Read on as we compare cottage cheese and mozzarella based on their nutrition facts, health benefits, color, flavor, origin, and more to help you decide which cheese is better for your needs.
Cottage cheese and mozzarella have markedly different nutrition profiles. Here is how they compare:
Cottage cheese is much lower in calories, with only 98 calories per 100g serving compared to mozzarella, which has 280 calories. So if limiting calories is important to you, cottage cheese would be the better choice.
Mozzarella has a clear advantage when it comes to protein, with 27.5g per serving versus 11.12g in cottage cheese. So if you are looking to add protein to your diet, mozzarella has over 2.5 times as much.
Carbs and Fiber
The two cheeses have similar amounts of net carbs, around 3g per serving. They are both low in fiber. So neither has a significant advantage when it comes to carbs or fiber.
Mozzarella has far more total and saturated fat - 17.1g total and 13.15g saturated - compared to cottage cheese's 4.3g total and 1.72g saturated. So if you are limiting fat or watching saturated fat for heart health, cottage cheese is better.
Cottage cheese contains much more sodium - 364mg versus 16mg per serving in mozzarella. So if you're watching salt intake, mozzarella is the better choice.
Vitamins and Minerals
Mozzarella contains higher amounts of calcium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B2, and other nutrients. It has over 7 times as much calcium and 8 times as much zinc as cottage cheese. So for nutritional richness, mozzarella comes out on top.
Key Takeaway: For low calories and fat choose cottage cheese; for more protein, vitamins and minerals opt for mozzarella.
Both cottage cheese and mozzarella offer some valuable health benefits:
- May help regulate blood pressure
- Good source of protein to help build muscle
- Contains calcium for bone strength
- Builds strong bones from all its calcium
- Good source of protein for muscle health
- Vitamin A, B2 and B12 supports immune function
- Bioactive peptides may reduce blood pressure
So while they both provide protein for muscle health and other benefits, mozzarella's bonus nutrients like calcium, vitamins A and B give it an additional health boost.
Color, Flavor and Texture
Cottage cheese and mozzarella differ quite a bit in terms of their sensory qualities:
Cottage cheese is white with small creamy curds mixed in whey. Mozzarella has an ivory or off-white hue.
Cottage cheese is mild, creamy and slightly tangy. Mozzarella has a clean, milky flavor without sharpness.
The curds in cottage cheese give it a chunky, clumpy texture. Mozzarella is smooth and elastic with a springy moistness.
So cottage cheese offers a tangy, curdy bite while mozzarella melts softly on the tongue. Which type you prefer depends on your personal taste preferences.
Cottage cheese traces its origins back centuries to the Middle East and Europe, where home cooks made fresh cheese from the leftover curds of cow or goat milk.
In contrast, mozzarella has its roots in Italy, originally made from the milk of Italian water buffalo. The unique pasta filata method used to make mozzarella gives it its distinctive stretchy, melty qualities.
How It's Made
Cottage cheese and mozzarella go through quite different processes:
To make cottage cheese:
- Milk is pasteurized, cooled and curdled by adding vinegar or another acidic ingredient.
- The curds are separated from the liquid whey then washed, drained, salted and creamed.
This relatively quick fresh cheesemaking process results in the chucky, milky curds typical of cottage cheese.
Mozzarella production involves:
- Milk is cultured with specific bacteria and enzymes then rennet is added to coagulate it into curds.
- The curds are cut, stretched repeatedly in hot water (the pasta filata process), then formed into balls or blocks.
This delicate pasta filata method aligns the proteins into stretchy fibers, giving mozzarella its signature smooth, elastic texture.
Key Takeaway: Cottage cheese uses a quick acid curdling method while authentic mozzarella goes through a specialized pasta filata process.
Which Is Better?
So which cheese comes out as better overall? The answer depends on what qualities matter most to you.
Cottage cheese is:
- Lower in calories and fat - good for weight loss diets
- Has less sodium - better if limiting salt
- More economical and affordable option
Mozzarella cheese is:
- Higher in protein, calcium and other nutrients
- Richer, creamier flavor and smoother texture
- Melts beautifully on pizzas and pastas
For those limiting calories or sodium, cottage cheese is likely the better choice. But for impressive protein content, delicious milky flavor, meltability and nutritional richness, mozzarella takes the cake!
What has more sodium, cottage cheese or mozzarella?
Cottage cheese contains over 20 times more sodium than mozzarella - 364mg in cottage cheese compared to 16mg per serving of mozzarella. So mozzarella is better if you are monitoring sodium intake.
Is cottage cheese healthier than mozzarella?
Cottage cheese is lower in calories and saturated fat than mozzarella, but mozzarella provides more protein, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B12 and other nutrients. So cottage cheese may fit better into some weight loss or heart healthy diets due to being lower fat, but mozzarella offers more overall nutrition.
Can you melt cottage cheese like mozzarella?
No, cottage cheese does not melt the same way as mozzarella. Mozzarella is made by a specialized pasta filata process that gives it a stretchy texture and meltability. Cottage cheese curds will simply warm up and perhaps soften a bit when heated but the curds will remain intact.
Is mozzarella better for muscle building than cottage cheese?
Yes, mozzarella provides over 2.5 times as much protein as cottage cheese, so it will help more with building and maintaining muscle mass. The higher protein content makes mozzarella a better choice for supporting an active lifestyle or muscle health.
Cottage cheese suits low calorie or low sodium needs, while mozzarella optimizes nutrition, flavor and functionality.
Both can play a role in a well-balanced diet - the best for you comes down to your specific nutritional and health goals, as well as personal taste preferences.