If you’ve never attempted homemade mascarpone cheese before you’re in for a real treat! Look no further for a foolproof mascarpone recipe! Learn how to make mascarpone that’s luxuriously thick, rich and creamy. It’s super easy, costs less than store-bought, and the results will wow you!
This foolproof homemade mascarpone recipe is so easy to make and costs less than the store-bought stuff! I used to wince every time I had to pay the exorbitant price associated with a small tub of mascarpone at the store. Those days of wincing over the price of mascarpone are gone! Making it yourself is not only super easy and quick but will save you money!
What Is Mascarpone?
Mascarpone cheese is a double or triple cream cheese that is made by heating cream over gentle, steady heat and then adding acid to thicken it. The mixture is then left to drain in cheesecloth for a few hours where the whey will separate from the solids resulting in a thick, spreadable cream cheese.
Mascarpone originated in the Lombardy region of northern Italy and is believed to date back to the Renaissance. It’s used in both sweet and savory dishes. It’s best known for its use in making Italy’s famous dessert, tiramisu.
Mascarpone vs. Cream Cheese
The taste, texture and fat content are different. Mascarpone has at least double the fat as American cream cheese (e.g., Philadelphia) giving it a much richer, thicker and melt-in-your-mouth texture than standard cream cheese. While cream cheese has a tangy flavor, mascarpone is much milder and isn’t tangy at all. Cream cheese is firmer and more “rubbery” in texture while mascarpone is softer and much creamier. Though you can use the two interchangeably the flavor and texture will be different. A closer relative to mascarpone is the French crème fraîche or English clotted cream.
How Do You Use Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is as versatile as whipped cream and so the possibilities are endless. Here are some delicious ways to use it:
- Tiramisu (we’ll state the most famous application first)
- Mixed with berries and a little honey for a healthy dessert
- To make parfaits or trifles
- To make semifreddo
- Spread on toast or bagels with a drizzle of honey
- As a frosting for cake
- As a filling for crepes
- Substitute it for sour cream in cakes and muffins
- Mascarpone cream cheese frosting for your carrot cake (or gluten free carrot cake)
- Serve a dollop of it with roasted fruits or vegetables
- Add it to risotto for an extra creamy texture
- As a substitute for whipped cream
- To make a savory herb dip or a sweet dip for fruits
- Use it as the white sauce for your pizza
- Use it to make your Fettuccine Alfredo
- As the base in your creamy sauces
- Add some to your mashed potatoes
- Add a dollop to your soups and stews
- Combine with Nutella for a frosting or pie filling
- Use it to make cheesecake
- Add some to your vegetable or au gratin potatoes
- Add some to your scrambled eggs
- Add some to your Southern grits to make them extra creamy
How Long Does Mascarpone Keep?
Mascarpone should be stored in the refrigerator and will keep for 3-5 days. If it develops any mold or a strange odor toss it out.
Can You Freeze Mascarpone?
Mascarpone is not the best candidate for freezing because as with most soft cheeses it has the tendency to separate when thawed. However once it’s thawed you can try to whip it back into shape again. If that doesn’t work you can still use the mascarpone for cooking. You can freeze it in heavy duty freezer bags for about 2 months and then thaw it very slowly in the refrigerator.
What Do I Need To Make Mascarpone?
- Heavy Cream (regular or “whipping” heavy cream; fresh/non-pasteurized yields the best results if you can source it)
- Milk (fresh/non-pasteurized yields the best results if you can source it)
- Tartaric Acid
- Calcium Chloride (if using pasteurized cream/milk)
Traditionally made by adding an acidic substance to thicken the cream (known as “denaturation”). While you can use lemon juice, vinegar or citric acid, I’ve found that tartaric acid is the most foolproof and yields the best results for a really nice, thick texture. You can find tartaric acid in any wine or cheesemaking shop.
I purchase my food-grade tartaric acid here on Amazon.
Unless you’re using fresh cream and milk straight from the cow you will need calcium chloride. This is a necessary ingredient when using pasteurized milk and cream, it is what helps the milk/cream coagulate and thicken.
You will need a thermometer to check the temperature of your cream. You can use a dairy thermometer or a regular digital thermometer. I use an instant read thermometer which I already have on hand and use regularly for bread-baking and other things.
This is what you will use to drain your thickened cream. I use and recommend this cheesecloth because it’s 100% unbleached cotton, is high grade, is very durable for multiple uses, and you get a ton of it. Overall it’s the best value I have found for the quality.
Ready to make some perfect homemade mascarpone cheese?
Let’s get started!
How To Make Mascarpone
Pour the heavy cream and milk into a small saucepan. Thoroughly stir in the calcium chloride mixture making sure it is fully distributed throughout the cream. Gently heat the cream over medium heat until it reaches 185-190 F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Use a dairy thermometer or an instant read thermometer.
Once the cream reaches 185-190 F adjust the temperature so that the cream remains at 185-195 F and hold it at that steady temperature for 5 minutes.
During the 5 minutes dilute the tartaric acid in 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in the tartaric acid mixture, stirring constantly for about a minute. The cream will curdle and take on a consistency of thin cream of wheat. Let it cool for 5 minutes.
Pour the thickened cream into a colander that’s lined with cheesecloth. Cover it to prevent anything from falling in it and place it in the fridge or in a cool place to let it drain for about 4 hours (or longer) until the desired consistency is reached.
Transfer the mascarpone to a bowl. Cover and keep refrigerated. It will keep for 3-5 days. (See also section above about freezing mascarpone.)
Be sure to also check out our tutorials on:
How to Make Mascarpone
- 1 cup heavy cream or heavy whipping cream (35-40%) (fresh/non-pasteurized yields the best results if you can source it)
- 1 cup whole milk (fresh/non-pasteurized yields the best results if you can source it)
- 1/16 teaspoon calcium chloride , mixed in 2 tablespoons water before adding it to the cream (not needed if using fresh/raw milk and cream)
- 1/8 teaspoon tartaric acid , mixed in 2 tablespoons water before adding it to the cream
- Pour the heavy cream and milk into a small saucepan. Thoroughly stir in the calcium chloride mixture making sure it is fully distributed throughout the cream. Gently heat the cream over medium heat until it reaches 185-190 F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Use a dairy thermometer or an instant read thermometer.Once the cream reaches 185-190 F adjust the temperature so that the cream remains at 185-195 F and hold it at that steady temperature for 5 minutes.During the 5 minutes dilute the tartaric acid in 2 tablespoons of water. Stir in the tartaric acid mixture, stirring constantly for about a minute. The cream will curdle and take on a consistency of thin cream of wheat. Let it cool for 5 minutes.Pour the thickened cream into a colander that's lined with cheesecloth. Cover it to prevent anything from falling in it and place it in the fridge or in a cool place to let it drain for about 4 hours (or longer) until the desired consistency is reached. Transfer the mascarpone to a bowl. Cover and keep refrigerated. It will keep for 3-5 days. (See also section above about freezing mascarpone.) Makes about 2 cups of mascarpone cheese.Note: This recipe can be doubled.
First published on The Daring Gourmet February 13, 2020
Adapted from New England Cheesemaking
Hi Kimberly, I purchased the Tartaric Acid, Calcium Chloride, #90 Cheesecloth, Digital Thermometer, and Electric pot with digital thermostat all for the express purpose of making Mascarpone. Unfortunately, I have had no success in finding any NON ultra-pasteurized WHOLE MILK. AND MY ATTEMPT AT MAKING MASCARPONE is ziltz. There are a multitude of recipes for Homemade Mascarpone, but they use either Vinegar or Lemon Juice to turn Heavy or Whipping cream into mascarpone. I have not tried that method as yet. What is the reason that you add WHOLE MILK in your recipe? I can not find any except ultra pasteurized and that does not work. I am going to try just heavy cream or whipping cream next.
Kimberly Killebrew says
Hi John, fresh/non-pasteurized milk and cream will always produce the best results hands down, but it can be hard to source so that is where the calcium chloride comes in (see the blog post portion about this ingredient and the purpose it serves). In other words, if you’re using pasteurized milk and cream you will need to use the calcium chloride. As for the inclusion of cream and milk, mascarpone is traditionally made up of a 20-25% butterfat mixture and that is achieved by using a combination of cream and whole milk (whole is used because of its higher fat content). My recipe is adapted from New England Cheesemaking and these recommendations are the same as theirs. That said, you can certainly break from tradition and use all cream if you prefer. Differences in the type of dairy and ratios used, as well as whether tartaric acid vs lemon juice vs vinegar vs a starter culture is used, result in different flavor and texture profiles. Feel free to experiment and see which flavor and texture outcome you prefer.
E Logab says
Using 100% Heavy Whipping cream makes the mascarpone cheese ‘richer’. This recipe is basically using half-and-half to make mascarpone cheese. I have always used ultra pasteurized Heavy whipping cream, which is the only option available in my area. You don’t have to use calcium chloride. Nonetheless, I did use calcium chloride once. I couldn’t tell the difference with the end product.
Chris N. says
Hello, Kimberly! Thank you very much for the recipe. I had high hopes for it, but unfortunately, the milk did not thicken at all. I used Sarah Farms heavy whipping cream with Mill-King Low-Temp Pasteurized Non-Homogenized Whole Milk. Made my measurements precisely, using a precision scale and a precision thermometer. I used the LD Carlson brand for calcium chloride and tartaric acid. What, do you think, might have gone wrong? You think I can save what I have by reheating it and adding lemon juice to it?
If I want to use Mascarpone to make Chocolate Truffles, would you heat it first as you would double cream and then pour the warmed chocolate over it, or not heat the cream at all?