The Consumer Education Project of Milk SA

What is the difference between cream cheese and cottage cheese?

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The difference lies in the fat content of these soft cheeses. Full-fat cream cheese contains 45–70 g fat/100 g, whereas the cottage cheeses vary greatly in their fat content per 100 g serving. For example,  full-cream cottage cheese contains 4.4–6 g; medium-fat contains 3.4 g; low-fat contains <1.5 g, and fat-free contains no more than 0.1 g fat.

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Cottage cheese and cream cheese have exactly the same manufacturing process. Both are made from skimmed milk. The only difference is the fat content, which is obtained by the addition of a cream dressing. There are a number of different creamed and cottage cheese options available. Some of the products contain very little fat (some as little as 0.1 g fat per 100 g), while others can contain as much as 70 g fat per 100 g. The South African Food Analysis Tables differentiate between full-fat cream cheese and lower-fat cottage cheese:

  • Full-fat cream cheese can contain 45–70 g fat/100 g.
  • Full-cream cottage cheese typically contains 4.4–6 g fat/100 g.
  • Medium-fat cottage cheese has about 3.4 g fat/100 g.
  • Low-fat cottage cheese has less than 1.5 g fat/100 g.
  • Fat-free cottage cheese contains no more than 0.1 g fat/100
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