How to Make Cottage Cheese at Home in 5 Minutes

Learning how to make cottage cheese at home is the perfect way to use up all that leftover buttermilk after making pancakes, biscuits, or any other buttermilk-based cooking project. Homemade cottage cheese is so simple even a child could do it. In fact, this is a great recipe to make with the kids.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine Italian
Keyword breakfast, cheese, cheesemaking
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 137kcal
Author Stephanie Stiavetti, adapted from Angie Mosier


  • 4 cups buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • Heat buttermilk in a large saucepan over low heat. Watching carefully, allow the buttermilk to heat until it steams and small bubbles slowly saunter to the surface, but do not let it boil. 
  • As the buttermilk heats, you’ll notice curds form. Don't stir, which will break up the small curds even smaller. Once the buttermilk is about to boil, remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Line a strainer with cheesecloth of a clean cotton handkerchief. Discard the whey, if you like, or keep it for another use. (See notes.) Allow the curds to sit in the strainer until completely cooled, about 20 to 30 minutes. 
  • Transfer the cottage cheese to a bowl and gently fold in heavy cream and salt, being careful not to smash the curds. Salt to taste, if you think it needs more salt. This is also when you would add any chopped fresh herbs or lemon juice it give it more flavor.
  • Homemade cottage cheese keeps in the refrigerator for up to a week in an airtight container.



Homemade cottage cheese is a GREAT way to use up extra buttermilk. You can further prevent food waste by saving the whey from this recipe.
If you want to keep the whey that's leftover after you make your cottage cheese at home, store in in a sealed container in the fridge for up to a week. You can add it to soups, smoothies, or rice/pasta cooking water for a little extra flavor and protein.
If you don't want to use cream, you can sprinkle in a few tablespoons of half & half or whole milk. Or leave it out altogether for a drier, firmer homemade cottage cheese.
You can also stir in chopped herbs for a really amazing experience.
Nutritional analysis is based on using the heavy cream.


Calories: 137kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 24mg | Sodium: 528mg | Potassium: 379mg | Vitamin A: 250IU | Vitamin C: 3.3mg | Calcium: 290mg | Iron: 0.2mg