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Suitable Substitutes for Greek Yogurt

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

Don’t forgo that lovely dish you’ve been craving just because you don’t have one of the ingredients on hand; even if that ingredient is Greek yogurt, you can still make that dish a reality with a Greek yogurt substitute.

The disappointment you feel when you realize you forgot a key ingredient when shopping for a specific meal can be very demoralizing. Luckily, if Greek yogurt happens to be the essential ingredient in question, worry not; you can produce a similar texture and taste to Greek yogurt with some ingenuity, leading to a serviceable substitute for Greek yogurt.

So, you’re out of Greek yogurt, and you really needed some. Seems like the perfect opportunity to learn a useful piece of cooking expertise, doesn’t it?  It’s easy to get discouraged by the unavailability of a needed ingredient for a dish, but this is how we grow. Always good to know the best way to work around a problem.

It’s so easy to abandon a dish or to struggle to make it work without a certain ingredient. But at some point, you start to make a greater effort in trying not to make an effort. Save yourself a world of trouble and set aside a little bit of time to get a suitable substitute ready.

I once found myself stuck making a dish (garlic yogurt mashed potatoes) when I realized I didn’t have enough Greek yogurt (milk) for it. My friends were coming over so I simply split the ratio of other ingredients in half and prepared only what my Greek yogurt could cover. It came out with a lovely taste but not enough to go round.

Displeased with what had happened, I thought to myself that I should have done more. I should have figured out a similar ingredient, something more like a substitute for the Greek yogurt.

Little did I know that all of the answers were much less complicated than I thought, and that I could have still made that first dish a reality by simply using the right Greek yogurt alternative. The following day, my regrets still fresh in my mind, I did the research and attempted the dish without Greek yogurt. The results turned out so swell that I kicked myself for not thinking of this solution sooner.

You might have had the same problem recently; why else would you be here? Well, consider this a guide on the ideal substitute for your dishes that require a Greek yogurt as an ingredient.

Follow this article and I bet you will be surprised by the number of substitute ingredients for Greek yogurt there really are. There’s probably some lying around in your kitchen this very moment! Continue with me as I show you how useful these replacements can be.

Why do people use Greek yogurt?

Greek yogurt is more than just yogurt. Its benefits are overwhelming. I have seen and felt this firsthand. The Greek yogurt made and sold in Europe is yogurt made from low fat or fat-free milk. It may differ from place to place, as some kinds are made from milk in which water has been removed by evaporation.

Greek yogurt is yogurt where most of its whey (the liquid that contains the natural sugar) has been removed, usually during the cheese making process. The removal of the whey makes it thicker, creamier and richer, boosting up to 110kcal of energy per 100grams consumed.

Greek yogurt may also be referred to as yogurt in which thickening agents have been used such as pectin, starch, etc. Over time the essential benefits of the Greek yogurt have led to increased popularity and demand. This is due to its acidity level, which helps adjust the body system to better absorb other nutrients. It also has the ability to reduce appetite or hunger, improve the bones, boost metabolism, encourage good health and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The Greek yogurt making process is strenuous, making it expensive. This comes from the process of straining, the addition of plain yogurt and the addition of a thickening agent. The addition of other ingredients makes it more expensive.

Irrespective of this, when you put a scale on health benefit and price, you will definitely find Greek yogurt to be worth the cash. But for many people, it is still necessary to keep a tighter budget.

All of this difficulty can be eliminated by replacing it with an almost exact substitute while still getting some of the health benefits. If you can’t find a suitable plain Greek yogurt, look below for a way around.

Suitable substitutes for plain Greek yogurt

There are numerous ingredients that can be used as a substitute for Greek yogurt in recipes. Finding these substitutes won’t be too difficult, as I have seen. Most of these alternatives share similar health benefits as Greek yogurt because they contain nutrients such as calcium and protein.  Substitute for plain Greek yogurt can be successfully incorporated as ingredients into dishes which call for Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is often used in cakes, main dishes such as skinny Greek yogurt chicken and even sauces such as Greek yogurt dips, lightened-up blueberry lemon Greek yogurt bread, etc. This ingredient makes the cake swell a bit more in size and acquire a tough texture. It also gives the dish a sweet and tangy flavor.

But Greek yogurt isn’t the only ingredient that can serve this purpose as evaporated milk, plain yogurt, mayo and cream cheese can also do the same.

My years of experience in the kitchen have taught me that there is always a way out when one runs out of ingredients for a dish. Imagine deciding to make a “Greek yogurt egg salad” and then finding out you have little or no Greek yogurt left. At one time, I would’ve just abandoned the thought of making it, but that’s all in the past, as I am well informed on what to do now.

These yogurt substitutes can give the same taste as the Greek yogurt when used in a recipe. Although alternatives such as plain yogurt can serve the same purpose, the sweetness can be a bit much. I once used plain yogurt and got a very sweet taste. I quickly reduced the quantity and got the exact same taste as I did as when I had used Greek yogurt.

Evaporated milk can be really helpful too.

The replacement of the yogurt with an alternative boils down to application and quantity used. So when you try any of the substitutes I will be listing out for you, do well to exercise caution, as taste is really important. Caution in terms of application in baking, sauce-making, and preparation of main courses.

7 easy to find Greek yogurt replacements:

This delicious yogurt is used for preparing a good number of dishes, and it is often manipulated by thinning with water. This manipulation of thickness and thinness is part of today’s lesson. There are no limitations as to the preparation of any dish.

So just in case you ever thought you couldn’t prepare a dish because an ingredient or group of ingredients are missing, look around and you will surely find its replacement lying around somewhere. Some amazing Greek yogurt substitutes include:

  • Sour Cream

Don’t be surprised by what you can do with this ingredient in your kitchen, especially when it comes to preparing sauces, dips or dish dressings. Sour cream provides more than just the same health benefits as the yogurt, but it also has the benefit of giving an almost exact taste and appearance to Greek yogurt.

It suffices to use the exact same quantity of yogurt as sour cream in the dish you’re preparing. Its reduced sweetness makes it a perfect fit, and that’s why it comes first on the list. Next time yogurt isn’t available, try this and you may even decide to continue with its usage. Most suitable for sauces, dips and dish dressings.

  • Plain yogurt

Plain yogurt is everywhere. It’s also an ingredient used in making the Greek yogurt and that’s why it’s also an ideal one to replace the Greek yogurt with. It’s relatively cheap and this is why it is readily available in the first place. It is less creamy and tangy and possesses fewer flavors than the Greek yogurt.

If the strong taste isn’t what you are after, then plain yogurt should work for you. Also, if you have a few teaspoons of Greek yogurt available but not enough to use, mix it in with the plain yogurt and you’re good to go. Most suitable for cakes, sauce and dish dressings.

  • Buttermilk

If taste is your highest priority, then buttermilk would be your ideal substitute for the yogurt. There are not many ingredients around that can boast a better taste than buttermilk. Made by churning, buttermilk is very rich in flavor. It is advisable to add only half the amount of buttermilk as you would for Greek yogurt.

Its taste can overwhelm the dish, so be careful when adding. Taste as you add, and if it becomes too much, add a few tablespoons of water and stir until a homogeneous mixture is achieved. Suitable for baking.

  • Mayo

More than just a name, you can substitute Greek yogurt for mayo and vice versa. Whatever dish in which Greek yogurt can be used as an ingredient, so can mayo, and the reverse is also true. This can be seen in the Portillo chocolate cake made in Chicago. It gives the same sweet taste and carries an equal amount of health benefits.

It is common practice to add an equivalent amount of mayo as you would for Greek yogurt. Mayo is an excellent replacement as an ingredient and worth every penny. With this ingredient, there is no fear of compromising on taste.

  • Cottage cheese

This is one ingredient that is peculiar to cheesecake and salad. What makes it an excellent fit in place of Greek yogurt is its power packed nutrition. Blessed with lots of calcium, protein and reduced sugar level, it can suitably fit into your dish. Try using this in pancakes and see just how well your dish comes out in appearance. If you haven’t thought of using this, make time and try it with a few of dishes.

Tip: Smoothen before use by blending.

  • Avocado

This ingredient is nothing new. It is commonly taken with bread and even used as dipping when well blended. But aside from this, it works well with sauces that require Greek yogurt. It is very low in sugar and given a very neutral taste. You won’t have to worry about taste when you use this ingredient. It is a natural ingredient with a host of health benefits.

  • Cream cheese

Cream cheese is an ingredient that can serve the same purpose as the Greek yogurt. It is commonly used in baking. All that is needed is to substitute Greek yogurt for cream cheese in the same amount. Lots of questions have been asked as to whether cream cheese and Greek yogurt can be used interchangeably, and the absolute answer is, yes they can.

Cream cheese is an ingredient that can be added to bread for a lovely breakfast before a hard days’ work. When you use cream cheese, think of it as using yogurt.

Substitutes for Greek yogurt in baking

Baking is a process that requires a combination of a lot of ingredients. There are various ingredients that can be used for baking, but one ingredient that is essential is the milk. Most times, yogurts are used for baking, and one type commonly used is Greek yogurt. Although it is a bit more expensive, there are various substitutes that can be used for Greek yogurt as an ingredient in baking. Some of these alternatives for Greek yogurt include:

  •     Evaporated milk
  •     Mayo
  •     Cream cheese
  •     Plain yogurt
  •     Buttermilk

All of these ingredients can fit into your baking process, though some require caution and expertise. It’s just about quantity and relative sweetness, though, which can be easily mastered.

I have tried a lot of these substitutes in pancakes and bread. If you intend to use any of these, try with a reduced quantity and maybe start out with a less difficult dish like pancakes. When you get those right, then you can go all out with your favorite dishes.

Of all these substitutes, the best Greek yogurt alternatives are buttermilk, mayo and cream cheese. This is because they have a very similar chemical composition to the Greek yogurt. They are also less capable of ruining dishes and they carry great benefits essential for human healthiness. For me, these three come first, and only in their absence do I opt for another.

Conclusion

Greek yogurts are essential in many recipes (Greek yogurt chicken salad) because of its creamy and tangy flavor. It is one ingredient that can give a sweet taste without raising an alarm for type 2 diabetes. This is because its whey has been removed. Substitutes for Greek yogurts are chosen as a means to avoid kitchen emergencies in most cases.

Most of these substitutes can be used in baking and others in sauces. Due to its high cost, it is common practice to replace it with an alternative. For sauces and dips requiring a Greek yogurt alternative, plain yogurt and sour cream can serve as suitable replacements.

If you ever run out of Greek yogurt, opt for less costly products such as plain yogurt or sour cream and you are sure to get the same taste and end up with a delicious result.

For baking purposes, substitute for Greek yogurt includes mayo, buttermilk, and cream cheese. Although caution should be exercised when adding them, these ingredients can produce mind-blowing results.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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