Cottage cheese is a cow’s milk product with a mild taste, thanks to having no added salts, sugars, or flavors. It is made by adding an enzyme to skim milk which causes the milk proteins to clump together.
You can even make cottage cheese yourself at home by following just a few simple steps: heat pasteurized cow’s milk, add a few drops of something acidic substance like lemon or lime juice or even vinegar, then allow it to sit for a while.
The milk will curdle (form little lumps), which you can later drain to obtain the little clumps of cheese. It will be soft, white, and with a creamy texture, ready to eat on its own or to add to any savory dish or dessert you choose.
Another thing about cottage cheese is that it is low in fat and high protein and calcium content, making it a healthy every day choice in your weight loss diet, athlete’s diet, and kids’ diet. It is also very versatile, coming whipped, creamed, lactose-free, large-curd, small-curd, sodium-free, and even reduced sodium.
You can enjoy the deliciousness of cottage cheese in many ways: simply spread it over your breakfast toast, use it in cheesecakes, combine it with fruit or even chocolate, mix it with cereal or use it as a dip ꟷ cottage cheese serves many purposes.
So, now that you know how it’s made, what it tastes like, and when to use it, let’s go through some of the best and healthiest cottage cheese substitutes, in case you ever run out.
The first alternative that comes to mind for replacing cottage cheese is ricotta. It is very similar regarding texture, taste and how it’s made, but it’s even more nutritious than cottage cheese, being richer in calcium, iron, zinc, and magnesium as well as vitamins A, B2, D, E.
Ricotta began life as a cheese from the milk of sheep, cows, goats, and even water buffalo. Today, though, it’s mostly made from cow’s milk, especially in North America.
Ricotta is so similar to cottage cheese, that you can even use them both in the same recipe, although ricotta is somewhat creamier and easier to spread and has a slightly sweeter taste. However, if you’re looking to replace these two in a special diet, it’s best to talk to your nutritionist first, since ricotta does have a higher protein and fat content, even though they’re good fats.
But if you’re not following a special diet, you can go ahead and use ricotta instead, there’s little to no difference in the final taste. Nor do you need to adjust the amount. Just use the same ricotta as you would cottage cheese.
2. Fromage Blanc
Fromage blanc or white cheese is made of skim or whole cow’s milk, sometimes with some added cream for a better flavor. Originally from Northern France, fromage blanc is dense in texture but mild in taste, with a hint of sweetness, somewhat like a buttery Greek yogurt.
Being very perishable, it is only fresh for a few days, it’s difficult to import from France, so most people settle for the American version, which isn’t quite the same. However, American and French fromage blanc will make a good substitute for cottage cheese or ricotta in desserts, cooked dishes, and uncooked as well.
For salty spreads, mix it with herbs, chilies, and other savory ingredients to get a creamy and fluffy topping or use it to fill pastries. The French use it topped with jam or fruit for dessert, but you can be creative and do just what you fancy as far as sweets are concerned.
Similar to fromage blanc in texture and creaminess, mascarpone is an Italian variety of soft, fresh cheese, but it is significantly higher in fat. This means it has a stronger flavor than cottage cheese and ricotta, so use mascarpone in recipes in which you can balance out its flavor by adding strong ingredients such as garlic.
Commonly used in tiramisu, risottos and zabaglione, mascarpone can also improve desserts such as cannoli. But keep in mind when using it in place of cottage cheese or ricotta, that because it is so dense, it may need blending to get the texture your recipe calls for.
4. Egg White
Egg white makes a great substitute for cottage cheese. They contain plenty of nutritional ingredients, including the 56% of egg protein that is in the white.
It is the egg yolk that contains all the fat. Egg white contains no cholesterol and almost zero fats. In addition, the white is an important source of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium. So if you’re on a diet for muscle gain or losing weight, this is a great option to consider.
Egg white isn’t only an ally in your weight loss plan. The great variety of minerals and vitamins also help regulate blood pressure and strengthen bones ꟷ which makes them suitable even for older people and your little ones.
Consider making an egg white omelet in the morning instead of spreading cottage cheese on your toast, or use egg whites instead of the whole egg when preparing crispy strips or Wiener schnitzel to keep a good balance of protein and fat, or hard boil the egg and only eat the white.
5. Greek Yogurt
Process cottage cheese in a blender and you’ll get a texture that is rich and creamy, very much like Greek yogurt, which is why Greek yogurt makes such a great alternative.
High in protein but low in calories and sugar, Greek yogurt is ideal for breakfast, in between meals, or for even dinner. Simply add some fruit, fresh or dried, some oat flakes or granola, and, for a speedy rather than healthy dessert, top it off with some crushed biscuits and a teaspoon of jam.
As a substitute for cottage cheese, you can use it for fresh dips, spreads, or salad dressings. But if you’re looking to replace cottage cheese in baked pastries or desserts, you may need to balance out the high water content of water in yogurt that will affect the texture and creaminess of the end result.
Similar to yogurt in texture and to cottage cheese in nutritional properties, kefir is curdy and can therefore be used as a substitute for dips, topping,s or even dressings. But keep in mind that it won’t work for cooked recipes.
7. Whipped Cream, Sour Cream
Whipped and sour cream imitate the texture of blenderized cottage cheese, it’s almost like Greek yogurt, but can be significantly richer in fat.
If you’re looking for an airy consistency to your dish or recipe, both whipped and sour cream are the way to go. But if you’re planning to make a raw, refrigerated cheesecake, keep in mind that because of their softness, the cheesecake will take more time to harden or you may need to add other ingredients to help the process.
Last but not least, whipped cream can be sweeter than neutral tasting cottage cheese, whereas sour cream will be more sour. Find the balance in taste and consistency and you’ll quite possibly trick the recipe into something even more delicious than the original!
8. Tofu (The Vegan Option)
If you’re looking to replace cottage cheese something vegan and lactose-free, soy will always help you out. Tofu is a great alternative to cottage cheese and it is made in a similar way. It is the best option on our list in terms of texture, but it does have a different flavor.
The tofu variety that best mimics cottage cheese and ricotta is silken tofu, which is made by coagulating soy milk without curdling it. This is an important process as regular tofu is much more dense and tough than cottage cheese or ricotta so check what you’re buying!
Cooking tofu removes its poignant taste, making it ideal as a substitute in recipes like lasagna, pasta sauces, ravioli, and manicotti, but keep in mind that you may have to drain out any excess water. Process it correctly, mix it with spices and herbs and get creative!
What else you should know about cottage cheese alternatives
You can certainly find plenty of cheeses similar to cottage cheese in texture and nutritional value all over the world: paneer, quark, farmer’s cheese, and pot cheese. But here we’ve given you the most common options, ones that are also easy to find in supermarkets.
So if you’re in a rush, you can substitute cottage cheese with things you’re likely to have sitting in your refrigerator, including eggs and yogurt.
Most of the products included here will give you great results. But the one you should choose depends on the recipe. If you need fluffy, airy and creamy, use Greek yogurt, mascarpone, fromage blanc, or some heavy cream, although don’t forget to balance out the sourness if you use sour cream.
And also don’t forget that we’ve focused on taste and texture. If you’re an athlete looking to balance you diet or are lactose-intolerant, our advice is to talk to your nutritionist before going for alternatives.