Buttermilk Cottage Cheese

Easy to make and delicious, cottage cheese is a great staple to keep in your refrigerator.

I have wanted to try making cottage cheese for a while. Our nigari, the mineral-rich liquid that remains after we harvest the salt, is a natural coagulant. It makes great ricotta cheese and tofu (its traditional use).

People have asked me about cottage cheese and I couldn’t answer honestly so I gave it a try. I collected all of the ingredients and then got distracted for a few days. When I got ready to make it I realized I had used the heavy cream for another recipe. I decided to substitute buttermilk. We have been getting great local buttermilk from Walnut Creek Creamery. It is thick, rich and flavorful. It made a delicious substitute.
See what you think!

Buttermilk Cottage Cheese

Buttermilk Cottage Cheese

Buttermilk Cottage Cheese
8 cups whole milk, low heat pasteurized is best. I used local dairy Snowville Creamery
2 teaspoons nigari
½ teaspoon JQD finishing salt
¾ cup whole buttermilk, I used Walnut Creek

Heat whole milk in a large sauce pan, over medium high heat, stirring regularly with a rubber spatula, until it reaches 175 degrees.

Use a candy thermometer to monitor heat

Use a candy thermometer to monitor heat

Turn off the heat. Stir in 1 teaspoon of nigari. Add ½ teaspoon more watching for the curds to start forming. If you don’t see any change add the last ½ teaspoon. You should see the milk break and curds begin to form.
Notice the separation of the curds and whey

Notice the separation of the curds and whey

Cover and let sit for 20 minutes.



Strain curds through 3 layers of cheese cloth. Save the whey (the milky liquid) for other uses. Let cheese drain for 10 minutes. Squeeze to drain excess moisture. Careful not to burn yourself. Rinse curds in cold water and squeeze to dry.
Place curds in a bowl. Using a fork, break up the curds into small pieces. Mix in salt and buttermilk. Cover and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Eat on its own or add fresh fruit, or add to a salad.
Makes 2 cups.

cottage cheese with nigari and milk


  1. Thank you for including a recipe using nigari. Do you have any others?

    1. Here is a link to fresh ricotta cheese
      and tofu

  2. Does nigari expire? I’ve had some (unopened) for a long time. can I still use it?

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