Cottage Cheese Is Cool Again and Better Than Ever—and We've Got the Recipes to Prove It
Sheryl Kesey Thompson's mom always said that if you do something long enough, it'll come back around. While we'd be happy to say goodbye to Jell-O salads forever, it seems like mom was right when it comes to cottage cheese. In case you hadn't noticed, it's back. "It's on everyone's Instagram," says Thompson, whose family owns and operates Nancy's Creamery, which makes yogurts, cottage cheese, and other dairy products with probiotics.
Originally made from whey, the liquid leftover from making cheese, cottage cheese has been around for centuries and has gone through periods of being in and falling out of favor with consumers.
A Little History
"Cottage cheese became popular in the United States in the 1940s and 1950s as a health food," says Jessica Clark, the founder of glutenfreesupper.com. It was promoted as being high in protein and low in calories." It continued to be popular through the 1970s, and it was in the mid-1970s that Nancy's began selling cottage cheese. "My parents started the creamery in the 1960s, but in the mid-1970s, an employee, who was an old creamery guy and had made cottage cheese in the past, was interested in making it and taught them how to," says Thompson.
Although the dairy product fell out of favor with many consumers after the 1970s, Nancy's has continued to sell a fully probiotic cottage cheese, and is now seeing it regain popularity.
Why is cottage cheese cool again? It's versatile and delicious, for sure, but cottage cheese is making a comeback, thanks to the interest millennials and Gen Zers have for foods with a better-for-you element. It's low on sugar and carbs, but is packed full of protein and calcium. There are newer brands, including Muuna and Good Culture, who have updated cottage cheese with hipper packaging and new flavors, from all kinds of fruit-on-the-bottom options to savory pairings like Kalamata olives. The message is clear: this is not your grandma's cottage cheese!
Clever Ways to Use Cottage Cheese
Ready to start savoring cottage cheese in all kinds of ways? Clark likes to add it to breakfast smoothies, it also works well with avocado toast, and we rate it as a secret ingredient in pancakes. Beyond breakfast, try cottage cheese in mashed potatoes and enjoy it in these four easy, no-cook recipes.
Creamy Edamame Dip
Clark likes to use cottage cheese as the base for an easy, healthy dip like our Creamy Edamame Dip.
Sweet and Savory Tartines
Using sturdy crackers instead of bread makes for a crisp contrast to the toppings for these tartines. Top with cottage cheese and a smattering of fruits or vegetables for a satisfying, good-for-you snack.
Late-Summer Chopped Salad with Cottage Cheese
Clark uses cottage cheese to top salads and grain bowls for extra creaminess—and protein. We love this salad made with cucumbers, apples, and fennel; the crunchy fruit and vegetables are the perfect foil for the cottage cheese, and the cheese makes it substantial enough for lunch.
Cottage Cheese-Stuffed Papaya
Forget the canned fruit your grandma would use to top cottage cheese! Fresh is the better move. Here, juicy papaya is filled with a scoop of cottage cheese and finished with a sprinkling of cinnamon.