Hello, Tangy! Cooking with Yogurt Never Tasted So Good
Go beyond the peel-and-eat cup with yogurt recipes ranging from savory breakfast eggs to rich and flavorful cakes.
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It’s not just “Strawberry or blueberry?” anymore. The yogurt aisle at the grocery store has exploded in recent years, with hundreds of options in flavors, styles, fat and protein content, and dairy alternatives. And while yogurt has recently been touted as a cutting-edge cure-all for myriad health problems, the reality is yogurt has been an ingredient in global kitchens for a very long time.
Cultured dairy products may have been consumed by people in Asia as far back as 10,000 B.C., though yogurt, like many funky foods, probably started as an accident—or perhaps a dare—when some brave and hungry soul figured out that the slightly sour milk actually tasted good.
Now we understand that the bacterial cultures that cause milk to ferment into yogurt have multiple benefits, from supporting gut health to adding tangy flavor as the milk's lactose becomes lactic acid. The 26 recipes that follow take full advantage of yogurt’s compelling taste, and showcase its versatility too. Whether for breakfast, in savory yogurt dips and dinners, or in elegant baked goods and desserts, yogurt keeps things interesting.
And you’re no longer limited to the chaotic cultured dairy display at the market: The first three recipes below explain how simple it is to make your own yogurt at home. Go for it!
Yo! Quick tips for yogurt expertise
Develop mad skills when cooking with yogurt.
Whisk it first. Incorporating yogurt into a dish can be challenging when it springs from the tub in a semi-solid block. For any recipe that doesn’t entail a blender, it’s worth whisking the yogurt for a few seconds to loosen it up— especially with lower-moisture strained styles, like Greek yogurt.
You can’t substitute uncultured dairy products for yogurt. Nothing can replace the fermented flavor of yogurt, though in a desperate moment sour cream can be used instead. However, sour cream has about four times as much fat as yogurt, so expect baked goods to be more moist and dense than planned.
But you can substitute plain yogurt for buttermilk if you like. Both dairy products carry a similar tang, but yogurt is much thicker. Whole and low-fat yogurt can be thinned by using a whisked half-water, half-yogurt mixture to replace the amount of buttermilk called for. If using Greek yogurt, use a 1 part yogurt to 2 part water ratio.
And sometimes you can swap out one yogurt for another. Going from whole milk to nonfat yogurt may make a baked good a little drier, but the recipe will still work. However, when exchanging Greek yogurt for the American style, try using a 2:1 ratio of Greek yogurt to water and whisk away; otherwise, the final result will be sadly dry. To reverse the exchange, you’d can strain standard American yogurt for several hours to get Greek-style texture (or you can run to the store).
Homemade yogurt: Yes you can!
Below are several simple recipes for making yogurt at home, whether dairy, almond, or oat. Because you’re in charge, it’ll have no weird chemicals or stabilizers, no funky added sugars, and only pronouncable ingredients. Homemade yogurt is delicious on its own, and shines as an ingredient in all the recipes that follow.
Making yogurt is so much easier than you think—no hard-to-find ingredients, no special equipment. All you need is some milk and a little plain yogurt. Your tools are a heavy pot plus an oven with a light inside. And with that, from-scratch yogurt can be yours.
Instant Pot Almond Milk Yogurt
Almond yogurt made at home tastes delicious and is much more affordable than store-bought versions. In the Instant Pot, it’s prepared gently over time with very little guesswork. Get started in the evening and your yogurt will be ready for breakfast.
Mango Coconut Yogurt (Coconut Cult Dupe!)
Coconut yogurt made at home with probiotic capsules to culture it is fresh, has no preservatives, and costs way less than packaged versions. Only five ingredients (if you want the mango flavor) and precise instructions make this recipe a foolproof gem.
Yogurt is a superb way to get your day started; it provides probiotics, which encourage digestive health; plenty of calcium; and protein, which gives you energy so you feel great all morning.
The Best Everything Spice Egg Avocado Yogurt Bowl
Not just for dinner, grain bowls can be super-satisfying for breakfast, especially when you load them up with garlicky everything bagel seasoning, creamy full-fat plain Greek yogurt, and plenty of avocado. This one opts for cooked brown rice, but you could also go with quinoa or farro.
Blueberry Yogurt Multigrain Pancakes
The mixture of two kinds of whole-grain flours along with a full cup of yogurt creates a more sophisticated, interesting pancake that definitely says, “I’m adulting!” Dropping the blueberries into each pancake as they’re cooked ensures the berries stay whole and the batter doesn’t turn an odd blue-grey color. Adulting, indeed.
Yogurt Chocolate Chip Muffins
The nonfat Greek yogurt in these healthy-ish muffins keeps them from drying out and adds protein to this quickly prepared baked good. Cake flour helps ensure a delicate crumb, making the chocolate chips stand out all the more.
Turkish Eggs with Yogurt
For a delicious change of pace from the usual breakfast fare, serve poached eggs and whole-grain toast as they do in Turkey, with a garlic-lemon-juice-yogurt sauce, and sprinkled with harissa oil and walnuts. The recipe is designed for solo diners, but you can easily increase quantities to serve more.
Turmeric Mango Lassi
Lassi, the cooling yogurt drink from India, is the OG smoothie. Long before Westerners started lugging out their blenders, this refresher was popular on the hottest of days. Turmeric, the bright orange anti-inflammatory spice that’s used generously here, may help ease cramps and stiff knees.
Make Ahead Fruit & Yogurt Breakfast Parfaits
These pre-prepped breakfast parfaits add a delicious healthy glow to the hectic morning rush. Frozen fruit releases a little extra juice as it defrosts, but it only adds flavor and helps the thick Greek yogurt loosen up a bit. Chia seeds and oats ensure no one goes hungry.
Skinny Green Tropical Smoothie
Yogurt, pineapple, and coconut milk work together in this healthy tropical treat to ensure the spinach—while adding iron and vitamins A and C—is not the prominent flavor. Though you’ll still get your leafy greens for breakfast!
Apple Pie Smoothie
Dessert for breakfast? While an apple pie smoothie may sound decadent, this one is naturally sweet from apple, banana, and only a teaspoon of maple syrup. Greek yogurt and almond milk give it beautiful and healthy creaminess, and cinnamon and nutmeg deliver on the pie concept.
Chai Tea Smoothie
This cool treat uses healthful Greek yogurt and a delicious homemade chai concentrate, sweetened with honey, for a refreshing drink. The tea concentrate can be made ahead and kept in the fridge so you can whip up the smoothie in just a few minutes.
The world of yogurt has expanded beyond traditional yogurt; the recipes below use coconut, almond, and oat milk yogurts with great success.
Coconut Yogurt Waffles (Vegan + GF)
Have a breakfast bonanza with these hearty waffles made with rolled oats, chia seeds, and nutty flaxseed meal. The gluten-free flour guarantees a crispy exterior, while the coconut yogurt keeps the interior soft and scrumptious. You can top them with bananas or another favorite fresh fruit. Any leftover waffles freeze beautifully.
Vegan Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake
Vanilla oat milk yogurt brings an earthy sweetness to this coffee cake, and with blueberries, conspire to keep this vegan dessert perfectly moist. Great for a brunch or potluck.
The Only Cinnamon Rolls You’ll Ever Need
Almond milk yogurt plays a starring role in these stellar from-scratch delights. Make these homey vegan cinnamon rolls on a relaxed day at home when you have time to enjoy the process, smell the cinnamon, and let the dough rise.
The savory side of yogurt
It’s not just for smoothies anymore! Yogurt is a favorite ingredient in many cuisines’ savory dishes, and can be used as a lower-fat substitute for sour cream and mayonnaise.
Greek Yogurt Deviled Eggs
One of our favorite appetizers, deviled eggs get a lot more personality when made with yogurt instead of mayonnaise. Season them with Dijon mustard, spring onions, and chives, or sprinkle them with herbs or hot paprika. Curry powder would be excellent, too.
Chickpea Pancakes with Leeks, Squash, and Yogurt
These vegetarian dinner pancakes are made with a batter of gluten-free chickpea flour, leeks sauteed in plenty of olive oil, and grated squash, so they come out moist and savory. Top them with a simple dollop of tangy plain yogurt plus salt and pepper, and you've got a yourself a simple and satisfying supper.
Indian Butter Chicken
This classic restaurant dish lends itself well to the home kitchen. Refrigerating the chicken in a yogurt-based spice marinade helps tenderize the meat and creates tanginess in the final dish.
Turkey Tikka Burgers
This turkey burger recipe offers a change of pace from what can be a boring burger. The low-fat yogurt keeps them juicy and pert, and the mango chutney gives sweetness and a fun depth of flavor.
Cilantro Lime Crema
Greek yogurt plays the starring role in this delicious dip that also doubles as a yogurt sauce. The five-ingredient mixture is great with chips or crudités, on top of tacos, drizzled on sautéed veggies, or painted artfully beneath simply prepared fish. Add a pinch of cumin if you like for a greater depth of flavor.
Creamy Yogurt Cucumber Salad
This bright salad with its tangy yogurt dressing and fresh herbs may remind you of the flavors of tzatziki dip, though it's far prettier. Feel free to use different varieties of cucumber for size and textural contrast; the liquid from the cucumbers neatly thins out the Greek yogurt in the dressing.
These tender, tangy flatbreads are cooked on a griddle and are ready in just over half an hour. They’re a warm companion to dips, soups, and stews. Use any plain yogurt in the fridge, regular or Greek; and while full-fat gives them a more delicate crumb, nonfat makes a tasty flatbread too.
Sweet and spunky desserts
Yogurt works beautifully in baked goods and desserts, with its natural tang that balances the sweet, its built-in moisture, and complexity of flavor.
Grapefruit Yogurt Cake
Sometimes simplicity is best. This is a variation on a pound cake, but it’s much more exciting: The grapefruit delivers flavor with both the juice and zest, and the Greek yogurt helps creates a crumb closer to a coffee cake.
Healthy Raspberry Swirl Frozen Yogurt
Creamy and refreshing but with about half the calories of ice cream, frozen yogurt has legions of fans. It's easy to pull off at home with an ice cream maker. For this fancy swirled version, once you churn the sweetened yogurt to a soft-serve texture, drizzle it with pureed raspberries, then freeze again briefly.
Banana-Lemon Pudding Cake
This decadent tasting, slow cooker pudding cake keeps fat to a minimum without resorting to using odd ingredients, simply by swapping out butter for plain fat-free yogurt. A good portion of the sweetness comes from the bananas too, for a tasty dessert in under two hours from start to spoon.
Blackberry-Tahini Yogurt Cake
This elegant cake comes together quickly and easily, and is drizzled with tahini and a simple cardamom-sugar for a complex crunch on top. In the oven, the yogurt adds tanginess as the blackberries soften and infuse the cake around them with a natural tart-sweetness.