5 Tips for Baking with Greek Yogurt

updated May 1, 2019
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You’re desperately craving Saturday morning pancakes, but the buttermilk in your fridge expired two weeks ago and you’re all out of milk. You do, however, have a tub of Greek yogurt — and, surprise! It can do the job just as well.

Greek yogurt may be primarily a wholesome breakfast staple, but it’s also an incredible tool when it comes to baking. It can be used, just like other dairy products, to make moist and tender cakes, biscuits, breads, and more. Here’s how to get started in baking with yogurt.

1. Use full-fat or 2% Greek yogurt — and make sure it’s plain.

Your cake recipe already calls for sugar, so reaching for vanilla Greek yogurt will probably make it sweeter than you’re expecting (although it still can be good!).

Plain Greek yogurt is the most versatile pick and gives you complete control over the flavor of your baked good. Go with whole-milk, full-fat Greek yogurt for the best flavor (2% can be used if you prefer). But avoid nonfat, as it can not only contain fillers and stabilizers that change the taste and texture of what you’re baking, but it also just doesn’t have the same rich flavor and mouthfeel as varieties with fat in them.

2. Try it in place of buttermilk in your pancakes or waffles.

I know pancakes and waffles might not be the first things you think of when it comes to baking, but they both consist of batter that’s cooked — so they count! (Plus there’s “cake” in the word “pancake,” right?) The reason buttermilk makes for such great pancakes, waffles, and biscuits is that its acidic nature helps make them extra fluffy and light, while also adding a delicately tangy flavor. Greek yogurt has that same acidic characteristic, so it provides a similarly successful result.

Since Greek yogurt is thicker, however, you may want to thin it with water or milk to mimic the consistency of buttermilk before using, particularly for pancakes and waffles. Just stir in a few spoonfuls of liquid until it’s more of a pourable consistency and then measure it for the recipe.

3. Thin it to use like regular yogurt.

It’s hard to beat the simplicity of a yogurt cake, but most recipes call for regular plain yogurt, not Greek. If all you have is Greek around, you can just thin it out to replicate regular yogurt and use it in any recipe.

4. Swap it in for sour cream or crème fraîche.

This is similar to swapping it in for buttermilk. Sour cream and crème fraîche also have a tang to them that can be replicated with Greek yogurt. The bonus here is that the consistency of both are fairly similar to Greek yogurt, so there’s no need to thin out the yogurt before using it. Try it in coffee cake, cheesecake, and even pie crust.

5. Use it in place of heavy cream.

Cream scones can easily become Greek yogurt scones and they’ll be just as luscious and flaky — replace half or three quarters of the amount of heavy cream called for in a recipe with Greek yogurt for great results. And if you’re whipping heavy cream, try adding a dollop of Greek yogurt to your stand mixer or mixing bowl as you whip it to give your whipped cream a slightly tangy flavor that’s a fresh addition to any cake or pie.

Get a recipe: Apricot Yogurt Scones

Your turn! Do you have any favorite baked goods that call for Greek yogurt? Tell us in the comments!