Easy cottage cheese with chives recipe made with full-fat dairy milk and flavoured with fresh herbs. Simple homemade cottage cheese that makes the perfect spread for bread or crackers or used for pizza topping, cooking or adding to healthy salads.
Very easy-to-make at-home cheese, that makes the perfect accompaniment for any of my favourite homemade bread recipes.
Cheese and chives are such a great flavour combination. The flavour of this cottage cheese is fresh and slightly tangy and of course very healthy too!
This soft cheese will last up to 1 week in a fridge (keep in an airtight container), but ours never does – we just eat it straight away!
Why make this recipe?
- Easy cottage cheese recipe to make
- Good way to use up older milk
- Make your own flavours with different toppings
MORE EASY RECIPES TO TRY
This recipe & me
Have you ever wondered, whether you can make cheese at home? Well, I did!
And after a visit to several working farms in Kent, watching re-runs of Victorian Farm on BBC2 and our favourite cheese place going out of business, I decided I wanted to have a go myself to see whether it’s possible to make cheese at home.
Looking through a few cookery books I soon realised that making traditional cheese at home is quite an art and you really need to have fairly specific equipment.
Hard cheese also takes a time to mature and I was hoping to try my own cheese for lunch on the same day!
Fortunately, I also had recipe for cottage cheese, which is much easier to make and the process doesn’t take very long. I’ve made a few trials of this recipe and the final version was flavoured with fresh chives.
And today, I’m happy to share my favourite recipe for homemade cottage cheese. I hope this recipe is simple enough for anyone to re-create and I love to hear how you got on making your own soft cheese!
What is cottage cheese ?
Cottage cheese is the easiest type of cheese that can be made at home, as it takes just a few minutes to curdle and set. It’s made from dairy milk (traditionally from cow’s milk) which is separated and curdled with lemon juice.
The flavour is mild and the texture can be slightly crumbly. The taste can be compared to cream cheese, but with a much firmer texture.
And of course, if you are regularly buying cottage cheese in the shop, the homemade one taste exactly the same (if not better!).
Cottage Cheese Making Equipment
The good thing about this homemade cottage cheese recipe is that you don’t need a lot of equipment to make it. The equipment below is what I usually use, but you can use something similar what works in the same way – just have a look around your kitchen cupboards, I’m sure you’ll find the right equipment to use.
It’s good to have a thermometer to check when your milk reaches 38C. If you don’t have a suitable thermometer, just use your hand/finger to check. The milk will be about 1 C warmer than your body, which means just a little bit warmer than your body.
- Large pan
- Muslin cloth (or similar – sterilised gauze or fresh clean tea towel)
- Large bowl
You are welcome to use any kind of dairy milk, but it’s best to use a full-fat milk. Bonus is if you can get hold of ‘raw milk’ i.e. one that’s not been homogenised or pasteurised.
The full fat milk will give you more flavour than skimmed or semi-skimmed milk, but they will both work equally well.
The milk doesn’t have to fresh, but it shouldn’t be off, otherwise the cottage cheese will taste bitter.
Lemon juice adds flavour and it’s also what causes the milk separation and the curdling of the cottage cheese. You can also use apple cider vinegar or even regular vinegar if you don’t have lemon juice.
Fresh chives are perfect for this recipe, but you can also use other herbs such as basil, coriander or lemon thyme.
In the winter, you can also use dried herbs, especially if you’ve collected them yourself.
Salt & pepper
Only add salt or pepper if you think it’s necessary as the chives will add a lot of flavour already. Alternatively, you can also use everyday seasoning spice mix to make a slightly different flavour.
How to make this cottage cheese with chives recipe
Gather your ingredients and keep them at a room temperature.
Heat the milk gently up to 38 C. Take it off heat and add vinegar (or lemon), stir and leave for a bit.
You will see that in a few moments the milk curdles and separates.
Then you just pour it on to a muslin cloth resting in a colander and bowl and twist the muslin cloth to squeeze the liquid.
Leave it for 30 min or up to 1 hr – either hanged over the side of the bowl or somewhere where the water can still safely drip down.
The next bit is just to add some salt (to taste) and mix in any other flavouring that you want to add.
I added garlic chives from my herb garden to mine cheese, which gave it just the right flavour. 1 ltr of milk will give you about 200g of cheese.
How to make this cottage cheese recipe differently
The basic recipe for cottage cheese is great on it’s own and doesn’t need any flavouring. I’ve chosen to add fresh chives to my version of cottage cheese, but here are few extra flavour suggestions you are welcome to try.
Plain cottage cheese
Keep the cottage cheese plain by not adding the fresh chives – other than that follow the recipe as it is.
Cottage cheese with onion and chive
To make the cottage cheese slightly more spicey, you can add finely chopped onion. For my recipe amount, you probably don’t want to add more than 1 tablespoon of finely chopped onion and one tablespoon of fresh chives.
Cottage cheese & pineapple
The combination of fresh pineapple and cottage cheese is genius. Cut up small pieces of pineapple and mix it in to the cheese right at the end. Fresh pineapple is needed for this flavour, as tinned pineapple is going to be too sweet.
How to serve this recipe
Cottage cheese is perfect as a savoury spread for sandwiches, crackers or bagel.
- Add cottage cheese to mashed potatoes >>
- Serve it with a homemade spelt pizza >>
- Add it to a breakfast omelette >>
What can you serve cottage cheese with
There are so many things you can eat with chive cottage cheese, but the best is a homemade bread or crackers. Sourdough bread is particularly good with homemade cottage cheese, but other flavoured breads such as seeded or wholemeal breads are great too.
- Black Russian Rye Bread >>
- Wholemeal Soda Bread >>
- Quick Rye Bread (no knead) >>
- Buckwheat Bread with seeds >>
- No-Knead Bread >>
- Potato Bread with Cheese >>
- Beer Bread (no-knead) >>
Can you cook with cottage cheese ?
Yes, you can cook with homemade cottage cheese and use it in any recipe that requires cottage cheese. It’s perfect for making cheese sauces, thickening soups or adding as a mild flavouring.
You can also use cottage cheese to make various sandwich spreads or use it instead of yoghurt for savoury cooking.
If you want to use cottage cheese for cooking, I’d suggest that you make the cottage cheese plain and without any fresh flavouring. This will make it a little easier to use in a variety of recipes and the cheese flavour won’t clash with anything else you are trying to cook.
Can you bake with cottage cheese?
You can also use plain cottage cheese for baking. Cottage cheese is great as a topping for homemade pizza. You can also turn it into a kind of cream cheese filling if you run out of the regular cream cheese.
If you are using your homemade cottage cheese for sweet baking (for example to make my Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns recipe), don’t add any salt or pepper when you are making the recipe.
Afterwards, add some fine confectionary (icing) sugar and single or double cream (half and half) to make the cottage cheese more creamy and sweet. Use a fork or a whisk to make the cottage cheese extra fluffy and light and then use as a substitution for the cream cheese.
1 litre (3 1/2 or 4 cups) of milk will give you about 200 grams (1 cup) of soft cottage cheese.
Scaling up or down this recipe
You are only limited by the amount of milk you have, but you can easily scale up or down this recipe. To to this, simply multiply the amount of milk and other ingredients to make large batch.
Don’t forget that cottage cheese doesn’t have a long shelf life, so just make what you need at the time.
Can cottage cheese be made in advance?
Cottage cheese has a fairly short shelf life, so it’s best to make it on the day you want to use it or no more than 24 hrs before you want to serve the cheese (for example at a dinner party).
How long does homemade cottage cheese last?
Homemade cottage cheese is best eaten straightaway as we’ve not used any preservatives.
In my experience, the cottage cheese does last longer if you add salt.
I’ve kept my chives cottage cheese for up to 7 days and it was fine, but I wouldn’t keep it for longer than the original milk sell by date.
How to store cottage cheese
It’s best to keep the cheese tightly wrapped in a plastic bag inside an airtight plastic container in the fridge. I’ve not tried to freeze the cottage cheese, but theoretically, I think it should be fine too. The texture might change a little when you defrost the cheese, but that could be remedied by adding a little bit of fresh cream or milk.
Cottage Cheese with Chives
- Fine Muslin Cloth
- 1 ltr full fat milk any, but best not homogenised or pasteurised
- 2-3 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 1 tablespoon chives freshly chopped (ad more to taste)
- Heat the milk gently up to 38 C in a large saucepan.
- Take the saucepan off heat and add vinegar (or lemon), stir and leave for a bit.
- You will see that in a few moments the milk curdles and separates.
- Pour the curdled milk into a muslin cloth resting in a colander and bowl and twist the muslin cloth to squeeze the liquid.
- Leave it for 30 min or up to 1 hr – either hanged over the side of the bowl or somewhere where the water can drip down.
- Add salt (to taste) and mix in any other flavouring that you want to add. I added garlic chives from my herb garden to mine cheese, which gave it just the right flavour.
This blog post was originally written on 11 May 2014 and last updated on 3 November 2022