Cottage cheese sometimes gets a bad rap, but the creamy, curdy ingredient is an utter delight in so many fantastic cottage cheese recipes. Though frequently served cold and paired with fruit for breakfast or a snack, this dairy product is surprisingly great for cooking and baking too. In fact, cottage cheese can be just as versatile an ingredient as yogurt or cream cheese for the home chef. And you don’t necessarily need to be a fan of stuff in its original form, either. Even if its unique texture isn’t typically your favorite to enjoy on its own, you’ll find that the right preparation can transform cottage cheese into something that you not only like, but love.
Cottage cheese lends a tangy flavor, tons of moisture, tender texture, and lots of protein to recipes. (A one-cup serving has about 25 grams of protein, according to the USDA.) Some recipes leave the curds intact for that signature texture, while others transform it into something smooth with a food processor or blender. You can stir it into pancakes for an extra-fluffy stack, whisk it with vinegar and oil to make a creamy vinaigrette, or use it to create the perfect, photogenic cheese pull for your next decked-out lasagna. And whenever you’re looking for a meatless way to boost a meal with protein, this curdy, calcium-rich goodness is ready to help.
By the way, lactose-intolerant individuals should know that cottage cheese is not the most low-lactose cheese (though it varies by brand and the production process, along with your individual sensitivity). Fortunately, there are some lactose-free cottage cheeses available. And if you prefer or need to avoid dairy altogether, there are even plant-based varieties of cottage cheese on the market now too. (You just might need to do a little experimenting to make sure the stuff has the same effect as the original when cooked or baked.)
Ready to get cooking with your new favorite unexpected ingredient? From cottage cheese breakfast recipes like pancakes and scrambled eggs, to all your lunches, dinners, and snacks in between, this list of 32 recipes with cottage cheese has something that even skeptics will love.