Some devour it simply, with a spoon straight from the tub. Others spread it over toast like burrata; mix it with sweet ingredients to make healthier versions of ice cream or cookie dough; or use it as a dip (paired with mustard) for raw vegetables, fruits, sausages and more.
In July, Google search for “cottage cheese” rose to the highest levels recorded since 2004.
“It’s definitely really trendy right now,” said Leah Goebel, a registered dietitian at Northwestern Medicine, adding that cottage cheese packs a lot of nutrients.
“I think it makes sense that it’s having a moment,” she said.
Is cottage cheese actually good for you?
Compared to other dairy products, cottage cheese is relatively low in calories. A half-cup serving of full-fat cottage cheese contains about 100 calories, while an equal serving of ricotta cheese contains about 190 calories and a three-quarter cup of full-fat Greek yogurt has about 160 calories.
And it comes with a range of nutritional benefits, said Julia Zumpano, a registered dietitian at the Cleveland Clinic. One serving provides about 30 percent of the recommended daily supply of selenium, an essential trace mineral that is critical for DNA synthesis and defense against cellular damage. Cottage cheese also contains riboflavin, she said, a vitamin that helps our cells grow and produce energy, and phosphorus, which maintains our teeth and bones. It is also rich in calcium, said Ms. Goebel, who many Americans don’t get enough in their diets.
And, how promoters on TikTok noted, it is high in protein. A half-cup serving has about 12 grams, about the same amount found in three eggs, 1.5 ounces of chicken breast or half a cup of full-fat Greek yogurt. That means cottage cheese can help people stay fuller for longer periods of time, such as between meals, Ms. Goebel said.
But cottage cheese can also contain a lot of sodium, said Eric Rimm, a professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health. “It’s kind of like bread — it’s one of those hidden things, like, ‘Wow, I never realized this had so much sodium.'” People with high blood pressure, in particular, may want to limit how much cottage cheese they consume, he said.
And if you’re lactose-insensitive, Ms. Zumpano said, too much cottage cheese (or other types of milk) can cause stomach upset and bloating.
How to choose healthy cottage cheese
Most grocery stores carry various types of cottage cheese, including ones with different fat and flavor profiles, Dr. Rimm said. He suggested choosing those with zero added sugars and low fat percentages. Diets high in saturated fat can raise your blood levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, which can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke.
Some spoiled cheeses also contain other added ingredients, such as artificial sweeteners or emulsifying agents, which can give the cheese curds a “bubbier effect,” Dr. Rimm said. Nutrition experts recommend prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods whenever possible.
Dr. Rimm suggested scanning the ingredient list and choosing cottage cheese that has no more than three or four ingredients in total. They should also be ingredient names you recognize. “That’s really all you need to do it,” he said.