One nostalgic dairy product has had a surprising comeback thanks to #FoodTok: cottage cheese. While the trendy, versatile dairy staple once had a bad rap (you either loved it or hated it), the 252 million views on #cottagecheese say it all—#FoodTok is converting the curdled milk cynics into fanatics. Aside from its health benefits (more to come on that), TikTokers are redeeming the once-overlooked snack by transforming it into endless recipes—from mac and cheese to toast and pancakes to ice cream (yes, you read that right). But is cottage cheese in fact good for you? I asked dietitians what they think of the now-viral ingredient, plus I break down the health perks of adding it to your diet and the must-try recipes to give a whirl.
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Blended Cottage Cheese 101 “Blended cottage cheese is always gritty” or “I can’t get blended cottage cheese completely smooth” – As simple as it sounds – you simply need to blend it longer. 2-3 minutes should do the trick. If needed, microwave for 30-45 seconds before blending to make the process easier “Blended cottage cheese sauces always separate when I add them to pasta” – Most of the time – this is caused by 1 of 2 things. Either your pasta is way too hot, or the water content is too high. Fully strain cooked pasta, and let sit for 2-3 mins (so it isn’t extremely hot when adding sauce), then add desired amount of sauce to the warm pasta. – Avoid heating the sauce in an excessively hot pan. I recommend just adding straight from the blender without heating in a pan, and if needed microwave for 30-60 seconds BEFORE blending so that it is warm – IF the sauce does “separate” when you add to the pasta, remove from heat and let it sit for ~5 minutes. Then, stir the pasta continually and the sauce will actually re-constitute. Again, the separating issue typically is caused by excess heat or water content, but is resolved as it cools down a bit and thickens. I have countless blended cottage cheese recipes on my page – and they’re a great starting point to learn how to work with the ingredient. My favorite aspect of it is that it’s quite simply the easiest cheese sauce you can make – no sauce pan or flour needed, simply throw everything in a blender and you’re good to go. Done every time in 2 minutes or less. And of course – it also works great for “cheesecake” style desserts (which I have a few of on my page as well!) Entire batch of sauce 840 Cals 100g Protein 36g Carbs 40g Fat Makes enough for ~1 pound or 16oz of pasta! Ingredients: 450g 2% Cottage cheese 80g 2% cheddar (or cheddar of choice) 20g Parmigianno Reggiano* 30g Cheddar Powder** 150g milk Salt/Pepper to taste #blendedcottagecheese #whippedcottagecheese #cottagecheeserecipe #blendedcottagecheeserecipe #cottagecheese #cottagecheesesauce #cottagecheesepasta #stealthhealth
What Is Cottage Cheese?
First, a little history lesson on cottage cheese. While it’s unclear when it made its debut (people have supposedly been eating variations of the dairy product for thousands of years), cottage cheese is believed to be the first cheese made in America. It came about as an economical way to make use of excess milk from the butter-making process. Fast forward to the 1970s when it gained popularity as the “it” diet and health food.
So what is cottage cheese really? “Cottage cheese is a type of cheese made from the curds of cow’s milk,” described Mary Sabat MS, RDN, LD, a nutritionist and ACE personal trainer. “The curds are formed by adding an acid or rennet to milk, causing it to coagulate and separate into curds and whey. The curds are then drained and often rinsed to remove the whey, resulting in the creation of cottage cheese.” Stroll down any dairy aisle and you’ll see that the product comes in three varieties based on its milk fat content: nonfat, reduced-fat, or full-fat. Whatever floats your boat, just beware of any with flavors—they’re likely laden with additives.
While cottage cheese has a mild, slightly sweet and salty flavor (making it an ideal complement to countless dishes without compromising taste or flavor), its lumpy texture is often what puts people off. If you were once apart of the won’t-touch-cottage-cheese-with-a-ten-foot-pole camp, (it’s me, hi) or you’re hesitant to jump on #FoodTok’s latest sensation, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it because there’s major FOMO to be had (spoiler: the recipes are that good).
What Are the Benefits?
With the resurgence of retro food, you’ve got to wonder if there are cottage cheese benefits to back it up or whether it’s just another food fad that we’ll be saying see ya! to in a week. The final verdict? Dietitians give it a thumbs up for its high-protein, low-glycemic-index, probiotic-rich, and vitamin B-packed profile.
It’s high in protein and other nutrients
“Cottage cheese is a good source of high-quality protein, containing all the essential amino acids necessary for the body,” Sabat conveyed. “Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, producing enzymes and hormones, and providing a feeling of satiety.” Help yourself to a one half-cup serving of low-fat (1% milk fat) cottage cheese and you’ll rack up 14 grams of protein (more than what two eggs serve up!). BTW, to pack more protein into your diet, check out these hacks.
Cottage cheese also provides essential nutrients like phosphorus (regulates the normal function of nerves and muscles, including the heart) and selenium (boosts immune function, improves hair and nail health, and supports a healthy thyroid) that help ensure your body systems are fine-tuned.
It has a low glycemic index (GI)
PSA: Following a low-GI diet may help you lose or manage weight, balance blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, decrease total cholesterol levels, and lessen the risk of diabetes and heart and blood vessel diseases. “Cottage cheese has a low glycemic index, which means it does not cause spikes in blood glucose levels compared to other dairy products,” explained Edibel Quintero, a registered dietitian and medical advisor with HealthInsider.
It can help improve gut health
Some cottage cheese brands include fermented or live cultures (read: probiotics). Consuming probiotics, or living microorganisms that promote gut health can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, thereby improving digestion and gut function.
It may aid in reducing inflammation and boosting energy
“Cottage cheese is also packed with B vitamins, especially vitamins B2 and B12,” Quintero stated. “Vitamin B2 helps with reducing inflammation and oxidative stress, whereas vitamin B12 is required for the healthy functioning of the nervous system, the formation of red blood cells, and DNA synthesis.” What’s more, vitamin B12 helps the body metabolize the food you eat into glucose, which gives you energy. Translation: The old-school provision just might give your body a leg up in maintaining tip-top shape.
It reinforces strong bones
It turns out milk does do your body good. “Cottage cheese is a rich source of calcium, making it highly beneficial for maintaining stronger bones and teeth,” Quintero affirmed. For that reason, she cited that cottage cheese may be a nutritious addition to a healthy eating routine for those with osteoporosis or who want to prevent bone-related disorders.
So, is Cottage Cheese Healthy?
The short answer? Yes, but it also depends on your own body and lifestyle (i.e. whether you are lactose-intolerant, have a dairy allergy, or follow a vegan diet) and how the cottage cheese is made. “Whether or not cottage cheese is considered healthy depends on an individual’s dietary needs and preferences,” Sabat pointed out. “As a protein-rich food, it can be beneficial for those looking to increase their protein intake or maintain muscle mass. Of most concern is that cottage cheese is an animal-based product and should always be organic.”
If there are other ingredients such as flavoring, additives, or other artificial preservatives present, or if it’s high in sodium, cottage cheese can quickly go from a nutrient-dense snack to a not-so-healthy option. Sabat also mentioned taking into consideration that many people have trouble digesting the sugar in dairy while some have issues with the casein in dairy being inflammatory. Bottom line: If dairy tends to give you digestive drama (ahem, bloating), it may be best to exclude cottage cheese from your grocery list. Otherwise, it can be a healthy way to stay satiated and load up on essential nutrients in all its forms: a nibble eaten solo, dip, topping, substitution, or addition to your favorite fare. Consider it a food chameleon.
Recipes You Need To Try
There’s no shortage of food influencers and wellness girlies alike showing mad love for cottage cheese on #FoodTok, but don’t just take their word for it. Try these cottage cheese concoctions for yourself.
1. @rachlmansfield‘s Cottage Cheese Blender Pancakes
2. @bakedbymelissa‘s Cottage Cheese Toast
3. @dzaslavsky‘s Zucchini Cottage Cheese Lasagna
Part 2: Zucchini Lasagna healthylasagna cottagecheese cottagecheeserecipe zucchinilasagna
4. @nutritionbykylie‘s Cottage Cheese Dip
If there’s one recipe you ever try from TikTok, let it be this one because it takes <5 min and it’s so good that it single-handedly converted me from a cottage cheese hater into a cottage cheese lover!! #cottagecheese #easyrecipe #highprotein #healthyrecipes #dietitian
5. @brittanyraetoday‘s Cottage Cheese Pasta Sauce
6. @feelgoodfoodie‘s Cottage Cheese Ice Cream
7. @jakecohen‘s Cottage Cheese Cookie Dough
COTTAGE CHEESE EDIBLE COOKIE DOUGH. I’m unwell, I know, but I need a steady stream of sweets throughout the day and lots of protein so I’m actually vvvvvvvv into a few spoons of this magic whenever my sweet tooth is acting up!! Very easy! Don’t try to bake it! Hope y’all are getting swole!!!! Cottage Cheese Edible Cookie Dough 1 pound low-fat cottage cheese 1/4 cup maple syrup 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 cups almond flour 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder 1 cup dark chocolate chips In a blender, combine the cottage cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla, then purée until very smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the almond flour and protein powder until well incorporated, then fold in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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