Saturday, June 27, 2009

How to make your own Greek Yogurt

I am  HUGE fan of Greek yogurt if you all haven’t noticed.  My only complaint is that it can cost so much more than regular yogurt.  You can save a ton of money by making your own and it’s so simple to do.  I think the BEST part about making your own Greek Yogurt is that you can control how thick you want it.

You only need TWO things to make your Greek yogurt.


Your favorite brand of PLAIN nonfat or lowfat yogurt.  I used Nancy’s but Stoneyfield is another great option.  You should choose one that you like the flavor of ~ Yes, you did hear that right, you can MAKE FLAVORED GREEK yogurt using this method too!  Either buy a flavored yogurt or add all natural preserves and fruit to sweeten after you make it!


And any brand of Cheese Cloth will work.


You will need a medium sized bowl that will fit a colander.


Line the bowl with 4 damp layers your cheese cloth.


Add your ENTIRE container of yogurt.


Cover your yogurt concoction and place it in the fridge. 

Now this is the important part as it is KEY for the consistency you are desiring from sour cream to Greek yogurt to yogurt cheese/cream cheese.

* Yogurt strained 4 to 6 hours results in sour cream type texture.

* Yogurt strained 8-12 hours results in GREEK YOGURT!

* Yogurt strained 24 hours results in Yogurt Cheese aka Cream Cheese.

Strainer Yogurt will keep in the fridge for about 1 week, however, does ANY greek yogurt last that long in your house?

Ok ~ now, let’s check out some results.  After straining my yogurt for 12 hours, here is what I am left with.  It’s about 1/2 the size of the container.


For those HARD CORE people, the watery liquid that drains off is called WHEY.  Yup, that is the protein powder in your shakes – fun, right?! Oh and ALL the bitterness that is in regular plain yogurt goes into the Whey part.  That is why GREEK Yogurt can be creamy and not bitter.


Check out the consistency – thick and creamy.


It’s stays on the spoon when turned upside down.


And it is enough to fill an entire cereal bowl!


I usually just put it back into my original yogurt container (recycle/re-use) and scoop it out as needed. The container is HALF full, not half empty :)


My favorite ways to flavor GREEK Yogurt are:

* Agave Syrup plus Vanilla Beans – just a little of each to taste!

* Natural Apricot Preserves ~ 1 Tbsp works per cup depending on your desired sweetness.

* Fresh fruit with the fruit juice or Frozen pineapple tossed in with the yogurt and it’s unthawed by mid morning. 

* Add 1 Tbsp of a dried berry blend or raisins for sweetness.

* Parfaits – Click HERE to see some I’ve made.

* Better yet, top your waffles with it!

If you choose to strain it for 24 hours you can make:

* a fantastic “cream cheese” dip Adding 1-2 cloves garlic, fresh or dries herbs, 1 green onion minced, sea salt and pepper to taste.  You can use this for any recipe that calls for sour cream or cream cheese for alot less calories/fat than the real deal!

* Whipped Cream Cheese ~ Add 1 tsp vanilla extract and top your favorite muffins.  Adding a sprinkle of cinnamon would be awesome too.

* CAKE FROSTING!!!  Add 2 cups of yogurt cheese (described above) with 1/2 c powdered sugar and 1 Tsp vanilla extract.

Ok ~ that’s all!  Super easy, right?!  I’d LOVE to know your favorite ways to use and/or flavor Greek Yogurt….Leave a comment below to add to the ideas above.


  1. That's great! Just make sure there isn't any gelatin in the yogurt, or it won't work quite right. :)

  2. Thanks for the tip, very helpful I will have to try it out.

  3. Make sure to enjoy the whey in a shake. It is where more of the calcium goes (check out the labels between regular yogurt and greek yogurt to figure out how much but it is significant).

    I love makes thick yogurt dips (and using the whey in smoothies)

  4. ah this is awesome considering i love the thickness of fage but i do NOT love it's $2.50 price tag per container.. so i always stick to the cheaper chobani which is good.. but i LOVE the idea of making my crack, i mean yogurt, thicker :)! thanks for the tutorial, love!

  5. I've read this trick in several other places but have yet to try it. Thanks for the reminder!

  6. Thanks for posting this! How often do you make it?

  7. Thanks for this tutorial. No wonder Greek yogurt costs so much!

  8. Anonymous ~ Hmmm - I didn't think of that, but, then again, I only buy yogurts I recognize the ingredients on. I think gelatin is in alot of the non-natural, flavored versions, right?

    EricaH ~ No problem! I know you can use "yogurt cheese" to make mac n cheese for you kiddos too :)

    Jaentha ~ Thanks! I thought you'd like the Whey water part :)

    Nutritious ~ Thanks!

    C.G. ~ Ahhh, I need to check the labels - that is an interesting fact I didn't know :)

    Jenny ~ This is soooo easy to make too along with saving $$$$ it's fun to flavor your own.

    Broccoli ~ You will totally LOVE all the possibilities of making this - it's fun and tasty!

    Anne ~ It all depends. I make it every now and then, but, often take the easy way out buying it. I should make it more because it is definitley less $$$.

    Emily ~ It's so true - the result of "greek yogurt" is less yogurt than the real deal. But, it's so worth it for the creaminess.

  9. Yay! I'm glad my Google-foo found this entry again. Yogurt (Mountain High, good stuff!) is on sale for $2 at Jewel, and I have $1 coupons! mmm, Greek yogurt!

    You wash your cheesecloth and reuse, right?

  10. Hi Helen ~ Glad you found this again - Good luck! I never knew you could reuse the cheese clothe - that is a fantastic idea. I will have to remember that. Thanks!

  11. Make sure you boil the cheese cloth before & after every use to sterlize it.

  12. I LOVE Greek yogurt and like mine nice and think. This is so much cheaper than paying $1.00 for a 4 oz serving! I love it with a little bit of honey drizzled over it with some walnuts sprinkled on top.

  13. Thanks for the great tips from both my Anonymous commenters :D


  14. Just curious if you know what the protein contenet is of the yogurt after straining if the whey contains a lot of protein? Thanks, your site is great!

  15. Hi Anonymous,

    I know that Greek Yogurt has alot more protein than regular yogurt ~ 15 g per serving versus 4-5 g. I imagine that although the whey is strained out that a good portion of the protein remains. Just my thought, not sure if that helps or not.

    Thanks for asking,


  16. Thanks for the post - google took me right here on a 'make your own Greek yogurt' query. Had this info in the local food section of the paper but it got recycled before I could clip it.

  17. Hi Flaming ~ That is SO COOL! Glad it took you right to my post and you now have back the recipe you lost. Do tell how you like it :)


  18. I didn't have any cheese cloth so I used an old t-shirt cut up, didn't drain as much as it could have but definitely thickened it up and it's really good! Next time I'm at the variety store I'll stock up on some cheese cloth!

  19. Hi Flaming,

    That is such a great idea! I've heard of people using coffee filters, but, never a T-Shirt! I will have to remember that next time I am out of cheese cloth!



  20. This is NOT how you make - real - Greek yogurt.

  21. Hi Karina,

    Thanks for the comment. This is how I've always made my home version of Greek Yogurt and how I've seen others make it as well. If you know another way, I'd LOVE to hear it as I LOVE hearing new ways to make things :)


  22. Hi Danica,

    Made my first batch of Greek yogurt last night, strained it for about 14 hours (started it late afternoon and it was done when I got up this morning) and it came out nice and thick and smooth. I didn't have cheesecloth so I used 4 sheets of paper towels, dampened, and it worked just fine. I was surprised at how much thicker it is than regular yogurt, it just rolled right off the paper towels back into the original container. Thanks for sharing the how to!

    Kelley O

  23. Hi Kelley,

    That is awesome!!! I am so glad it turned out and that you loved it. Great idea about using the paper towels. I will definitely remember that for when I don't have cheese cloth.

    Thanks for sharing your results!


  24. So glad I found your blog and your process for making Greek yogurt. Do you have any idea what the PointPlus value is of the strained yogurt?

  25. HI AJM,

    Thanks for the comment. You can find my updated blog over at I do not update this one regularly anymore.

    The points+ would be the same for strained yogurt as it is for Greek Yogurt.


  26. Thank you so much for this great tutorial! I make my own yogurt from organic milk (it is so much cheaper that way), and I have recently been buying Greek yogurt and love it. I decided to try to make my own batch of Greek yogurt and your tutorial was one of the first in my google search. It came out great! It is so thick and creamy. Thanks!

  27. HI Rachel,

    I NEVER even thought to try making my own yogurt from milk - that is AWESOME that you do it. I should try that. Glad my tutorial helped you out :)


  28. Has anyone tried using coffee filters instead of cheese cloths? I would think that would cut down on the work since they are disposable. I'm thinking boiling the cheesecloths are effort-prohibitive.

  29. Thanks a ton it is a great support, now to make our own greek yogurt is simple and easy by using your information. Thank you

  30. If the stuff in the bottom is whey, which is protein rich, why does the "greek" yogurt left in the colander after the whey is gone have such a higher protein content than regular yogurt (according to the store labels of greek yogurt vs. plain yogurt)?