• I've hated cottage cheese ever since I was a little kid.
  • It's a great source of protein, and TikTok is obsessed with using it in viral recipes.
  • I tried it in three high-protein recipes — two of them are now in my regular rotation.

When I was a kid, my parents had me try cottage cheese. After all, I was already the "mouse" of the family, nibbling on slices of Havarti and cheddar any chance I could get. Logically, I might as well try a healthier alternative to deep-fried mozzarella sticks.

Since then, cottage cheese has been one of my greatest food foes. For a long time, my hatred of it had no impact on my life: cottage cheese peaked in popularity in the 1970s, so I almost never encountered it save the rare brunch menu.

That all changed recently, as TikToks started incorporating cottage cheese into everything from cookie dough to dipping sauce. At 23-28 grams of protein per cup (and only about 200 calories), cottage cheese can help you build muscle and lose weight.

@brittneyraetoday He’ll hate me when he finds out but at least we have an honest review of the cottage cheese pasta sauce hack!!! #highproteinrecipes #lighteneduprecipes #nutrientdense ♬ Call Me Maybe x Whitney Houston by DARCY STOKES – darcy stokes

Unfortunately, I do care about getting more protein, now that I strength-train. So, reluctantly, I decided to try it in three recipes: scrambled eggs, pasta sauce, and chocolate mousse.

I made the TikTok-viral high-protein pasta sauce first

Some of the most popular recipes involve blending cottage cheese with your pasta sauce of choice. I started with a straightforward recipe involving marinara.

Blending garlic, marinara, seasoning, and cottage cheese into a sauce. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

The preparation was easy enough: while my pasta boiled, I chopped up some garlic and threw it in with cottage cheese, jarred pasta sauce, and seasoning into a blender. Then I just combined everything and added a sprinkle (seven handfuls) of Parmesan.

Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

I dreaded the first bite, eyeing visible granules of cottage cheese. But, the cottage cheese had no taste.

It was texturally the same as ricotta and offered as much protein, but was less caloric — I wouldn't have known the difference. It just added a little extra creaminess, and I felt a little more satiated eating the pasta than if it were just plain red sauce.

I added seitan pieces the first time; the next, I used Barilla protein pasta. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

I made this a few times since, adding extra protein via seitan and protein-enriched pasta because, as a burgeoning gym rat, obsessively counting macros is my life now.

Rating: A-. It takes a little extra prep work, but otherwise it's an easy weeknight dinner with an extra dose of protein. I'll definitely try this again with other sauces like pesto, just to change it up.

The eggs improved my gains in the gym

I whisked eggs, cottage cheese, salt, and pepper before adding everything to the skillet. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

In a conversation at the gym about (you guessed it) eating more protein, a few of my weightlifting classmates brought up cottage cheese eggs. I knew I had to try them.

Eggs are blander than tomato sauce, so the chances my taste buds would come in direct contact with cottage cheese were high. Ugh.

I found a scrambled eggs recipe that was impossible to mess up: I just had to whisk cottage cheese with eggs, salt, and pepper, then throw everything onto a skillet for a few minutes.

Pouring this vomit-like concoction into a pan took my distaste to a new level.

It only took a few minutes to whisk the egg mixture and cook it into scrambled eggs. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

After I was done, the consistency felt like a velvety fusion between scrambled and a cheesy omelet.

The final result was fluffier, creamier eggs. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

It was so good that I texted my group chat immediately. One of my friends dubbed me a "cottage cheese convert." And it's true! I genuinely enjoyed every bite and felt full for hours.

Best of all, I noticed myself lifting heavier when I went to the gym later that day. I also didn't feel ravaged with hunger after I finished.

The eggs with Sriracha, Japanese BBQ sauce, and black sesame seeds. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

I've since made these eggs a few times, adding drizzles of Sriracha and Japanese BBQ sauce to give them a cute little outfit. In the future, I'll add some veggies or throw in a side of lox to zhush it up even more.

Rating: A+. It's easy to make, easy to customize, has about 27 grams of protein (per three eggs and 1/3 cup cottage cheese) — and still no cottage cheese flavor.

People love this low-sugar, high-protein chocolate mousse — but it tasted like cement

Lastly, I wanted to try cottage cheese in a dessert. I opted for a high-protein mousse involving protein powder.

Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

In a blender, I added the cottage cheese, protein powder, cocoa powder, tahini, oats, and almond milk. I also melted some oat milk chocolate as a topper and sprinkled some pistachios to finish.

The mousse was fluffy but very thick, closer to the consistency of wet cement. It took me a good 15 minutes to wrangle it out of the blender and scoop it into little cups. I should've followed my gut and added more milk than the recipe called for.

The finished mousse, nowhere near as aesthetic as the recipe photos. What did I do wrong?? Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

Taste-wise, it was just OK, mostly because the protein powder was prominent and I loathe the flavor of sugar substitutes like Stevia (if you're going to pretend you're sugar, at least be good at it!)

Eating this felt like a punishment, but I don't want to slander poor cottage cheese: she did no wrong here. She is versatile. She is the backbone. She did everything she could to make this work.

The mousse up close. Foto: Julia Pugachevsky

Rating: C-. It has potential, but uses up a lot of cottage cheese and protein powder for me to keep experimenting.

I doubt I'll make this mousse again, but if I did, I would just use regular sugar and chocolate. Then again, maybe I don't need to turn every meal into a protein gains party. When I'm incorporating an ingredient that revolts me in its naked form for the sake of being healthier, my reward can just be a normal dessert.

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