Does Cottage Cheese Have Lactose? (Answered)

cottage cheese dry curd

Many people who are lactose intolerant or have lactose sensitivity may be hesitant to consume cottage cheese due to concerns about its lactose content. This article will discuss the amount of lactose in this dairy product. It will also inform you of generally how well it is tolerated by people with lactose intolerance or sensitivity to dairy.

Is There Lactose In Cottage Cheese?

Lactose is the primary sugar found in milk and dairy products produced from mammals milk. People who are lactose intolerant have difficultly breaking down lactose because their bodies do not produce enough lactase in their small intestine. Lactase is an enzyme that helps break down lactose to make it easier to digest. 

The main ingredient in cottage cheese is milk, therefore, it contains lactose. While milk-based dairy products contain lactose, they all do not contain the same amount of lactose. Fortunately for some people who have difficulty digesting lactose, cottage cheese still may be tolerated due to its lower lactose content.

Below are some examples of lactose percentage averages for a selection of dairy foods. Lactose content of 2 percent or less is considered a low lactose dairy product, which can be bearable to consume in moderation by most lactose intolerant people. Click here for an extensive list of lactose percentages for dairy products.

Dairy ProductLactose % (Average)
Nonfat Dry Milk51.3%
Sweetened Condensed Milk12.9%
Nonfat Milk5.2%
Whole Milk4.8%
Sour Cream3.9%
Cottage Cheese (Diet)3.4%
Cottage Cheese (2% Milkfat)3.6%
Cottage Cheese (1% Milkfat)2.7%

You can see in the table above that the cottage cheese lactose average percentage is approximately slightly over 3 percent. This makes it tolerable for many people with lactose sensitivity or even possibly lactose intolerance.

To give you another source of the lactose content of cottage cheese, the University of Virginia Health System estimates the lactose content of cottage to be 3 grams per 1/2 cup serving of 2% milkfat cottage cheese. 

Research has found that the majority of people with lactose intolerance can consume up to 12 grams of lactose in one sitting or 18 grams across the entire day. Based on this information, cottage cheese consumed in moderation should be suitable for many people who are lactose intolerant or sensitive to dairy. 

It’s important to remember that everyone’s tolerance for dairy can vary greatly. If you’re particularly sensitive to dairy, you may want to consider avoiding cottage cheese altogether, or alternatively, start by introducing it into your diet in small portions and gradually increasing the serving size over time. Be sure to take note of how you feel throughout this process.

People with dairy allergies should avoid cottage cheese unless advise otherwise by a trained medical professional who is educated on food allergies. 

SEE ALSO>>>Is Greek Yogurt Lactose Free?

Lactose Free Cottage Cheese

There is still hope if you love cottage cheese, but cannot tolerate its lactose. There are several brands of cottage cheese that are made from real milk but contain the enzyme lactase as an ingredient. The lactase breaks down the lactose making for a lactose-free cottage cheese that is suitable for people who couldn’t otherwise enjoy it.

Some lactose-free cottage cheese brands to consider are:


Lactose is the primary sugar found in milk and dairy products, which can pose challenges for people with lactose sensitivity or intolerance. However, cottage cheese, while containing lactose, has a lower lactose content compared to other dairy products. This makes it tolerable for many people with lactose sensitivity or even possibly lactose intolerance.

By monitoring your intake and starting with small portions, cottage cheese can be a beneficial addition to your diet. As always, it’s important to listen to your body and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about lactose intolerance or sensitivity.

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