Find out if cottage cheese is gluten-free, what it’s made from, and which brands are safe for a gluten-free diet.
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If you try to keep your protein levels up throughout the day, you may have learned to rely on cottage cheese for help in that goal. After all, this dairy product contains 25 grams of protein in each one cup serving.
With all that protein, it must be considered a good choice for any diet, right? Well, in this post, we’re going to find out if cottage cheese is safe to eat on a gluten-free diet.
We’re going to talk about what cottage cheese is, what different brands use as ingredients in their cottage cheese, and if this high-protein dairy product is gluten-free. We’ll also go over a few brands that make clear gluten statements to help you make quick and easy decisions next time you’re at the store.
What is cottage cheese?
Cottage cheese is a type of cheese product that’s made with cheese curds and whey. The chunks in cottage cheese are the curds, whereas the liquid that’s left in cottage cheese is the whey.
Cottage cheese is made with cow’s milk in much the same way that other cheeses are made. Cultures, rennet or other acid, like citric acid is added to help separate the curds and whey from one another. Then the product is mixed to form the curds and start separating the solids and liquids.
In a normal cheese making process, the whey would be removed and the solids would remain to be pressed and aged. In cottage cheese, the whey remains and the finished product is cottage cheese.
You can buy cottage cheese in both small and large curds, and the only difference is how much the curds are broken up. They are the same product, it’s just a matter of texture difference.
Cottage cheese can be used as a snack, for a high protein breakfast addition, added to smoothies, pasta dishes, and even pancakes.
What is cottage cheese made from?
When making cottage cheese from scratch, the ingredients you’d use are milk, vinegar or other acid, salt, and heavy cream.
Since most of us aren’t attempting to be cheesemongers at home, you’re likely to be wondering what cottage cheese from the grocery stores is made from.
The ingredients of cottage cheese will vary from brand to brand, however these are the most common ingredients you’ll find in the most popular cottage cheese brands.
Ingredients in Darigold cottage cheese
“Cultured nonfat milk, milk, whey, salt, guar gum, citric acid, carrageenan, carob gum, natural flavor, enzymes, carbon dioxide (to help protect flavor).”
Ingredients in Daisy cottage cheese
“Cultured Skim Milk, Cream, Salt, Vitamin A Palmitate.”
Ingredients in Nancy’s lowfat cottage cheese
“Organic pasteurized nonfat milk, organic pasteurized cream, salt, 4 strains of lactic cultures, live probiotic cultures: L. acidophilus, bifidobacterium lactis.”
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in most wheat products, and acts as the “glue” that helps to hold wheat, barley, kamut, spelt, farro, durum, bulgur, rye, and semolina together to maintain their shape.
Gluten is naturally occurring, and therefore is impossible to strip away from the grain. If a grain naturally has gluten in it, there’s no way to make that food gluten-free.
Is cottage cheese gluten-free?
Cottage cheese is generally gluten-free as there aren’t any specific wheat or gluten ingredients required to make this food.
That said, it’s always a good idea to review ingredients lists for any names of gluten to help you make an informed decision before you buy cottage cheese from the store.
According to Very Well Fit, one brand that you might want to steer clear of is Breakstone. Their article says “It’s possible that cottage cheese products from Breakstone could be subject to gluten cross-contamination since Kraft does not disclose potential cross-contamination risks on its labels.”
Read on: Is cheese gluten-free?
Read on: Is cheddar cheese gluten-free?
Read on: Is blue cheese gluten-free?
Read on: Is cream cheese gluten-free?
Brands of gluten-free cottage cheese
There are plenty of cottage cheese brands out there that do not contain gluten ingredients, however these are the brands that I was able to verify online that they either call out on their website or label their products as gluten-free.
Use your best judgment as to whether or not you’ll include brands without a gluten-free label in your diet based on what you know about your level of gluten sensitivity and how your body reacts.
- Cabot Creamery
- Great Value
- Horizon Organic
If you enjoy cottage cheese and have been wondering if this food is safe to eat on a gluten-free diet, I hope this post has helped you get the answers you’ve been looking for. Most cottage cheese doesn’t contain any gluten ingredients, however very few of them actually call out that they are gluten-free.
This could mean that they know there is a possibility that there is some cross contamination during manufacturing or they simply haven’t tested their products for gluten.
Either way, it’s never a bad idea to review ingredients, look for a gluten-free label, and know your own level of gluten sensitivity before you decide whether or not to include a food in your diet.