Low Sodium Cottage Cheese

Love cottage cheese, but don’t want all the sodium? This low sodium cottage cheese is for you!

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Types of Cottage Cheese

There are many different types of cottage cheese on the market. There are two main decisions to make when deciding which cottage cheese to buy.

Curd Size

Cottage cheese comes in both large and small curd. As advertised, the curds in large curd cottage cheese are bigger and a bit more fluffy. Curds in small curd cottage cheese are smaller and more dense.

The best curd size is really personal preference. There is not a big difference in nutrition between the two.

Amount of Fat

Cottage cheese is typically available in 3 levels of fat:

  • Fat-free
  • Low-fat (or 2% milkfat)
  • Full-fat or whole milk

Again, the best choice here comes down to personal preference and your health goals. Other than fat, there are not significant differences in the nutrition of fat-free vs. full-fat cottage cheese.

Benefits of Full vs. Low-Fat Cottage Cheese

Potential Benefits of Low-Fat Cottage CheesePotential Benefits of Full-Fat Cottage Cheese
Lower caloriesBetter absorption fat-soluble vitamins & minerals
Lower saturated fatHigher satiety

About half of the fat in cottage cheese is from saturated fat. Although the American Heart Association recommends keeping saturated fat to no more than 6% of total calories, we are learning more about different types of saturated fat. Whereas saturated fat from foods like fatty meats and butter isn’t ideal and should be limited for heart health, saturated fat from dairy products is not associated with the same harmful effect as from other animal foods. (1)

Sodium in Cottage Cheese

Is sodium in cottage cheese a big deal in the first place? It could be.

Most cottage cheese has around 700mg of sodium per cup. (1) This is about 30% of the sodium we should have in an entire day. This is quite a bit.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 2,300mg sodium per day. Eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. (2)

Bar Graph showing sodium difference in a 1/2 cup portion of regular cottage cheese (300mg) vs The Kidney Dietitian low sodium cottage cheese (70mg)

A low sodium diet is especially important for people with some health conditions. Too much salt is especially harmful for people with high blood pressure, kidney disease, kidney stones caused by high urine calcium, liver or heart failure.

Is Low Sodium Cottage Cheese Healthy?

Absolutely! Low sodium cottage cheese is a great option for a balanced meal pattern.

Cottage cheese is packed with protein, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. Although most cottage cheese does have quite a bit of sodium, low sodium cottage cheese DOES exist!

If you have oxalate kidney stones, cottage cheese is a wonderful source of calcium to help lower urine oxalate levels.

NOTE: If you have kidney disease, cottage cheese and other dairy products contain a fair amount of phosphorus and potassium. Ask your renal dietitian what is best for you!

More on phosphorus in cheese.

Low Sodium Cottage Cheese Brands

It can be hard to find, but you can buy low sodium cottage cheese!

The two brands I find most often are:

Farmer Cheese

If you can find Farmer Cheese, it is a fantastic TRICK to finding low sodium cottage cheese. Farmer cheese is very similar to cottage cheese. The curds are just a little more firm. Best of all, it almost never has a ton of salt added to it – like cottage cheese typically does!

Some of the delicious Farmer Cheese brands I’ve tried are:

Low Sodium Cottage Cheese Recipe

As mentioned, low sodium cottage cheese can be really hard to find in the grocery store. When all else fails, you can make your own! This way, you can 100% control the sodium in your cottage cheese.

Plus, it REALLY isn’t that hard. I promise!

Here is Alton Brown’s foolproof homemade low sodium cottage cheese. I just modified the recipe to be low sodium!

Image of a bowl of low sodium cottage cheese
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Low Sodium Cottage Cheese

Creamy cottage cheese with a fraction of the sodium!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Breakfast, Condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: low sodium cottage cheese
Servings: 4 1/2 cup
Calories: 90kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon skim milk
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half

Instructions

  • Warm milk in a large saucepan over medium heat. Heat to 120 degrees F. Remove from the heat and add vinegar. Stir slowly for 1 to 2 minutes. The curd will separate from the whey. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Pour the mixture into a colander lined with cheesecloth. Let drain for 5 minutes. Gather the edges of the cloth and rinse under cold water for 3-5 minutes, until the curd is cooled, squeezing and moving the mixture the whole time. Once cooled, squeeze to get rid of as much liquid as possible.
  • Add the salt and stir, breaking up the curd into bite-size pieces. When ready to serve, stir in the half-and-half.

Notes

Nutrition Facts (per 1/2 cup – estimated due to liquid loss): 90 calories, 2g fat, 1g saturated fat, 6mg cholesterol, 72mg sodium, 5g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 0g added sugar, 12g protein, 113mg calcium, 132mg potassium, 163mg phosphorus, 0mg oxalate
Recipe adopted from Quick Cottage Cheese, Alton Brown.

How to Use Low Sodium Cottage Cheese

You can serve and use low sodium cottage cheese exactly the same way as regular cottage cheese!

Unsurprisingly, low sodium cottage cheese lacks some of the flavor of regular cottage cheese. My favorite way to add flavor is with fruit! Lookin at you peaches!

You can also use low sodium cottage cheese on toast, with tomatoes or other salads or as an ingredient in dishes like lasagna. Cottage cheese is a key ingredient to add calcium to my Crustless Zucchini Quiche recipe!

Image of favorite ways to eat low sodium cottage cheese: on toast, in pasta, with fruit, on a salad or as a dip

Other Low Sodium Cheese Options

Cheese is often ostracized for “having too much sodium”. Poor cheese! There are MANY delicious cheeses that are naturally low in sodium.

My favorite low sodium cheeses are:

  • Swiss
  • Fresh mozzarella
  • Ricotta
  • Goat cheese
  • Cream cheese

Happy Eating!

Melanie

17 thoughts on “Low Sodium Cottage Cheese”

  1. Debbie McCann

    5 stars
    I’m newly diagnosed with kidney damage, and I also have diabetes, FH and HBP. I’m stressing out over what to eat, so I just want to tell you that I appreciate your help and support.

    God’s blessings.

      1. Debbie McCann

        5 stars
        Hi Melanie.
        I would appreciate very much if you could send a list of dietitians, thank you for offering. I’m very confused over diet and know I have to be careful with food. It would be comforting to have someone who knows more than I do.

        1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

          Hi Debbie –
          I have a list of dietitians that help people with kidney disease on my resources page. Many of them work with people virtually all over the country! You can also use the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics “Find a Dietitian Tool” on their site.

      2. Debbie McCann

        PS
        I live in Waldron Arkansas, a small rural town about 50 miles south of Ft Smith.
        Thank you.

  2. I love the sound of this recipe, I love cottage cheese, and I’m at stage 3CKD, so I would like very much to do this… But: I avoid regular dairy products for my respiratory health, take small amounts of goat cheese, use plant-based yogurt, almond or oat milk. Haven’t found low sodium cottage cheese in my area. Any suggestions for my cottage cheese craving? Thanks.

    1. Melanie Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      You may be able to find a plant based cottage cheese if you prefer those products. Or, choose to eat this cottage cheese.

  3. I LOVE this as a way to use milk when I feel have too much of it but am tired of making pudding or ricotta. It’s scaleable, too – the proportions are 3 tablespoons of vinegar to 1 quart of milk, the size of my trial batch now resting in the fridge. (I can hardly wait for dessert – with cantaloupe and blueberries!) For anyone interested in easy home cheesemaking, check out Claudia Lucero’s book “One Hour Cheese” or her website urbancheesecraft.com. I haven’t played with as many recipes as I’d like, but the ones I’ve tried have been great fun and very tasty.

    1. Betz MS, RD, CSR, FAND

      That is a great point as well! It is always painful to throw away milk that is about to go bad. Thank you so much for that book suggestion!

  4. So glad to find this recipe. I have a quiche recipe that calls for low sodium cottage cheese, now I will be able to make it. Excited to try it!
    Thank you!

  5. Deborah L. Bebout

    One grocery store in my city carries Prairie Farms lower sodium cottage cheese, but it’s still 240 mg. per half cup. We have a Whole Foods Market here. I’m going to go there and look for their no salt added brand.

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