Favorite Greek Yogurt Kitchen Hacks
Fresh, thick, creamy and decadent—all reasons why I make Greek yogurt a staple in my fridge!
Lots of recipes use it, such as Savory Yogurt Three Ways, Chicken Gyro Salad with Yogurt Dressing or Greek Yogurt Chocolate Pudding. With the guidelines below, you too can experiment and substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise, sour cream, butter, cream cheese or buttermilk in your favorite recipes. Greek yogurt boosts nutrients and may even decrease calories with no loss of yumminess.
Substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in salad dressings or dips is the easiest place to begin. I use half 0% fat plain Greek yogurt and half mayonnaise in any dip or salad dressing recipe calling for mayonnaise. However, you can start more slowly. Use one-third plain Greek yogurt and two-thirds mayo. As your family gets used to the substitution, work your way up to half and half. Try it in chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad, deviled eggs, spinach dip, ranch salad dressing, green goddess salad dressing or creamy peppercorn dressing.
In warm sauces, soups, stews or saucy meat mixtures, replace all or part of the sour cream with 2% or higher fat plain Greek yogurt. High heat causes yogurt proteins to curdle, so stir it in at the end of the cooking time and gently heat the mixture to serving temperature (no simmering or boiling). Or, if your recipe needs to be thickened, stir cornstarch or flour into the yogurt before whisking it into the hot mixture. Starch keeps yogurt proteins from forming curds, leaving you with creamy, smooth results.
In foods where the yogurt is not heated, use any fat level of plain Greek yogurt as a direct substitute for sour cream. I always dollop yogurt on top of my nachos or chili as well as use it to replace sour cream in dessert or salad toppings. If you love dipping strawberries in brown sugar and sour cream, try it with yogurt instead.
Lighten up butter or cream cheese by using 2% or higher fat plain Greek yogurt. For butter, mix 2-parts butter with 1-part yogurt. For cream cheese, combine 1-part cream cheese with 1-part yogurt. Both make great spreads for artisan breads, bagels, muffins or morning toast. The cream cheese-yogurt mixture also works well in cheesecakes or cheese spreads. However, the butter-yogurt mixture works in some baked products, but not all, so you might have to experiment with your favorite recipe.
Don’t keep buttermilk on hand for baking? No problem. For every cup of buttermilk used in your recipe, mix 2/3 cup any fat level of plain Greek yogurt with 1/3 cup milk. The resulting mixture has enough acid to react with leavening and gives the baked good a tantalizing tang just like buttermilk.