Cottage Cheese Nutrition Facts

Calories, Carbs, and Health Benefits of Cottage Cheese

cottage cheese nutrition facts and health benefits

Alexandra Shytsman 

Cottage cheese is a staple in many healthy eating plans. The dairy food provides benefits especially for people who are trying to lose weight or improve their health. But cottage cheese calories and nutrition can vary depending on the type that you buy.

Nutrition Facts

Cottage Cheese Lowfat, 2% Milkfat Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 4 oz (113 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 98 
Calories from Fat 25 
Total Fat 2.8g4%
Saturated Fat 1.1g5%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0.5 
Cholesterol 11mg3%
Sodium 373mg15%
Potassium 95mg2%
Carbohydrates 4.1g1%
Dietary Fiber 0g0%
Sugars 4.1g 
Protein 13g 
Vitamin A 1% · Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 10% · Iron 1%
*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Many healthy eaters consume cottage cheese because of the relatively low-calorie count. Smart consumers often buy low fat or two percent cottage cheese. This version provides enough fat for flavor but not as much as the regular variety. So how do the fat and calorie count compare across the different varieties of cottage cheese?

Cottage Cheese Calories by Type

  • Skim/nonfat cottage cheese: 80 calories per half-cup serving, 0 grams fat, 0 grams saturated fat
  • 1% cottage cheese: 90 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 1 gram saturated fat
  • 2% cottage cheese: 90 calories per half-cup serving, 2.5 grams fat, 1.5 grams saturated fat
  • 4% (regular) cottage cheese: 110 calories per half-cup serving, 5 grams fat, 3 grams saturated fat

Keep in mind that a single serving of this dairy product is just four ounces or a half cup. At mealtime, it is very easy to scoop much more than that onto your plate. So be sure to account for your full portion size if you are counting calories.

If you eat a cup of cottage cheese (which is a very common portion) you'll need to double the calories and fat content.

Carbs in Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese does not usually contain added sugars, but because it is a dairy food, the product does provide four grams of sugar (lactose) per serving. There is no fiber or starch in cottage cheese.

Keep in mind that some varieties of flavored cottage cheese may have more sugar or added sugars. For example, cottage cheese with fruit or honey will be higher in sugar.

The glycemic load of a four-ounce serving of cottage cheese is estimated to be about four, making it a low-glycemic food.

Fats in Cottage Cheese

As indicated, the fat content of cottage cheese varies depending on the type that you buy. Low fat cottage cheese provides just under three grams of fat in the form of saturated fat (about one gram) and small amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.

Protein in Cottage Cheese

Bodybuilders often choose cottage cheese as a snack or as part of a meal because it is a quick and convenient source of protein. A single serving provides about 13 grams of the muscle-building nutrient.

Micronutrients in Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is an excellent source of phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. However, the dairy food is high in sodium. So if you are trying to cut back on salt, this might not be the best choice for you. Some brands, however, make low sodium or no salt added versions of cottage cheese that contain less sodium. 

Cottage Cheese Health Benefits

Cottage cheese calories are a good source of energy and the dairy product can be a good addition to your diet, especially when you pair it with other healthy foods.

However, some consumers question whether or not including dairy foods—like cottage cheese—provide health benefits.

A research study published in Food & Nutrition Research addressed the skepticism regarding dairy products by conducting a research review. The authors concluded that scientific evidence supports the consumption of milk and other dairy products to meet nutritional needs, and these foods may protect against the most prevalent chronic diseases without the impact of adverse side effects. 

Another study addressed weighed the potential impact of consuming dairy products on bone and cardiovascular health .

Researchers found that "intake of up to three servings of dairy products per day appears to be safe and may confer a favourable benefit with regard to bone health."

Lastly, a study evaluating the effects of dairy products in the food chain noted that evidence suggests that those who consume a greater amount of milk and dairy products have a slightly better health advantage than those who do not consume milk and dairy products.

However, keep in mind that many studies that investigate benefits of dairy products (such as those mentioned above) are funded—at least in part—by the dairy industry. While this doesn't mean that the study results are invalid it does mean that the findings may emphasize favorable outcomes. 

If you are concerned about including dairy products in your diet, speak to your health care provider to get the personalized advice. 

Common Questions

What's the difference between large and small curd cottage cheese?

When you buy cottage cheese, you can choose between different fat contents, but you can also choose from different curd sizes. Curds are the thick lumps in the food. There is no real nutritional difference between small curd or large curd (sometimes called "chunk style') cottage cheese. The difference is simply a result of the way the cheese is made.

What is the best way to store cottage cheese?

After you buy cottage cheese, make sure to keep it refrigerated and tightly sealed. It is a perishable food so it is best to consume cottage cheese before the expiration date on the package. Shelf life can depend on how the food was manufactured.

Can I freeze cottage cheese?

Except for dry cottage cheese (that has no liquid part), this food does not freeze well.

Recipes and Preparation Tips

Cottage cheese is easy to incorporate into a meal and needs no special preparation to enjoy. For that reason, many dieters include it in their meal plans. The food is easy to carry, simple to eat if you are on-the-go, and pairs well with other healthy, diet-friendly foods like fruits and vegetables.

Cottage cheese is great plain, but you can also pair it with other foods to make a complete meal. Try any of these ideas.

  • Add a side of savory vegetables like broccoli or radishes for a healthy lunch or snack
  • Top with fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries or melon to satisfy your sweet tooth
  • Sprinkle with nuts such as almonds or walnuts, or with seeds such as flax seeds for crunch and flavor
  • Make a cottage cheese dessert by mixing in dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs.

Allergies and Interactions

If you are lactose intolerant or allergic to cow’s milk, you should avoid cottage cheese. However, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there has been a published report of allergy to cottage cheese in a person without other allergies to dairy. 

If you experience symptoms such as skin rashes, upset stomach, or even nasal allergy symptoms after consuming cottage cheese, seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional.

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Article Sources
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