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Cottage cheese vs. Cream cheese — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian by Jack Yacoubian | Last updated on April 10, 2023
Medically reviewed by Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan
Cottage cheese
vs
Cream cheese

Summary

Cottage cheese is richer in proteins, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and sodium. It is lower in calories, fats, and carbs. On the other hand, cream cheese is richer in calcium, selenium, and vitamins A, B2, and E.

Introduction

Cottage cheese and cream cheese are dairy products obtained after processing milk with an acidic product, also known as the curdling process. The difference is that cream cheese retains most water and keeps its spreadable texture. On the other hand, cottage cheese is drained after processing, and solid chunks remain in curdles.

Taste and flavor

Cottage cheese is solid and curdled; howeverthe texture is soft and creamy. It often has a milky taste. In comparison, cream cheese has a spreadable texture with a creamy flavor. Cream cheese is often found mixed with herbs and garlic.

Cottage cheese is moister compared to cream cheese. 

Uses in the culinary world

Cottage cheese and cream changes have a wide range of versatility and are often used in the culinary world. They are used in baking, breakfast preparations, sauce and dip preparations, desserts, and main dishes like pasta, sushi, and soups.

Baking

Cream cheese and cottage cheese are good alternatives to use during baking. They are often used to alter the flavor and texture of cookies and cakes. The difference between cream cheese and cottage cheese is that it is the low-fat alternative between them, and it tastes closer to milk.

Breakfast preparations

Cream cheese is a famous spread that goes along with bagels. On the other hand, cottage cheese can go along with a healthy avocado and toast breakfast.

Desserts

Cream cheese is the main ingredient in the preparation of cheesecakes. On the other hand, cottage cheese is often used to prepare a dessert bowl, which can also be a breakfast alternative. A wide range of toppings can be added to a bowl of cottage cheese, like honey, fruits, and syrup.

However, when it comes to added toppings, we must consider the extra calories, sugars, and additives.

Crepe filling

Cream cheese and cottage cheese are often used in crepe fillings. They are mixed with vanilla and sugar to add a sweet flavor. The difference between them would be in the texture and taste. Cream cheese is creamy and denser, whereas cottage cheese is less creamy with a taste close to milk.

Sauces and dips

Cream cheese is a famous base for dipping sauce preparations that dip in vegetables and chips. However, cottage cheese can also be used as an alternative to it.

Taco dip

We can use cream cheese and cottage cheese to prepare the famous taco-layered dip. It is a popular snack with various layers of elements such as beef, avocados, etc. The main element is the taco and the sauce. The sauce is often prepared with cream cheese; we can add cottage cheese to give the sauce a more solid texture.

Main dishes

Pasta

We can use cream cheese and cottage cheese in the preparations of pasta. In this case, the difference between them is taste and texture related.

Soup

Cream cheese can also be used as a base in preparation for creamy soups.

Lasagna

Cream cheese makes lasagna even better than it is. We can use it between the layers, providing a creamier taste with a broader range of flavors. We can also use it on the top layer instead of mozzarella or other cheeses to provide a melting creamy flavor and texture. Also, cottage cheese is often used as an alternative between the layers.

Home Preparation

We can prepare cottage cheese at home. It is quite easy to make. While heating milk, acids are added (vinegar, citric acid), which causes the protein elements of milk to curdle up. This is then rinsed so that any acidic flavors are removed. Afterward, starch is added to keep the curdles from crumbling or sticking to each other.

We can also prepare cream cheese at home. Acid is added to a combination of milk and cream or only milk. The curdling process starts taking place. The curdled mixture is then taken and processed into a creamy texture. We can add various herbs and spices to make it more flavorful.

Shelf life

Cream cheese, if opened, has a shelf life of 10 days. On the other hand, it can last up to 1 month in the fridge when not opened.

On the other hand, cottage cheese lasts for up to 7 days in the fridge. However, if frozen, it can last for three months.

Nutrition

In this part of the article, the nutritional data of cottage cheese and cream cheese are assessed.

You can check this article, cottage cheese vs. greek yogurt, to get an idea about other comparative foods with cottage cheese. 

100g of each will be considered while comparing their nutritional data.

It is important to note that cottage cheese and cream cheese have different water contents. Cottage cheese constitutes 80% water, meaning that 80g of the 100g is water. On the other hand, cream cheese has only 52.6% water, meaning 52.6g of the 100 is water.

Calories

Cottage cheese contains 95 calories. On the other hand, cream cheese contains much higher calories compared to cottage cheese. It contains 350 calories. Cream cheese has 368% more calories than cottage cheese.

Carbs

Cottage cheese has lower amounts of carbs compared to cream cheese. Cottage cheese contains 3.38g of carbohydrates compared to cream cheese which contains 5.52g.

Proteins

Cottage cheese is richer in protein compared to cream cheese. Cottage cheese contains 11.12g of proteins compared to cream cheese which contains 6.15g.

Fats

Cottage cheese is lower in fats compared to cream cheese. Cream cheese has its consistency due to its higher amounts of fats.

Monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fat amounts are higher in cream cheese.

Cream cheese has high amounts of cholesterol, 101mg. This is 34% of the recommended daily values.

Glycemic index

Cottage and cream cheese have equal glycemic indices, equal to 10.

Vitamins

Cottage cheese is richer in vitamin B12. On the other hand, cream cheese is richer in vitamins A, B2, and E.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +17.4%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +95.5%
Contains more Vitamin A +693.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +975%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +41.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +21.7%
Contains more Choline +47.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.091
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.517
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 9% 2% 3% 0% 7% 38% 2% 34% 11% 9% 54% 11% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 67% 18% 0% 0% 6% 54% 2% 32% 13% 7% 28% 15% 6%
Contains more Vitamin D +∞%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +17.4%
Contains more Folate +33.3%
Contains more Vitamin B12 +95.5%
Contains more Vitamin A +693.6%
Contains more Vitamin E +975%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +41.1%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +21.7%
Contains more Choline +47.8%
Contains more Vitamin K +∞%
Equal in Vitamin B3 - 0.091
Equal in Vitamin B5 - 0.517

Minerals

Cottage cheese is richer in sodium and phosphorus. In comparison, cream cheese is richer in selenium.

Calcium

Cottage and cream cheese are among the top 25% of foods rich in calcium. Yet, there is a slight difference between them. Cream cheese is slightly richer in calcium compared to cottage cheese.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Phosphorus +48.6%
Contains more Copper +61.1%
Contains more Selenium +12.8%
Contains more Calcium +16.9%
Contains more Iron +57.1%
Contains more Magnesium +12.5%
Contains more Potassium +26.9%
Contains less Sodium -13.7%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains more Manganese +450%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 25% 3% 6% 69% 10% 48% 11% 10% 1% 53%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 30% 5% 7% 46% 12% 41% 14% 6% 2% 47%
Contains more Phosphorus +48.6%
Contains more Copper +61.1%
Contains more Selenium +12.8%
Contains more Calcium +16.9%
Contains more Iron +57.1%
Contains more Magnesium +12.5%
Contains more Potassium +26.9%
Contains less Sodium -13.7%
Contains more Zinc +25%
Contains more Manganese +450%

Weight loss and diets

Keto

Cottage cheese and cream cheese are considered low-carb foods. They are keto diet foods.

However, it is important to note that in the case of cottage cheese, it has to be consumed without additional toppings and syrups.

Vegan

Vegans cannot consume cottage cheese and cream cheese for vegan diets because they are dairy products - animal derivatives.

Dairy-free

Section reviewed by gastroenterologist Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan

The low amounts of carbs (lactose) in cottage cheese and cream cheese do not trigger an intolerance response in most lactose-intolerant individuals. However, this is on the individual level and only a standard for some lactose-intolerant individuals. In cases of need, lactase enzymes can facilitate the digestion of cottage cheese and cream cheese. 

Another reason to follow a dairy-free diet is milk allergy.

Health impacts

Health benefits

Cardiovascular health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

The inhibition of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) is the most studied mechanism underlying the antihypertensive effects of cheese peptides (1). ACE-inhibitor medications (Captopril, Lisinopril, etc.) also work by this mechanism (2).  As a result, both of these products have antihypertensive effects.

People taking MAO inhibitors (particularly antidepressants) may experience a hypertensive crisis when eating cheeses, including these cheeses, which contain tyramine (3).

This study shows that moderate amounts of cream-based dairy products positively affect cardiovascular health. (4)

Diabetes

There is a direct relationship between the reduction of developing type 2 diabetes and moderate consumption of dairy without additives and sugars. (5)

Studies highlight the association between the reduction of risks of developing metabolic disorders and diabetes. (6)

Downsides & Risks

Cancer

This article shows a positive association between the development of breast cancer and the consumption of cream cheese and cottage cheese when consumed in high amounts. (7)

There is a direct association between the development of prostate cancer and the consumption of high-calcium diets. (8)

Diabetes

Full-fat dairy consumption is associated with pre-diabetes development. If pre-diabetes is not controlled in the long run, it develops into diabetes. (9)

Intolerance and allergy

Section reviewed by gastroenterologist Arpi Gasparyan Article author photo Arpi Gasparyan

As previously mentioned, people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy should avoid cottage cheese and cream cheese.

Common symptoms of lactose intolerance are abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bloating, and flatulence. In contrast, milk allergy may manifest with digestive symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and bloody stools or non-specific allergic reactions such as hives, wheezing, itching, vomiting, etc.

Article author photo Jack  Yacoubian
Education: Haigazian Medical University
Last updated: April 10, 2023
Medically reviewed by Astghik Grigoryan

Infographic

Cottage cheese vs Cream cheese infographic
Infographic link

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +80.8%
Contains more Water +51.6%
Contains more Other +11%
Contains more Fats +700.9%
Contains more Carbs +63.3%
Equal in Other - 1.27
11% 4% 3% 80%
Protein: 11.12 g
Fats: 4.3 g
Carbs: 3.38 g
Water: 79.79 g
Other: 1.41 g
6% 34% 6% 53%
Protein: 6.15 g
Fats: 34.44 g
Carbs: 5.52 g
Water: 52.62 g
Other: 1.27 g
Contains more Protein +80.8%
Contains more Water +51.6%
Contains more Other +11%
Contains more Fats +700.9%
Contains more Carbs +63.3%
Equal in Other - 1.27

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -91.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +1044.9%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +1105.7%
66% 30% 5%
Saturated Fat: 1.718 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.778 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.123 g
66% 29% 5%
Saturated Fat: 20.213 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 8.907 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.483 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -91.5%
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +1044.9%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +1105.7%

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Lactose +40.8%
100%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0 g
Glucose: 0 g
Fructose: 0 g
Lactose: 2.67 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g
9% 91%
Starch: 0.35 g
Sucrose: 0 g
Glucose: 0 g
Fructose: 0 g
Lactose: 3.76 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0 g
Contains more Starch +∞%
Contains more Lactose +40.8%

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Cottage cheese Cream cheese
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Cholesterol ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Cottage cheese Cream cheese Opinion
Net carbs 3.38g 5.52g Cream cheese
Protein 11.12g 6.15g Cottage cheese
Fats 4.3g 34.44g Cream cheese
Carbs 3.38g 5.52g Cream cheese
Calories 98kcal 350kcal Cream cheese
Starch 0.35g Cream cheese
Sugar 2.67g 3.76g Cottage cheese
Calcium 83mg 97mg Cream cheese
Iron 0.07mg 0.11mg Cream cheese
Magnesium 8mg 9mg Cream cheese
Phosphorus 159mg 107mg Cottage cheese
Potassium 104mg 132mg Cream cheese
Sodium 364mg 314mg Cream cheese
Zinc 0.4mg 0.5mg Cream cheese
Copper 0.029mg 0.018mg Cottage cheese
Manganese 0.002mg 0.011mg Cream cheese
Selenium 9.7µg 8.6µg Cottage cheese
Vitamin A 140IU 1111IU Cream cheese
Vitamin A RAE 37µg 308µg Cream cheese
Vitamin E 0.08mg 0.86mg Cream cheese
Vitamin D 3IU 0IU Cottage cheese
Vitamin D 0.1µg 0µg Cottage cheese
Vitamin B1 0.027mg 0.023mg Cottage cheese
Vitamin B2 0.163mg 0.23mg Cream cheese
Vitamin B3 0.099mg 0.091mg Cottage cheese
Vitamin B5 0.557mg 0.517mg Cottage cheese
Vitamin B6 0.046mg 0.056mg Cream cheese
Folate 12µg 9µg Cottage cheese
Vitamin B12 0.43µg 0.22µg Cottage cheese
Choline 18.4mg 27.2mg Cream cheese
Vitamin K 0µg 2.1µg Cream cheese
Tryptophan 0.147mg 0.069mg Cottage cheese
Threonine 0.5mg 0.233mg Cottage cheese
Isoleucine 0.591mg 0.324mg Cottage cheese
Leucine 1.116mg 0.657mg Cottage cheese
Lysine 0.934mg 0.567mg Cottage cheese
Methionine 0.269mg 0.191mg Cottage cheese
Phenylalanine 0.577mg 0.291mg Cottage cheese
Valine 0.748mg 0.395mg Cottage cheese
Histidine 0.326mg 0.175mg Cottage cheese
Cholesterol 17mg 101mg Cottage cheese
Saturated Fat 1.718g 20.213g Cottage cheese
Omega-3 - EPA 0g 0.01g Cream cheese
Omega-3 - DPA 0g 0.02g Cream cheese
Monounsaturated Fat 0.778g 8.907g Cream cheese
Polyunsaturated fat 0.123g 1.483g Cream cheese
Omega-6 - Eicosadienoic acid 0.007g Cream cheese
Omega-6 - Linoleic acid 0.807g Cream cheese
Omega-6 - Gamma-linoleic acid 0.002g Cream cheese
Omega-3 - ALA 0.125g Cream cheese
Omega-3 - Eicosatrienoic acid 0.002g Cream cheese
Omega-6 - Dihomo-gamma-linoleic acid 0.036g Cream cheese

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Cottage cheese Cream cheese
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
14%
Cottage cheese
19%
Cream cheese
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
23%
Cottage cheese
21%
Cream cheese

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Cream cheese
Cream cheese contains less Sodium (difference - 50mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Cream cheese
Cream cheese is lower in glycemic index (difference - 10)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.09g)
Which food is lower in Cholesterol?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Cholesterol (difference - 84mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 18.495g)
Which food is cheaper?
Cottage cheese
Cottage cheese is cheaper (difference - $1)
Which food is richer in minerals?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Cottage cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/172179/nutrients
  2. Cream cheese - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/173418/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.