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This cottage cheese mac and cheese is a protein-packed, delicious twist on the classic comfort food that’s surprisingly satisfying! It’s easy to whip up this creamy spin in a blender.

Cottage Cheese Mac and Cheese o9n a bowl with spoon and garnished with breadcrumbs.

Cottage cheese has become a trendy ingredient lately, and luckily here at A Couple Cooks Alex and I have always been super fans of this protein-packed cheese. Here’s our latest idea for what to make with it: cottage cheese mac and cheese!

The curds whip up into a deliciously creamy sauce that’s protein-packed and makes a silky coating for noodles. It’s so simple to whiz up the sauce in a blender. I must admit Alex wasn’t on board with my idea for this recipe at first, but once he tasted it he became a believer. We hope you’ll love it just as much as we do!

Jump to the recipe—now.

The 7 ingredients you need for cottage cheese mac and cheese

You might be thinking, cottage cheese in pasta? Turns out, these white curds blend up perfectly when combined with cheddar cheese and a few spices. I’ve found it’s best to add a bit of cornstarch to the mix to help the sauce thicken up nicely, otherwise it has less body and doesn’t coat the noodles as well. It works similar to a roux in a standard cheese sauce. Here are a few notes on the ingredients:

  • Short pasta: Any type of short noodles work for mac and cheese, with the standard being macaroni. We used cavatappi here. Other shapes that work well are shells, penne, rigatoni, and spirals.
  • Cottage cheese: We recommend 4% milkfat cottage cheese, which has the richest flavor and most milkfat. The 2% milkfat option also works, but avoid fat free cottage cheese since the flavor is not as robust.
  • Milk of choice: Use whatever milk you have on hand. We typically use 2% milk, but whole milk works too!
  • Cornstarch: This helps to thicken the sauce and add a silky body, similar to the flour and butter-based roux in most traditional mac and cheese recipes (like this one).
  • Shredded cheddar cheese: Shredded cheddar helps to add thickness and texture to the sauce, as well as add that expected mac and cheese flavor.
  • Garlic powder and paprika: These spices round out the mix! The paprika is optional but helps to make a more vibrant color.

What people are saying about this recipe

Readers are making and loving this recipe! Our Instagram reader Lisa reached out and said this about this recipe:

“I made the cottage cheese mac n cheese recipe for dinner tonight and had to let you know that it was so yummy! I did end up baking it and added a little cheese on top along with crumbs and ended up loving how easy and delicious it was. Thank you!” -Lisa

Cottage Cheese Mac and Cheese with cup of cottage cheese and noodles in background.

Tips for blending the sauce

Making mac and cheese with cottage cheese is so simple: all you have to do is cook the pasta to al dente and blend the sauce while the pasta is cooking. You should have plenty of time to whip up the sauce while the pasta cooks. If the pasta happens to take longer or you pre-cook your pasta, make sure to toss it with a bit of olive oil or it will stick to the pan.

We use a high-speed blender for our blended recipes, which blends the sauce into a creamy texture in a few seconds. A standard blender and food processor can work here as well. A small blender can work depending on its size capacity.

Bake it for even more flavor!

This cottage cheese mac and cheese is ready in just 20 minutes if you cook the pasta, then toss it together with the blended sauce. We go for this option for quick weeknight dinners.

If you have slightly more time, baking the mac and cheese adds even more flavor! It helps the sauce to permeate the noodles, making it taste richer and more savory. Pour the pasta into a baking dish and bake at 350°F for 15 minutes.

Note for serving a crowd

This recipe works well doubled for serving a crowd. You can use the 2x button in the recipe below to quickly double the quantities. Using 1 pound of pasta, you can pour it into a 9 x 13″ baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F before serving.

Bowl of cottage cheese.

What are the benefits of cottage cheese?

Why put cottage cheese into your mac and cheese, anyway? According to Healthline, this cheese is a healthy option when compared to other types of cheeses. Here are some of the benefits of cottage cheese:

  • It’s a lower calorie cheese compared to many others. A 1-cup serving has just 163 calories.
  • It’s very high in protein. 1 cup has a whopping 28 grams of protein, over half your daily need. Impressively, the protein accounts for over 70% of the calories.
  • It’s also packed with nutrients like B vitamins, calcium, phosphorus, and selenium.

Quick ways to make it a meal

Is mac and cheese a main or a side? To us it’s usually a main dish: but this cottage cheese spin works either way! I love this one either way, as a quick weeknight meal or baked up in a big pan as a side for entertaining. If you’re eating it as a main dish, here are a few quick ways to make it into a meal:

Cottage cheese mac and cheese in a bowl with serving spoon.

Storing leftovers

Cottage cheese mac and cheese lasts refrigerated for up to 3 days. To reheat it, place it in a pan on the stovetop and gently reheat, adding a splash of milk or pinch of salt if necessary. 

A few more cottage cheese recipes we love

We love cottage cheese! You can make killer pancakes, delicious breakfast bowls, toast, scrambled eggs, and everything in between. Here are a few favorite recipes to get started:

01

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

This cottage cheese pancakes recipe is the best genius trick! It makes a protein packed pancake that tastes like French…

02

Cottage Cheese Dip

This cottage cheese dip tastes just like ranch dip, but it’s made with a few spices and this healthy cheese!…

03

Cottage Cheese Breakfast Bowls

These cottage cheese breakfast bowls are a healthy and easy breakfast! Top them with berries or apple, cinnamon and a…

Print
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Cottage Cheese Mac and Cheese

Cottage Cheese Mac and Cheese


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x

Description

This cottage cheese mac and cheese is a protein-packed, delicious twist on the classic comfort food that’s surprisingly satisfying! It’s easy to whip up this creamy spin in a blender.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces short pasta*
  • 1 cup 4% milkfat cottage cheese
  • ¾ cup milk of choice (we used 2%)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika (optional, for color)
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente (check a few minutes before the package instructions indicate). Drain the pasta.
  2. Meanwhile, in a blender, blend the cottage cheese, milk, cornstarch, shredded cheddar cheese, garlic powder, paprika, and kosher salt. Pour the cheese mixture into a skillet and heat for 5 minutes, until thickened. Once it is thickened, remove from the heat until the pasta finishes.
  3. When the sauce is finished, add the cooked and drained pasta. Stir to combine. Taste and add a pinch of salt if necessary.
  4. Serve immediately, or allow it to sit for a few minutes to absorb the sauce flavors (you can also transfer to a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F for even more flavor). If desired, top with seasoned panko or breadcrumbs for a crunchy topping. Leftovers last up to 3 days refrigerated; reheat gently on the stovetop and add a splash of milk or pinch of salt if necessary.

Notes

*This recipe is easy to double for a crowd, then place in a 9 x 13 pan and bake for 15 minutes at 350°F .

  • Category: Main dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Vegetarian
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Cottage cheese mac and cheese, mac and cheese with cottage cheese

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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