Cottage Cheese vs. Feta Cheese

Cottage cheese and feta cheese - two popular types of fresh white cheese with unique textures, flavors, and nutritional profiles. But what exactly sets them apart?

Cottage Cheese vs Feta Cheese

When it comes to cottage cheese vs feta, there are some notable differences to consider before using them for cooking, baking, snacking, and more.

Nutrition Content

While both cottage cheese and feta are nutrient-rich dairy products, their precise nutrition facts differ significantly.

Calories and Macronutrients

The table below presents a side-by-side comparison of calories, carbs, fat, and protein per 100g serving:

Nutrition FactsCottage CheeseFeta Cheese

Key Takeaway: Cottage cheese is much lower in calories and fat than feta, with nearly 2/3 fewer calories per serving.

As the data shows, cottage cheese has far less fat and calories per serving compared to feta. Notably, over 73% of the calories in feta come from fat, whereas cottage cheese calories are nearly evenly split between protein and fat.

Vitamins and Minerals

Let's examine some key vitamins and minerals found in cottage cheese versus feta (per 100g):

  • Calcium: Feta has over 5 times more calcium (493mg vs 83mg)
  • B Vitamins: Feta has at least 2-9 times more B vitamins like riboflavin, vitamin B12
  • Sodium: Feta contains over 3 times more sodium (1139mg vs 315mg)
  • Vitamin A: Feta contains nearly 4 times more vitamin A (422IU vs 140IU)

While both contain calcium and B vitamins, feta is higher across the board for these essential nutrients. However, it also packs far more dietary sodium.

Key Takeaway: Feta cheese outperforms cottage cheese substantially in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin A, yet also contains much more sodium per serving.

Flavor Profiles

When it comes to taste and texture, cottage cheese and feta cheese produce vastly different sensory experiences.

Cottage Cheese Flavor

Cottage cheese has a fresh, mild, and milky flavor profile. The curds offer a soft and creamy texture that pairs well with both sweet and savory ingredients.

It lacks a sharp or tangy taste and mainly provides a blank canvass for the other ingredients it accompanies in recipes. Its mellow flavor also makes cottage cheese a popular choice for snacking on its own.

Feta Cheese Flavor

In contrast, feta imparts a much tangier, saltier, and more pungent flavor - lending a bold taste to salads, pastas, veggie dishes and more. These sharp salty notes derive from the brining process used to produce feta.

Feta's crumbly yet creamy texture also contrasts the soft curds of cottage cheese. Its rich taste stands out, rather than recedes into the background. Overall, feta delivers a more intense dairy experience than mild-flavored cottage cheese.

Key Takeaway: Cottage cheese has a predominantly fresh, mild taste allowing other ingredients to shine, while feta's signature tang makes it a flavorful focal point.

Production Methods

Cottage cheese and feta go through very different production processes from their raw dairy ingredients to the finished products.

Cottage Cheese Production

Cottage cheese starts with pasteurized cow's milk. Next, an acidic ingredient like vinegar or lemon juice causes the milk proteins to coagulate and solid curds to form. After draining the curds from the liquid whey, they are washed, salted, and creamy dressings may be mixed in to yield the final cottage cheese.

Feta Cheese Production

Feta most traditionally begins with a blend of 30% goat's milk and 70% sheep's milk. The milk curdles from added cultures and rennet, then gets cut, shaped, and pressed to form blocks.

Next, the blocks are submerged into brine (saltwater) to soak for extended periods - anywhere from 2 months up to a year or longer! This brining phase gives feta its distinctive salty sharpness. Finally, the feta gets packaged in brine to maintain moisture.

Key Takeaway: While both cheeses rely on curdling milk, feta sets itself apart from cottage cheese thanks to an extended brining process that leads to its tangy flavor.

Nutritional Value

Both cottage cheese and feta offer nutritional value, but one outpaces the other in certain vitamins and minerals. Let's recap some of the top nutrient differences covered earlier:

Benefits of Cottage Cheese:

  • Lower in fat, calories, and sodium
  • Higher in potassium

Benefits of Feta Cheese:

  • Substantially higher in calcium, B vitamins, vitamin A
  • More protein per calorie
  • Nutrients like zinc, phosphorus

Overall, calorie-for-calorie, feta cheese delivers higher amounts of key vitamins and minerals. However, cottage cheese offers a less caloric, lower sodium choice for recipes or diet needs.

When sodium intake is a concern, cottage cheese makes the healthier choice. But if you want to maximize certain nutrients like calcium and protein without adding calories, feta has nutritional advantages over cottage cheese.

Key Takeaway: Feta cheese provides more nutritional value across several vitamins & minerals, though cottage cheese is lower in calories, fat, and sodium.

Storage and Shelf Life

Proper storage is crucial to maximize the shelf life for both cottage cheese and feta. Here is how their shelf lives compare when stored optimally:

  • Cottage Cheese: lasts 5-7 days past its sell-by date when properly stored in the fridge below 40°F.
  • Feta: lasts from 2 weeks up to a year when stored submerged in brine solution inside the fridge depending on variety. Avoid mold development by keeping feta fully immersed.

So while available cottage cheese must be eaten relatively quickly once purchased, most feta cheese offers a much longer fridge life. Just be sure your particular feta cheese remains covered in brine, change brine periodically, and watch for unwanted mold.

Key Takeaway: Feta cheese lasts for months in the fridge when properly stored in brine, while cottage cheese generally lasts about 1 week past its expiration date.

Cost Differences

When shopping in the dairy aisle, you will also notice a cost difference between these cheeses. On average:

  • Cottage cheese tends to retail between $2-4 per pound for full or reduced fat varieties. Often deemed a more economical choice.
  • Feta cheese runs between $4-8 per pound on average for domestic or imported Greek feta options. The artisanal nature of feta production leads to higher prices.

So similar to nutritional differences, there remains a gap in price between these fresh cheeses as well, with cottage cheese coming in at the more budget friendly price point for shoppers.

Key Takeaway: Cottage cheese averages half the cost per pound compared to most retail feta cheese options.


Is cottage cheese or feta better for you?

Feta cheese has more nutritional benefits overall thanks to its higher amounts of calcium, B vitamins, vitamin A, and other micronutrients. However, cottage cheese is much lower in calories, fat, and especially sodium per serving. For supporting general health, feta likely has an edge but cottage cheese makes better sense for low-calorie or low-sodium diets.

What's the difference between cottage cheese and ricotta?

While both are soft fresh cheeses, ricotta has a even milder flavor than cottage cheese. Production also differs, with ricotta utilizing whey leftovers from cheeses like mozzarella rather than milk curdling. Nutritionally, cottage cheese contains more protein and calcium than ricotta as well.

Can you substitute feta for cottage cheese or vice versa?

Most recipes will not turn out well swapping one for another. Feta and cottage cheese differ substantially in saltiness, texture, fat and liquid content. Replacement amounts also wouldn't be equal. In some cases like a salad dressing, small amounts of one cheese could work instead of the other, but expect taste and texture impacts. You're better off using the specific cheese the recipe created calls for in most cases.


Cottage cheese and feta each offer unique nutritional profiles, textures, costs, applications and, most certainly, flavor.

Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀
Cheese Lover Chloe 🧀

I'm a total cheese fanatic! When I'm not busy studying to be a cheesemaker, you can find me scouring local farmers markets and specialty shops for new and exciting cheeses to try. Brie is my all-time fave, but I also love exploring aged goudas, funky blues, and rich creamy camemberts. Looking forward to sharing lots of melty, gooey cheese pics and reviews!