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13 chef-inspired ideas that put creamy Greek yogurt to work all day long

Greek yogurt isn't merely a staple in home refrigerators (like ours) these days, it's also a go-to ingredient at many of the hottest restaurant kitchens around the country. We asked chefs to tell us about their favorite ways to use it right now—both in their restaurants and at home. Put their ideas to work in your own kitchen for inspired meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

Breakfast

"Adding Greek yogurt to traditional pastry recipes helps give them extra moisture, thanks to the fat content, and a little extra tang. Pancakes and pound cakes work well with this. At home, I like to mix it with peanut butter or almond butter and a little honey and use it as a dip for apples or pears." — Dianna Daoheung, head baker, Black Seed Bagels, New York City

"In the mornings, I like to spread Greek yogurt on toast with some fig jam or honey, and toasted coconut flakes." — Ralph Scamardella, chef/partner,  TAO Group

Lunch

"If you want to make your salad dressing a little healthier, substitute Greek yogurt for mayo and pair it with crisp, crunchy greens like iceberg lettuce." — Jeff Mahin, chef, Stella Barra, Summer House Santa Monica and M Street Kitchen, Los Angeles

"I make a yogurt salsa verde that's so good on grilled chicken. Combine yogurt, garlic, scallions, parsley, chives, jalapeño and purée until smooth, then fold in chopped cilantro, parsley and oregano." — Craig Koketsu, chef/partner, Quality Meats, New York City

"I am in love with Greek yogurt and use it for everything! I sometimes blend it 50/50 with sour cream for various dips. It lightens the texture and the calories, gives a nice tang and creates a great flavored dip. My current favorite is a horseradish crema (sour cream, horseradish, lemon zest and Greek yogurt) with spiced potato chips. This also goes great with a grilled or roasted steak." — Trish Tracey, chef, Myriad Gastro Pub, San Francisco

"Simply grate one clove of garlic on a Microplane, mix with two cups of yogurt, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil for a dip/sauce that's delicious with chips and grilled meat." — Jim Botsacos, chef, Molyvos and Abboccato, New York City

Dinner

"We place the yogurt in cheesecloth, tie it up and hang over a bowl to drain for at least 48 hours. When the yogurt thickens, it's called 'labne,' which is known as a type of 'cheese' that we serve with a roasted beet salad with a spicy Thai vinaigrette. The remaining liquid is also really nice. We take it and add a little bit of chive oil, then we pour a little of it over oysters as an amuse. It's sweet, tangy and savory." — Benjamin Murray, chef, Azul at Mandarin Oriental, Miami

"Greek yogurt holds other flavors very well, so we like to blend it with herbs, spices and various oils and reductions. Try blending with a touch of honey, maple syrup or hazelnut oil and serving it with a meaty dish like chicken or pork, alongside some fresh summer vegetables." — Tyler Kinnett, executive chef, Harvest, Boston

"Instead of butter, we use Greek yogurt to emulsify many of our sauces. Another great trick is to add a scoop of Greek yogurt to your homemade soups to add creaminess, viscosity and depth of flavor. If you're making a roasted tomato soup, add Greek yogurt with some red wine vinegar along with the rest of your ingredients and puree it all together for a much richer taste." — Michael Psilakis, chef/owner, Kefi, FISHTAG, MP Taverna, The Hall Brooklyn

Dessert

"I cut peaches in half, put them cut-side down in some Greek yogurt mixed with a little bourbon and sugar, let marinate for about 10 minutes, then you grill for gorgeous caramelization." — Laurence Edelman, chef/owner, Left Bank, New York City

"To make a quick, sophisticated dessert, mix instant coffee and powdered sugar into Greek yogurt and refrigerate. Toss brioche cubes in melted butter and sugar, and bake until golden brown. Rehydrate dried black Mission figs in Marsala. In a sundae glass, alternate layers of brioche, figs and yogurt. Grate bittersweet chocolate on top." — Craig Koketsu, chef/partner, Quality Meats, New York City

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