Ricotta cheese is a versatile and savory dairy product packed with protein and essential amino acids. Let’s talk about where to find ricotta cheese at the store, the best brands, how to store it, and how to use it.
Where to buy ricotta cheese near me
You can find ricotta cheese at almost any large grocery store. Since you must refrigerate it, you can find it in the dairy aisle. It is usually separate from the block cheeses and closer to the sour cream and dips.
Here are some retailers that stock it:
- Whole Foods
If you cannot find ricotta cheese at those retailers, it may be temporarily out of stock. Thankfully, there are other ways to acquire it.
Ricotta cheese is not just available in stores. Here are a few online retailers who sell the dairy product:
- Di Bruno Bros.
- Alma Gourmet
- Foodservice Direct
- Stop and Shop
The following services can deliver ricotta cheese to you from their partnered retailers:
- Fresh Direct
- Amazon Fresh
There is always a way to acquire ricotta for your recipes, salads and other uses. Even if you do not have time to grocery shop, you can get it delivered to your door in as little as an hour.
What are the best brands to buy?
Whether you are looking for cheap, accessible ricotta or cheese imported from Italy, there are many options. Here is a list of some of the best ricotta cheese brands.
Best-tasting, easy-to-find grocery store brands:
- White Rose
Best authentic Italian ricotta brands:
- Il Villaggio
Cheapest ricotta cheese brands:
- 365 by Whole Foods
- Organic Valley
- Great Value
- Shop Rite
Ricotta cheese is great by itself in various dishes, but when cooking with this cheese, the high-quality brands are the best choice. However, when you’re in a pinch, you can find the cheaper producers almost anywhere.
Choose the brand that best suits your budget needs.
How to store ricotta cheese
The first thing you should know is that ricotta, like most other cheeses, should be refrigerated or kept chilled at all times. Dairy products are prone to spoiling, and keeping them cool is one of the best ways to ward off bacteria and contaminants.
You’ll also want to keep your ricotta in an airtight container. When you buy it online or from the store, it comes in a tub or plastic cup.
The lack of air in packaging slows down the bacterial growth rate in cheese, keeping it fresh for longer.
If you throw away the container or move your ricotta to a new storage medium, make sure it is airtight. If you are worried about exposing the cheese to open air, you can wrap it in plastic or aluminum foil for additional protection.
You can even freeze ricotta cheese if you want to hold onto it for the future. However, doing so loses a lot of the mild flavor and texture that makes ricotta unique.
Only put the cheese in the freezer if you are in a pinch or if you are using a recipe that works with frozen cheeses.
Properly stored ricotta will last about one weeks after being opened, and unopened ricotta lasts for a few days past its expiration date.
Common ways to use ricotta cheese
Ricotta is a mild cheese that adds creaminess to a lot of recipes. However, it can be a great addition to many different meals without cooking.
You can find ways to use ricotta for breakfast, lunch, and even dessert. Here are some examples of this cheese’s versatility.
Since ricotta is an Italian cheese, its most common uses are within the realm of pasta. Ricotta in particular makes an amazing stuffing pasta for ravioli, lasagna, manicotti and shells.
It adds to those dishes because of how it retains its shape and texture when heated, unlike many other kinds of cheese.
You can also stuff vegetables with ricotta, including peppers, eggplant and squash. The cheese pairs well with vegetables in a roasted pasta primavera.
Ricotta works well on toast, a bagel, pizza, tart or salad as a topping. The mild flavor brings a lot of depth helping to counteract the sweetness of ingredients like tomato sauce and fruit.
Try mixing ricotta into dishes like spaghetti and pesto for even deeper flavors.
Ricotta is a fantastic cheese to use in an omelet or frittata, pairing well with spinach and tomatoes. It is even sweet enough to use in a crepe, giving it versatility for your early mornings.
Ricotta is delicious as a topping like butter on pancakes or even baked inside. If you are looking for something cold, try making ricotta stregata gelato.
One of the most popular ricotta uses is in cheesecake along with eggs, sugar and pie crust. After that, you can add fruit, chocolate, or whipped cream for a world-class dessert option.
This cheese is great by itself. It is a healthy and diet-friendly cheese option packed with protein, amino acids and other nutrients. It carries only half the calories of many other kinds of cheese, and you can even buy the skim milk version.
What to get instead
As a dairy product, ricotta cheese is not a lactose-free or vegan option. Thankfully, there are a handful of substitutes for different purposes you can try.
These also work for recipes in case you run out of what you need.
Some recipe replacements for ricotta include:
- Sour cream
- Cottage cheese
- Goat cheese
Some vegan and dairy-free alternatives for ricotta cheese include:
- Tofu or soybean curd
- Whipped almond or cashew butter
- Mashed bananas
- Mashed avocado
Understand that vegan ricotta substitutes primarily mimic the mild flavor and texture of the cheese. However, they still retain their distinct palettes, so pair them with harmonious ingredients in your recipes.