Low Fat vs. Full Fat Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is making a comeback after falling out of favor for many years.

Low Fat vs. Full Fat Cottage Cheese

This mild, creamy fresh cheese is nutritious and delicious, but an important decision is whether to choose low fat or full fat cottage cheese. What are the differences, and which one is healthier?

Understanding Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is a fresh, soft white cheese made from curdling pasteurized cow's milk. The curds are washed and then cream and salt are added to create the final product.

The curds give cottage cheese its distinctive lumpy, spoonable texture. Curds can be small or large, but nutrition is comparable. Go with personal preference or what a recipe calls for.

Cottage cheese is high in protein while being low in fat and calories compared to other cheeses. The protein comes mainly from casein which promotes satiety. A half cup provides around 13 grams of protein.

Key Takeaway: Cottage cheese is a high protein, low calorie fresh cheese with a lumpy, curdled texture.

Comparing Full Fat and Low Fat Varieties

The main differences between full fat and low fat cottage cheese are:

  • Calories and fat content: Full fat has more calories and higher fat since it's made with whole milk containing around 4% milkfat. Low fat versions use 2% or skim milk so have 2/3 less fat and calories.
  • Flavor and texture: Full fat tastes richer and creamier. Low fat can seem more watery. Thickeners are often added to improve texture.
  • Nutrition: Full fat contains more vitamins A and D which need fat for absorption. Also provides butyric acid linked to anti-inflammatory effects.

Full Fat Cottage Cheese

Nutrition per 1/2 cup
Saturated Fat3g
Calcium10% DV
Vitamin A10% DV
Vitamin D10% DV

Low Fat Cottage Cheese

Nutrition per 1/2 cup
Saturated Fat1.5g
Calcium10% DV
Vitamin A6% DV
Vitamin D6% DV

Key Takeaway: Full fat cottage cheese is higher in calories and fat-soluble vitamins compared to low fat versions. Low fat has fewer calories but may lack flavor.

Choosing Between Low and Full Fat

So which type of cottage cheese is healthier? Here are some factors to help decide:

Weight Loss Goals

If limiting calories for weight loss, low fat cottage cheese can help create a calorie deficit. The difference is modest however - just 30-40 calories less per serving compared to full fat.

Most studies showing dairy and weight loss provided full fat products. Higher protein, fat and nutrient content may increase satiety compared to low fat.

Heart Health

Research indicates full fat dairy does not increase risk for heart disease or diabetes, despite containing more saturated fat. The nutrients, vitamins and healthy fats appear protective.

Butter and full fat cheese can be eaten in moderation. Cottage cheese is already low in fat so full fat variety may be preferred.

Nutrient Absorption

The natural vitamin A and D present in full fat cottage cheese requires fat to be properly absorbed. Fortified low fat versions still provide these vitamins, but likely not as efficiently.

If you don't eat many other vit A & D foods, go for full fat cottage cheese.

Inflammation Reduction

Full fat dairy contains butyric acid that may decrease inflammation in the body. Low fat varieties would provided less of this healthy fatty acid.

Choosing full fat cottage cheese may offer anti-inflammatory benefits.

Taste Preference

Let's not discount flavor! If you strongly prefer the richer, creamier taste of full fat cottage cheese, you'll likely end up eating more of it.

Consider your personal taste and what you'll look forward to eating daily or weekly.

Your Dietary Needs

If counting calories closely for fat loss, low fat makes sense. Someone who struggles getting enough vitamins, protein or healthy fats would benefit more from full fat.

Take your whole diet into account when choosing between the two.

Key Takeaway: Consider weight loss needs, heart health, nutrient intake, inflammation, taste preference and overall diet when deciding between full or low fat cottage cheese.

Benefits of Eating Cottage Cheese

Beyond the fat content, cottage cheese as a whole offers great nutritional value:

  • High protein - casein protein fills you up, curbs appetite, builds muscle and fuels workouts
  • Calcium - cottage cheese provides around 10% DV; excellent for bone health
  • B Vitamins - contains vitamin B12 for healthy blood and nerves plus other B vitamins
  • Phosphorous - approximately 10% DV helps strengthen bones and teeth
  • Probiotics - some brands contain gut-healthy live cultures like yogurt

On top of all these nutrients, cottage cheese is very low in sugar and carbs. This makes it perfect for sugar and carb conscious eaters.

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder cottage cheese is being rediscovered!

Incorporating Cottage Cheese Into Your Diet

Here are delicious ways to enjoy cottage cheese:

  • On toast or baked potatoes as a topping
  • Blended into smoothies to make them creamy and protein-rich
  • Mixed with yogurt and fresh fruit for a sweet snack
  • As the protein in energy bites and no-bake bars
  • Replace ricotta cheese in recipes like lasagna
  • Use instead of mayo or sour cream in spreads and dips
  • Top savory pancakes, oatmeal or breakfast bowls
  • Blend into hummus for a protein boost
  • Swap in for cream cheese in desserts

Because it's so mild, cottage cheese takes on other flavors easily. Experiment with sweet and savory mix-ins to keep your tastebuds excited!


What exactly is the difference between low fat and full fat cottage cheese?

Full fat cottage cheese is made using whole milk containing around 4% milkfat. Low fat versions use 2% or nonfat milk, lowering overall fat and calories.

Is full fat or low fat cottage cheese healthier?

It depends on your dietary needs and goals. Full fat contains more beneficial vitamins, calories and fat. Low fat fits better into a weight loss plan. Choose what aligns with your health objectives.

Why does full fat cottage cheese taste better?

Milkfat provides richness and creaminess. Removing fat for low fat versions reduces flavor, so thickness and taste suffers without fat.

Can I still get healthy fats if I pick low fat cottage cheese?

You’ll get less healthy fats like butyric acid from dairy. But you can add other sources like olive oil, avocado or nuts to meals with low fat cottage cheese.


Cottage cheese is a nutritious food that’s great for breakfast, snacks, dips and desserts. Choosing between full and low fat cottage cheese depends on your health goals and personal preferences around flavor.

Low fat cottage cheese supports weight loss with fewer calories and fat. Full fat cottage cheese offers more vitamins, healthy fats and probiotics. Both help build muscle, improve bone strength and provide satiating protein.

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!