11 Best Substitutes For Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is the perfect food to have on hand for a morning yogurt bowl or smoothie, but there are actually more uses for this humbling dairy product than you'd think. You can use Greek yogurt to marinate and tenderize a tough cut of meat, dress up a salad, or thicken up your favorite autumnal soup. 

Traditional Greek yogurt has a distinguishing tang and is thicker than other types of yogurt because some of the water is strained from the yogurt during processing. Greek yogurt is filled with nourishing probiotic bacteria for a healthy gut and has more protein than regular yogurt, per Healthline. Plus, many Greek yogurt brands offer lower sugar and low-calorie options for consumers. Our favorite Greek yogurt brands include Fage and Siggi's. 

With all ingredients, there comes a time and a place when you don't always have a spare container in your fridge. If you find yourself in need of a Greek yogurt replacement, here are some of our favorite substitutes — all of which are commonly found at your grocery store or might already be in your fridge.

Plain yogurt

Our first pick for a Greek yogurt substitute is in the same probiotic family. Comparing plain yogurt to Greek yogurt is easy, since they're made from similar ingredients. Plain yogurt, however, contains more water as well as less protein and less saturated fat than Greek yogurt, so it is not as creamy and thick. 

Plain yogurt is best suited to replace Greek yogurt in dips like tzatziki sauce. You'll still get the tanginess of the yogurt shining through with the addition of fresh dill and cucumbers. Add tzatziki as a dip for crudités or use the sauce to top your homemade gyros. 

Not feeling inspired by the flavors of the Mediterranean? You can also use plain yogurt to replace Greek yogurt to top your chili-broiled salmon. The yogurt provides a satisfying creaminess after the spice of the fish and isn't runny enough to cause a major textural disruption in your mouth.

Sour cream

Sour cream has a texture as thick as Greek yogurt, so it is an ideal replacement for recipes where you want tang and thickness. Sour cream is the perfect substitute for Greek yogurt in baked goods like pound cake because the moisture from the dairy product infuses into the batter, providing flavor and a robust texture. If a recipe requires either Greek yogurt or sour cream, you should try mixing these ingredients at the end before adding dry ingredients. This method prevents clumping and pockets of flour in your baked goods. 

According to Our Everyday Life, you should take precautions by substituting sour cream for yogurt in high-heat recipes. Yogurt tends to separate into curds (the chunky bits) and whey (the watery substance) under high heat, while sour cream does not. This means that sour cream may be a better fit than yogurt in soups and creamy sauces — unless you want to go through the tedious process of tempering your yogurt. 

Cottage cheese

Like Greek yogurt, cottage cheese is popular among weightlifters because of its high protein. But cottage cheese doesn't just pack protein and calories. It's also high in calcium and vitamin A, per Medical News Today. The texture can be a bit off-putting, but once it's blended into a sauce or dip, you'll hardly notice.

If you're looking to substitute cottage cheese for Greek yogurt seamlessly, you should stick to smoothies. The cottage cheese becomes indistinguishable from Greek yogurt alongside your favorite blend of fruits and milk, plus you'll get the satiating benefits of adding an extra boost of protein to your smoothie. Chatelaine recommends using a scoop of cottage cheese for your morning breakfast bowl instead of Greek yogurt, along with your choice of sweet berries and crunchy granola. Cottage cheese has 6 grams of protein per serving more than Greek yogurt, so it is the optimal breakfast choice that will keep you full all the way until lunch. 

Buttermilk

Buttermilk is a cook's secret weapon for great pancakes and fluffy baked goods. But how does this mysterious liquid compare to its creamy cousin? 

Buttermilk is a byproduct of the butter-making process, per Southern Living. As the fat starts to come together in the center of the vat, the liquid that separates is left at room temperature to culture with naturally occurring bacteria and yeast before being bottled and stored as buttermilk. Although buttermilk is much thinner than Greek yogurt, there is some continuity in tanginess between the two. Buttermilk should be substituted for Greek yogurt for recipes with great care and adjustments to other liquid ingredients to ensure the moisture in the batter or dough is appropriate. The thinness of the buttermilk won't provide the fattiness and texture needed for a yogurt sauce or a dip, so you are better off using other types of dairy products if you're whipping up tzatziki. 

Mayonnaise

Mayonnaise might be the most divisive condiment out there. But whatever your feelings are about the egg-based spread, you can't neglect its versatility in the kitchen. Mayonnaise works as an ingredient in cakes because the oil locks in the moisture into the crumb while the acidic taste contrasts the sweetness in the batter. 

According to the Chobani Kitchen Conversion Chart (via KosherEye), you can substitute mayonnaise for Greek yogurt in baked goods using a 1-to-1 ratio. Mayonnaise is slightly richer than Greek yogurt, so if you plan to substitute Greek yogurt for mayonnaise in a tuna salad, you should consider adding a few tablespoons of oil to equal portions of Greek yogurt. You can also combine Greek yogurt with white vinegar and cornstarch to increase its flavor and mayonnaise-like texture. 

If you couldn't tell already, there are some places where substituting mayonnaise for Greek yogurt just isn't possible. Unless you're the kind of person that can eat a bowl of mayonnaise without gagging.

Applesauce

Applesauce has long been recognized as a healthy substitute for oil in boxed cake mix. Per I Forgot It's Wednesday, you can substitute applesauce for Greek yogurt using a 1-to-1 ratio. This substitution works best for recipes that require a small amount of Greek yogurt because the yogurt is much more tangy and thick than applesauce. Applesauce is also much sweeter than Greek yogurt, so you may need to adjust added sugar if you add more than a scant amount of applesauce to your recipe. If you have a sensitivity to apples, you can puree other fruits like pears for a similar effect. 

There are many benefits to using applesauce instead of yogurt in baking. Applesauce contains significantly less fat than Greek yogurt and is a lower-calorie option, per Souper Sage. However, the applesauce is much thinner than Greek yogurt, so recipes that require a more fatty, creamier substitute are better off using a substitute like plain yogurt, sour cream, or cottage cheese.

Mashed banana

The humble banana is another baking substitute. Its texture is somewhat similar to applesauce, but is not as sweet. Therefore, you can use mashed bananas to replace Greek yogurt in recipes without having to adjust too much of the other sweeteners. Outside of substitutions for Greek yogurt, many folks use mashed banana as a way to retain the moisture in a recipe without using a ton of oil. 

The major downside to using mashed bananas in place of Greek yogurt is that the banana flavor may shine through. You can counteract this a little by using less ripe, yellow bananas rather than the super-ripe, spotted, and slightly mushy bananas you'd use for your next banana bread loaf. You also won't get the same tang from mashing sweet bananas that you would from adding Greek yogurt; adding a bit of lemon juice can help add more tartness if desired. 

Cream cheese

Besides smearing cream cheese on top of your favorite type of bagel, you can also use this dairy product as a substitution for Greek yogurt. From a textural standpoint, it is easy to note that cold cream cheese has a much harder texture than soft Greek yogurt. If you plan to add cream cheese instead of Greek yogurt to your recipes, take the time to pull your cream cheese out of the fridge. This step is crucial in softening the cream cheese and making it easier to handle. 

Cream cheese has a nuanced taste that makes it the perfect Greek yogurt substitute for baked goods, sauces, and our favorite buffalo chicken dip. Instead of adding a cup of Greek yogurt to your dips, add a cup of whipped, room-temperature cream cheese. You can opt for a high-speed stand mixer with a paddle attachment to make the cream cheese soft and pliable for your other dip ingredients. 

Silken tofu

This one is for the vegans and soy enthusiasts out there. Silken tofu is a soft, delicate, custard-like ingredient made with thickened soy milk (via Bob's Red Mill). The resulting tofu can be used for mousses, sauces, and foods of varying identities and regional flavors. 

If you're looking for a Greek yogurt substitute with almost no flavor, silken tofu is your go-to. You can use a 1-to-1 ratio of silken tofu for Greek yogurt for baking or cooking. If you need the flavor of Greek yogurt as well, you should consider adding acid (in the form of lemon juice or distilled white vinegar) to your tofu. 

To prepare silken tofu, you can add the package (found in the refrigerated or natural foods aisle in the grocery store) to a food processor or a blender and whip until smooth. If you have leftover silken tofu, try adding a scoop to your smoothies for creaminess and an extra dose of protein. 

Mashed avocado

Mashed avocado is a great dairy-free substitute for Greek yogurt that hits all the fatty notes you could want. Although avocados are commonly associated with a perfect guacamole recipe, they can also be used to bring moisture and fat to a tray of avocado brownies.

When substituting avocados and Greek yogurt, you should opt for a 1-to-1 ratio (per Treat Dreams). Pureeing your avocados in a food processor or blender before measuring will ensure the best substitution results rather than eyeing up a whole avocado versus a cup of Greek yogurt. If you want a distinct, yogurt-like tang, try adding a bit of lemon or lime juice to your mashed avocado before mixing it with other ingredients. If you have spare avocado at the end of your cooking, you can opt to make a quick guacamole or use the mashed avocado for a fatty boost in a smoothie. 

Crème fraiche

Crème fraiche and sour cream are both substitutes for Greek yogurt, but the two dairy products are not the same. Crème fraiche is thicker than sour cream and has a 10% higher fat content. The thickness of crème fraiche lends the ingredient well towards berries and scones, and its structure against heat (which would leave other dairy products curdled and unusable) makes crème fraiche an ideal candidate for Greek yogurt substitution. 

Although crème fraiche rivals other substitutions in the structure department, it doesn't offer the same tang as yogurt or sour cream. The acidity of many yogurt products helps break down the gluten in baked goods, thus rendering pound cakes and brownies soft and pillowy. Crème fraiche, on the other hand, just brings a suitable level of moisture. 

As with other substitutes, consider adding acid complements to help boost the flavor of the crème fraiche — or just opt for a more sour substitution instead.