Creamy, light, and delicious, cottage cheese is the cheese of choice for dieters, healthy eaters, and athletes everywhere. It’s very low calorie, low fat, and packed full of protein to keep you fuller for longer. Not to mention that it makes any dish, be it savory or sweet automatically more creamy. But what happens if you don’t have this versatile cheese on hand?
Worry not! If you’re in need of a substitute for cottage cheese, there are plenty of healthy low-calorie alternatives you can try.
1. Ricotta Cheese
The best substitute for cottage cheese is ricotta cheese. Ricotta is essentially the Italian version of cottage cheese, having both a similar taste and texture. However, while both kinds of cheese are known for their lumpy curds, ricotta curds are much smaller. This means the cheese has a finer, creamier texture that is absolutely perfect for desserts like tarts or creamy dips.
Moreover, ricotta cheese has some pretty impressive health benefits. It’s packed full of protein, one of the most important macronutrients for muscle growth. It also contains large amounts of calcium, which is essential for preserving bone health.
Because ricotta is so similar to cottage cheese, substituting is easy.
½ cup of cottage cheese = ½ cup of Ricotta.
However, keep in mind that Ricotta cheese has a bit more calories than cottage cheese. ½ cup of cottage cheese has 121 calories, while the same amount of Ricotta has 180. While this amount is nothing to worry about, you should account for it if you’re strict about counting your calories.
Another beloved Italian soft cheese, mascarpone, is synonymous with Tiramisu. It’s the perfect cheese to use in a variety of Italian desserts, and many pasta dishes. It also makes an excellent substitute for cottage cheese. While it lacks the signature curds, mascarpone imparts a creamy richness to dishes you will absolutely adore.
It’s also quite healthy, despite the high calorie count. As opposed to cottage cheese, mascarpone has a pretty high-fat content that accounts for the cheese’s buttery flavor. More fat means that whatever meal you add it to is going to be incredibly satiating. It also has 0 carbs, meaning that it’s perfect if you’re following a keto or paleo diet.
Because mascarpone is more decadent than cottage cheese, take care to adjust the amounts.
½ cup of cottage cheese = ¼ cup of mascarpone.
Mascarpone also has less moisture than cottage cheese, so you may need to add more liquid to your recipe to get the same consistency.
3. Fromage Blanc
For this substitute for cottage cheese, we’re moving from Italy to France. Fromage Blanc is much more obscure than Ricotta or Mascarpone, but it’s no less delicious. Cheesemakers make this creamy goodness from skim or whole cow’s milk, adding a hint of butter or cream for extra flavor. This combination results in a dense cheese that has a light and mildly sweet flavor.
Much like mascarpone, Fromage Blanc lacks the iconic curds cottage cheese is known for. But since it has such a delightful flavor profile, it’s an excellent alternative.
Unfortunately, Fromage Blanc doesn’t keep very well. Therefore, importing it from France is difficult. An American version exists, but it’s obviously not as good as the real deal. However, despite being less flavorful, American Fromage Blanc will also work as a substitute for cottage cheese in desserts, cooked dishes, and spreads.
Because it’s so similar to cottage cheese, substituting is easy.
½ cup of cottage cheese = ½ cup of Fromage Blanc.
If you’re using it for savory dishes, keep track of the salinity. Most varieties of Fromage Blanc aren’t as salty as cottage cheese, so you may need to add extra spice to your cheesy spread when using it.
4. Greek Yogurt
Another beloved food of athletes and dieters alike, Greek yogurt is a great substitute for cottage cheese. Since this milk product is a yogurt, it obviously has a different texture than the lumpy cottage cheese. It’s a bit more liquid, with a smooth, creamy consistency.
However, the milky aftertaste of the yogurt makes it an excellent substitute if the taste is what you’re after. Moreover, since yogurt is such a popular superfood, it’s practically synonymous with healthy living. It’s packed full of protein to promote muscle growth and fullness. It’s also renowned for containing probiotic bacteria, which are vital for good gut health.
Though the yogurt has a different consistency from cottage cheese, it has a similar moisture content. Therefore, substitution is very simple.
½ cup of cottage cheese = ½ cup of Greek yogurt.
However, if you’re using it for savory recipes, don’t add any more acidity to your dish. While cottage cheese and greek yogurt are both milky and creamy, cottage cheese lacks that acid tang the yogurt is known for.
If Greek yogurt is a health food superstar, Kefir is its less-known, but an underrated cousin. This thick, creamy yogurt is a staple of Turkish cuisine and is packed full of nutrients. It has far more probiotic bacteria than regular yogurt, so it’s perfect if you have stomach issues. Kefir is also rich in calcium, magnesium, and B12 to keep your bones and brain healthy.
The kefir yogurt doesn’t lack in the flavor department either. It is incredibly thick and creamy just like Greek yogurt. However, it also contains cheese curds, which makes it an ideal substitute for cottage cheese, especially in savory dips and toppings.
Again, because of its texture, substituting is easy:
½ cup of cottage cheese = ½ cup of kefir.
If you’re looking to make your dish vegan-friendly, then tofu is the perfect substitute for cottage cheese. This fermented soybean ‘cheese’ is the holy grail of vegan and vegetarian cooking. It is packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals that help lower blood pressure and promote feelings of fullness.
Though it obviously has a different taste to cottage cheese, its texture is spot on. Silken tofu will work best as an alternative since it’s much softer and moister than hard-pressed tofu.
If you want to add the iconic cheese curds to your vegan spread, mix the silken tofu with hard-pressed tofu for added texture. Season your mix well, and marvel at how similar your vegan substitute is to the real thing.
Getting the ratios right when substituting is simple:
½ cup of cottage cheese = ½ cup of silken tofu.