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How to Use Yogurt in Cooking

Hello Villagers. Consuming milk from various animals is thought to have occurred over the past 10,000 years. The development of yogurt may have been due to poor food safety practices, but then became a way to preserve milk. Most of us think of yogurt as a breakfast only food, but over the years it has evolved into so much more. Nowadays, it can be used in a variety of ways in the kitchen. Here are some easy ways to use yogurt in cooking plus helpful recipes to make it happen.

Homemade yogurt in rustic bowl.

Use in meat marinades: The acidity in yogurt helps to break down enzymes and tenderize meats, making it great for marinades

Replace mayonnaise in salads: If you are a fan of creamy salads, this tip is for you. Plain yogurt can replace mayonnaise in potato salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, etc. Instead of a dressing that is primarily fat you end up with added protein, calcium, and probiotics.

Replace buttermilk and sour cream in baked goods: Regular, plain yogurt can readily replace buttermilk and sour cream in most baked goods. In this case, greek yogurt should not be used. Because it has less liquid and more protein (giving it a lovely thick texture), it does not behave the same way as regular yogurt does when baked in foods. If you only have greek yogurt on hand, you can thin it out with water prior to adding it to your batter.

Use to make creamy salad dressings: simply add a little olive oil and maybe some lemon juice along with your favorite seasonings to plain yogurt, creating a protein packed, healthier salad dressing.

How to Use Yogurt in Cooking: Tips and Tricks

  • Yogurt should always be folded in and never over stirred. Excess stirring can cause the yogurt to break down an separate.
  • If you are heating yogurt in something like a soup, you need to temper the yogurt or it will curdle. In order to temper it, add small amounts of the warm liquid to the cool yogurt a little at a time until the yogurt has heated up. Then you can add all of the yogurt to the soup or stew.
  • Never use aluminum baking pans. The acid in yogurt will react with the aluminum in foil pan.
  • Always double check your yogurt flavor before adding it. If you are like me, then you have many different types of yogurt in your fridge and it would be really easy to accidentally add a vanilla variety instead of plain. That may turn out okay if you are baking, but it likely won’t if you are preparing a salad dressing or marinating meat.

How to Use Yogurt in Cooking: Recipe Ideas

Recipes from Cooking Light: list of 39 recipes that use yogurt

Recipes from Taste of Home: 40 helpful recipes that use yogurt

Recipes from Food Network: 50 different recipes using yogurt

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Jessica Barnes, PhD, RDN, LD

Dr. Jessica Barnes received her PhD in nutrition from Texas Woman's University. Her research focused on food preference development and creating materials to help preschoolers become familiar with healthy foods. She has worked with families and communities as a clinical and community Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.

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