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If you’re the kind of person who always has to have cheese in the fridge, it might be time to take that love to the next level. Making your own cheese can feel intimidating at first, but there are plenty of great resources on the internet and beyond that will make you a pro in no time.
If you’re an intrepid kitchen explorer, by all means, feel free to set out on your own with this venture, but for the rest of us, a good cheesemaking kit is a perfect place to start. It has most of what you need, including ingredients and supplies. Just know that you'll need to buy your own milk separately.
Best Overall: Standing Stone Farms Ultimate Cheese Making Kit
Can make many styles of cheese
Liquid rennet can be inconsistent
The Standing Stone Farms Ultimate Cheese Making Kit is both easy to use and wildly versatile. You can make mozzarella, feta, halloumi, cheddar curds, pepper jack, cream cheese, mascarpone, chèvre, burrata, and more. The kit comes complete with the cultures and gear you need, including an instant thermometer, plus liquid rennet (the enzymes necessary for cheesemaking) over the tablet variety, which the company claims causes inconsistent cheese. All you need to do is find cow, sheep, or goat milk at the store or a farm near you.
Recipe Time: 30 minutes | Yields: Up to 25 pounds | Includes: Liquid rennet, calcium chloride, citric acid, cheese salt, lipase, cultures, instant-read thermometer, cheesecloth
"If you are going to buy milk for cheesemaking from a supermarket, the most important requirement is that the milk is not ultra-pasteurized," says Andi Wandt, cheesemaker at Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. "This process denatures proteins to a point that it is impossible to make cheese from."
Best Budget: Urban Cheesecraft Mini Cheese Kit
Unlimited email support
Very easy to use
Could make these cheeses without a kit
If you’re looking for a cheesemaking experience with minimal effort and cost, meet your new best friend: the Mini Cheese Kit from Urban Cheesecraft. Your options are limited to ricotta and farmer’s cheese, but on the flip side, you and your family will have homemade cheese ready in 30 minutes. Use the fresh ricotta for pancakes, dips, or lasagna and the farmer’s cheese for topping for tacos, chili, salad, and more. This is a great option for gourmet-in-training kids.
Recipe Time: 30 minutes | Yields: Up to 2 pounds | Includes: Cheesecloth, citric acid
Best for Beginners: Fermentaholics DIY Fresh Cheese Making Kit
Can be used for many cheeses
Includes gloves, unlike many others
Makes less cheese than others
The Fermentaholics DIY Fresh Cheese Making Kit allows you to take cow, goat, sheep, or buffalo milk and turn it into ricotta, mozzarella, burrata, paneer, cottage cheese, and more. It includes four microbial rennet tablets (vegetarian-friendly rennet), 100 grams of cheese salt, 100 grams of citric acid, 1 yard of cheesecloth, one pair of gloves, and the "Easin' Into Cheesin'" recipe book. Each recipe takes approximately 30 minutes or less.
Recipe Time: 30 minutes or less | Yields: Up to 15 pounds | Includes: Rennet, cheese salt, citric acid, gloves, cheesecloth
Best for Goat Cheese: Standing Stone Farms Basic Beginner Cheese Making Kit
Can be used for many cheeses
A great gift
Liquid rennet can be inconsistent
This one is for the goat cheese fiends. While you can make your own mozzarella, burrata, ricotta, burricotta, queso blanco, mascarpone, and butter with this kit as well, we love it for chèvre. It includes liquid microbial rennet (both vegetarian and organic) as opposed to a tablet form of rennet, which must be dissolved and divided. It also comes with calcium chloride, which is helpful when using store-bought milk, but not often included in home cheesemaking supplies. Also included is non-GMO and 100 percent food-grade citric acid and cheese salt, plus reusable cheesecloth for draining the softer cheeses and processing butter.
Recipe Time: 20 minutes | Yields: Up to 25 pounds | Includes: Liquid rennet, calcium chloride, citric acid, cheese salt, cheesecloth
"Ideally, find cheesemaking milk that is non-homogenized and vat pasteurized, which is a gentler process than standard pasteurization," says Wandt. "If it’s in a glass bottle with cream on the top, it will be perfect for making cheese."
Best for Mozzarella: New England Cheesemaking Supply Mozzarella and Ricotta Cheese Making Kit
One of the easier kits
Makes two popular styles
Mozzarella technique can be complicated
Gloves aren't included
Perhaps you’re looking for a low-effort, high-reward cheesemaking activity, and there's not much like pillowy, silky, fresh mozzarella—especially if you're in the market for Caprese salad. Based on the cheesemaking wisdom of legendary home cheesemaking instructor Ricki Carroll, this kit for mozzarella and ricotta sets you up to make your own at home in no time. It includes 3 ounces of citric acid, 3 ounces of cheese salt, ten tablets of vegetable rennet, 1 yard of butter muslin, a thermometer, and a recipe booklet. This kit is the one you’ll see most at cheese shops—and that’s for a reason. It’s tried, tested, and true.
Recipe Time: 30 minutes | Yields: 20 1-pound batches | Includes: Rennet, citric acid, cheese salt, a thermometer, cheesecloth
Best for Hard Cheese: Homesteader Creations Hard Cheese Making Kit
Everything you need to make hard cheese
Can make several types
Takes a long time
You’ll notice that this is easily the priciest option on the list. That’s because hard cheese requires more equipment. It’s useful here to review the basics of cheesemaking, which is essentially just isolating and fermenting the fat and protein in milk that’s suspended in liquid. In order to make hard cheese, the whey and water content needs to be more forcefully expelled from the curds, making a cheese press necessary. This one was designed and manufactured in Sparta, Tennessee, and comes with cultures, enzymes, cheesecloth, salt, and more. It’s more of an investment than some of the other kits, but for home cheesemakers who want to make hard cheese, it’s well worth it.
Recipe Time: 1 week or more with aging | Yields: Several batches | Includes: Press, rennet, lipase, several types of cultures, calcium chloride, a thermometer, cheesecloth, and more
Best Dairy-Free: Urban Cheesecraft Dairy-Free Cheddar Mix
You can choose your base
One of the fastest options
More of a dip than a block
For those on a dairy-free diet, this is the kit for you. It’s vegan, paleo, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and non-GMO, and the final cheese product requires neither culturing nor aging. Thanks to a mix of gluten-free tapioca flour (cassava root), quick-gelling agar powder (seaweed), nutritional yeast, plant-based lactic acid, non-iodized flake salt, mustard powder, white pepper, onion powder, and porcini powder, you can take a simple base of nuts, seeds, veggies, or white beans, and shape it into delicious dairy-free cheese in minutes.
Recipe Time: 15 minutes | Yields: 1 wheel | Includes: Binders/gelling agents and flavorings
We recommend the Standing Stone Farms Ultimate Cheese Making Kit (view at Amazon) for its versatility and ease of use, though the Urban Cheesecraft Mini Cheese Kit (view at Etsy) is amazing for those on a budget. For vegan cheese, you can’t beat Urban Cheesecraft's Dairy-Free Cheddar Mix (view at Etsy).
What to Look for in Cheesemaking Kits
Even professional cheesemakers do things a little differently from each other, so it makes sense that each cheese kit will be a little different, too. For instance, some include tablet rennet (which needs to be crushed and diluted in liquid before using), while others include liquid rennet (which is easier to use, but can be inconsistent and has a much shorter shelf life).
Do you want to make cheese as a way to have a fun afternoon project or do you want to learn a new technique? Do you eat a lot of ricotta or feta or both? Make sure the kit includes styles that you will want to eat. If you’re buying a kit for someone else, go for the kits with a wider range of styles.
We read the reviews for all the kits we included, and we stand by our recommendations. That said, reading the reviews yourself before you commit to any of these is a great way to get a sense of what your cheesemaking experience will be like. If you want to make something like ricotta, the task ahead is very easy. Something like mozzarella, though, requires a little more technique, and reading the recommendations of other people can help you understand what your experience might be like.
Does cheesemaking stink?
Cheesemaking doesn’t smell offensive, but there is a bit of a smell. It usually will smell like lightly milky vinegar, but it shouldn’t have the same yeasty pungency as spoiled milk. Luckily, the scent will go away quickly.
How long does cheesemaking take?
Different styles of cheesemaking take different amounts of time. It generally will take at least 30 minutes, but can take up to several hours or a week or more with aging.
What kinds of cheeses can you make at home?
The best types of cheese to make at home are those that don’t require aging. This could include feta, fresh goat cheese, mozzarella, and more.
What is the whey that is formed during cheesemaking?
The whey is the leftover liquid from milk (which is 80 to 90 percent water), minus the fat and protein that went into the cheese. Whey also contains minerals, protein, and lactose.
How do you become a licensed cheesemaker?
Most cheesemakers in America actually learn on the job. The only place in the U.S. where a cheesemaker needs to be licensed is Wisconsin. If you want to be licensed in Wisconsin, you’ll need to take classes, apprentice under a cheesemaker, and pass a written test.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Writer and professional cheese eater Christine Clark teaches cheese and pairing classes throughout the United States and knows how and where to get her cheese fix, no matter where she is. Her cheese adoration is so strong that she has a whole podcast dedicated to it. She is a Certified Cheese Professional through the American Cheese Society.