Yogurt has become a top choice for lots of people when it comes to improving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What’s not to like? It’s healthy, delicious, and readily available in most grocery stores. You can use it as a breakfast staple, and in baked goods and savory dishes.
However, if you’re not a fan of yogurt or are keeping clear of dairy products, there are some substitutes available. Substitute yogurt with mayo, cottage cheese, buttermilk, cream cheese, sour cream, plant-based yogurt, coconut milk, heavy cream, sour milk, and almond milk.
Best Yogurt Substitutes
Let’s see how these substitutes work in different dishes and with different cooking techniques.
Most of us like using yogurt for making dressings for vegetables or fruits. It tastes good as it is, maybe a little sweeter or savory depending on what the recipe calls for. The same goes for mayo. Mayo is an excellent substitute if you like making salad dressings or sandwich spreads.
Instead of using basic yogurt, try the creamy, delicious goodness of mayo in your recipes. Mayo is made out of fresh whole eggs, making it rich in protein (crucial for muscle development). You can find different brands in grocery stores, ranging from plain mayo to flavored variants.
2. Cottage Cheese
Another dairy product that you can use when it comes to making salads is cottage cheese. One of the healthiest cheeses that you can find, it resembles yogurt in that it’s also rich in calcium and nutrients. The only difference is with taste and texture.
When using cottage cheese, you will notice the curdles from the milk, plus a hint of saltiness. But it’s an excellent topping for sandwiches, salads, bread, pasta, and even for desserts. The next time you’re out of yogurt, cottage cheese works very well, especially when mixed with fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables.
One of my favorite dairy products is buttermilk. Just like yogurt, I use buttermilk for baking, marinades, and even in drinks. Yogurt as you know has grown in popularity for creating low-calorie desserts and pastries. But if you want to step it up a bit and want to add tanginess to your dish, buttermilk is the perfect option. When making pancakes, cakes, muffins, or even brownies, I like using buttermilk in place of yogurt.
Other excellent uses for buttermilk include marinating chicken and creating a perfect batter. If you like crispy fried chicken, buttermilk is one of the secret ingredients that you should definitely try. When I don’t have yogurt, I usually resort to buttermilk, and it works every time.
4. Cream Cheese
Yogurt is excellent in making dishes creamy and tasty, and no wonder we panic when we run out of it. But you can use cream cheese instead, to add creaminess and savory flavor to your dish. When I make a sauce or dip, I like using cream cheese mixed with herbs and spices. For desserts, it’s also an excellent frosting for cakes and cupcakes alike.
You can find different variants of cream cheese in grocery stores. Plus, it’s ready to use just like yogurt and doesn’t need extra preparation. Another advantage of using this substitute is its long shelf life. As long as you keep it in the fridge, and use it before the expiry date, it is an excellent choice.
5. Sour Cream
Not a week goes by that I don’t crave beef or chicken curry. Personally, I like using yogurt to make the sauce creamy and thick. But I’ve discovered that using sour cream is also effective. This is another option for when yogurt is unavailable. Sour cream works just fine, and the sourness of the cream adds a twist to a regular curry.
Adding sour cream is no different to adding yogurt. Both have the same taste and texture profile, making the substitution a whole lot easier. Other than curries, sour cream is excellent for soups, stews, baked dishes, desserts, and even as a dip or salad dressing.
6. Plant-Based Yoghurt
Fortunately, with so much diversity in the culinary world, a lot of food manufacturers are offering wider possibilities. With the rise of vegan diet plans, it’s important to offer more options so that finding a dairy-free alternative is not a struggle.
These days, you will see a ton of plant-based yogurts that contain zero animal products. Unlike before, where yogurt was made solely from cow’s milk, now you can find plant-based alternatives.
You can find yogurt flavors such as almond, coconut, cashew and lots more. It’s almost the same as dairy yogurt, and matches it very closely for texture and taste. It’s lower in calories and carbs but high in vital nutrients.
7. Coconut Milk
Coconut milk has always been my go-to baking and cooking ingredient at home. Instead of using regular milk, I like the creaminess, aroma, and goodness of coconut milk in a dish. Whether I’m baking cakes, cookies, or other desserts, the addition of coconut milk makes a big difference. I also like using it for soups, curries, drinks, and smoothies.
When baking with coconut milk, it acts the same as regular yogurt. When using it as a substitution, just follow the 1:1 ratio. For curries, coconut milk has always been a staple so it’s no issue when using this instead of yogurt. The curry sauce will still turn out creamy, thick, aromatic and ultimately flavorful.
8. Heavy Cream
Another store-bought ingredient that you can substitute for yogurt is heavy cream. This is a perfect alternative when baking desserts, and especially for making a fruit salad. Although it’s higher in calories and fat, it won’t hurt to use it every once in a while. If you feel like indulging for a special occasion, heavy cream will do just fine.
It’s also great for desserts, mixed with herbs for naan dips, as a thickening agent for curries or stews, and even for specialty drinks. If you’re still worried about the extra calories, there are variants that are low in fat and calories.
9. Sour Milk
Don’t get confused between sour cream and sour milk. Although both are dairy products, they are still different. Sour cream is more thick and solid in form. It is creamy and easy to handle just like regular yogurt. While sour milk, on the other hand, is the liquid form of sour cream and has the same taste and aroma as sour cream.
If your recipe calls to add creaminess to a dish like stews and curries, sour milk works just fine. Even in baking, if you don’t have yogurt or buttermilk, sour milk is a good alternative and will still achieve a creamy and tangy flavor. I like to use this option in baking, since sour milk encourages the dough to be moist, fluffy, and decadent.
10. Almond Milk
For our last entry in the list of yogurt substitutes, another vegan-friendly option you can consider is almond milk. Whether you are baking, making curries, bread, or concocting delicious soups and stews, almond milk can add creaminess and body. In recent years almond milk has been a popular choice for making healthy desserts, especially for those who have a sweet tooth.
If you have the luxury of time, you have the option to make your own homemade almond milk. All you need is a blender or food processor. Just mix whole almonds and water together with your favorite spice like cinnamon to add some flavor.
Knowing your options in the culinary world is an advantage. Experimenting with what works well in your favorite dish if one ingredient is unavailable will save you a lot of time. Running out of yogurt is not a problem anymore – instead it gives you the opportunity to widen your culinary perspective by trying out some substitutes!