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What is quark?

31st July 19 - 5 minute read

Headshot of James Hudson

Performance Nutritionist at Nutrition in Sport

Our expert:

James Hudson, Performance Nutritionist at Nutrition in Sport. James played Premiership Rugby for Gloucester, as well as lining up for London Irish, Newcastle Falcons and England Saxons. He has a degree and masters in biochemistry from the University of Bath and has completed the International Olympic Committee’s Diploma in Sports Nutrition. He is currently working towards a PhD at Liverpool John Moores University.

What’s in this article…

  • What is quark?
  • How to use quark
  • Quark nutrition
  • Is quark lactose-free?

Quark has quickly become a staple of diet plans across Europe in recent years. First produced in Russia and eastern European countries, it now flies off supermarket shelves in Germany and the UK. A versatile ingredient, it can broaden your culinary horizons as an ingredient for curries, cheesecakes and more. Calorie-conscious foodies swear by its healthy properties and tantalising taste – but what is quark, and how can it help with guilt-free eating?

At a glance

  • Quark is a type of high protein cheese product
  • Low fat versions are good for calorie control
  • It can be used instead of yogurt and spreadable cheeses

Quark is technically a type of cheese, made by souring milk with lactic acid. It’s then warmed to stop the curdling process, and the solid curds separated from the whey. This gives it a consistently smooth texture similar to yogurt.

As a yogurt substitute, quark from skimmed milk is lower in fat and is a great source of protein.

James says: “Food cultures across the world have a form of dairy product that’s made from a lower fat milk product that’s similar to a yogurt or soft cheese, and is strained to remove a lot of the lactose and liquid from it. You’ve got Greek yogurt in Greece, Skyr from Iceland, paneer in India and in Germany you have quark.”

Like Greek yogurt, quark is one of the most filling dairy products because of how much protein it packs into every spoonful. What’s more, no salt or sugar is added to make it.

Need to know: Quark is a dairy product created by souring milk and straining the separated curds. It’s a great alternative to yogurt as a base of many delicious meals, low in fat and high in protein.


How to use quark

With its smooth taste and creamy texture, you can enjoy quark straight from the pot with your choice of topping. Or, you could cook up a storm by adding it to your favourite recipes that use cream cheese or yogurt – making quark a sumptuous staple of both sweet and savoury dishes.

Quark as it comes

Use quark as a tasty spread over your morning toast, or as some protein-rich filler in a sandwich. The creamy texture accentuates the flavours and makes breakfast much more fulfilling. If you prefer a sweeter treat in the morning, throw on some low-sugar granola or mixed berries.

Alternatively, quark can be a delicious dipping substitute for savoury sour cream. Chop a few chives, season with a touch of salt and you’re in business. An exquisite nacho topper to accompany a chilled-out evening post workout.

Quark recipes

As well as an instant boost to breakfasts and snacks, quark makes a great creamy base for a variety of meals. It can also be whipped into shape as the centrepiece of many delicious desserts.

Tomato sauce for pasta

Stir together quark, stock and a little corn flour for thickness before adding a tin of tomatoes for a supremely creamy sauce to be slathered on your favourite pasta.

Quark broccoli quiche

For a satisfying sharer, add it into a delicious vegetarian-friendly quiche. With golden brown pastry and a rich, cheesy flavour, the whole family will savour every bite.

Mini tuna fishcakes

Enjoy a high-protein bite with this delightful combination. The tuna taste is bolstered by the creamy quark goodness - best served with pasta.

Need to know: There are all kinds of delicious recipes you can cook up using quark as a replacement for cream or soft cheeses.

Quark nutrition

Whether you’re spreading it on a sandwich or substituting for a sauce base, quark is a healthy addition to many delicious meals. Lower in fat and containing fewer calories than yogurt, it’s also packed with protein to promote the feeling of fullness.

A 100g serving of quark contains 12g of protein¹ - one of the richest sources of protein in any dairy product.

In the same size serving of plain yogurt made from whole milk² there’s just 5g of protein.

And because salt isn’t added to the production process, gram for gram it’s one of the healthiest dairy products there is – at just 40mg of salt per 100g³, even Greek yogurt’s 46mg per 100g is a step up.

Need to know: Quark is one a protein-rich way to put some dairy in your favourite recipes.


Is quark lactose-free?

Not entirely. The production process means there’s relatively little lactose left in quark, so can be better digested by those with a lactose intolerance than the likes of other soft cheeses. But if you have a dairy allergy, then quark is not suitable.

In summary

If you’re looking for a low-calorie, high-protein addition to your favourite recipe - or just something to snack on post-workout to give your muscles a boost - then quark is a great option. Its smooth texture and creamy taste make it a good replacement for other dairy products.






Headshot of James Hudson

Performance Nutritionist at Nutrition in Sport

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