In this post, I'll show you how to make cottage cheese at home with just three basic ingredients. All you need is some milk, lemon juice, and salt for this fresh homemade cheese.
Making cottage cheese is super quick and easy. The lemon juice transforms the milk into curds almost instantly!
If you want to start making your own cheeses, this is probably the best one to start with. It is also a great way to use leftover milk.
Milk - because you need the fat and protein in the milk to form the cheese, I recommend using whole milk. You could also add some heavy cream to increase your yield.
It doesn't have to be cow's milk. You can use this recipe for goat's milk and sheep milk too!
Unfortunately, this recipe won't work with all plant-based milk. You could, however, use soymilk.
One thing to keep in mind is that you can't make cottage cheese with ultra-pasteurized milk. Because of how the milk is processed, the milk won't curdle.
Lemon juice - because this is a recipe without rennet, the milk needs acid to form the curd. I always use lemon juice because it adds great flavor to the cheese, but you can substitute it with neutral white vinegar.
Salt - salt adds flavor and makes the cottage cheese taste better.
You can find the complete ingredient list and instructions on the recipe card below!
Put the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil.
In the meantime, squeeze the lemon and pour the juice through a strainer to remove all the pulp and seeds.
Once the milk comes to a boil, add the lemon juice and stir well. Let the milk simmer for one minute.
Turn off the heat and let the milk cool for half an hour.
Place a sieve or strainer onto a large heatproof bowl. Put a piece of cheesecloth or a clean tea towel in a strainer and pour in the milk.
Let the cottage cheese drain for about 15-20 minutes to drain out the excess whey, scoop the cheese into a container, and you are done!
What is cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is a soft, fresh cheese made from whole milk and lemon juice. Because this cheese contains less fat than other cheeses, it is a healthier choice than full-fat cheese.
- Salad - add some to your favorite salads. It is also an excellent substitute for feta cheese in my spinach salad recipe.
- On bread. Cottage cheese is fantastic on a piece of bread or toast. Add some tomato slices and basil or drizzle over some honey for the perfect breakfast.
- Burritos. Cottage cheese is delicious in breakfast burritos. It adds loads of protein to start the day.
- Pasta. Because of the low-fat content, it won't melt but gives the pasta a subtle creamy texture. Maybe use it like ricotta when you make lasagna?
- Dips. Fresh cheese is amazing in a dip. Add the cheese with fresh herbs or caramelized onions to a blender and season to taste.
- Fruit. It is not only a great addition to a salad, but you can also sprinkle some over your favorite fruit.
- As a spread. Add some fresh herbs to the cottage cheese and transform it into a delicious spread like my garlic butter.
Can babies have cottage cheese?
Yes. Because this cheese contains so little salt, you can give it to small children and babies. Please make sure not to add the salt trough, you want to add as little salt to their diet as possible.
What to do with the whey
The acids from the lemon juice will react with the baking soda and result in delicious fluffy pancakes.
Using the whey in your cooking is a great way to add extra protein to your diet.
- A heavy-bottomed saucepan and a wooden spoon. Using a wooden spoon, you don't break the curds into small pieces, and you will end up with lovely thick pieces of cheese.
- Sieve and some cheesecloth. Using a cheesecloth is totally optional, but it ensures you get every little piece of cheese out of the whey.
- A heatproof bowl. The excess milk can still be hot when pouring it through the sieve. I like to use a glass Pyrex bowl for this step.
- Measuring cups and spoons.
Because this is a soft cheese, it won't last as long as other cheeses will. You can keep it in the fridge for about three days.
Keep it in an airtight container so it won't dry out.
Because this is a fresh cheese, you should always check to see if it hasn't gone bad after a few days. You know when it has gone bad when it has a sour smell or changed color.
Can you freeze cottage cheese?
Yes! If you want to store it longer, I recommend freezing your homemade cottage cheese. You can also freeze the leftover whey.
Recipes that are amazing with cottage cheese
- 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
- 1 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Put the milk into a heavy-bottomed pan and bring it to a boil.
- In the meantime, squeeze the lemon and pour the juice through a strainer to remove all the pulp and seeds.
- Once the milk comes to a boil, add the lemon juice and stir well. Let the milk simmer for one minute. Turn off the heat and let the milk cool for half an hour.
- Place a sieve or strainer onto a large heatproof bowl. Put a piece of cheesecloth or a clean tea towel in a strainer and pour in the milk.
- Let the cottage cheese drain for about 15-20 minutes to drain out the excess whey, scoop the cheese into a container, and you are done!
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 2348mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 0gSugar: 25gProtein: 16g