What is Quark Cheese?

Niki Foster
Niki Foster

Quark cheese, also called curd cheese, is a type of soft, white, un-aged cheese originating in Central Europe. It is similar to other un-aged cheeses, such as farmer's cheese, French fromage frais, South Asian paneer, and Mexican queso blanco. Quark is typically low in fat and a good source of protein and vitamin B12. It has been enjoyed by Germanic people since at least the first century CE, when Roman author Taciturn described it in his writings.

Quark cheese in a bowl.
Quark cheese in a bowl.

This type of cheese is acid set, meaning that it is the addition of lactic acid bacteria that turns the milk into cheese. In the US, the milk used to make quark must be pasteurized, as the cheese is not aged before it is eaten. Quark cheese is traditionally made without rennet, an enzyme complex naturally found in the mammalian stomach and used in much cheese production, although some modern versions may be because it results in a firmer product. Other variations add cream, spices, or fruit to the mixture.

Caviar appetizer made with low-fat quark cheese.
Caviar appetizer made with low-fat quark cheese.

When quark cheese is made with rennet, most or all of the whey, the liquid component left over in cheese production, is drained off. Traditionally, the cheese is hung in a porous cheesecloth, allowing the whey to drip out as the cheese forms. This process creates a wedge-shaped cheese. Today, the whey may be removed with a centrifuge in a factory.

Quark varies in firmness depending on how it is made, and different types are suited to different culinary uses. Rennetless quark, common to Germany, is very soft, similar in texture to sour cream, though slightly drier. It is continually stirred during production and sold in tubs with most of the whey remaining. This type of cheese may be used as a spread, served with fruit, or used to make cheesecake.

In Eastern Europe, quark is drier and firmer and may be used in salads and sandwiches or to make cheesecake. This type is sold in Canada as baking cheese. Quark is not common outside of Central and Eastern Europe, although a few dairies in the United States also make it.

Quark cheese originated in Central Europe.
Quark cheese originated in Central Europe.
Niki Foster
Niki Foster

In addition to her role as a wiseGEEK editor, Niki enjoys educating herself about interesting and unusual topics in order to get ideas for her own articles. She is a graduate of UCLA, where she majored in Linguistics and Anthropology.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Can I substitute cottage cheese for quark cheese in recipes or vice versa? I know they're similar, but won't there be a difference in flavor or texture?


Quark is a fantastic cheese, it's so nutritious. I think it has something like 15 grams of protein in a portion which is excellent. That's like a protein shake, even better than some protein bars.

I think everyone, especially growing children and people with active lifestyles should incorporate quark into their diet.

I personally eat a bowl or two every day. Sometimes I eat it with fruit, sometimes plain. It's delicious.


@anon28341-- Do you have farmer's cheese in Australia? If so, it's probably similar to quark cheese.

If you're going to make this cheesecake on a regular basis, buying quark cheese might be expensive. It might be a good idea to make the quark at your restaurant. It's very easy. You just need to boil milk, add some yogurt to curdle it and then pour it through a cheesecloth to separate the whey.

Then just take the cheese with the cheesecloth, wrap it into a ball and keep it under something heavy for an hour to make it firm.

I don't know if everyone makes quark this way but this is how I make it.


Does anyone know of any good recipes that show off the unique qualities of quark cheese?

I went to college in Wisconsin which is a state that is famous for its cheese. One of the regional delicacies is fried cheese curds. It is exactly what it sounds like and it is amazing.

I can't believe that they haven't caught on elsewhere. With a tall mug of beer and a Packers game on the TV they are the perfect snack food.


@Ana1234 - It sounds to me like quark cheese is very similar to the French fromage frais which you can get in almost every supermarket as people use it in desserts and in cooking. Unless you're a real cheese connoisseur I doubt you could really tell the difference between the two kinds of cheese. So if you're outside Europe that's probably your best bet.

With that said, my friends and I used to make a kind of cottage cheese all the time that was probably fairly similar. You basically just add vinegar to whole milk and then drain away the fluid for a while. In a pinch, that would work, although obviously it wouldn't be exactly like real quark.

If you are interesting in trying quark cheese you might try making it yourself. If it's an unaged cheese it won't take that long to make, it would just be a matter of getting the right ingredients. There seem to be a lot of people selling cheese making equipment and ingredients all over the world now, so it shouldn't be that difficult to track down whatever you need.

I don't know if homemade cheese is necessarily going to taste better than when you buy cheese at the supermarket, but it does give you a chance to try exotic cheeses that you might otherwise not be able to.


Thanks for sharing. I will certainly try the Quark cheese. I have to admit I have never eaten it.

Thanks again for sharing. --Chris


Barambah Organics in QLD also sells Quark. It's easy to make at home, too.


is it possible to get the address of the people in Tasmania who makes quark? thank you


neufchatel cheese works well for Polish Vienne baked cheesecake. I believe they are similar cake.


There is a dairy in Tasmania that makes Quark and is run by a german couple who use traditional methods and is organic.


We are wanting to use quark cheese/farmers cheese for a German style cheesecake in our restaurant. What would be the same cheese in Australia?

Thank you

Julie (St. George,Queensland Australia)

Post your comments
Forgot password?