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What Exactly Is Cottage Cheese?

A bowl is filled with cottage cheese.
SMarina/Shutterstock.com

Growing up, I watched my grandmother combine cottage cheese and canned pineapple chunks for an afternoon snack. While I also willingly ate this snack, I realized that I never actually knew what cottage cheese was.

So, even now, I find myself asking what is cottage cheese?

Well, at the most basic level, it’s cheese. Shocking, we know. When you start to break the food down a bit more, though, cottage cheese is a blend of curds and cream—think burrata without the casing.

To make cottage cheese, enzymes or live cultures known as probiotics are added to milk. The milk sugars then convert to lactic acid which then separates the curds. The curds are a blend of milk solids, fats, and proteins. The curds, which form in a block, are then sliced into small pieces, separated from any excess liquid (known as whey), and combined with cream.

Rubbermaid 2-Piece Brilliance Food Storage Containers with Lids for Lunch, Meal Prep, and Leftovers

Take your cottage cheese snack on the go with an air-tight container.

When fully prepared, cottage cheese should have a smooth, milky taste with a bit of saltiness. Full fat cottage cheese will be creamier, and a low-fat or fat-fee option will have some tartness.

As for enjoying it, the dairy is best eaten similarly to how you’d consume yogurt. Pair it with veggies or fruit, add it in smoothies, or enjoy it on its own. Plus, it’s got health benefits. While cottage cheese contains its fair share of sodium (up to 20% of your daily limit per serving) and can be a bit heavy on sugar, it also has a pack of protein with 13 grams per half a cup, plenty of calcium and potassium, and can contain probiotics.

The next time you want a cheesy snack, instead of reaching for the traditional cheese stick or constructing an entire charcuterie board, you might want to just opt for some cottage cheese and pineapple.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is an Atlanta-based writer who has written about everything from whether Crisco is a good moisturizer to how to KonMari your space. Her work has appeared in Bustle, My First Apartment, and Make It Grateful. Read Full Bio »
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