Make your own Italian cream cheese - All you need is 2 ingredients to make rich and creamy homemade Mascarpone cheese.
Homemade mascarpone is rich, creamy, buttery and delicious, not to mention it’s cheaper than buying it.
All you need is just 2 ingredients and some basic kitchen tools.
This unique Italian cream cheese is incredibly versatile and can be used for both savoury & sweet recipes.
Mascarpone is also naturally gluten-free, and vegetarian-friendly.
What is mascarpone?
Mascarpone (pronounced mahs-car-POH-nay), is a popular Italian cream cheese, and best known as the star ingredient of Tiramisu’.
It has a subtle milky and slightly sweet flavour and has a rich, buttery texture.
This super smooth, and easily spreadable fresh Italian cream cheese can be used for both savoury and sweet recipes.
It’s usually available in large grocery stores and it’s a bit more expensive than other cream cheeses.
So, making homemade mascarpone is great a budget-friendly alternative!
- Fresh cream
- Fresh lemon juice
That’s literally it!
To make fresh mascarpone you need fresh whipping cream (we call it panna fresca in Italy).
Whipping cream has around a 32-36% fat content, depending on the brand. Any fresh cream with 32-36% fat content will work.
If you’re in US, look for fresh heavy cream or whipping cream. Heavy cream has at least 36% milk fat.
Whipping cream contains between 30 to 36 percent milk fat. Both will work here.
Freshly squeezed lemon juice is all you need. You can substitute with 2 g of citric acid mixed with 1 tablespoon of lukewarm water.
- Cooking Thermometer (I use a Thermapen)
- Heavy-duty saucepan for heating the cream
- Cheesecloth or tea towel
- Air-tight container for storing the cheese
How to make mascarpone cheese
The best part about making mascarpone cheese at home is that it takes just 10 minutes of kitchen prep, then all you need to do is wait until the cheese is set and ready to use.
Below you can find a quick overview of the step-by-step process to make mascarpone cheese at home!
Scroll down until the end of the post for the full printable recipe
STEP 1. Place the cream in a saucepan and stir over low heat, until it reaches 185F /85C.
STEP 2. Add in the lemon juice, and stir over low heat for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let the cream cool.
STEP 3. Place a sieve lined with a tea towel or 3-4 layers of cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the cream through the sieve, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
STEP 4. The cheese is ready when it reaches a creamy and rich texture.
- I recommend using a thermometer, as you need to follow the temperature advised.
- Don’t skip the resting time, the more you allow the cheese to rest the more compact it will be.
- Use high-quality fresh cream, as it will impact the final result, the better quality the cream the better the cheese!
You should store homemade mascarpone in an airtight container, in the fridge, and it will last up to 3-4 days.
Freezing mascarpone cheese is not recommended, as it tends to separate when thawed.
However, you can freeze it in an air-tight container for up to 1 month.
Once thawed, use it for cooked recipes, so that even if the texture has changed slightly it won't compromise your recipe.
How to use mascarpone
There are plenty of delicious savoury and sweet recipes where you can use mascarpone.
Here are a few of our favorite options:
- Desserts: Make Tiramisu, of course, or use it to make limoncello cake, cheesecake, tarts and chocolate cannoli.
- Frosting: Use it instead of cream cheese as a frosting. Try it with this amazing carrot cake, this delicious orange olive oil cake or this super easy water cake.
- Sauce: Use it instead of crème fraiche for this delicious mushroom pasta, creamy salmon pasta or lasagne.
- Spread: Use it as cream cheese and spread it on bagels, crackers, bruschetta, or polenta crostini.
More traditional Italian recipes to try
- Italian Pizza Dough Recipe
- Mafaldine with Napoletana Sauce
- Ricotta Meatballs - Italian Recipe
- Bucatini Pomodoro
- Pasta alla Norcina
- Taralli Pugliesi
- Pasta alla Norma
- Panelle - Chickpea Fritters
Did you try this recipe?
Please let me know how you liked it! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #thepetitecook!
Homemade Mascarpone Cheese (2 Ingredients!)
- 500 g fresh whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- Place the whipping cream in a large saucepan and stir over low heat for about 3 minutes, or until reaches 185°F (85°C).
- Add in the lemon juice, and continue to stir over low heat for 2-3 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and allow the cream cool.
- Place a sieve lined with a tea towel or 3-4 layers of cheesecloth over a bowl. Pour the cream through the sieve, only few drops of the cream should be able to reach the base of the bowl, if it's more, use 2 layers of tea towel to prevent it.
- Cover the cream and place in the refrigerator for 24 hours. The mascarpone cheese is ready when it reaches a rich and creamy texture.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.