I have something big for you. For years, you’ve clamored for a dairy-free cottage cheese recipe. If you have the 2nd edition of my flagship book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, then you’ve already been rewarded with my favorite one. But today, I’m sharing that AMAZING recipe (if I do say so myself) with all of you here.
What makes this dairy-free cottage cheese so great? Well for starters, the taste. It even won over a family of cheese lovers. But as a bonus, this recipe is also super fast (5 minutes!), super easy (yes, beginner friendly), and quite inexpensive to make. It’s also very versatile. It works fabulously in recipes like lasagna and other casseroles, I personally love it atop toast, and it’s also great on pancakes, salads, etc.
Dairy-Free Cottage Cheese that’s Almost Too Good to be True
Unlike so many dairy-free cottage cheese recipes, this version doesn’t contain nutritional yeast or nuts, it doesn’t require fermenting or soaking, and it doesn’t taste lemony – not one little bit. It has a seamless, delicious taste on its own, and in recipes. That said, I want to quickly address some anticipated FAQs for this dairy-free cottage cheese alternative.
Does it Really Taste Like Cottage Cheese?
I think it tastes better! But during the testing process, testers did report that yes indeed, it’s pretty darn close. Not identical, but a great swap indeed. The tofu provides just the right curd consistency, miso is the key to that cheesy umami, that touch of salt deepens the taste, and the mayo gives it fluid creaminess and flavor that ties everything together. There really are just four ingredients, aside from water, so I do not recommend leaving any out. They’re all key in this recipe.
Where Can I Buy Miso?
Believe it or not, most major grocery stores sell it. It’s refrigerated, and might be with probiotic foods, in the deli case, or in the refrigerated case by the produce department. Natural food stores and Japanese markets often sell a few different types and brands. I’m not loyal to any particular brand, but do like to use a white or light miso in this dairy-free cottage cheese recipe.
Is it Cost Effective?
By my calculations, this entire recipe costs $2.88. It might cost a little more with a vegan or specialty mayonnaise – closer to $3.25. But that’s still pretty cheap! It makes an amount very close to a 16-ounce container of cottage cheese – just 1/4 cup shy.
Is Dairy-Free Soy-Free Cottage Cheese Possible?
I know some of you would love a soy-free option. Their are soy-free miso and mayo products available, but tofu is a little trickier. There are a couple soy-free tofu products on the market, but they are elusive. You can reportedly make tofu from any bean, or even chickpea flour. However, I’m not sure how those would work or taste in this recipe. And I’ve yet to find a great tofu alternative for making this dairy-free cottage cheese.
Can I Make Lower Fat Dairy-Free Cottage Cheese?
As mentioned in the recipe notes, you can use low-fat mayonnaise. I prefer real mayonnaise in this recipe for optimal taste and consistency. But if you are used to light mayo, then it might still taste perfect to you. Using light mayo will reduce the fat to about 6.2 grams per serving, and the calories to about 80 calories per serving. I have not tried yogurt in place of the mayo, so I can’t guarantee taste if you opt to substitute an unsweetened, plain dairy-free yogurt. Brands can vary widely in taste, and will influence the flavor.
I Have Your Book, but Haven’t Seen this Recipe. Where is it?
There are over 250 recipes in the 2nd edition of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook, so it can be easy to miss some! This is the “Cottage-Style Cheeze” recipe in the Cheesy Alternatives recipe chapter. Please note this recipe is not in the 1st edition. I perfected it for the 2nd edition specifically.
Special Diet Notes: Dairy-Free Cottage Cheese Alternative
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, optionally egg-free, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally vegan, vegetarian, low carb, and keto-friendly.
- 12 ounces organic firm tofu
- ½ cup regular, vegan, or light mayonnaise (see Mayo Note below)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon white miso
- ⅜ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Drain and press the tofu, using a tea towel or paper towels, to remove any excess water. Put the drained tofu in a medium bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, water, and miso until smooth. Whisk in the salt.
- Scrape the mayonnaise mixture onto the tofu and thoroughly mash it together. It is ready when you have small tofu chunks and a cottage cheese-like appearance.
- Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The flavors do meld a little more after a few hours of refrigeration.
Mayo Note: Classic, natural, mayonnaise produces the most seamless taste and results (like Best Foods Real Mayonnaise - used to calculate the nutrition facts). But I have successfully tested this recipe with light (for lower fat) and vegan (for egg-free) mayo, too. If using vegan mayo, start without the water, and add in only as much as needed. Some vegan mayonnaises thin out easily. If you opt to use a specialty mayo, like one made with avocado or olive oil, keep in mind that these will have a more pronounced taste.
One of my favourite ways to eat cottage cheese is to pair it with pineapple. I am curious if you have tried eating this with anything sweet as a topper or mix in. .
Not pineapple, but yes, with fruit. It’s good!
I would really like to make this, but I just can’t justify buying the miso paste. Last time I bought it, I used it for one recipe, and then never used it.
For the cheesy flavor, can i sub with mutritional yeast and some salt? Or is there another sub for the miso paste?
Hi Judy, you can see if nutritional yeast meets your taste, but it isn’t my favorite in this recipe. I don’t think just adding more salt will give the flavor. The miso helps to tie the ingredients together and emphasize the umami of the ingredients so it doesn’t just taste like tofu and mayo. Nutritional yeast can add some cheesiness, but I don’t think it ties the ingredients together in that way. You are welcome to try it though! Even if it doesn’t work ideally, you could use it in a casserole.
That all said, miso keeps for a very long time in the refrigerator. And I have tons of recipes on here that use it. This is one of my favorites -> https://www.godairyfree.org/recipes/best-creamy-dairy-free-potato-soup
If you type “miso” in the search at top, you will see many more recipes. That might help you assess if the purchase is worth it!
Thank you!!! Sounds like I will be checking out the miso. I really appreciate your fast reply. This is my first time here, and probably not my last
Glad I can help Judy!
Can you use sour cream in place of mayo, hate mayo
You can try it, but it isn’t something that I’ve tested. I imagine the taste and consistency will be different, and will vary based on the brand of dairy-free sour cream that you use. They’re all quite different. It also might make this tangier, depending on the brand. It really doesn’t taste like mayonnaise once this comes together.
Can you just not drain and press the tofu instead of adding the 2 T. of water?
Your making the “curds” firmer and adding the water to the “sauce” portion. If you don’t drain and press (doesn’t need to be with a tofu press. I just put it on a cutting board hold the board at an angle and press), then the tofu will be more mushy when mashed.
What is miso and where can i find it ,i live in England
Good question! It’s readily available at U.S. grocers, but I haven’t looked for it in the U.K. Most varieties are sold refrigerated, but some are shelf-stable. So you might need to ask in store where to find it. I see this great post that details what major grocers carry it in the U.K. -> https://cookedbest.com/where-to-buy-miso/
I’d also look in Asian markets and natural/organic/bio stores. And this online Oriental Mart has a great selection -> https://www.orientalmart.co.uk/miso-paste
For most recipes, I use the Shiro / White Miso.
I found mine in Tesco in the world food aisle. Always check world food aisle in major stores
Can you freeze NOTMILK milk substitute?
Probably, but it might separate or be less appealing on defrost.
I’m excited in regards to your creativity. Who in the world would have thought of dairy free cottage cheese?
What would be a good substitute for tofu?
There are a couple soy-free tofu alternatives available in stores, and I’ve seen a couple recipes, but I haven’t tried them, so I’m not sure how they would work in this recipe.
I missed having cottage cheese on my baked potatoes. This recipe filled the craving! This recipe makes a cottage cheese that looks and has a mouth feel as the real deal. As for taste, from what I can remember it’s pretty darn close, not 100% because I could taste a little soy aftertaste. I highly recommend this recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it and that’s a great idea for a baked potato topping – thanks for sharing Lana!
Can you replace cottage cheese for dairy free ricotta cheese in a casserole recipe? I can’t find dairy free cottage cheese anywhere in my area, even at Wegman’s. Thanks.
They don’t make dairy-free cottage cheese, but this recipe does work well in casserole recipes! In terms of if store-bought ricotta will work well, it depends on the recipe. If it’s just a straight layer of cheese, it should work fine.
We use the dairy free ricotta in our casseroles and it seems to be a good substitute.
If you grew up on cottage cheese lasagna, ricotta just isn’t the same!
Absolutely amazing. I tried it on toast like you mentioned and it’s my new breakfast!
So glad you enjoyed it Kiri!
I just made it and tried it, not bad at all. I’m going to wait and let the flavors meld and try it with my evening meal.
I’m very pleasantly surprised how good it tastes!
Glad you like it Karen!
Is there anything I can use in place of the miso I can’t find any in the stores around me (really small town) go figure. 😔
Unfortunately, I really don’t have a great alternative for it. You can order it online. It’s not as cheap as in stores, but a package lasts a long time in the fridge. Eden makes shelf stable -> https://www.vitacost.com/productsearch.aspx?t=eden%20miso
Wow! I never would have believed this could taste so good if I hadn’t tried it myself. The texture is spot on, and the taste is remarkably close. Great in my mom’s old lasagna recipe!
So glad you enjoyed it!