What can I substitute for yogurt?

In this short article, we will provide an answer to the question, “What can I substitute for yogurt?” with an in-depth analysis of yogurt and some best substitutes for yogurt.

What can I substitute for yogurt?

Over the past five years, most of the world’s major economies have reported more than 10% increase in purchase (or sales volume). In the United States, retail sales of yogurt are expected to be at $9 billion in 2017 (1).

You can substitute the below things for yogurt:

·         Mayo

·         Buttermilk

·         Heavy cream

·         Sour cream

·         Almond milk

·         Tofu

·         Greek yogurt

·         Cottage cheese

·         Avocado

Why do we need to substitute yogurt?

Yogurt, a fermented milk product, is defined as “a product resulting from milk by fermentation with a mixed starter culture consisting of Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus.” Although S. thermophilus and L. delbrueckii ssp. bulgaricus are the common yogurt starter bacteria, over the past few decades several other adjunct bacteria have been used in addition to these for production of yogurt (1).

When it comes to enhancing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, yogurt has been a popular option for many individuals. It’s nutritious, tasty, and easily found in most supermarkets. It can be used in baked items and spicy foods, as well as breakfast staples. However, if you don’t like yogurt or avoid dairy products, there are other alternatives.

What is the best substitute for yogurt?


If you want to make salad dressing or sandwich spread, mayo is a great option for plain yogurt. Fresh whole eggs are used to make mayo, which gives it a high protein content.

Mayonnaise is an emulsified oil in water semisolid food, containing vegetable oil, acidulant, egg yolk, and other ingredients, which contains not less than 65% by weight of vegetable oil and not less than 2.5% by weight acidity, calculated as acetic acid (2).

Butter Milk:

Buttermilk is identical to yogurt, but if you want to take things a step further and add tanginess to your dish, buttermilk is the way to go. It’s best to use buttermilk instead of yogurt while creating pancakes, cakes, muffins, or even brownies.

Buttermilk is the product that remains when fat is removed from milk or cream in the process of churning into butter. Cultured buttermilk is prepared by souring buttermilk, or more commonly skim milk, with a suitable culture that produces a desirable taste and aroma. It is used as a beverage, as an ingredient in baked goods, and in dressings (2). It contains lactic acid bacteria which contribute basically to develop taste, flavor, and shelf life and are related to health benefits (1).

When using buttermilk instead of yogurt, it’s a good idea to add a pinch of baking soda to the dry ingredients. This will improve your baked item in rising and achieving the desired texture.

Heavy Cream:

Heavy cream is another store-bought product that can be used in place of yogurt. When baking pastries, and especially when making a fruit salad, this is a great option. It won’t hurt to use it quite often, even though it’s higher in calories and fat. If you want to treat yourself to a special occasion, thick cream will work.

Cream is the product obtained from milk by increasing the fat content by separation or by blending a high fat cream with milk to obtain a desired fat content. There are several types of cream products which differ principally in their fat content. Half-and-half: A mixture of milk and cream which contains between 10.5 and 18.0% milk fat. Light cream: Cream which contains between 18 and 30% milk fat. Light whipping cream: Cream which contains between 30 and 36% milk fat. Heavy cream: Cream which contains not less than 36% milk fat (2).

Sour Cream:

Sour cream can usually be replaced with plain yogurt or Greek yogurt, and vice versa. Sour cream has the same thickness and tanginess as yogurt, and the substitution is a straightforward one-to-one ratio. Things get a little more tricky if you’re using a fat-free type. In that instance, the substitute is only suitable for cold dishes such as dips.

Sour cream plain is the product containing not less than 18% fat produced by the acidification (souring) by lactic acid-producing bacteria to obtain a titratable acidity, calculated as lactic acid, of not less than 0.5%. Acidified sour cream, plain is the product containing not less than 18% fat produced by the acidification (souring) by suitable acidulants with or without lactic acid-producing bacteria to obtain a titratable acidity, calculated as lactic acid, of not less than 0.5% (2).

Almond Milk:

Almond Milk is another yogurt substitute that is a good choice. Almond milk can be used to give smoothness and body to baked goods, curries, bread, and delectable soups and stews. Almond milk has become a popular ingredient in healthful sweets in recent years, especially among people with a sweet appetite. Almond milk can also be made at home.

Almond milk is a creamy, sweet, healthy, and nutritional powerhouse among foods. It is rich in omega-6 fatty acids. It is made from ground almonds and filtered water. It usually contains sweeteners and other ingredients. This milk has alpha-tocopherol which is a powerful antioxidant and protects against harmful free radicals (3).


Tofu can be used in place of yogurt for individuals who follow a vegan diet and avoid any dairy. Of course, tofu won’t taste like yogurt, but it can provide a similar consistency in your cuisine.

Tofu is a soybean curd product. Soybeans are soaked, ground, and filtered, with the remaining mixture being heated to 75°C and a coagulant added, which results in the formation of the soy curd and whey. The soy curd is pressed to separate it from the whey and then washed and cooled. It is low in calories and saturated fats while high in vitamins, minerals, and digestible protein. It is tasteless, but takes on the flavors of the products with which it is cooked. Uses include frozen desserts and meat products (2).

Greek yogurt:

If you prefer the taste of yogurt, consider substituting Greek yogurt for plain yogurt. It’s thought to be a healthier option than conventional yogurt because it’s high in protein and low in sugar and carbohydrates. Greek yogurt, on the other hand, is much thicker than regular yogurt. You’ll need to add a little water to get it the perfect consistency if you want to use it as a yogurt substitute.

Traditionally, it was made in Greece by straining whey from yogurt in a pouch of cloth. The popularity of Greek yogurt is attributed to the healthy appeal of the high protein content (2–2.5 times that of regular yogurt). For commercial purposes, natural straining has been replaced by the use of centrifugation and filtration (1).

Cottage cheese:

Cottage cheese works really well when you are out of yogurt. It is one of the healthiest alternatives that you can find. It has many similar nutritious values as yogurt. The only difference that occurs is with taste and texture.

Cottage cheese is a soft, uncured cheese prepared by mixing cottage cheese dry curd with a creaming mixture. It contains not more than 80% moisture and not less than 4% milk fat by weight of the finished food (2).

To use cottage cheese instead of yogurt, pour the necessary amount in a food processor or blender and puree until it has the same creamy consistency as yogurt.


Avocado can also be used as a yogurt substitute. Sauces, salads, and even baked items benefit from this substitute. Although the flavor will be slightly different, avocado is relatively bland, so it should have little effect on the final dish. Avocado is the butter of nature.

Avocado has high fat content  which is a good source for substituting the milk fat in frozen dairy desserts.  A non-dairy fat source derived from avocado could be a potential alternative in order to create an option for free-dairy fat ice cream as well as provide better health benefits to the consumers (4).


In this short article, we have provided an answer to the question, “What can I substitute for yogurt?” with an in-depth analysis of yogurt, and some best substitutes for yogurt. 

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Chandan, Ramesh C., Akanksha Gandhi, and Nagendra P. Shah. Yogurt: Historical background, health benefits, and global trade. Yogurt in health and disease prevention. Academic Press, 2017. 3-29.


Igoe, Robert S. Dictionary of food ingredients. Springer Science & Business Media, 2011.


Pandey, Sonika, and Amrita Poonia. Plant-Based Milk Substitutes: A Novel Non-dairy Source. Innovations in Food Technology. Springer, Singapore, 2020. 63-71.  


Surjawan, I., and E. Abdillah. The potential of avocado paste (Persea americana) as fat substitute in non-dairy ice cream. IOP Conf Series Earth Environ Sci, 2018, 102.