19 Greek yogurt substitutes for baking recipes or for cooking. Plus a simple chart listing the dairy and non dairy best alternatives.
Greek yogurt is a healthy, protein-rich ingredient used in many sweet and savory recipes like this creamy cucumber salad with yogurt and miso dressing or this strawberry panna cotta with Greek yogurt.
But what happens when you want to make a recipe that requires Greek yogurt and you just don't have it in your fridge ?
In many cases, a great substitute for Greek yogurt can be plain yogurt, buttermilk or even a mashed banana.
However, to make the best out of each yogurt alternative, you should understand their differences and their similarities.
Also, most substitutions will work better in recipes that call for a small quantity of Greek yogurt, rather than in recipes that are yogurt-based.
Continue reading to find out the best Greek yogurt substitutes, how to use them, which are better in baking and which are more suitable for cooking or for sauces, salad dressings, wraps and smoothies.
What is Greek yogurt?
Greek yogurt has been a popular dairy product for centuries in Greece and other Mediterranean countries.
It is a type of yogurt which is made by the bacterial fermentation of milk, followed by straining to remove the whey. This results in a thicker and creamier consistency.
The fermenting of the milk with live bacterial cultures is very similar to regular yogurt. These bacterial cultures convert the lactose in the milk into lactic acid, which gives yogurt its characteristic tangy flavor and also helps to thicken it.
The straining process removes some of the water and other soluble components, leaving behind a thicker and more concentrated yogurt with a higher protein content.
The beneficial probiotics which support gut health make this dairy product a great healthy addition to many recipes..
To make sure you're buying an authentic Greek strained yogurt it's essential to read the ingredient list and confirm that there are no thickeners, gelatin or other additives used to thicken it.
What does Greek yogurt taste like?
The taste of Greek yogurt is somewhat different from that of regular yogurt.
Many describe it slightly tangier with a fresh and sour taste (due to the fermentation process which produces lactic acid) reminiscent of sour cream.
The texture is thick, smooth and creamy because of the straining process, something that makes it perfect for a homemade tzatziki sauce. The straining also concentrates the flavor, giving it a richer mouthfeel compared to regular yogurt.
Since Greek yogurt has a higher protein content and lower sugar content than regular yogurt, it can taste slightly less sweet. Some people find Greek yogurt to be milder in sweetness and more satisfying due to its thicker texture.
The taste can vary depending on the brand, the manufacturing process and the type of milk used (most of the times it's made from cow's milk, but goat or sheep milk can also be used in lower proportion).
The best dairy substitutes
1. Plain yogurt (regular yogurt)
Plain Yogurt is probably one of the best substitutes for Greek yogurt because they're both made from fermented milk with live bacterial cultures, plus plain yogurt is very easy to find in almost every grocery store.
Their main difference is the straining process. Because regular yogurt isn't strained, it has a looser texture, higher water content and tends to be less tangy than Greek yogurt.
If you have the time you can strain regular yogurt and make your own Greek yogurt: line a large sieve with a piece of cheesecloth, and transfer the regular yogurt inside. Place the sieve on a bowl and store it in the fridge for a few hours until some of the whey leaks out and the yogurt is thickened.
If you want to use regular yogurt instead of Greek yogurt, it's best to reduce some of the other liquids (like milk, water or juice) in the recipe, otherwise the end result will be looser in texture.
Where to use plain yogurt: In baking, cooking, smoothies, dressings, sauces, marinades.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of regular yogurt and (if possible) reduce a liquid in the recipe by ¼ cup.
These Mediterranean style chicken lettuce wraps with a healthy yogurt sauce can be made with either type of yogurt.
Greek yogurt and Skyr are very similar, since they're both strained dairy products known for their thick and creamy texture. While Greek yogurt originates from Greece, Skyr comes from Iceland and has a milder and slightly sweeter taste compared.
Both products are good sources of protein and probiotics, making them beneficial for gut health.
Skyr is an excellent substitute and it's actually your best option for replacing Greek yogurt, but it can be hard to find. It can be used exactly the same way as Greek yogurt and it's perfect for baking, dips, sauces, dressing or adding to smoothies.
These Yogurt parfaits with honey and fruits can be made with either of the two dairy products.
Where to use Skyr: In every recipe that calls for Greek yogurt
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of Skyr
3. Sour Cream
Greek yogurt and sour cream are both dairy products commonly used in cooking and as toppings.
However, sour cream is tangier and has a higher fat content while Greek yogurt is higher in protein, making it a healthier option for those seeking to reduce their fat intake.
Because sour cream is higher in fat, it can be cooked without curdling and will also make your baked goods extra moist and tender.
Where to use sour cream: In baking, cooking, toppings, sauces, dressings and marinades.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of sour cream
4. Crème Fraiche
Crème fraiche is not the same as sour cream, but it can also be a great replacement for Greek yogurt.
It is made by fermenting heavy cream with bacterial cultures, resulting in a milder, nuttier, and less tangy taste compared to Greek yogurt. However, it has a higher fat content and less protein.
Crème fraiche is often chosen in both savory and sweet dishes for its luxurious texture and subtle, nutty flavor.
Because it doesn't offer the same tang as yogurt, it's best to add a bit of acid such as lemon juice or vinegar.
Where to use creme fraiche: In baking, cooking, toppings, sauces and dressings.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of crème fraiche plus1 teaspoon of lemon juice or vinegar (if possible, also reduce the fat in the recipe by 1 tablespoon).
5. Cream Cheese
Cream cheese is another dairy product than can be used instead of Greek yogurt. However, it is much denser with mild, slightly sweet flavor.
To make it a good replacement, mix it with some lemon juice or vinegar (wine or apple cider) and some water (or milk) until it reaches the consistency of Greek yogurt.
Where to use cream cheese: In baking, cooking, toppings, dips, spreads, sauces and dressings. If you want your dips and sauces to be thicker in texture and less tangy, you can use cream cheese as is. For baking and dressings it's better to make it thinner first.
How much: First mix room temperature cream cheese with 1 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar and gradually add water (1 tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the texture of Greek yogurt. Then use 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of thinned cream cheese
Greek yogurt and labneh share many similarities as they are both strained dairy products.
Labneh is a Middle Eastern type of cheese made by straining yogurt for an extended period, which removes the whey and creates a thicker and denser texture similar to that of cream cheese.
It has a rich and creamy taste with a slightly tangy and nutty flavor.
As with cream cheese, you can mix Labneh with some water or milk to make it thinner and give it a similar texture to that of Greek yogurt. Use it as is if you want your dips and sauces to be thicker. Keep in mind that most of the times Labneh contains additional salt so you may have to reduce the salt in your recipes.
In the article how to make Labneh (yogurt cheese) you can see how easy it is to make it at home.
Where to use Labneh: In baking, cooking, marinades, toppings, sauces and dressings.
How much: Start mixing the Labneh with 1 tablespoon water at a time until it reaches the consistency of Greek yogurt. Use 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of thinned Labneh
7. Cottage Cheese
Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are both dairy products but cottage cheese has a curd-like texture and a milder taste. Cottage cheese is a super healthy alternative packed with nutrients.
It is usually enjoyed on its own with a slice of bread or crackers, or it's used in salads and savory dishes for added protein and texture.
Use a food processor to give cottage cheese a creamy texture if you plan to use it as a Greek yogurt substitute. In recipes where all the ingredients go into a blender (like smoothies) you don't have to do that extra step.
Try this healthy and creamy salmon pasta with either of these two dairy products.
Where to use cottage cheese: In baking, cooking, spreads and in sauces. Also perfect for smoothies.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of cottage cheese.
Buttermilk is much thinner than Greek yogurt, has a lower protein content and a more distinct tangy taste. It is a popular ingredient in baked goods like pancakes and muffins.
When substituting one for the other in recipes, keep in mind the difference in thickness and tartness to achieve the desired results. It can be used in almost any recipe but it will shine when used in breads, pancakes and cakes.
Where to use buttermilk: Baking (cakes, muffins, pancakes, breads), marinades, cooking.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : ¾ cup of buttermilk
9. Sour Milk (milk with lemon juice or vinegar)
Add a tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of whole milk to make your own sour milk.
Sour milk is very similar to buttermilk but the main difference is that it has a higher fat content because it's made with whole milk.
It is commonly used in baking recipes, where the acidity can react with baking soda to create tiny bubbles that leaven baked goods. Just like buttermilk, take into consideration the difference in thickness and tartness to achieve the desired results.
Where to use sour milk: Baking (cakes, muffins, pancakes, breads), marinades, cooking.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : ¾ cup of sour milk.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a thinner and pourable consistency. It has a tart and tangy taste similar to yogurt, but it is often more drinkable and less concentrated.
While both are probiotic-rich and offer health benefits for gut health, kefir may be preferable for those who prefer a drinkable yogurt-like product, while Greek yogurt is ideal for those seeking a thicker and creamier texture for spoonable applications.
Kefir is another excellent Greek yogurt substitute and can be used in baking, marinades, sauces and dressings. Since it has a thinner consistency, you'll want to use less Kefir in place of Greek yogurt.
Try this Greek pizza recipe (with yogurt and olive oil dough) with either of these two dairy products.
Where to use Kefir: Baking, cooking, marinades, sauces and dressings.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : ¾ cup of Kefir
11. Whipped Feta
This is a rather uncommon substitution but it works very well in savory recipes.
Whipped feta is made by blending feta cheese with cream, milk or regular yogurt to achieve a smooth and spreadable consistency.
It tends to be richer and saltier, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a more intense flavor profile. It can be used as a spread, dip, or as an ingredient in savory recipes.
To make whipped feta, add 1 cup of crumbled feta and 2-3 tablespoons milk (or regular yogurt) to your food processor and blend until smooth. Check the consistency and add more milk to make it creamier. You can also add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to make it tangier.
Make this creamy Greek pasta salad with either Greek yogurt or whipped feta, It is delicious!
Where to use whipped feta: Cooking, spreads, sandwiches, dips, sauces, dressings.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1 cup of whipped feta
Greek yogurt substitutes chart (Dairy)
This is a simple chart with the best dairy Greek yogurt substitutes plus how and where to use them:
The best dairy-free substitutes
12. Plant based yogurts
Plant based yogurts are non-dairy, vegan alternatives made from plant-based milk. Some popular types are almond yogurt, soy yogurt and coconut yogurt. Depending on the type they may have different taste and thickness.
Greek yogurt is higher in protein but the alternatives are suitable for vegans and those with lactose intolerance.
Most of the non-dairy yogurts contain live and active cultures but they also contain more water and some type of thickener (such as pectin) which gives them their creamy consistency.
For savory recipes try to find a plant-based yogurt without any sugar added.
They can be used as toppings, dips, or in baking depending on the recipe.
Where to use vegan yogurt: Dips, dressings, toppings, marinades,
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : ¾ cup of plant based yogurt.
13. Silken Tofu
Silken tofu is a soy-based product, making it an excellent dairy-free alternative for vegans and those avoiding dairy.
To replace Greek yogurt with silken tofu, put the silken tofu in your food processor and process until smooth. To give it the tangy taste of yogurt, add 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. You can use a 1-to-1 ratio of silken tofu.
Where to use silken tofu: In baking and cooking
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : ¾ cup of silken tofu.
14. Mashed Bananas
It may sound strange at first, but mashed bananas can replace Greek yogurt in baking.
Mashed bananas are a good source of potassium and dietary fiber and they're popular in baking because they add natural sweetness and moisture to recipes like cakes, muffins and pancakes.
The only downside is that the banana flavor will be noticeable in your recipes, something that can dramatically change the taste of a dish. If you believe you'll like the added banana flavor to your baked goods, try this interesting substitution.
Where to use mashed bananas: In baking (cakes, pancakes, muffins) and smoothies.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1cup of mashed bananas
15. Mashed Avocado
Mashed avocado is for savory recipes what mashed banana is for baking.
Mashed avocado has a rich, buttery flavor, it is a good source of healthy fats and with the addition of lemon juice it can offer the same tangy taste as Greek yogurt.
It can be used as a topping, spread, for dressings or incorporated into savory recipes. You can also use it in your smoothies.
To make mashed avocado, use 2-3 ripe avocados and 1-2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice. Mash them well with a fork until creamy or in your food processor for best results. Lemon juice will also prevent mashed avocados from becoming brown.
Where to use mashed avocado: In toppings, salad dressings, spreads, sauces and smoothies.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1cup of mashed avocado
16. Mayonnaise (Mayo)
Mayonnaise is an emulsion of oil, egg yolks, and vinegar or lemon juice, providing a rich and creamy taste.
It is much higher in fat and calories and lower in protein compared to Greek yogurt.
Many people suggest using this alternative in baking, but you should keep in mind that it will severely change the fat percentage in your recipes, something that can cause cakes and muffins to sink during baking. However, when used in small quantities it can make baked goods more tender and moist.
When used in dips, sandwiches and dressings it will add creaminess and a boost of flavor.
Culinary Uses: Both Greek yogurt and mayonnaise can be used as creamy bases for dressings, dips, and sauces. They are versatile ingredients that add richness and flavor to various dishes.
Where to use mayo: Dips, sauces, spreads and dressings. In cakes and muffins use it in quantities less than ¼ of a cup.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1cup of mayonnaise
17. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is extracted from the flesh of coconut, providing healthy fats and a distinct tropical taste.
It is an excellent option for vegan or lactose-intolerant people looking for a dairy-free alternative in recipes, desserts, or curries.
Note that coconut cream is different than coconut milk which is thinner. To make coconut cream, place a can of coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight and the next day skim the thick cream from the top.
At the bottom there will be coconut water left, which you can use in smoothies and other recipes. Mix the coconut cream with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to give it the sour taste of Greek yogurt.
Keep in mind that it will give your recipes hints of coconut flavor.
Where to use coconut cream: In cooking (soups and curries), marinades and baking.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1cup of coconut cream (and if possible, reduce the fat in the recipe by 1 tablespoon)
18. Almond butter or cashew butter
Nut butters can add creaminess and flavor to various dishes, including smoothies, sauces, and dressings.
These non-dairy products are made from blended nuts and have a nutty and slightly sweet taste, with a creamy and velvety texture.
Most nut butters will thicken if you mix them with a bit of liquid, but as you gradually keep adding liquid they'll become creamy again. Add a bit of lemon juice and the adequate water until you get a consistency similar to that of Greek yogurt.
Where to use nut butter: In smoothies, dips, spreads and dressings.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1cup of cashew butter
19. Tahini Sauce
Just like cashew butter, tahini sauce can also replace Greek yogurt in some recipes.
Tahini sauce is nutty, earthy, and slightly bitter, made from ground sesame seeds, making it suitable for vegan and lactose-intolerant diets. It can be used in dips, dressings, wraps, especially in savory dishes.
Make sure to try this easy homemade tahini sauce to drizzle over many of your recipes.
Where to use tahini sauce: In smoothies, dips, spreads and dressings.
How much: 1 cup of Greek yogurt : 1cup of tahini sauce
Greek yogurt substitutes chart (Dairy-free)
This is a simple chart with the best dairy-free Greek yogurt substitutes plus how and where to use them:
Greek Yogurt FAQs
The best substitute for Greek yogurt in baking is Skyr (an Icelandic type of thick yogurt) because it has a similar texture and taste and it's made with a similar way to that of Greek yogurt.
However, Skyr can be hard to find, so the next best substitute is plain yogurt. Plain yogurt is also made from fermented milk with live bacterial cultures, plus it is very easy to find in almost every grocery store.
Mashed bananas are an excellent choice if you're searching for an easy to find, dairy-free option for baking.
They'll provide moisture and natural sweetness to your baked goods, but they'll also give them a distinct banana taste.
If you don't want to change the alter the flavor of your recipe, another great alternative is silken tofu. Process silken tofu in your processor with a little bit of lemon juice until it is creamy and use it the same way you'd do with Greek yogurt.