yogurt

No Yogurt Emergency: What are the Potential Substitutes?

It may sound like a fancy ingredient or a snack reserved for those who diet, but yogurt (both plain and Greek) is a basic staple in the kitchen. From baked goods and pastries to dressings and sauces, many recipes call for yogurt.

However, yogurt isn’t always available in your home. You may have just run out of yogurt after your latest cake recipe. Perhaps, you want to buy Greek yogurt for your salad but find it pricey. Whatever your reason is for not having yogurt at home, you’ll need to substitute it. 

Fortunately, there is always a substitute for yogurt (both the plain and Greek options) and the best part is most of them are available in your local grocery or even in your pantry. Today, we’ll discuss the best yogurt substitutes. There will also be a separate section for Greek yogurt substitutes just so we can cover all of your yogurt bases. 

Kitchen-Approved Substitutes for All-Purpose Yogurt

Also known as plain yogurt, all-purpose yogurt is a great source of calcium and protein. It is a versatile ingredient for meals, easy to find in stores and economical for the nutritional benefits it offers

All-purpose, regular yogurt is made by heating the milk, adding the bacteria and leaving the mixture to ferment. Once it cools down, the final product is a smooth and creamy yogurt. Most yogurts can be eaten with a spoon or are drinkable. 

Due to its acidic nature, regular yogurt has a sour taste but it is sweeter than Greek yogurt. 

If you need to substitute plain yogurt for baking or cooking, look for the following:

  • Sour cream. Sour cream offers the same tanginess and texture as regular yogurt. Just swap 1:1 ratio of sour cream with the original requirement for the yogurt. However, if you use fat-free sour cream, it will only work for dips. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a watery texture. 
  • Greek yogurt. Yes, Greek yogurt is also a good substitute for regular yogurt. It works like plain yogurt for dips, sauces and baking. Similar to the ratio of sour cream, Greek yogurt is a 1:1 substitute for plain yogurt. 
  • Coconut cream. If you want to go dairy-free, this cream is for you. Refrigerate a can of full-fat coconut milk overnight or for several hours. The cream will rise to the top. You can easily skim that off. You can also substitute yogurt with a 1:1 ratio of coconut cream, just keep in mind that this cream contains a higher fat content compared to the options listed above.
  • Firm silken tofu. Pureed silken tofu mimics the smooth consistency of yogurt. A 1:1 ratio of pureed tofu should do the trick. However, it lacks the tartness of yogurt so consider adding a little lemon juice for the tangy taste.

Best Substitutes for Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt, also known as strained or concentrated yogurt, is made the same way as regular yogurt, except it doesn’t have whey or other liquids. Since it is strained, Greek yogurt is tangier and thicker compared to plain yogurt. It is also pricier since it uses more milk. 

Whether you’re not a big fan of this breakfast favorite or you’ve run out of Greek yogurt, there are a few substitutes that are more affordable, less tangy and more likely to be in your refrigerator. Here are some of the best substitutes for Greek yogurt.

  • Cottage cheese. Cottage cheese often receives bad rap because of its watery and sticky consistency. Still, it is rich in nutrients, low in sugar, high in protein and full of calcium. Use the same amount of cottage cheese as you would for Greek yogurt. Use cottage cheese for your salads, toast, pancakes and cheesecakes. 
  • Cream cheese. Many people prefer to slather their bread with Greek yogurt but cream cheese is still better. Start your morning with cream cheese and cucumber on toast. 
  • Sour cream. You can also use sour cream in case you run out of Greek yogurt. It does wonders for sauces and dressings. Similar to using sour cream as a substitute for plain yogurt, go for a 1:1 ratio. 
  • Avocado. If you’re an avocado lover or vegan, substitute your Greek yogurt with some smashed avocadoes. The avocado substitution also works well for dressings, sauces and some desserts. The flavor will taste different but avocado has a neutral taste so it won’t drastically affect your dish. 

The One Substitute You Should Avoid

Mayonnaise is a creamy product that looks like it’s a good substitute for yogurt, but it doesn’t really make the cut. It’s short on acidity. When a recipe requires yogurt, it needs the yogurt’s acidity to make it work. If you use mayonnaise, you’re missing out on the acid. 

If you don’t have plain yogurt or Greek yogurt at home, don’t worry. There are plenty of substitutes for yogurt hiding in your fridge or available in your local supermarket.

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Maggie Wheeler
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