This homemade mascarpone cheese recipe is made with 2 simple ingredients. It’s creamy, budget-friendly, and versatile – you’ll never buy the store-bought stuff from the grocery store again.
I am a sucker for soft cheeses like burrata and mascarpone, and the best thing is they can be used in Italian cooking, or in your other favorite recipes. You can also use it to make tiramisu and the filling for homemade cannolis or cannoli dip. Who would have thought that making your own mascarpone was so easy and called for just 2 ingredients?!
Add a dollop of mascarpone to tomato or pumpkin soup for an extra creamy consistency, and serve with crusty bread. Instead of sour cream, use this cheese in your banana bread recipe. Don’t forget you can also smear it as a sauce for your pizza!
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- heavy whipping cream – for best results, use fresh cream that has been pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized.
- lemon juice – the citric acid in the juice curdles the cream.
Use creamy mascarpone cheese as a dip with fresh fruit. As a savory side, add some fresh herbs and serve with veggies or crackers. You can also use it for any recipe that calls for crème fraîche. Pair it with cakes that call for cream cheese icing, like banana cake, carrot cake roll, or use it with breakfast crepes.
- Instant read thermometer – when simmering it’s important for the fresh heavy cream to get and stay at 190 degrees.
- Cheesecloth-lined strainer – helps to drain the liquid. Some also had success with a tea towel or paper towels.
Variations and Substitutions:
- Chocolate mascarpone – combine 8 ounces of mascarpone with cocoa powder, a little cream, and some powdered sugar. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to beat together, this is an easy recipe for frosting that can be used on most cakes.
- Tartaric Acid – this is also known as cream of tartar and can be used in place of lemon juice. Use 1.5 teaspoons.
Step 1: Pour the cream into a Dutch oven or large pot. Heat over medium heat and clip with a thermometer on the side. Stir often to prevent scorching until it reaches 190 degrees.
Step 2: Add the lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes, while stirring constantly and maintaining the temperature at 190 degrees.
Step 3: Remove from the heat, and cool to room temperature.
Step 4: Layer a fine mesh sieve with a couple of cheesecloths and place it over a large bowl. Transfer the cooled cream to the lined sieve and chill for 8 hours in the fridge.
Step 5: Scrape the mascarpone cream cheese from the cheesecloth into an airtight container or serve.
Pro Tip: This cheese needs to drain for at least 8 hours before use.
SERVE: Serve the cheese as is with fruit or whisk it in with other ingredients for your favorite dessert!
- When shopping for whipping cream look for one that has about 36% fat. This not only adds extra creaminess, but it adds the buttery flavor that is signature in mascarpone recipes.
- Making mascarpone is similar to making ricotta cheese. Because the cream has a high-fat content, it doesn’t curdle like the lower fat content in whole milk.
- Squeeze the lemon juice through a strainer into a separate bowl to avoid getting seeds in the cheese.
While this versatile cheese can now be found globally, it was traditionally made in the Lombardy area of Northern Italy.
Keep the cheese in a container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
While this soft cheese tends to separate after freezing, you can freeze it for a month and then use it in cooked recipes such as a creamy sauce.
Mascarpone cheese is a variety of Italian cream cheese that is thick, but spreadable, soft, and really rich. It’s made from cow’s milk with a high-fat content (60-75%). The texture is smooth and the flavor is mild but slightly sweet. You’ll find this creamy cheese in savory dishes such as pasta sauce and spreads, or in desserts like cheesecake, cannoli, or tiramisu.
Origin and production: Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cheese that is made from whole cream, while American cream cheese is made from a blend of milk and cream.
Fat content: Mascarpone cheese has a much higher fat content than regular cream cheese. Mascarpone typically has a fat content between 60-75%, while cream cheese usually has a fat content of around 30-35%.
Texture and flavor: Mascarpone cheese has a smoother, silkier texture and a milder, slightly sweet flavor compared to cream cheese, which has a tangy taste and a slightly firmer texture.
Mascarpone Cheese Recipe
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Pour cream into a heavy stock pot or Dutch oven.
- Clip a candy thermometer in the cream. Heat over medium heat, stirring frequently to prevent scorching until the cream reaches 190°F.
- Add the lemon juice to the cream mixture. Continue cooking for 5 minutes longer, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, maintaining the temperature at 190°F. The mixture will thicken.
- Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
- Line a sieve with multiple layers of cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Transfer the thickened cream into the lined sieve and refrigerate for at least 8 hours.
- Use a spatula to scrape the mascarpone from the cheesecloth into an airtight container. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Notes: Use fresh, pasteurized heavy cream, but not ultra-pasteurized. Making mascarpone is very similar to making ricotta. The higher fat content in the cream that is used in mascarpone vs. the lower fat content in the milk used for ricotta prevents the cream from curdling/separating as it does for ricotta. Squeeze the lemon juice through a strainer or into a separate container and then measure out a tablespoon so that you do not get seeds in the mascarpone.