The 9 Best Cheesemaking Supplies of 2022

Everything you need to whip up your very own mozzarella, chevre, and more

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The Spruce Eats / Sabrina Jiang

For intrepid food lovers, the first question they have after tasting something delicious is: “How can I make this at home?” Some dishes are rather easy to recreate in your kitchen, such as cakes, enchiladas, french fries, and other favorite foods.

Cheese, especially options beyond fresh cheeses like mozzarella, quark, goat cheese, and paneer, tend to be a little more complicated to whip up at home—you’ll need some gear and a bit of patience. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You’ll just need some reliable cheesemaking supplies and a bit of time. Start with a clean kitchen (you’ll have plenty of dishes to wash afterward), your mise en place, and your chin up.

The cheesemaking process, put simply, is just removing milk’s solids from its liquid. Milk is about 90 percent water. The rest is fat, protein, sugar (called lactose), and minerals. By fermenting the sugars, the fat and protein coagulate, and cheese curds are born. The leftover liquid is called whey. Depending on what kind of cheese you’re hoping to make, this process will look a little different each time, which is why the right tools for the job are so important.

Here are the best cheesemaking supplies for all your at-home fromage endeavors.

Best Instant-Read Thermometer: Frienda 11.8 Inch Stainless Steel Instant Read Thermometer

Frienda 11.8 Inch Stainless Steel Instant Read Thermometer

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Large and easy-to-read-dial

  • Clip allows you to be hands-free

What We Don't Like
  • Clip may not attach to pots with contoured edges

The first step in the cheesemaking process is heating the milk. If the milk is too cold or too hot, the coagulation process won’t happen the way it should. Thus, an instant-read thermometer is an essential tool for any at-home cheesemaker, no matter which type of cheese they’re trying to make. We love the Frienda 11.8 Inch Stainless Steel Instant-Read Thermometer for a few reasons. Its long stem is perfect for cheesemaking (because you’ll want to make most cheese in your stockpot),  and the clip ensures that you don’t have to hold the thermometer while gently stirring your soon-to-be-cheese.

Length: 11.8 inches | Upper Temperature Reading: 550 degrees Fahrenheit | Material: Stainless steel, plastic, metal

Best Cheesecloth: Sceng Cheesecloth

Sceng Cheesecloth

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Multifunctional

  • Available in different sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Needs to be boiled in water before first use

You won’t need cheesecloth for every single cheese recipe, but we’d still call this an essential tool. Even if you never make a cheese recipe where you’ll need cheesecloth (doubtful!), it doubles as a useful tool for many other kitchen tasks, such as canning, winemaking, keeping chicken whole during poaching, functioning as a spice bag, and more. This particular cheesecloth is made with 100 percent unbleached cotton and, unlike many other options, is reusable.

Size: 54 square feet | Material: Unbleached cotton

Best Rennet: +QSO Vegetable Rennet Tablets

+QSO Vegetable Rennet Tablets

Amazon

What We Like
  • Tablets scored into sections for small batches

  • Works quickly and effectively

What We Don't Like
  • Unclear expiration dates

The cheesemaking corners of the internet are caught up in a hot debate over whether liquid or tablet rennet is preferable for cheese making. When liquid rennet is fresh, it’s generally easier to use because tablet rennet requires proper dilution. But tablet rennet has a longer shelf life than liquid rennet. There’s nothing worse than making your way through the whole recipe and then realizing that your rennet is old (tip: test it first). Because liquid rennet can be a bit unreliable, we prefer the tablet version, especially this vegetarian one.

Number of Pieces: 10 | Ingredients: Microbial coagulant (mucor pussillus and/or mucor miehei), magnesium stearate, microcrystalline cellulose

Best Citric Acid: New England Cheesemaking Supply Citric Acid

New England Cheesemaking Supply Citric Acid

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Simple packaging

  • Affordable

  • Makes great mozzarella, ricotta

What We Don't Like
  • Large quantity

  • Unclear expiration dates

In order to coagulate milk, it first must be acidified. Some cheese recipes accomplish that the old-fashioned way—by fermenting lactose into lactic acid by way of bacterial cultures (we’ll get to those later). Others, including many mozzarella recipes, use citric acid. For the styles of cheese that require it, we love this citric acid from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. Bonus: it gives mozzarella extra stretch.

Item Weight: 8 ounces | Ingredients: Citric acid (non-GMO, corn-based)

Best Calcium Chloride: New England Cheesemaking Supply Calcium Chloride

New England Cheesemaking Supply Calcium Chloride

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Enough for 48 gallons of milk

  • Can be used to make ice cream, cheesecake, yogurt

What We Don't Like
  • Must be stored in refrigerator

When making harder cheeses, you’ll need to drain off more liquid than you would from the softer cheeses—dryer curds result in a firmer cheese down the line. To help ensure that your hard cheeses set right, some recipes may call for calcium chloride. If so, go for this option from New England Cheesemaking Supply. It’s great for pasteurized milk or goat's milk (which you’d likely be using at home), and is in the right dilution for cheese making.

Item Weight: 2 ounces | Concentration: 30-32%

Best Cultures: New England Cheesemaking Supply Thermophilic Direct Set Cheese Culture

New England Cheesemaking Supply Thermophilic Direct Set Cheese Culture

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Lasts for two years in freezer

  • Individual packets

What We Don't Like
  • May need mesophilic cultures for certain cheeses

Many cheese recipes will call for cultures, or friendly bacteria that will help give your cheese its desired texture and flavor. Depending on which style of cheese you’re making, you may want thermophilic (heat-loving) or mesophilic (slightly less heat-loving) cultures. Any good recipe will tell you which type of culture to use, but we’re listing both options, both from New England Cheesemaking Supply. In general, cheddar, Monterey Jack, Stilton, Edam, Gouda, Muenster, blue, and Colby cheeses will require mesophilic; mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, Romano, Swiss, Gruyere, and other Italian-style cheeses will require thermophilic.

Ingredients: Lactose, streptococcus thermophilus, lactobacillus helveticus, lactobacillus delbrueckii subsp. lactis | Yields: One packet per two gallons of milk

Best Cheese Salt: Know-How Fine Flaked Cheese Salt

Know-How Fine Flaked Cheese Salt

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Absorbs easily

  • Resealable bag

What We Don't Like
  • Only usable in cheesemaking, not daily use

Salt is the unsung hero of the cheesemaking process—not only does it add flavor, but it also helps regulate the bacterial changes occurring in your newly formed cheese. You can technically use most non-iodized salts for the cheesemaking process, but we especially like this cheese salt by Know-How Foods. It’s light and flaky, meaning it will dissolve well and is easier to apply evenly to your curds.

Item Weight: 2 pounds

Best Slotted Spoon: TBWHL Skimmer Slotted Spoon

TBWHL Skimmer Slotted Spoon

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Multifunctional

  • Hole in handle to hang in kitchen

What We Don't Like
  • Could be bulky to store in drawers

Another tool you’ll need for cheese making is a good slotted spoon. We especially like this one that doubles as a strainer, meaning it can be used for stirring your milk as it comes to temperature, but also for draining your curds (especially if you’re making a recipe that doesn’t require cheesecloth). Made from food-grade 304 stainless steel, it’s durable, rust-proof, and is great for other kitchen tasks like frying or boiling.

Handle Length: 11.02 inches | Material: Stainless steel | Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Gloves: New England Cheesemaking Supply Food Grade Gloves

New England Cheesemaking Supply Food Grade Gloves

New England Cheesemaking Supply

What We Like
  • Contoured fit

  • Textured finish

What We Don't Like
  • Only available in one color

If you’re making mozzarella or any other cheese in that style (called pasta filata), part of the process is handling and stretching very hot curds. If you’re not comfortable dipping your hands into 180-degree water, nab these food-grade gloves to protect your hands as you stretch your mozz.

Sizes: Small 7 inches, medium 8 inches, large 9 inches, extra-large 10 inches

What to Look for in Cheesemaking Supplies

Reliability

Knowing that you have dependable equipment available is a significant piece of the prep work. Getting an accurate temperature reading is vital when it comes to making cheese at home. A reliable instant-read thermometer that you know you can count on is a crucial tool to have on hand for the cheesemaking process.

Quality

Having high-quality tools and top-notch, fresh ingredients gives you the edge needed for making the best cheese at home. For example, a slotted spoon made well and comfortable to hold while stirring and scooping, plus easy to clean, makes for a better experience. Using fresh milk, plus high-rated cultures, salt, and rennet provide a superior product.

Material

What your equipment is made of—from your stockpot to your spoons—is critical. It needs to be nonreactive material, and stainless steel is a popular choice. Any reactive metals, such as aluminum and cast iron, can react with the acid and affect the cheeses' flavor and look.

FAQs

Why should you make cheese at home?

By making your own cheese, you know exactly what ingredients went into it. There are no artificial preservatives, flavors, or additives.

What are the basic ingredients needed to make cheese?

There are three base ingredients needed to make cheese: milk, cultures, and rennet. From there, you can add flavorings and work on cheesemaking techniques, such as aging, to make the type of cheese you desire.

How long does homemade cheese last?

Fresh cheeses, like mozzarella, feta, or ricotta, will last for a week or more if stored properly in the refrigerator. Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, can last for up to one year. You can freeze cheese, but it does affect the texture, and some freeze better than others.

Why Trust The Spruce Eats?

Writer and professional cheese eater Christine Clark teaches cheese making and pairing classes throughout the U.S. and knows how 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.

Jacqueline Weiss updated this roundup. When she's not writing, you'll find her trying new vegan eateries in Los Angeles, hunting for the best matcha latte, or experimenting in the kitchen.

Updated by
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley
Sharon Lockley has over 20 years of experience as an editor and writer and has been contributing to The Spruce Eats since 2019.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
Additional reporting by
Jacqueline Weiss
Jacqueline Weiss Bio Photo
Jacqueline is a blogger and writer, passionate about making healthy eating and cooking accessible to all. When she's not writing, you'll find her trying new Los Angeles eateries and experimenting in the kitchen.
Learn about The Spruce Eats' Editorial Process
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