Our German Quark Recipe Produces Delicious Creamy Quark!
Searching for an easy quark recipe that actually works? You’re not alone!
German quark – a dairy product that can be made from buttermilk and normal milk – is a type of cheese that is deliciously creamy and so versatile!
Whether you eat quark on its own, with fruit, or use it in another recipe, it’s always a good time to have German quark handy in the fridge!
Did we mention we have a delicious recipe for a German-style cheesecake made with quark?
To be honest, quark is something that Eric had no idea existed until we lived in Europe.
Lisa ate quark growing up in Germany. She would often enjoy it with freshly cut fruit as a snack, with boiled potatoes for dinner, and of course in German-style cheesecake.
Eric was always confused by quark. Is it cheese? Is it cottage cheese? Is it sour cream? Turns out, it’s none of these dairy products. Quark is a product of its own merit.
It wasn’t until we went to bakeries in Germany and bought Quarkbällchen (a type of deep-fried donut ball made with quark and sugar) that he was convinced quark was something special.
If you’re Canadian, think of a slightly bigger Timbit from Tim Hortons – just fluffier. That’s Quarkbällchen. So good.
Needless to say, quark is a pretty essential dairy product and ingredient in German cooking and baking.
Unfortunately it is not readily available outside of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Thankfully, it is quite easy to make your own quark at home!
Quark Recipe Tips
If you’re wondering how to make quark with buttermilk, keep on reading! That’s how we made ours and it couldn’t have been easier.
- All you need is buttermilk and another milk that is of any fat content (we used 2%) and that is non-homogenized. Pasteurized milk is fine.
- When making quark at home, one of the biggest thing to remember is to have patience.
- The curdling process happens with just the right amount of heat and just the right amount of ingredients proportioned correctly. Ours took longer than 24 hours because our home is not usually that warm. If you live in a warmer climate or you usually have quite a warm home, it might go faster.
- Another consideration is to have clean equipment all throughout the process.
- Also, be sure the dish towel you use doesn’t have any lint or doesn’t give off any “fuzzies” or tiny “threads” because these will get into the quark and that’s sort of gross.
How to Make German Quark – Step-by-Step
If you’re keen to make your own quark at home, you can check out the Quark recipe card at the bottom of this post.
For those of you who are visual learners and want to see the steps laid out, you can follow the process photos below. This way, you can compare your quark to see if you’re on the right track!
First pour the milk into a medium/large pot and slowly heat it on the stove to approximately 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir it occasionally.
Whisk in the buttermilk and remove the pot from the heat.
Put the lid on with a slight crack and place the pot in a warm place in your home for 24-36 hours.
During this time the milk should thicken noticeably. After 24 hours your milk might look no different than at the beginning – but don’t give up.
Within a few more hours, it could thicken quite a bit. That’s why we’d recommend giving it at least 36 hours if your milk is not yet thick after 24 hours.
This is what the thickened milk should like before you continue with the next step.
Place a strainer over a large bowl.
Then plae a clean dishtowel into the strainer.
Now carefully pour the thickened milk into the dishtowel.
Loosely tie the ends of the dishtowel together (e.g. with an elastic band) to protect the quark from dust.
You should notice the clear liquid drip out of the dishtowel through the strainer into the bowl.
Let the quark sit like this for approximately 1.5 hours. During this time you might have to empty the liquid in your bowl a few times depending on how big it is.
After the time is up, give the dishtowel with the quark a good squeeze to get rid of some of the last excess moisture.
Just for reference, this is how much liquid the quark lost during the 1.5 hour rest time and the squeeze.
Open up the dishtowel and check the moisture content. If it is too soft for your liking, squeeze it some more.
If it is already to dry, you can add some of the liquid you captured back in. When you are happy with the consistency, scoop out the quark with a spoon.
Store the quark in an airtight container with a lid in the fridge until you need it. Consume it within 4-5 days. We hope you enjoy our quark cheese recipe!
- 8 cups milk, not homogenized!
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Add the milk to a medium-large pot with a lid and slowly heat it on the stove to around 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Whisk in the buttermilk and remove the pot from the stove.
- Put on the lid, leaving it slightly cracked, and place the pot in a warm place in your home for 24-36 hours. Don’t move the pot again. During this time the milk should thicken noticeably. Depending on the milk you used and the temperature in your home, the milk might have already thickened after 24 hours – or it might take slightly longer. In our case (our place is never that warm) it usually takes closer to 36 hours.
- Once the milk mixture has thickened, place a strainer over a bowl and place a clean dishtowel into the strainer.
- Now pour the thickened milk into the dishtowel and loosely tie the ends of the dishtowel together. You can use an elastic band for this, for example. The clear liquid should drip out of the dishtowel into the bowl. Let it sit like this for around 1.5 hours. If you want your quark to be "drier" you can even let it sit for longer. Depending on the size of your catchment bowl, you may have to empty the liquid every once in a while.
- Once most of the water has strained away, give the quark in the dishtowel a squeeze before removing it from the dishtowel. Scoop out the quark with a spoon. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge until you need it. Consume it within 4-5 days.
- This recipe makes approximately 2 cups of quark – perfect for a German-style Cheesecake.
- Depending on the fat content you want your quark to have, you can use 1.5%, 2%, or 3.25% milk. Just make sure that the milk is not homogenized. Pasteurized milk is fine.
- If the quark gets too dry as you have it sit in the dishtowel, you could add back a little bit of liquid to give it the consistency you want.
This nutritional information has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator. It should only be seen as a rough calculation and not a replacement for professional dietary advice.
15 thoughts on “Homemade German Quark Recipe”
For a really quick an easy way to make your own quark, try this:
For approx. half a litre (500 ml = 500 g) of normal milk, you need a lemon or 2 limes and some coffee filter paper.
Press out the juice. The amount is not so critical. Now pour lemon juice into the milk, – the acid of the lemon juice allows the milk protein to coagulate, – you‘ll notice this immediately when stirring. The consistency changes, it becomes thicker, resp. flaky.
Place paper filter bag on a glass and pour entire contents into coffee filter.
This will collect approx. 0.4 litres of liquid in the glass and what remains in the filter is quark. After half an hour, you can remove it quite easily from the filter by turning the filter bag inside out or by removing the contents with a table spoon.
If too lemony, add water and repeat filtering procedure.
Hint: you can always add cream for smoother and fuller flavour. Store in fridge.
Don‘t throw away the drained liquid. It is full of vitamins and minerals, mix it, drink it,….
In Germany, we can buy it, mixed with pure and unsugared fruit juices, nice for slimming diets.
Thanks for sharing Marrie, I’ll have to try this! /Lisa
I made this recipe using some whole milk and 1% milk since I ran out of whole milk then used low fat buttermilk ( didn’t see anything about cultures so I think it didn’t have live active cultures but not sure). Accidently brought milk to 83° degrees instead of 86° degrees, then stirred in buttermilk, left in pot and put in oven with lid cracked for 36 hrs, then strained off whey for 24 more hrs. The texture came out just like when I strain greek yogurt – a thick cream cheese-like consistency, but tasted like sour cream. I liked it, alone, or with raspberry syrup. I will try this recipe next time in my Ninja Foodi on Yogurt setting and with non fat dry milk powder made into milk with low fat buttermilk just as an experiment to see what happens.
Hi Niki, thanks for sharing – that’s really interesting! I’ve heard so much about people using the Ninja Foodi or Instant Pot to make yogurt and Quark… I don’t have one currently but I really want to get one and try it as well. Let me know how it goes! /Lisa
Wow sounds great , is this like fresh made cream cheese that we
Have in the States ?
It is similar to some cream cheese but not the same – it tastes slightly more sour and can differ in texture a little bit. In some grocery stores you can actually find Quark now (I was lucky a few weeks ago to find it in our local store). /Lisa
Since Quark is very hard to find in Australia and seriously overpriced I was so happy to find your recipe. Finally I can eat Quark and make Cheesecake again!
I have been making quark forabout 15 years. I made it pretty much the same way as you do, except I would put it into the oven with just the oven light on till it was visibly separated. Now I dicoverd that it is a lot simpler to make in the instant pot on the lowest yogurt setting. It takes about 24 hours.
Thanks for sharing! I don’t have an Instant Pot (yet), but will give it a try if I get one in the future /Lisa
Just put milk and buttermilk in pot. Set on yogurt and walk away??
Yes, please let us know your actual process for the instant pot. You add the milk and buttermilk, set it on low for 24 hours?
Telse, when you use the insta pot do you wrap it in the towel and squeeze after 24 hours?
Hi Patricia, it is not just German speaking countries that enjoy quark. Quark su very popular i many Slavic speaking countries as well
This looks great! I’d use a nut milk bag instead of a dish towel, though. Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been thinking about making Quark for a while.
Thanks, Patricia! I used to use nut milk bags when we lived in Europe as well… unfortunately we didn’t take it with us when we made the move back to North America a few months ago so I’ve used dish towels instead which also work well. But your comment reminded me that finding a good nut milk bag is something I should do now that stores are open again. Let me know how it goes if you do decide to make some quark! 🙂 /Lisa