Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are two products made from milk and are often associated with healthy, high-protein meals. Beyond that, they each have some important characteristics that you should consider before choosing one over the other. In the SPICEography Showdown below, we compare their properties.
Table of contents
How does cottage cheese differ from Greek yogurt?
Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt are produced using different methods. With cottage cheese, a lactic acid starter made up of bacteria like Lactococcus lactis is added to milk and causes the formation of the solid gel-like curd. The milk is heated and cooled. The curd is cut into smaller pieces, drained and rinsed before the addition of a cream dressing.
Greek yogurt is made by adding yogurt cultures to milk and then straining it to remove the liquid whey, which is also called acid whey. Because of this, an alternative name for Greek yogurt is strained yogurt.
Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt have different nutritional values. Cottage cheese has slightly more protein than Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has fewer calories for the same serving size and lower levels of sodium.
Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt have different flavor profiles. Cottage cheese has a mild flavor that can be somewhat creamy in the full-fat version. It is lumpy because of the curds, which may be large or small. Lower fat versions have been described as mushy. Cottage cheese can also be particularly high in sodium, which you won’t get from Greek yogurt. While cultures can be used to make both cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, they are likely to be killed off when making cottage cheese and probably won’t contribute to its flavor. Greek yogurt, on the other hand, has a strong acidic flavor and a smoother consistency.
Can you use cottage cheese as a Greek yogurt substitute (and vice versa?)
Cottage cheese is an excellent Greek yogurt substitute in many applications, the two are nutritionally similar and both can add a creamy flavor and mouthfeel to dishes. Cottage cheese’s flavor is mild, so you won’t get the acidic tang from cottage cheese that is one of the distinctive features of Greek yogurt.
The texture is also something that you should consider when making this replacement. Cottage cheese is lumpy, unlike Greek yogurt, which is smooth. If your dish requires yogurt’s smooth texture, you will need to place your cottage cheese in a food processor or blender and blend. Something else to keep in mind is the fact that cottage cheese can be salty. Look for a low-sodium or sodium-free cottage cheese to get a closer match for Greek yogurt.
Greek yogurt may work as a cottage cheese substitute in many dishes. Note that it is more noticeably acidic, so this may be an issue in dishes that rely on the flavor of pure cottage cheese. It will also be smooth, so you won’t get cottage cheese’s lumpy texture.
When should you use cottage cheese, and when should you use Greek yogurt?
Use cottage cheese when you need a high-protein topping for salad or accompaniment for fruit. You can also use it as a spread for bread and as a ricotta substitute in Italian dishes. Greek yogurt is often served with fruit or used to add richness to smoothies. It is a common condiment and marinade for savory dishes in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food cultures.