Cottage Cheese: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

cottage cheese

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Cottage cheese is a soft cheese made from milk that is rich in protein and calcium. It is often included in healthy eating plans and grocery lists. Plain cottage cheese comes in various percentages of fat content. It can also be found in flavored varieties, which may have added sugar.

Cottage cheese is high in protein, low in calories, low in fat, and low in carbohydrates and sugar. It can sometimes be higher in sodium.

Cottage Cheese Nutrition Facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for a 100-gram (about 3.5 ounces) of lowfat (2% milkfat) cottage cheese.

  • Calories: 84
  • Fat: 2.3g
  • Sodium: 321mg
  • Carbohydrates: 4.3g
  • Fiber: 0g
  • Sugars: 4.1g
  • Protein: 11g
  • Calcium: 111mg

Carbs

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.

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. Cottage cheese is considered a low-glycemic food.

Fats

As indicated, the fat content of cottage cheese varies depending on the type that you buy. Low fat cottage cheese provides just under 3g of fat, including some saturated fat (about 1g) and small amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat.

Protein

Cottage cheese is a good source of protein. A single serving provides about 11 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals

Cottage cheese is packed with nutrients such as phosphorus, calcium, riboflavin, and vitamin B12. This dairy food is high in sodium, providing about 14% of the recommended daily intake. Some brands make low sodium or no salt added versions of cottage cheese that contain less sodium. 

Calories

A 100-gram serving of 2% cottage cheese provides 84 calories, 52% of which comes from protein, 25% from fat, and 23% from carbohydrates. Cottage cheese is considered a low calorie food.

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.

May Prevent Chronic Diseases

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. 

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.

Boosts Bone Health

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 favorable benefit with regard to bone health."

Dairy products like cottage cheese in the diet have been shown to reduce the risks of bone loss and bone diseases like osteoporosis, which leads to fractures and breaks. Cottage cheese can help people (especially women) obtain more of the necessary magnesium, calcium, and potassium that increase bone health.

Reduces Risks of Colorectal Cancer

Cottage cheese and other dairy foods can help reduce the risks of colorectal cancer. Researchers believe this is due to the calcium content of these foods. Several studies support the consumption of dairy foods like cottage cheese as being preventive for colon cancer.

Provides Anti-Inflammatory Effect

Research shows that consuming dairy products like cottage cheese can reduce inflammation. Managing inflammation is key for reducing the risks of developing diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Helps with Body Composition

Cottage cheese is high in protein and lowers in calories. It can help keep you feeling full while also providing the amino acids necessary for building muscle mass, improving metabolism, and making maintaining a healthy weight easier.

Consuming dairy products can increase the effects of a weight-loss diet by supporting your efforts. This is likely due to the high protein and filling nature of dairy products like cottage cheese.

Allergies

Diary products are one of the most common allergenic foods. Some people are allergic or intolerant to the proteins in dairy, while others are intolerant to the sugar, lactose. Be cautious of hives, tingling mouth, wheezing, vomiting, coughing, or shortness of breath.

Varieties

There are several varieties of cottage cheese. Different fat percentages are available, as well as differences in curd size. There are also flavored varieties available.

Curds are the thick lumps in the food. There is no real nutritional difference between small or large curd (sometimes called "chunk style') cottage cheese. The difference is simply a result of the way the cheese is made.

Storage and Food Safety

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.

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

How to Prepare

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 easy to incorporate into a meal and needs no special preparation to enjoy. For that reason, many dieters include it in their meal plans.

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 dark chocolate chips or cocoa nibs.
Was this page helpful?
12 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cheese, cottage, low-fat, 2% milk fat.

  2. Pasin G, Comerford KB. Dairy foods and dairy proteins in the management of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review of the clinical evidence. Advances in Nutrition. 2015;6(3):245-259.

  3. Lordan R, Tsoupras A, Mitra B, Zabetakis I. Dairy Fats and Cardiovascular Disease: Do We Really Need to be Concerned?. Foods. 2018;7(3). doi:10.3390/foods7030029

  4. Thorning TK, Raben A, Tholstrup T, Soedamah-muthu SS, Givens I, Astrup A. Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidence. Food Nutr Res. 2016;60:32527. doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.32527

  5. Kliem KE, Givens DI. Dairy products in the food chain: their impact on health. Annu Rev Food Sci Technol. 2011;2:21-36. doi:10.1146/annurev-food-022510-133734

  6. Rozenberg S, Body JJ, Bruyère O, et al. Effects of Dairy Products Consumption on Health: Benefits and Beliefs--A Commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases. Calcif Tissue Int. 2016;98(1):1-17. doi:10.1007/s00223-015-0062-x

  7. Rozenberg S, Body JJ, Bruyère O, et al. Effects of dairy products consumption on health: benefits and beliefs—A commentary from the Belgian Bone Club and the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal DiseasesCalcif Tissue Int. 2016;98(1):1-17. doi:10.1007/s00223-015-0062-x

  8. Thorning TK, Raben A, Tholstrup T, Soedamah-Muthu SS, Givens I, Astrup A. Milk and dairy products: good or bad for human health? An assessment of the totality of scientific evidenceFood Nutr Res. 2016;60:32527. doi:10.3402/fnr.v60.32527

  9. Nieman KM, Anderson BD, Cifelli CJ. The effects of dairy product and DAIRY protein intake on Inflammation: A systematic review of the literatureJournal of the American College of Nutrition. 2020:1-12. doi:10.1080/07315724.2020.1800532

  10. Chen M, Pan A, Malik VS, Hu FB. Effects of dairy intake on body weight and fat: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trialsAm J Clin Nutr. 2012;96(4):735-747. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.037119

  11. Abargouei AS, Janghorbani M, Salehi-Marzijarani M, Esmaillzadeh A. Effect of dairy consumption on weight and body composition in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trialsInt J Obes (Lond). 2012;36(12):1485-1493. doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.269

  12. Edwards CW, Younus MA. Cow milk allergy. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing.