Ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt are two dairy products that have grown in popularity in recent years.
Both are nutrient-dense foods that can be great additions to a healthy diet.
Per 100 grams:
As you can see, the most notable difference between ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt is the fat content. Ricotta has over 10 times more fat than Greek yogurt. This results in ricotta also being much higher in calories.
However, the two foods have similar amounts of protein. The protein in Greek yogurt has a higher concentration because of the straining process used to make it.
Key Takeaway: Ricotta cheese is much higher in fat and calories compared to Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt provides fewer calories and almost no fat.
Calories and Macronutrients
Now let's dive deeper into the differences in calories, carbs, protein, and fat between ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt.
- Ricotta cheese contains 174 calories per 100 grams.
- Greek yogurt contains only 59 calories per 100 grams.
This means ricotta cheese has about 3 times more calories than Greek yogurt.
Where do these extra calories in ricotta come from? Primarily the fat content, which we'll cover next.
If you're aiming to reduce your calorie intake, Greek yogurt is the better choice over ricotta cheese. Even in a 1/2 cup serving, Greek yogurt will only have around 80-100 calories compared to over 200 calories in ricotta cheese.
- Ricotta cheese has 3 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams.
- Greek yogurt has 4 grams of carbohydrates.
The two foods have very similar carb contents.
The natural lactose (milk sugar) content is nearly the same in ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt. Any flavors added to Greek yogurt can increase the carbohydrate count.
Overall, carb count should not be a major deciding factor between these two dairy products. They both provide relatively few carbs.
- Ricotta cheese contains 11 grams of protein per 100 grams.
- Greek yogurt has 10 grams of protein.
Ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt both provide high-quality dairy protein.
The protein contents are very close between the two, with ricotta slightly higher. Greek yogurt has more protein per calorie because of the lower fat and calories.
The proteins in ricotta and Greek yogurt contain all the essential amino acids needed for building muscle, bone, and tissues. The straining process for Greek yogurt does increase the protein concentration.
- Ricotta cheese contains 13 grams of fat per 100 grams.
- Greek yogurt has only 0.4 grams of fat.
This is where we see the biggest difference in nutrition between ricotta and Greek yogurt.
As mentioned above, ricotta cheese has over 10 times more fat than Greek yogurt. It provides high amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol:
- Saturated fat: 8.3g in ricotta vs. 2.4g in Greek yogurt
- Cholesterol: 51mg in ricotta vs. 13mg in Greek yogurt
The large discrepancy in fat content results in the large difference in calories between the two foods.
Vitamins and Minerals
In addition to macronutrients, let's look at how the vitamin and mineral contents of ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt compare:
- Calcium: Ricotta is higher in calcium, with 207mg per 100 grams compared to 100mg in Greek yogurt. Both are excellent sources.
- B Vitamins: Greek yogurt provides more vitamin B12, vitamin B2, and vitamin B1. Ricotta is higher in vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
- Potassium: Ricotta cheese has more potassium, with 219mg per 100 grams compared to 141mg in Greek yogurt.
- Phosphorus: Ricotta cheese has a small edge in phosphorus content.
- Vitamin A: Ricotta cheese is far higher in vitamin A, providing 445IU per 100 grams compared to just 15IU in Greek yogurt.
Overall, ricotta cheese provides more vitamin A, calcium, and potassium compared to Greek yogurt. But Greek yogurt contains more B vitamins.
Uses and Benefits
How you plan to use ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt can also determine which is the better choice:
- Cooking: Ricotta cheese is more commonly used in cooking and baking. It has a creamy texture that works well in recipes like lasagna, cheesecake, pizza, etc.
- Snacking: Greek yogurt makes for an excellent healthy snack or light breakfast. It provides protein and nutrients with minimal fat and calories.
- Weight loss: Greek yogurt is the better option if you're trying to lose weight because of the lower calorie and fat contents.
- Probiotics: Both provide probiotics, but Greek yogurt tends to have higher and more active strains. This makes Greek yogurt beneficial for gut health.
- Texture: Ricotta has a richer, creamier texture while Greek yogurt is more thick and dense. Consider which texture you prefer.
Greek yogurt may have the slight edge for uses like snacking, weight loss, and probiotic content. But ricotta works better for cooking and baking applications.
Ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt both come in a variety of flavors:
Popular ricotta cheese flavors:
- Plain/whole milk
- Part-skim or fat-free
- Herbed ricotta
- Lemon ricotta
- Garlic and herb ricotta
- Chili and cayenne ricotta
Common Greek yogurt flavors:
- Plain/whole milk
- Fruit flavors like strawberry, blueberry, peach, etc.
Ricotta cheese has a more neutral and mild flavor compared to Greek yogurt. This allows ricotta to take on stronger seasonings and flavors like herbs, spices, or citrus.
Greek yogurt has a tangy, tart flavor from the yogurt cultures. The fruit and sweet flavors help balance out the tanginess.
So ricotta cheese may give you more flexibility in terms of flavor applications, for both savory and sweet recipes. But Greek yogurt offers more options if you enjoy fruit or sweet flavors.
Finally, let's compare the costs of ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt:
- Ricotta cheese costs around $4 to $6 per pound on average.
- Greek yogurt costs about $0.30 to $0.60 per individual cup, or around $4 to $5 per pound.
So Greek yogurt generally costs a little less than ricotta cheese per pound. But ricotta gives you more total product volume because of the higher moisture content.
The specific brands you choose will impact the prices. Store brands and large tubs tend to be most affordable. Organic options will also cost more.
Key Takeaway: Greek yogurt provides more servings per dollar compared to ricotta cheese because of the lower calorie content.
Is ricotta healthier than Greek yogurt?
Greek yogurt is generally considered healthier than ricotta cheese because of the lower fat and calorie content. But ricotta cheese can be part of a healthy diet in moderation.
Which has more protein, ricotta or Greek yogurt?
By weight, ricotta cheese has slightly more protein than Greek yogurt. But because Greek yogurt is lower in fat and calories, it has more protein per calorie consumed.
Can you use Greek yogurt instead of ricotta?
In some recipes, Greek yogurt may be used to replace part of the ricotta cheese. But the textures are quite different, so substituting all ricotta with Greek yogurt likely will not yield the same results.
Is ricotta good for weight loss?
Ricotta cheese is relatively high in fat and calories compared to Greek yogurt. So Greek yogurt would generally be the better option for supporting weight loss. But ricotta can be part of a balanced diet in moderation.
In determining whether ricotta cheese or Greek yogurt is healthier or a better fit for your needs, consider your dietary goals, recipe needs, and personal flavor preferences.
Both can be excellent additions to your diet if consumed in moderate amounts.