distilled vinegar 105ml
- 1/4 tsp cheese salt, flaky sea salt, kosher salt (optional) don't use iodized table salt (1g)
- Water for soaking
- Pour the milk into a large pot and place it on the stovetop burner. Set the heat between medium-low and medium. Gently keep stirring the milk so it heats evenly and reaches right around 115 F/46 C.
- Turn off the heat, and add in the vinegar. Stir in the vinegar for about 30 seconds so it evenly mixes in with the milk. It will start to curdle almost immediately.
- Add a lid and allow it to sit for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Gather the curd by taking a spoon or spatula and bring the curd to the side against the pot. Make sure to fish around in the whey, because you will always find extra curd hanging out in there.
- Then remove the curd from the whey and place it in a bowl.
- Use very clean hands or wear gloves and grab the curd and cup it in your hands and gently squeeze. Allow the whey to fall into the bowl and then discard it into the big pot of whey.
- Keep repeating this process several times, using a bit more force each time. You can also place it in the bowl and knead it a bit.*If you want to add salt, add it at this time.
- Place the pressed ball of cheese into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat it on high for about 30 seconds, then check the temp. Stir the cheese and heat it up again for about 20 seconds. The temp of the cheese needs to be about 160F/71C. OR if you don't want to use the microwave heat the whey in the pot to 170 F and soak and stretch the cheese in that.
- After the cheese hits the proper temp start stretching and folding the dough with a spoon, it will be hot. If there is any leftover liquid/whey pour it into the pot. Then switch to your hands when it cools enough to handle.
- Then shape it into a ball and place it into a bowl of cool water for about 10 minutes. Next, add in some ice to further cool the water and chill the cheese.
- The cheese is done. Pat the cheese dry with a paper towel and eat it. Or you can wrap it in plastic wrap and store it in the fridge for later use, it will last 1 to 2 weeks in the fridge. Grating works better when the cheese is really cold or frozen. Enjoy!
Do you like the recipe? Please give it a rating and comment down below, I really appreciate it. If you make it tag me on Instagram @inthekitchenwithmatt. Also, sign up for the newsletter so you won’t miss out on any of my new posts and recipes.
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I don’t know if I messed up, but only created a 72 gram ball.
How much milk did you use? A half gallon is nearly 2 liters of milk. Also what kind of milk did you use? The average cheese produced from that much milk will be 8 to 10 ounces (226g to 283g)
Love the recipe!!! How do you make ricotta with the leftover whey? 🙂 I tried one recipe I found but it didn’t work out well. What’s your recommendation?
Thanks! For this amount of milk (half a gallon) it only yields about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of ricotta, so not very much. This link outlines the process fairly well. https://cheesemaking.com/products/ricotta-cheese-making-recipe
WOW! First time making this and it is WONDERFUL!!! I purchased several gallons of whole milk when the store had it on sale. Froze them and pulled gallons out as needed (1st time freezing milk also :). I had just put a gallon in the fridge to thaw and had a family emergency out of town. When I got home my milk smelled as if it was on the verge of going bad so I searched what to do with spoiled milk. Read several recipes and decided on yours which I am SO GLAD I DID!!! This is SO MUCH BETTER than store bought and I am THANKFUL for your site!!!! Can not wait to venture into other types of cheese!!! SO EXCITED!!!
So happy you gave this mozzarella cheese recipe a try and liked the results! You are very welcome!
What would be the yield for a gallon or a quart of milk? Would it be a pound or less for a quart?
A gallon would give you 16 to 20 ounces so about a pound or a little more than a pound. A quart is a quarter gallon and half of what I used in the recipe. That would yield 4 to 5 ounces of cheese. So much less than a pound.
Thanks for this recipe. Gave it a whirl today using 2 litres of raw milk and 8tbs of vinegar. I got a small but wonderful cheese ball. Have yet to taste it but let me know if you think I can get more from the whey? It still looks very much like milk only a little yellow now. Or maybe I can use the whey somehow, seems a shame to throw it away 🙂
You are welcome. You can’t make mozzarella from whey. But you can make ricotta from the leftover whey. I have a whole section in the article that talks about other uses for the whey. 🙂
Can this recipe be doubled? Would 14 Tbsp vinegar be needed for a full gallon?
Sure you can use 1 gallon of milk, but I would reduce the amount of vinegar instead of doubling it. Use 10 Tbsp which is 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Although I would try this first with a half gallon of milk, the recipe can be a little finicky at times.
I used a half gallon of raw milk and I only got 3.9 ounces of cheese. Is that normal?
Usually, it is 8 to 10 ounces.
Can I use cider vinegar?
cider vinegar should work, although I haven’t tried it specifically so I can’t say for certain.
My cheese was not smooth or shiney? It did form, but is dryer /maybe is what I am experiencing. Suggestions please. Thank you.
Did you heat and melt it to 160F while stretching it?
Its seemed to be going well, but during the stretching and pulling it broke down into cream cheese. What did I do wrong? Can I fix it?
Did you actually heat it to 160F? You need to heat it a little bit then press out the extra whey that is released. Then heat it some more, press more why out, etc, until the cheese reaches 160F.
Great recipe! Had alot of fun doing it but I used homogenised milk. The mozzarella still came out, looked a little different from yours but the leftover whey is a transparent yellowy liquid. Is this the difference from using homogenised or did something else happen?
Hi George!! Awesome, glad you tried it. It is definitely hit or miss when using homogenized milk with this recipe. Yes, the color or the whey will be either whitish like shown here or yellow. Transparent yellow is great for the whey and is very common. Great question!
Thanks I used this for an important school project. it helped a lot.
You are very welcome! I am glad it was helpful for you.
This recipe was so simplistic yet works better than the expired rennet I tried to use. LOL. And you are so kind in your videos. Thanks for providing such a great recipe.
So glad to hear it, Amy! You are very welcome! And thank you so much.
Wow wow wow. Thanx this recipe is awsume
Thank you so much!!
Your recipe is great I just wish I had got the right milk. I used 2% and did everything right but ended up with about 6 oz of really great cream cheese. Didn’t get the mozzarella but did get some awesome cream cheese. I will try different milk next time!
Thank you!! Yeah, I have found this particular recipe can be finicky with certain kinds of milk. I am guessing with that milk you would have had better success using rennet and citric acid. Try a different brand of milk and try whole milk this time. Also, triple-check that the milk isn’t ultra-pasteurized or homogenized. A lot of pasteurized milk is also homogenized. Homogenized milk is fine if using rennet, but not with this method of just using vinegar. 🙂
Mine worked but had a slight vinegar taste. Is that normal? Is there a way to fix that?
Hi there! There shouldn’t be any vinegar taste. What kind of vinegar did you use? What acidity was it?
Can you replace white vinegar with either lemon juice or red wine vinegar?
I haven’t tried with either of those so I can’t say for certain.
tried it twice.
0 for 2.
Using cream top A2 vat pasteurized milk. Few curds and very mushy (ricotta texture). Used candy thermometer. Minimized stirring and let sit longer after adding vinegar on second attempt. Still no luck.
Did you try gathering the curds and squeezing the whey out of them and then heating them up to 160F? Try different milk as well. A2 vat pasteurized is typically non-homogenized and low-temp pasteurized so it should work pretty well, but double check on the carton to make sure it isn’t homogenized or ultra-pasteurized. I haven’t tried that kind of milk. You can also try the traditional way of using rennet and citric acid. Heat the milk to 88F and then add the rennet and citric acid after dissolving both in some water, and let sit for 30 minutes to 2 hours. Cut the curds with a knife into chunks, and gently heat the curds to 115F, then strain the curds, etc. as outlined in this cheese recipe https://www.inthekitchenwithmatt.com/mozzarella-cheese-from-milk-powder starting at step 3 since you aren’t using milk powder. I have also noticed that some brands of milk just work better than others.
Worked out very well. Har to use 130 ml vinegar to get all the whey into cheese.
Sadly the mozzarella ended up with a slight taste of vinegar. But the cheese looked amazing.
Great to hear, yeah that is a bit too much vinegar. The cheese shouldn’t have any kind of vinegar taste.
a2 milk has only the a2 casein molecule and none of the a1 molecules. Probably messes with the outcome.
That is entirely possible, and could very well be the reason why it doesn’t work very well. Might need to do the rennet and citric acid method instead.
Unfortunately, I had a pretty similar problem. It curdled well, I pressed all the whey out of it, and I ended up with some sort of a ricotta-style cream cheese ball.
Since I don’t have a microwave, I tried heating it up again in the whey, but the ball just fell apart, although I had pressed it very well inside a cheese cloth.
Have you ever tried the method without a microwave?
can i use 1% milk instead? that’s all i have spoiled in the fridge and i want to try this recipe!! and if i can, what should i do differently in the recipe?
Yes, you can use 1% as it isn’t ultra-pasteurized or homogenized. You won’t do anything differently. Follow the recipe as is. If it is homogenized but still not ultra-pasteurized you will need to use rennet and citric acid however and the process/temps are slightly different.
I did it,!
Easy just liked you said it would.
Now to use the whey.
Awesome! Glad you tried it. 🙂 🙂
Wow! This is really cool! I always knew I could make cheese on my own, but I didn’t know it was this easy! I also always thought I would need rennet, which I don’t have. Thank you so much!
You are so very welcome! There are some advantages to making it with rennet, but being able to make homemade mozzarella like this with vinegar is awesome.