Smooth, creamy, sweet, and savory with a sour tang, yogurt is an explosion of flavors! It is a great alternative for many people who are looking for a healthy snack. At the same time, it also has various culinary applications. You can use it in dips, sauces, marinades, and baked goods.
During instances when you cannot grab a yogurt for whatever cooking application you need it for, no worries! Other options can provide the same flavor. That said, read on as we talk about some of the best substitutes for yogurt that are worth considering.
The Different Ways to Use Yogurt in Cooking
Before we give you a rundown of what to use when yogurt is unavailable, here is a quick list of its different culinary applications.
Whether you are making cakes, muffins, or bread, you can use plain yogurt as an ingredient. It will add moisture and tang to the final product. While plain yogurt is good, you can also use Greek yogurt if you need more protein.
If you are a healthy eater, salad is perhaps one of your go-to meals. Make its flavors stand out and add a hint of sweet and sour flavors by using yogurt in its dressing. It blends well with herbs and buttermilk.
Yogurt adds tangy flavors to different sauces. It also makes the sauce more consistent. One of the best things to do is mix yogurt and garlic, which will make a great choice for kababs.
You can marinate almost anything with yogurt. Like using it as a sauce, garlic is the best addition. You can also add olive oil, peppercorn, salt, and fresh herbs for the marinade to stand out.
Soups and Stews
Yogurt adds a rich and bright flavor to soups and stews. Add it in a hot soup to give a sour flavor. This will also help in making other ingredients stand out by making the flavor profile more complex.
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Do not panic when yogurt isn’t available. You can use other ingredients, including those we’ll list below.
1. Sour Cream
Sour cream has bacteria that produce lactic acid, which is added to dairy cream. The result is that it has a slightly tart flavor and a thick but creamy consistency, almost like yogurt. It is a staple in the kitchen of many people, especially those who love cooking Eastern and Central European cuisine.
You can use sour cream, in almost anything where you use yogurt. Some of the best include raw dips, sauces, spreads, condiments, and frosting. Take note that it is sensitive to heat, so it might curdle when it is used in cooking. The secret is to wait for the heat to subside.
A fermented dairy product, buttermilk makes another great option when yogurt isn’t available. It is often cultured, which means that it has beneficial bacteria. This is one more thing that makes it like yogurt.
One of the most common ways to use buttermilk is in baking. It will make a nice addition to biscuits, muffins, bread, and pancakes. You can also use it as a batter for fried foods. Plus, it will make a great base for soups or as a flavoring for dressings, dips, and sauces.
3. Cottage Cheese
Known for being healthy and nutritious, cottage cheese is another well-loved option if you cannot get your hands on yogurt. It is made by acidifying milk. It is a type of fresh cheese with small curds. As for the flavor, it is creamy and savory.
It is one of the healthiest dairy products you can use in cooking. To add, it has high calcium content, which is one more thing that makes it like yogurt. You can use it as a topping for sandwiches and salads. It works best when you mix it with fruits and nuts.
A common fixture in many households, mayo is one of the most accessible alternatives when yogurt is unavailable. Nonetheless, one thing that might make many people hesitant in using mayo is the fact that it isn’t as healthy as yogurt.
The creamy and delicious goodness of mayo makes it a versatile ingredient. Among others, it is most used in sauces and dips.
Nonetheless, one of the problems with mayo is that it does not have the same acidity that you will find in yogurt.
5. Cream Cheese
According to the FDA standards, cream cheese is fresh cheese, which has 33% fat and a moisture content of not more than 55%. This type of cheese is smooth, mild, and soft. It has a great flavor and texture, making it a good option for baked treats.
The best way to use cream cheese is to use it in dishes that require creamy and savory flavors. It also makes a great option for sauces and dips, especially when you use it with fresh herbs and spices. More so, it is a good choice for desserts, especially for frosting.
6. Heavy Cream
Another common ingredient when cooking, heavy cream is milk’s thick part that rises because of its fat content. It has 36 to 40% fat, so it is not a good choice if you are trying to look for something healthier than yogurt.
You can use heavy cream in many ways as a yogurt substitute. For instance, you can add it to ice creams, cakes, pasta sauces, and chowder soups. It is a great option if you need a thick ingredient that will make any dish runny.
7. Almond Milk
If you have a plant-based diet, then almond milk is perhaps one of the staples in your pantry. This processed beverage has a rich flavor and texture. While you can buy it in ready-to-drink versions, you can also make one yourself using ground almond and water.
As a yogurt substitute, there are plenty of ways to use almond milk in cooking and baking. It is a great addition to sweet and savory dishes. From soups and stews to cakes and pastries, adding almond milk is a good idea.
8. Silken Tofu
Tofu is available in many styles, and one of the most common is silken tofu. This is also popular for people who are into plant-based diets. It has coagulated soy milk that does not go through curdling, which is also the one that is responsible for its texture.
When using silken tofu, you will need to whisk or blend it, which will make the consistency close to yogurt. Adding lemon is also recommended to make the recipe more refreshing with a hint of tart notes.