Who remembers a few years ago when Greek yogurt was the new super food? I’ll be honest — I wasn’t a believer at first. Greek yogurt is sort of tart, chunky and watery all at the same time and tasted nothing like the smooth, creamy sugar-laden yogurt I had grown up eating out of a plastic tube. However, as time went on, I grew accustomed to its unique taste and began exploring different ways to use it.
Let me use a disclaimer — Greek yogurt is not something I eat every day. Many people who follow clean diets try to avoid dairy products and I am no exception to this rule. However, I am human with small children to feed. I have found Greek yogurt to be a healthier substitute item than say vegetable oil or sour cream. You can learn more here about healthy food versus making healthier choices.
Traditionally when using Greek yogurt as a substitute, you want to use an original or classic flavor (skip the fruit!) and full fat versions, especially while baking. You can pick your favorite brand based off of nutrition facts and ingredients.
10 of the Healthiest Greek Yogurt Substitutions
1. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Mayo
Mayonnaise is so versatile in its uses and goes far beyond just a salad topping. Mayo serves as a great base for many foods — salad dressing for one or chicken salad anyone? — but also makes a yummy addition or dipping sauce for almost anything.
However, mayonnaise isn’t something you want to eat everyday. Packed with unhealthy fats, simple carbs and hydrogenated oil, it’s definitely something you want to throw out whenever you’re trying to eat clean. Luckily for you, Greek yogurt makes an excellent substitute.
When substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise, use equal parts. Remember that Greek yogurt thins as it warms up and will become watery as it reaches room temperature. A quick trip to the refrigerator will help thicken it back up quickly.
2. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Butter
Butter is packed full of healthy fats in moderate amounts, but it generally is a good item you want to avoid eating copious amounts of. Greek yogurt can make a great substitution for butter, especially when baking — remember, healthier options versus healthy in general.
When substituting Greek yogurt for butter, particularly in baking, you can substitute in equal amounts up to one cup of butter. Remember, baking is more or less chemistry with sugar involved, so chemical reactions are very important. Since Greek yogurt is heavy and thick, your confections can quickly turn into sodden messes if the recipe calls for over a cup of butter. In that case, try cutting the butter by half. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of butter, use one cup of butter and one cup of Greek yogurt.
3. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Heavy Cream
Want to cut some calories from your favorite pasta dish? Try using Greek yogurt as a base instead of your favorite Alfredo or vodka sauce. Keep in mind that Greek yogurt tends to be much heavier than heavy cream (how ironic!) so it works best when thinned with a splash or milk or water and mixed to your desired consistency.
That’s not the only way you can get creative with Greek yogurt as opposed to heavy cream. Try using it as a substitute the next time you make your favorite soup dish for a creamy and thick soup to warm you on a cold night.
4. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Cream Cheese
Next time you want to make a party dip without all the added calories and carbs, trying substituting eight ounces of Greek yogurt for a block of cream cheese. Cream cheese is another ingredient that you match equally when using Greek yogurt as a substitute.
5. Use Greek Yogurt In Your Smoothie
Want to thicken up your smoothie and add a bit of protein? Toss in a little Greek yogurt with ice and your favorite fruits and vegetables for a healthy start to your day.
6. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Icing
Want to have your cake and eat it too? Greek yogurt has the perfect, thick consistency to create an icing substitute. Grab your favorite flavor and mix in a pinch of gelatin to create a thick, creamy paste. You know what to do from there!
7. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Buttermilk
Because truly, who keeps buttermilk lying around? Buttermilk is a little, um…thicker than average milk (gag!) but still not quite the conistency of Greek yogurt. If a recipe calls for 1/4 of a cup of buttermilk, you can make an easy fix by adding equal parts (or 1/8 of a cup of each) Greek yogurt and water or Greek yogurt and milk. Or…just avoid using recipes that call for buttermilk all together because it’s weird. Happy baking!
8. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Milk
Using Greek yogurt as a substitute for milk can be complicated depending on what you’re cooking. Remember, chemistry and whatnot. In general, it’s better to let the Greek yogurt reach room temperature (read: get as thin as possible) before using it as a milk substitute. If it still doesn’t seem like a consistency that will work, add a little water and whisk it together.
9. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Oil
You can cut oil with Greek yogurt — do half oil and half yogurt — or replace it in equal parts in smaller amounts. This is great especially for those trying to avoid hydrogenated oils even while having a “cheat day”. Enjoy your cake with no shame!
10. Use Greek Yogurt Instead of Sour Cream
You can go shot for shot when it comes to using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. It’s a similar consistency and easy substitute.