Yogurt is created by fermenting whole milk with a cultured bacteria known as Lactobacillus. This species of bacteria are referred to as probiotics, or “good bacteria,” because they are beneficial to humans in many ways. The bacteria in yogurt assists with the breakdown of food and nutrient absorption.
But aside from being a nifty dietary supplement, yogurt has a creamy texture and acidic tang that can be a great addition to many recipes. Fortunately, yogurt is not an irreplaceable ingredient. So, if you’re searching for a yogurt substitute, here are some great alternatives you can use.
#1. Sour Cream
Sour cream is the closest substitute to yogurt in terms of taste and appearance. Although it has a stronger tang than regular yogurt, hence the name “sour” cream. But it still works well as a yogurt substitute in any recipe of your choice.
Store-bought varieties of sour cream usually contain salt and other added flavors. So, if you’re planning to use sour cream as a substitute for yogurt in a sweet recipe, it’s preferable to make sour cream yourself.
It’s easy to make sour cream at home; all you need is milk. You can also make it by fermenting pasteurized cream with an acid-producing bacterial culture. After that, you can choose whether or not to add salt or sweeteners, depending on the recipe you’re using it for.
1 Cup Yogurt = 1 Cup Sour Cream
Buttermilk is the liquid that is left over after churning cream into butter. It’s a fermented dairy drink that is often consumed for its probiotic properties.
If you were searching for a yogurt replacement to fulfill your dietary needs, buttermilk is the best option. It offers a slightly milder but also more pleasant tang than yogurt.
The only problem with buttermilk as a yogurt substitute is that it has the consistency of milk. It’s a tasty beverage for drinking but being thinner means it won’t work well in baking recipes. If you still plan to use buttermilk for a baked dish, try adding some cream cheese or heavy cream to make it thicker.
1 Cup Yogurt = ½ Cup Buttermilk + ½ Thickening Agent (For Dips and Baked Dishes)
#3. Coconut Cream
Coconut cream is a surprisingly good non-dairy alternative to yogurt for people with dietary restrictions like lactose intolerance. Despite being a plant-based cream, it has a rich, creamy texture punctuated by the tropical notes of coconut.
Coconut cream offers a distinctive taste that makes it a staple ingredient in many baked desserts like pies, cookies, and ice creams.
Coconut cream can make up for the creaminess of yogurt; however, it doesn’t have any acidity, so you can expect a slightly different flavor. But the final result will be delicious nonetheless.
1 Cup Yogurt = 1 Cup Coconut Cream
#4. Cream Cheese
Like coconut cream, cream cheese has a similar consistency to yogurt but a different taste. You can use it to make up for the creaminess of yogurt in recipes for baked dishes, but only if cheese pairs with the other ingredients of your recipe.
It’s more practical to use cream cheese as a dip instead. There are loads of flavors and varieties of cheese to choose from, so you have the option of choosing the right cheese for your dish.
If you want to use cream cheese as a substitute for baking, get the flavorless variety or one with a flavor that matches your dish’s profile.
1 Cup Yogurt = 1 Cup Cream Cheese
#5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a fresh acid-set cheese that is much more similar to yogurt than regular cheese. This is because it is the by-product of curd production. You can make cottage cheese at home by acidifying whole milk into solid curd and skimming the solid chunks.
Cottage cheese carries many of the same nutritional benefits as yogurt. It’s also rich in protein while having fewer calories than regular cheese. With cottage cheese, the only compromise you might have to make is the taste.
Cottage cheese is less tangy than yogurt and has a slightly thicker consistency. However, you can mix cottage cheese with some heavy cream and a few teaspoons of lemon to meet yogurt halfway. It’ll make a great yogurt substitute for dips, dressings, and baked goods.
1 Cup Yogurt = 1 Cup Cottage Cheese
#6. Heavy Cream
Heavy cream is the most no-hassle substitute for yogurt in any given recipe. Its taste will be the one small compromise here. Heavy cream, as the name already suggests, is dense and high in calories. Like yogurt, it also does a great job of carrying all the other flavors of baked dishes.
While heavy cream won’t give you the probiotic benefits or acidity of yogurt, it is often preferred over yogurt in baked goods as a more flavorful substitute. Heavy cream is an ideal ingredient for enriching dishes like pies, meringues, cakes, pastries, cookies, and brownies.
1 Cup Yogurt = 1 Cup Heavy Cream