Is Feta Cheese Goat Cheese? – A Comparison

Cheese can be a very difficult food to understand due to the vast variety of products. If your grocery store is anything like mine, there are shelves upon shelves full of it. Finding a cheese truly can an overwhelming and confusing experience. One of the bigger confusions involves feta cheese and goat cheese. People often wonder if feta cheese is the same as goat cheese.

Difference Between Feta Cheese And Goat Cheese

Feta is a soft white cheese that originates from Greece. It is traditionally made from sheep’s milk or a combination of goat’s milk and sheep’s milk. The goat’s milk cannot  exceed 30 percent in combination with sheep’s milk (1). Traditional feta cheese is actually regulated by the European Union. It must meet the above milk source criteria, be aged for a certain period, use traditional manufacturing processes,  and be made in particular Greece regions, in order to technically be called ‘feta’. The taste of traditional feta will vary based on the region it is made.

There are feta-like products (a.k.a. white cheese, feta-style, Greek-style) made outside of Greece that may use cow’s, sheep’s, or goat’s milk for production. It is highly likely you are eating one of these ‘imitation’ feta cheeses if you don’t live in or around Greece.

The taste of feta in the United States tends to be salty from the brine it sits in. It is generally described as being tangy, tart or rich in flavor. It breaks apart easy into crumbles and typically has a semi-hard texture.

Goat cheese is totally made from goat’s milk. The goat cheese consumed in the United States is usually very mild because it is aged for a very short period. It is often described as being creamy with a slightly sweet and tangy taste. Some people say that goat cheese has a mild grassy taste as a finishing note. The texture of goat cheese is typically soft to semi-soft with the ability to spread relatively easy on something like a cracker. Generally, it contains a lot less sodium than feta (see the nutrition facts below). 

Nutrition – Feta Cheese vs Goat Cheese

Below we have provided the nutrition facts for feta cheese vs goat cheese. You will notice that there are not dramatic differences in the nutrition between the two cheese products. The exception is in the sodium content. Feta has more than double the sodium of goat cheese. Note that this is general nutrition information provided by the USDA. Check the actual product labels for specific nutrition data.

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Cheese TypeServing SizeCalories Total FatSaturated Fat CholesterolSodiumCarbohydratesDietary FiberSugars ProteinCalcium
Goat Cheese Semi-Soft1 oz1038.5 g5.8 g22 mg118 mg.03 g0.03 g6.12 g84 mg
Feta1 oz75 6 g4.2 g25 mg260 mg1.1 g01.2 g4 g140 mg
Source: USDA Nutritient Database

Conclusion

Is feta cheese goat cheese? The answer is no. While they can look similar and be used alongside similar foods, they in fact, different. The differences are taste, nutrition, ingredients, and manufacturing.
Citations
1. European Union (15 October 2002). Feta: Livestock Farming. European Commission – Agriculture and Rural Development: Door. p. 18.

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