Pot Cheese vs. Ricotta Cheese

Pot cheese and ricotta cheese - two fresh, soft white cheeses that look similar but have distinct differences.

Pot Cheese vs. Ricotta Cheese

Understanding how they vary in production method, texture, flavor, and best uses in cooking can help you decide when to use one over the other.

What Is Pot Cheese?

Pot cheese is a simple, fresh cheese known for its creamy yet crumbly texture and mild, tangy flavor. It goes by other names like dry curd cottage cheese or "pot-style" cottage cheese.

As the names suggest, pot cheese falls between the two better known cheeses - cottage cheese and farmer cheese in consistency. It retains more moisture than firmer farmer cheese but not as much whey as wet cottage cheese.

Pot cheese curds tend to be larger than cottage cheese and the overall texture is less "slimy" when compared to typical cottage cheese. The flavor is mildly tangy, without the pronounced sourness of some cottage cheese varieties.

This versatile cheese can be used like a spread or an alternative to ricotta cheese in recipes. It also tends to be higher in protein than many other fresh cheeses.

The name "pot cheese" comes from the traditional method of making it on stovetops in pots on family farms. It's a simple, fast cheese to produce for immediate use rather than aging.

Key Takeaway: Pot cheese has a texture drier than cottage cheese but not as dry as farmer cheese. Its flavor is mildly tangy.

How Is Pot Cheese Made?

There are a few methods for making pot cheese, but the basic process is:

  • Heat milk to encourage curdling. This may use an acidic ingredient like vinegar or lemon juice. Or bacterial cultures can sour the milk.
  • Allow curds to form in the heated milk. Then cut the curds to release the whey.
  • Drain the curds, rinse them, and salt lightly.
  • Press the curds to remove more whey and achieve the desired texture.
  • Store in brine or refrigerate for use within a few days.

The key step that gives pot cheese its distinctive texture is allowing some whey to remain in the curds. This leaves it not as dry as cheeses like farmer cheese where whey is pressed out completely. But more whey drains off compared to cottage cheese.

Key Takeaway: Gentle heat and retaining some whey gives pot cheese its semi-dry, spreadable texture between cottage cheese and farmer cheese.

Pot Cheese vs. Ricotta

Ricotta is another fresh cheese often used similarly to pot cheese in cooking. But pot cheese and ricotta have distinct differences:


  • Pot cheese uses whole milk.
  • Ricotta is made from whey leftover from other cheeses.


  • Pot cheese is drier and crumbles easily.
  • Ricotta is creamier and smoother.


  • Ricotta has a sweeter, milder taste.
  • Pot cheese is tangier.

Fat Content

  • Ricotta is higher in fat and calories.
  • Pot cheese is lower in fat than whole milk ricotta.

While ricotta makes a delicious Italian-style lasagna, pot cheese can be a lower-fat substitute with a different texture. Their tanginess levels differ as well.

How to Use Pot Cheese

The light tang and spreadable texture makes pot cheese versatile in both sweet and savory dishes:

  • Use it like cream cheese or ricotta as a bagel spread, topped with fruit or herbs.
  • Make creamy dips for snacking by blending with herbs and spices.
  • Stuff it into pasta shells or manicotti instead of ricotta.
  • Mix into muffin or quick bread batters as a moistener.
  • Use as the creamy layer in lasagna or pastitsio for a lower fat option.
  • Blend into cheesecakes or crepes instead of higher fat cream cheese or sour cream.
  • Swap in for ricotta in traditional recipes like gnocchi or cannoli filling.
  • Top pizzas and flatbreads instead of mozzarella for a milder flavor.
  • Stir into scrambled eggsomelets, or frittatas for extra richness.
  • Mix with fresh herbs and spoon over roasted vegetables or grilled meats.

With its spreadable texture and neutral tanginess, pot cheese can fit into either savory recipes or desserts. Next time you want an alternative to higher fat soft cheeses, consider the simple freshness of pot cheese.

How to Store Pot Cheese

Since it is a fresh cheese without preservatives, pot cheese has a shorter shelf life. Keep these storage tips in mind:

  • Keep refrigerated at all times, around 40°F.
  • Use within 4-5 days for best quality and freshness.
  • Store in brine or the whey to help retain moisture.
  • Seal tightly in an airtight container if not storing in liquid.
  • Avoid freezing pot cheese for later use. The texture deteriorates when thawed.

Enjoy the convenience of pot cheese within a week of making or buying it. Its versatility in both sweet and savory recipes makes it a handy staple in any refrigerator.

Key Takeaway: Refrigerate and use fresh pot cheese within a week for best taste and texture.


What does pot cheese taste like?

Pot cheese has a mild, fresh dairy flavor. It is tangy but not as sour as some cottage cheese. The taste is slightly sweet like ricotta.

Is pot cheese healthy?

Pot cheese is high in protein and calcium while being relatively low in fat, especially compared to cream cheese or sour cream. It can fit into a healthy diet paired with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.

Can you freeze pot cheese?

Freezing is not recommended. The texture of pot cheese becomes grainy and watery when thawed after freezing. It's best to refrigerate and use within a week.

What is the difference between pot cheese, ricotta, and cottage cheese?

While all fresh white cheeses, pot, ricotta, and cottage cheese differ in their curd size, moisture content, sourness, production method, and best uses in cooking. Pot cheese is in between ricotta and cottage cheese in texture.

How can I make pot cheese at home?

Heat milk gently, add an acid like vinegar to curdle it, drain the curds but retain some whey, and refrigerate. Choosing not to press the curds thoroughly gives pot cheese its distinctive semi-soft, spreadable texture.


Pot cheese delivers a subtly tangy flavor and creamy but crumbly texture. It falls between cottage cheese and ricotta in terms of moisture content.

The semi-soft, spreadable curds make it versatile for cooking and baking both sweet and savory dishes.

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!