Is TikTok’s Viral Cottage Cheese ‘Ice Cream’ As Healthy as It Seems?

A dietician weighs in.

April 20, 2023

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Photo by: Nata7707/Getty Images

Nata7707/Getty Images

Is your feed clogged with footage of cottage cheese being whirled into a scoopable frozen treat? Is this DIY ice cream trend worth the hype – and is it actually healthier compared to ice cream? Here, we take a closer look at what you might be sinking your spoon into.

What Is the Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Trend?

TikTok videos and Instagram reels have gotten millions of views sharing spins on this ice cream copycat. The basic method requires blending whole milk cottage cheese with a sweetener of choice (such as maple syrup); some recipes also include adding fresh fruit to the blended mixture to add color and additional flavor. Once blended, mix-ins like chocolate, crumbled cookies or fruit chunks are folded in before transferring to a container to freeze.

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Is Cottage Cheese Better for You Compared to Ice Cream?

Even prior to the ice cream revolution, cottage cheese was having a moment. This curdled milk product is packed with protein and is famous for its fresh, creamy texture. One cup of whole milk cottage cheese (four percent milkfat) contains 220 calories, 10 grams of total fat (six grams of which are saturated), eight grams of carbohydrates and a very impressive 28 grams of protein. Cottage cheese is savory, with salt added as part of the preparation. One cup can contain 700 milligrams of sodium, which is about 30 percent of the recommended daily allotment. For comparison, one cup of premium vanilla ice comes in at 495 calories, 30 grams of total fat (21 grams of which are saturated), 44 grams of carbohydrates, 9 grams of protein and 100 milligrams of sodium.

Does Cottage Cheese Ice Cream Live Up to the Hype?

So, is this cottage cheese treat a must-have for your freezer? A few things to consider. The flavor is decent, especially with mix-ins, but it certainly has the prominent tang of cottage cheese. While some may argue it is ice cream-like, it is in fact very different in flavor and texture.

According to many posts (and my own experience), the end product may be a little icy and take an unreasonable amount of time to defrost if frozen overnight. Some recipes call for limited freeze time – about five hours to prevent it from getting too solid; other methods involve stirring a couple of times throughout the freezing process. While there is no denying that cottage cheese ice cream offers a lower calorie count, less saturated fat and higher amount of protein compared to ice cream, adding a ton of sugary mix-ins will quickly increase the calorie count and amount of added sugar.

Bottom Line: If you enjoy the frozen version of this high-protein dairy powerhouse, by all means, enjoy! But kindly refrain from calling it ice cream. Also, keep in mind that too many sugary mix-ins can quickly turn the better-for-you treat into something less healthy than you may have intended.

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