Discover some of the best cottage cheese substitutes to use in your baking, cooking, and meal preparations. Whether you need dairy-free or vegan diets or are just looking for a change, we’ve got options to suit your needs!
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Cottage cheese is loved by many bakers and cooks as well as those following a healthy lifestyle! It’s naturally high in protein, and its mild flavor and consistency make it ideal for adding volume to various dishes, such as dips (sweet or savory), cheesecakes, parfaits, sandwich filling, overnight oats, lasagna, and so much more!
Now, if cottage cheese is so great, why are we even bothering trying to find substitutes?! While I love cottage cheese and its versatility, some simply don’t enjoy the flavor or curd-like texture. In addition, cottage cheese is a dairy-based food and isn’t a suitable option for those who follow a dairy-free or vegan diet.
Cottage Cheese Substitutes
Cottage cheese is a product of skim milk and renin (an enzyme known for producing clumping or coagulation). The clumpy texture is why some refer to it as “curds and whey”. Without added flavoring and ingredients, cottage cheese is light and mild in flavor.
If you’re looking for cottage cheese substitutes for whatever reason, you’ve come to the right place! This comprehensive list of substitutes explains which works best for specific uses, the characteristics of each substitute, and provides helpful tips on how to substitute cottage cheese without negatively affecting the outcome of your dish.
1. Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese is an excellent cottage cheese substitute because it shares a remarkably similar texture, taste, and consistency.
Both cottage cheese and ricotta cheese are made using a similar process, too! You can substitute ricotta cheese evenly with cottage cheese, making it incredibly convenient and an easy swap in recipes like stuffed lasagna spaghetti squash and million dollar spaghetti.
2. Feta Cheese
Feta has a similar texture to cottage cheese. However, it has a slightly tangier, salty flavor that makes it best suited for savory dishes.
Due to the stronger flavor of feta cheese, I recommend starting with just half of the amount of cottage cheese called for and omitting any additional salt. Then, taste your recipe, and adjust as needed!
3. Goat’s Cheese
Goat cheese has a texture similar to cottage cheese but a slightly stronger, tangier flavor. As a result, it’s best used in savory dishes.
It can be substituted 1:1 for cottage cheese. However, as with feta cheese, I recommend starting with about half the amount called for and adjusting the amount as needed until you reach your desired flavor and consistency.
4. Fromage Blanc
Fromage Blanc is a white cheese with a sweet and tangy flavor. It can be used as a 1:1 substitute for cottage cheese in a variety of dishes including sweet baked goods, desserts, savory meals, and dips.
Mascarpone is ideal for many recipes, including those that call for cottage cheese. It’s slightly sweeter, creamier, and richer than cottage cheese. However, a squeeze of lemon juice is all you need to replicate the tangy kick you need.
Use a 1:1 substitute when replacing cottage cheese with mascarpone.
6. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is similar in flavor to cottage cheese. However, the texture is completely different as cream cheese is smooth and silky rather than clumpy. As a result, it’s best used in dips, spreads, and sweet treats such as cheesecake.
You can use a 1:1 substitute when swapping cottage cheese for cream cheese.
Kefir is smoother than cottage cheese (much like yogurt). While both kefir and cottage cheese are high in calcium, kefir is a better source of vitamin A and contains fewer calories and less saturated fat. As a result, many people consider it a healthier option.
Due to its creamy consistency, kefir is best used in place of cottage cheese in dips, spreads, or as a moist topping. Keep in mind that kefir has a higher moisture content compared to cottage cheese, meaning some recipes could become a bit runny. Apart from that, it’s a great 1:1 substitute.
8. Parmesan Cheese
Parmesan cheese has a similar mild flavor to cottage cheese. However, parmesan is a fairly dry cheese, meaning the texture is a lot more crumbly.
As a result, parmesan is a great substitute in dishes where cottage cheese is used as a topping such as salads or savory baked recipes. Use a small amount at a time, and adjust as needed since the exact ratio is a bit trickier.
9. Mozzarella Cheese
While it can be used, mozzarella cheese is a tricky substitute for cottage cheese. While it has a mild flavor, it’s soft, almost rubbery consistency alters the texture of recipes.
My recommendation is to only use it in Italian-inspired recipes when you’re really in a pinch. Use a 1:1 substitute, and adjust as needed.
10. Faisselle Cheese
This cheese is not likely to be a pantry staple. However, it’s an excellent substitute for cottage cheese if you do have it on hand!
It’s great for savory and sweet dishes, dips, spreads, and toppings. Use a 1:1 substitute with this creamy cheese.
Non-Cheese Dairy Substitutes
11. Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt is rich and creamy, smooth, and slightly tangy in flavor. It’s best used as a 1:1 substitute in dips and spreads or as a moist topping.
I recommend using full-fat varieties for the strongest flavor. Also, keep in mind that Greek yogurt contains more moisture than cottage cheese. So, you’ll likely want to strain off any extra liquid before adding it to a dish.
12. Whipped Heavy Cream
As you might guess, whipped heavy cream has a much lighter, airy consistency when compared to cottage cheese. It’s also more neutral in flavor.
It’s best used as a 1:1 substitute in dessert recipes. The taste and texture of your treat will differ slightly, but it will still be delicious!
13. Sour Cream
Sour cream is smoother than cottage cheese and has a bolder, tangier flavor. That said, it works well as a 1:1 substitute in dips and spreads and can even be used as a topping or in some desserts such as ambrosia salad.
If you’re concerned about the ratio of substitution when using an alternative to cottage cheese, start with a smaller amount and gradually increase if needed. This works with spreads and dips but may be trickier for baking. If you’re unsure, try testing a recipe ahead of time, and opt for a cottage cheese substitute you feel confident about using.
This vegan substitute is high in protein and mild in flavor with a similar texture to cottage cheese. Use it in a 1:1 ratio as cottage cheese in savory recipes, such as spreads and pasta.
Hummus can be used as a 1:1 substitute in flavorful dishes, but I recommend only using plain hummus. Otherwise, the flavor of your dish will be completely different.
16. Chickpea Puree
Since hummus is made from chickpeas, a chickpea puree could also be used when you don’t have other options available. Just drain and rinse canned chickpeas, and mash or blend them until smooth and creamy.
17. Bean Puree (Red or White)
Bean puree provides a thick and creamy consistency. However, the taste is noticeably different from cottage cheese, much like hummus and chickpea puree.
The flavor of bean puree can be somewhat overpowering, so I’d recommend starting with a reduced amount and adding if needed.
18. Almond Milk
Almond milk is a mild and slightly nutty plant-based milk that could be used as a cup-for-cup substitute for cottage cheese in recipes that call for liquid ingredients.
Take note that you will need to reduce the other liquid ingredients in the recipe if you do use this substitute.
19. Egg White
Cooked egg whites could be a good substitute if you enjoy cottage cheese for breakfast. They’re a great lactose-free option that could be added to the top of your toast as a 1:1 substitute.
20. Fish, Poultry, and Lean Meat
This may sound crazy at first glance. However, if you’re using cottage cheese in your diet as a way to add protein, consider chicken, turkey, other lean meats, and fish as suitable alternatives.
Cottage cheese is a fresh cheese that is made by combining cheese with an acid culture. To make it, an acid or acid-producing culture is added to milk. This starts the process of separating the liquid whey from the milk solids, also known as curds and whey. Then, the curds are washed and combined with cream and salt.
Technically, you could eat cottage every day, although you may get bored of it quickly! Variety in any diet is always recommended.
Cottage cheese offers a rich source of protein, selenium, and some B vitamins. It’s also known to aid muscle growth, weight loss, and bone health.