Make Ahead

Creamy Homemade Cottage Cheese

December  8, 2010
2 Ratings
  • Prep time 40 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • Makes 1-1/2 cups (give or take)
Author Notes

Cottage cheese is made from extracting curd byproduct from the whey and the addition of cream, yogurt or milk makes it creamy. A great breakfast side, and if served stand alone with fruit, it is a simple, lighter fare; perfect on a busy morning. —lapadia

What You'll Need
  • 1/2 gallon whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pinch Kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 container plain yogurt, cream or milk, to make the creamy mixture
  1. Pour milk into a large pot. Insert candy thermometer - heat to 175-180 degrees, or until the edges start to foam and it just starts to bubble. Stir now and then to help keep the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  2. After the milk is heated to temperature; take off the heat, add the lemon juice while stirring to mix thoroughly. Cover with a paper towel (or something to catch the dripping moisture) and let sit for 30 minutes – until you see that the curds have separated.
  3. Line a colander with cheesecloth or other loosely woven material. Slowly pour the curds and whey into the colander allowing the whey to drain away – about 5 minutes. Discard the whey.
  4. Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth around the curds; rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle and then squeeze and rinse the acid taste out…although I don’t mind a little of the lemon flavor.
  5. After completely cooled and squeezed, transfer to a container, break up into pieces and salt to your taste.
  6. If serving immediately, salt to taste and stir in cream, milk or yogurt to make a creamy mixture, otherwise, place it in a covered container, refrigerate, salt and make it creamy later. Add fruits after creaming. NOTE: use Crème fraiche for special recipes or occasions!
  7. *My cottage cheese idea started after seeing a recipe on a FaceBook food group, reading additional information, and then testing it out to come up with this recipe.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • boulangere
  • Brenda Ann
    Brenda Ann
  • mrslarkin
  • dymnyno
  • lapadia

14 Reviews

jean K. July 8, 2022
I made the cottage cheese recipe ( I actually Made half as a gallon of milk seemed a lot having never made cottage cheese before ) the recipe was easy to follow and clear.
My only comment and question is the yield is minuscule when one thinks about using 4 quarts of milk ( not cheap these days if one uses fresh milk not UHT I am in France ) and I only got about one cup of product. It’s delicious, no doubt about that. But there must be a different recipe used in the industry as the waste is unforgivable! What does one do with the left over liquid ?????? I’m about to do some internet research to see

My guess is next trial to make cottage cheese I’ll Need to make a recipe using rennet to not have as much waste (maybe not ???)
Cottage cheese is almost impossible to find in France and I love it when I can find it it is so salty it is not pleasurable For me To eat !

If you have any comments on how to use the left over milk I’d love to know.

lapadia July 11, 2022
Hi Jean, thanks writing back about your adventure with this recipe. I have not made for a long time. In fact as I stated at end of my recipe ingredients: "My cottage cheese idea started after seeing a recipe on a FaceBook food group, reading additional information, and then testing it out to come up with this recipe." The photo showing is what I came up with my first try, btw, during that time I was mostly making Ricotta but wanted to try what I read about Cottage. BTW, I always save my Ricotta whey but not the cottage my comment to dymnyno below, explains all about that. It has a recipe (posted here on f52) of what I like to do with my "ricotta" whey. For some reason, whatever that was...long ago, I just did not like the cottage whey; although I admit I do not usually like discarding.
Anyway, hope this has helped a bit. I have not used rennet would love to hear how that worked for you, I've always felt that recipes are for people to try, and then test - "tweak" it to find what works best for ones purpose. There are a few Ricotta whey ideas here on F52 search them out and try them the next time you have the cottage whey. :)
Debi July 31, 2020
Hi, I will make this tonite and I am wondering, how long a "shelf life " it has while it's in curd form, before adding the cream or yogurt? Thanks for your time,
lapadia July 31, 2020
Hi Debi,
Honestly not sure, it is usually eaten ASAP (ha), but I’d guess a day or two, or, go with the best buy date on the milk used. Anyway, keep the dry curd refrigerated in a glass container before adding cream or yogurt. Have fun making it 😊
boulangere March 22, 2020
I've long wondered if this was possible to make at home. I'm looking forward to trying it.
lapadia March 22, 2020
Hi Cynthia, LONGTIME, huh? Great to hear from you. I haven't made this recipe in a while but it always worked for me..."back in the day."
Hope all is well for you and yours during this crazy time!
boulangere March 22, 2020
I'll certainly let you know, Linda. So good to "talk" to you.
Brenda A. March 17, 2020
Can bottles lemon juice be used in replace of the fresh?
lapadia March 21, 2020
Hi Brenda,
Need to have an acid source such as lemon or white vinegar, I’ve always used fresh lemon, tried vinegar once, and have heard that bottled lemon juice works fine, and so I’d say go for it…although I’ve not tried it. Have fun with your adventure :)
mrslarkin March 14, 2011
This sounds great, lapadia! Thanks so much for the recipe! When do you add salt?
lapadia March 14, 2011
Thanks, mrslarkin! oops...I add the salt to taste in step 6...will fix that! :)
dymnyno January 9, 2011
I just made this and it turned out perfect! I love that I can control the salt the the creaminess and can make my own clabbered cottage cheese. Have you used the whey to make ricotta?
lapadia January 9, 2011
So glad this recipe worked for you, I just love it, esp. being able to control the fat and sodium, too.
I tried making ricotta with this recipe, but the whey seemed too watery. So now I discard my cottage cheese whey. But, I save my ricotta recipe whey (see link). I infuse it with herbs and freeze portions until needed for sauce, bread and soup recipes.
Here is a link to the ricotta recipe I make although the one here on F52 is great too.
jean K. July 8, 2022
I mad ethos and maybe I did something incorrectly
( it’s delicious mind you)
But it’s not large cords at all it’s more like ricotta or a product the call greuil here in the southwest of france made from the whey remaining after making seth’e tome de brebis ( sheep cheese ).

Im still wondering if I did something wrong that I didn’t get large curds