Amana Colonies Cottage Cheese

This winter, I did two things with my life: I chased politicians around the Democratic Primaries, and chased the best pie in each state I went to.

This is how I ended up in the Amana Colonies, a cluster of towns in Iowa that was founded by a collectivist sect of German Pietists. (The connection of this theology to my pie fixation is entirely incidental).

They have some pretty good pie there at the Ox Yoke Inn, as it turns out. But they also had the best cottage cheese I had ever eaten–so good I asked the waitress about it.

Item: I do not actually like cottage cheese. Except this cottage cheese.

The secret, she told me, is to add buttermilk and dried chives to cottage cheese. She insisted that you needed to use the local cottage cheese, but I have discovered that you get pretty good results with any whole milk, large curd cottage cheese–the stuff sitting in my fridge right now is generic Giant brand. The important thing is that it must be large curd, and must be whole milk; otherwise, it’s too watery.

If you are a beginning cook who is beginning to think you’re going to need to do some cooking, here’s a good place to start; all you need to be able to do is stir. But I commend this even to the advanced cook, because it’s easy to throw together at the beginning of the week and have a scoop every day for lunch.

In fact, it’s worth trying even if you think you don’t like cottage cheese.


  • 1 24-ounce tub whole milk, large curd cottage cheese
  • 4 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons freeze dried chives (fresh will also do, if you have them)
  • Salt and pepper to taste.

Put all the ingredients in a bowl, and stir until the chives are distributed. Chill for at least an hour. I suspect it will keep for at least a week, but have never kept it long enough to find out.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Bill Woods says:

    This sounds similar to Chef John’s recipe for crème fraîche.

  2. Colorado Alex In Exile says:

    How long before McMegan starts in on homebrewing and cheesemaking?

  3. Joshua says:

    I’ve recently gotten into doctored cottage cheese. Favorite right now is Aldi 4% with muffaletta (olive “salad”) and pepitas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s