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Home / Nutrition / Is Cottage Cheese Keto? Cottage Cheese vs. Plain Yogurt

Is Cottage Cheese Keto? Cottage Cheese vs. Plain Yogurt

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg July 16, 2021

Everyone wants to know, is cottage cheese keto? Many kinds of cheese are low in net carbs and high in fat, making them a great choice on Healthy Keto—but not all cheeses are equally keto-friendly.

One cheese that many people have questions about is cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is incredibly versatile. The soft and creamy texture makes it perfect for salads, vegetable dips, and desserts. Add a pinch of organic sea salt to a serving of cottage cheese, and it works as an excellent side to any meal.

But is cottage cheese keto-friendly?

Homemade keto cottage cheese

 

The short answer is yes, cottage cheese is keto—but it depends on the type and brand. 
 
Full-fat, plain cottage cheese is safe on a ketogenic diet in moderate amounts. But low-fat cottage cheese with added ingredients, like sugar, can quickly push your daily net carbs too high and kick your body out of ketosis.
 
See how cottage cheese compares to plain yogurt on keto.

 

What makes cottage cheese keto-friendly?

Keto is a high-fat, low-carb, and moderate-protein diet. The most important factor is keeping your carbs below 30 grams per day. Consuming too many carbohydrates on keto causes a spike in insulin, which can instantly stop ketosis. This is why the type of cottage cheese you consume matters.

One serving of cottage cheese can contain anywhere between 3 and 13 grams of net carbs (source). The 10-gram gap between the lowest and highest carb count makes all the difference when you have to stay under 30 grams per day. 
 
Full-fat, plain cottage cheese contains plenty of fat and relatively low carbohydrates, while low-fat cottage cheese can contain far too many carbs to be considered keto. 

But carbohydrates are not the only factor. If you're not careful, protein can also trigger insulin. Cottage cheese is rich in protein, so it's important to factor this into your daily macros. If you combine cottage cheese with other high-protein foods, you may spike your insulin level enough to knock your body out of ketosis. The average person needs only 3 to 6 ounces of protein per meal if they are not actively working on muscle gain.

Serving of plain cottage cheese

 

Is cottage cheese good for you?

Cottage cheese can be a healthy part of your diet. It's loaded with healthy fats, calcium, vitamin D, phosphorus, selenium, zinc, and B vitamins. Because of its high fat content and nutrients, full-fat cottage cheese is excellent for reducing insulin resistance. 

Always look for cottage cheese that contains at least 4% milk fat and has no added ingredients. Ideally, you want to shop for organic cottage cheese for the maximum health benefits. Organic dairy products contain higher-quality ingredients and fewer additives than non-organic dairy products. I also suggest trying kefir. Kefir is keto friendly and has numerous gut health benefits.

Avoid these ingredients in cottage cheese:
• Sugar
• High-fructose corn syrup
• Maltodextrin
• Modified food starch
• MSG
• Added fruit or flavorings

Overall, cottage cheese has many health benefits when consumed in moderate amounts. Limit yourself to one to two servings per day.

Cottage cheese and yogurt

 

Cottage cheese vs. plain yogurt

In the video above, I compare the differences between cottage cheese and yogurt on keto. Plain yogurt contains less fat, more carbs, and less protein. Cottage cheese is a better choice compared to plain yogurt because it contains more fat and fewer carbohydrates. 

Plain yogurt is safe on keto, but you have to be cautious about going over your daily carb limit. Always avoid sweetened and flavored yogurt because a single serving can push you over your carb limit. While you still have to limit your consumption of full-fat, plain cottage cheese on keto, you don't have to be quite as cautious.

 

What is cottage cheese?

Cottage cheese is made by acidifying and cooking milk, which creates solid curds that separate from the whey. Unlike aged cheeses, you can make fresh cottage cheese at home in a couple of hours by curdling milk with two simple ingredients: whole milk and vinegar or lemon juice. If you'd like to make homemade cottage cheese, check out our cottage cheese recipe below. But you don't have to make your own fresh cottage cheese on keto—even Daisy cottage cheese is keto-friendly.

 

What is plain yogurt good for?

There are many health benefits of eating yogurt. Plain yogurt is excellent for your gastrointestinal tract. It is a natural probiotic that supplies your gut with healthy bacteria and improves your microbial balance. A healthy gut microbiome is linked to better brain health, so eating yogurt can also improve your mood and cognitive function.

 

What is considered plain yogurt?

Plain yogurt is yogurt without any added fruit or flavorings, like strawberries, chocolate, and vanilla. Without added sugar and flavors, plain yogurt has a sour, tangy taste. Plain Greek yogurt is typically sourer than plain whole milk yogurt. In fact, you can use plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt as a substitute for sour cream in many keto recipes.

While it doesn't contain any added sugar, plain yogurt does contain sugar naturally—so it's still important to check the nutrition label for high sugar content.

 

Are natural and plain yogurt the same?

Natural and plain yogurt have subtle differences. Plain yogurt contains no added flavors or fruit, while natural yogurt contains no synthetic or unnatural ingredients, including preservatives and thickeners. 

Not all plain yogurt is natural, and not all natural yogurt is plain. Ideally, you want to choose an all-natural plain yogurt on keto. It's important to always check the back label for harmful ingredients or research the product online before making your purchase.

 

Which plain yogurt is best?

The best plain yogurt on keto is either whole milk or Greek yogurt. Both are great options. Greek yogurt contains less sugar and more protein, while whole milk yogurt contains more fat and more sugar. Avoid nonfat plain yogurt on keto. Instead, choose whole milk plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt since they contain fewer carbs and more fat.

Keto cottage cheese bowl

 

How to eat cottage cheese on keto

Cottage cheese can be a delicious addition to your Healthy Keto diet, and there are many ways you can use it in keto recipes. Try adding cottage cheese to salads, keto-friendly desserts, keto casseroles, and vegetable dips. You can also have cottage cheese on its own with a sprinkle of sea salt as a keto-friendly side dish. There are many delicious keto recipes that include cottage cheese, so it's a good idea to have it on hand.

 

How to make homemade keto cottage cheese

Making cottage cheese at home is easy and takes only about two hours. This is a great way to know exactly what's in your keto-friendly cottage cheese. Check out our delicious and simple cottage cheese recipe!

Keto cottage cheese bowl

 

Keto-friendly cottage cheese recipe

Time: 2 hours
Servings: 6
Per serving: 110 calories, 13 g protein, 5 g carbohydrates, 5 g net carbohydrates, 4.5 g fat
 
Ingredients:
1 gallon whole goat or cow's milk (non-organic*)
¾ cup white distilled vinegar
Organic sea salt (to taste)
Heavy cream (optional)

Directions:

1. Pour whole milk into a large pot and slowly heat over medium-low heat. Stir frequently so the milk doesn't burn. Remove from heat once it reaches 190 degrees F / 88 degrees C.

2. Pour vinegar into warm milk and stir for 10 seconds.

3. Cover the warm milk and vinegar mixture and allow it to rest for 20 minutes.

4. Line a colander with a piece of cheesecloth and place the colander over the sink or a bowl to catch the whey.

5. Use a large spoon to transfer solids from the pot into the cheesecloth-lined colander and allow it to drain for 20 minutes.

6. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth together and form a ball. Hold the ends of the cheesecloth in one hand and run cold water over it while kneading the ball with your other hand until it's completely cool.

7. Pour the cheese from the cheesecloth into a large bowl. Using a spoon, break the cheese into small curds. 

8. Sprinkle sea salt over the curds to taste, and stir in gently. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for at least 45 minutes before serving. 

9. For extra creamy cottage cheese, slowly add heavy cream until it reaches the desired consistency. 

 *Note: Do not use organic milk. Most organic milk is made with UHT (ultra-high temperature) treatment, which is not suitable for making cottage cheese.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is cottage cheese good on a low-carb diet?

Yes! Cottage cheese is naturally low in carbohydrates. Always check product labels for hidden ingredients. Full-fat, plain cottage cheese should contain three to five grams of carbs per serving.

2. Is cottage cheese allowed on a keto diet?

Yes! Full-fat versions of cottage cheese without modified food starch or maltodextrin are excellent on a keto diet. Make sure you check the label for any hidden ingredients.

3. Are yogurt and cottage cheese keto-friendly?

While both yogurt and cottage cheese can be keto-friendly, cottage cheese is the better choice. Always choose a full-fat, plain cottage cheese or yogurt. Avoid cottage cheese and yogurt containing added sugar, maltodextrin, or modified food starch. 

4. What brand of cottage cheese is keto-friendly?

Many brands, including store brands, offer full-fat, plain cottage cheese that is keto-friendly. Always check the label for the ingredients and nutritional facts to ensure there are no added carbs. Keto-friendly cottage cheese brands include Good Culture, Daisy, Breakstone's, Friendship Dairies, and Shamrock Farms.

5. Does cottage cheese have protein?

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein. One half-cup (100 grams) of full-fat cottage cheese (4% milk fat minimum) contains 11 grams of protein. 

6. Is low-fat cottage cheese keto-friendly?

No, low-fat cottage cheese is not keto-friendly because it contains too many net carbs. Full-fat cottage cheese is ideal on a keto diet because it contains plenty of healthy fats while remaining low in net carbs.

7. Can you eat cottage cheese if you're lactose intolerant?

You may be able to have cottage cheese in moderate amounts if you have lactose intolerance. Sheep and goat’s milk cottage cheese have far less lactose than cow's milk cottage cheese. There are also lactose-free cow's milk cottage cheese options that are safe for those with lactose intolerance.

8. Is cottage cheese good for weight loss?

Yes! The high fat content, vitamins, and minerals in cottage cheese make it a great choice for losing weight and reducing insulin resistance on keto. Cottage cheese is also a relatively low-calorie cheese (source).
 

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