Cottage cheese and cream cheese are similar in several ways aside from the fact that both are made from curdled milk. They have some important differences as well. Learn more about the flavors and appearances of each in this SPICEography Showdown.
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How does cottage cheese differ from cream cheese?
Cottage cheese and cream cheese have different nutritional profiles. Cottage cheese is a low-fat dairy product prized for its high-protein content and low caloric value. Its health benefits have made it a valuable tool for those seeking to lose weight. Protein can keep you feeling full for longer, which means that it can make you less likely to overindulge. Cream cheese contains more fat per serving and more calories as a result. It has fewer vitamins and minerals per serving compared to a serving of cottage cheese and much less protein.
Cottage cheese and cream cheese have different flavors and consistencies. Cottage cheese is creamy with a soft, lumpy consistency. It does not have the sharpness associated with other cheese products, including cream cheese. It may also be saltier than cream cheese.
Cream cheese has a mild cheesy flavor with creaminess and has a smooth, spreadable consistency at room temperature or when whipped. Refrigerated unwhipped cream cheese is dense and clay-like. Cream cheese is available plain but may also have other flavoring ingredients like chives or garlic.
Cottage cheese and cream cheese don’t have the same color. Cottage cheese is a milky white; cream cheese can be cream-colored or be in the spectrum between cream and white.
Cottage cheese and cream cheese contain different amounts of water. Cream cheese is only a little over 50 percent water. Cottage cheese is 80 percent water.
The respective serving sizes of cottage cheese and cream cheese are very different. The typical serving of cottage cheese is approximately one cup, while cream cheese is usually consumed in far smaller portions. The typical serving size for cream cheese is usually around an ounce.
Can you use cottage cheese as a cream cheese substitute (and vice versa?)
Cottage cheese can be a low-fat alternative to cream cheese in most applications. Its combination of solid curds and cream can provide a light but filling option if you are trying to lose weight. The fact that cottage cheese has less fat than cream cheese may impact the consistency of cakes and cookies if you switch them out. Also, cottage cheese does not have the subtle cheesy flavor that you get from cream cheese, so you may not want to use it in sauces and baked goods where that flavor is essential.
You can use cream cheese as a cottage cheese substitute if all you need is an alternative spread for toasted bread or bagels. Aside from that role, it won’t be much good as a cottage cheese substitute. It is too dense and rich to be eaten on its own, and it contains too much fat to be helpful for weight loss.
When should you use cottage cheese, and when should you use cream cheese?
Cottage cheese is popular diet food that is sometimes served along with fruit or to top salads. It is common to use cottage cheese as an alternative to ricotta for making lasagna and meat-filled manicotti. Cream cheese is best known as a spread for bagels and other breads. It is also the source of the cheese flavor in cheesecake. It shows up in recipes for dips and even in some pasta sauces.