Cottage Cheese Recipe- from Out of Date Milk

Everyone in our house likes cottage cheese. The kids like it with macaroni and I’ll catch Stealthy Dad eating it right out of the carton. Since the kind from the store is so high in sodium, it is a rare treat unless we make it ourselves.
Cottage Cheese made from Out of Date Milk
Once in a while, an out-of-date gallon of milk will peek out at me from the  back of the fridge. Out-of-date milk is not safe to eat without boiling first and purist cheese makers will tell you not to boil milk before making cheese.  If I have learned anything from my trials and errors with making cheese, it is that every time I mess up I end up with pretty much the same thing. I took all of my mistakes, put them together, and came up with a fool-proof method for making dry cottage cheese. 

Have a gallon (4L) of milk that has "expired?"  You can use it to make a great cheese for perogies or in the place of store-bought ricotta in lasagna. We also use it tossed with penne, garlic, olive oil and parmesan. 


Non-aluminum pot, large enough for a gallon of milk, with lid 
Whisk, silicone if your pot is non-stick 
Large bowl, or a second gallon pot, also not aluminum 
Large tea towel 


1 gallon (4L) out-dated milk 
1 1/2 tsp citric acid dissolved in 1/2 cup cold water 
1 tablet rennet, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water 


1) Boil milk to a rolling boil, whisking constantly to avoid scorching. Cover with lid.
2) Cool milk down to 88F / 31C  If you cool the milk too far in the fridge, gently heat back up.
3) Stir in the citric acid, then the rennet.
4) Put the lid on and walk away for two hours. In the pot you should have a clear greenish liquid (whey) and solid white masses (curds.) 
5) Bring the contents back to a boil.
6) Cool again, place in fridge overnight if you wish.
7) Fold tea towel and place over colander, and the colander over the large bowl or pot.  Pour mixture from the pot into the towel, draining the whey through and catching the curds. Pull the towel up at the corners and gently squeeze the moisture from the curds.

There you have it! The curds can be salted to taste if you wish. Using “Lite” salt cuts the sodium quite a bit. Commercially prepared cottage cheese has some cream added back in afterwards. Stir in some (fresh) cream if you would like to make it more like the cottage cheese from the grocery store. 

The greenish liquid left over is whey. You can use it to replace milk in baking. Dogs and cats love it and once in a while you can water plants with it.  

This post is linked to Sunday School,  Frugal Days Sustainable Ways,  Real Food Wednesdays and Frugal Fridays.


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this on Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways:) I love this "waste not" post! I will be sharing it on the wall of my fb page:)

  2. Thank you for sharing! I'm new to the blogger world, and am making new friends every day!

  3. I don't see why not. I've used 2%...

  4. You can also pour your whey on the compost pile. You can feed your whey to your chickens if you have any. Feel free to read up on why these things are beneficial. :)

    1. Compost? Never thought of that. It doesn't attract wasps like meat would?

      Yeast really likes it, if you bake a lot of bread. We do, since no one here is gluten-sensitive and we avoid store-bought. They whey from a gallon of milk will replace the milk and/or water in a conventional bread recipe. The loaves are a little denser, though, so I stick with rolls and round loaves. ("big buns.")

      Do you ever just drink it? It has some salt and potassium, so I can se it would be refreshing like gatorade in the heat. Lemon, maybe?

  5. how far out of date can you use milk for this recipe...I live alone and sometimes I forget about my milk and it has already soured before I know! Can you still use it once it has soured (ie...kinda curdled ;<)

    thanks for your blog...just found you and am learning lots and lots


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