Homemade mascarpone cheese: you’ll only need two ingredients!

Total time: 15 min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 2-4
By Cookist

Mascarpone cheese originated in Italy, where it’s known as “prodotto agroalimentare tradizionale”. It’s a type of acid-set cream cheese, which means it’s made with two simple ingredients: heavy cream and a type of acid (usually citric or tartaric acid). In this recipe, we’re making it a bit easier (and more accessible) by using lemon juice. It’s surprisingly easy to make. The heavy cream is heated, and then the lemon juice is added to thicken the cream. It’s left to drain in a clean tea cloth to remove the excess liquid. The taste and texture of mascarpone are similar to that of cream cheese, ricotta cheese, and crème fraiche. It’s great to use in both savory and sweet dishes.

What is Mascarpone Cheese?

Mascarpone is not to be confused with mascarpone cream. Mascarpone cream is a sweet cream made with mascarpone cheese, eggs, and sugar that are whipped together. Mascarpone cheese, on the other hand, is a pure cheese product made with heavy cream and cheese. It’s most popular for its use in tiramisu, an Italian coffee-infused layered dessert.

Because mascarpone is made from heavy cream (and not milk like, for instance, cream cheese) it has a high-fat content. This gives it its characteristic rich texture.

Recipes That Use Mascarpone

Mascarpone cheese biscuit cake: the recipe for a soft and super delicious dessert

Peach and mascarpone ice cream: the recipe for the creamiest and most delicious ice cream

Semifreddo with mascarpone cheese and hazelnut cream: the recipe for a super tasty dessert

Strawberry and mascarpone cake: the recipe for a soft and simple dessert

Cream with coffee and mascarpone cheese: the quick dessert recipe

Mascarpone Ingredients

  • Heavy Cream – use full-fat heavy cream for best results
  • Lemon juice – use freshly squeezed lemon juice (not bottled)


The mixture must thicken before you can pour it into the tea towel to drain. To see if it’s thick enough, dip a wooden spoon into the heated mixture—if the cream coats the spoon, it's ready.

Instead of a tea towel, you can use a clean cheese or muslin cloth.

How to Store Mascarpone

Homemade mascarpone can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Can You Freeze Mascarpone

It’s best to use homemade mascarpone when it’s freshly made. It’s quite unstable and will separate. But if you plan to use it in stews or casseroles, you can freeze it. Place the mascarpone in an airtight container and freeze for up to 4 weeks. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before using.

cold heavy cream
500ml (2 cups) heavy
Lemon juice
8ml (1 ½ tsp)


Heat the heavy cream and gradually add lemon juice to it. Let it cook for 5 minutes until it starts to thicken.

Line a bowl with a clean tea towel.

Pour the mixture into a bowl lined with a tea towel. Let it refrigerate for 24 hours.

Scoop the mascarpone into a clean container and refrigerate until you’re ready to use it.


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