Plain Greek yogurt can be a healthy and versatile ingredient, but some people may find its taste too tart or bland. In this article, I show you how to make plain Greek yogurt taste good with 10 easy tips.
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BENEFITS OF PLAIN GREEK YOGURT
I often recommend plain Greek yogurt for a quick and easy breakfast or snack. Additionally, plain Greek yogurt offers the following benefits:
- High in protein: A 6-ounce serving of plain Greek yogurt can provide up to 16 to 18 grams of protein, which is almost twice the amount found in regular yogurt. Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues. It’s also required for many chemical reactions in the body including oxygen transportation, supporting the immune system, and making hormones.
- Low in sugar: Plain Greek yogurt typically contains less sugar than regular yogurt. During production, Greek yogurt is strained to remove much of the liquid whey and lactose, resulting in a thicker, creamier yogurt that is more concentrated in protein and fat but lower in sugar.
- Rich in calcium: While Greek yogurt is lower in calcium than regular yogurt, it’s still a good source of calcium, an essential mineral for bone and dental health. For reference, a 7-ounce (200 grams) serving of Greek yogurt offers about 222 milligrams of calcium or 18-22% of the recommended intake for calcium.
- Probiotic properties: Like regular yogurt, Greek yogurt contains live and active cultures (probiotics) that benefit gut health. These cultures can help balance the natural bacteria in the gut, aiding in digestion and promoting a healthy immune system .
- Low in calories: Greek yogurt is generally lower in calories than other protein-rich foods, making it a good option for those who are trying to watch their calorie intake.
- Versatile: Greek yogurt is a versatile food that can be used in a variety of recipes, from dips and dressings to smoothies and desserts.
Experiment at home and doctor up plain Greek yogurt to make it taste good with the following simple tips.
Try one of these new ideas if you’re getting bored with your yogurt routine. Especially helpful if you have a tub of plain Greek yogurt you need to get through!
1. ADD FRESH FRUIT
The natural sweetness of the fruit balances the tartness of the yogurt. Fresh fruits are a great source of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. By adding them to yogurt and other foods, you increase the nutritional value of your meal.
When you add fruit to your yogurt for a naturally sweet taste, you can avoid the added sugar that’s found in flavored yogurts.
Typically, the added sugar in flavored yogurts will have the words sugar, cane sugar, dextrose, syrup, or high fructose corn syrup listed in the ingredients.
Added sugar and fiber
Many people are oblivious to their added sugar intake. And it’s important to be aware because a diet that’s high in added sugar is linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, fatty liver disease, and heart disease .
The added sugar recommendation, which does not include naturally occurring sugar in yogurt and fruit, is no more than 10% of daily calories per the Dietary Guidelines for Americans .
So, if your calorie intake is 2,000 calories, your limit is 200 calories or 50 grams of added sugar per day (1 gram of sugar is equal to 4 calories). That’s equal to about 12 teaspoons of sugar per day (1 teaspoon is equal to 4 grams).
The American Heart Association takes it a step further and recommends the following .
- For men: no more than 150 calories of added sugar per day = 36 grams = 9 teaspoons
- For women: no more than 100 calories of added sugar per day = 25 grams = 6 teaspoons
For reference, some flavored yogurts contain over 15 grams of added sugar in a serving.
Fruit also offers fiber, which helps boost satiety levels.
Additionally, fiber coupled with a protein source like Greek yogurt helps slow the absorption of sugar, helping with blood sugar management. Conversely, eating a high-sugar yogurt is more likely to cause blood sugar spikes and crashes.
By incorporating more fiber into your diet, you can avoid those sugar highs and lows and your body will be in better balance.
Fruits to add to yogurt
Choose one or a combination of these fruits listed to boost the flavor of your plain Greek yogurt.
- Passion fruit
2. ADD FROZEN FRUIT
Try adding frozen fruit if fresh fruit with plain Greek yogurt is still too sour or thick for you.
In general, frozen fruit is just as nutritious as fresh fruit. Frozen fruits are picked at the peak of ripeness and then quickly frozen, which helps preserve nutrients.
What’s more, frozen fruits are a convenient and cost-effective option for getting your dose of nutrients and fiber in. No dealing with food waste!
But to reduce wasting fresh fruit, store them in the freezer before they’re about to turn. You’ll have frozen fruits on hand to add to yogurt, smoothies, or cereal.
To add frozen fruit to your yogurt, follow these steps:
- Start by popping frozen fruit in the microwave or cooking in a pot on the stove for about 30 to 60 seconds. The sweet natural juice from the fruit will release as it cooks.
- Then simply mix the cooked fruit with your yogurt.
- Enjoy with optional toppings like nuts or seeds.
Mixing cooked fruit with Greek yogurt yields a thinner consistency and sweeter taste with the natural juice from the fruit evenly incorporated throughout the yogurt.
3. MIX WITH CANNED PUMPKIN AND SPICES
Mix plain Greek yogurt with canned pumpkin and spices like cinnamon, ginger, or pumpkin pie spice blend.
Adding pumpkin and spices gives the yogurt a cozy, zingy, and festive touch that you can enjoy all year long as canned pumpkin is sold year-round.
Moreover, canned pumpkin is shelf-stable and loaded with nutrition. It’s especially rich in the following nutrients.
- Vitamin A – A vitamin and antioxidant that supports immune and eye health.
- Vitamin C – A vitamin and antioxidant that support immune health and plays a role in the formation of blood vessels, cartilage, collagen, and muscles.
- Copper – A mineral involved in energy production and iron metabolism.
- Vitamin E – Another vitamin with antioxidant properties. It also helps widens blood vessels to prevent blood from clotting in vessels.
4. DRIZZLE WITH HONEY OR MAPLE SYRUP
A little drizzle of honey or maple syrup, about a teaspoon, may be all that you need to enjoy your plain Greek yogurt.
Consider that a teaspoon of honey and maple syrup provides about 6 and 4 grams of sugar, respectively. That’s less than some of the flavored yogurt options.
5. MIX WITH SEEDS OR NUTS
Nuts or seeds added to plain Greek yogurt can mask the tangy flavor and enhance the overall taste with a crunchy texture.
In addition, you’ll benefit from the heart-healthy fat, fiber, micronutrients, and antioxidants that seeds and nuts offer.
You can also blend plain yogurt with peanut butter, nut butter, or seed butter if you prefer a smooth taste.
Like yogurt, seeds and nuts can contain added sugar. It’s best to select raw or roasted varieties without any added sugar. Try roasting raw nuts at home and infuse your own flavors like I did in this recipe for turmeric spiced nuts.
There are various types of seeds and nuts to experiment with.
- Brazil nuts
- Pine nuts
- Pomegranate seeds
6. BLEND INTO A SMOOTHIE
Yogurt isn’t just meant for eating. Blend Greek yogurt into a smoothie with fruits and/or veggies for a nutritious, creamy, and refreshing smoothie. Add some seeds, nuts, or avocado for a dose of healthy fat and extra fiber.
Smoothies are an effortless way to consume an appreciable amount of nutrients. Additionally, you can consume it to-go or make it in advance and refrigerate it to drink later.
Instructions for blending plain Greek yogurt into a smoothie:
- Start by adding the amount of yogurt you normally consume into a blender.
- Add a splash or two of milk or water.
- Add a handful of fruits or vegetables.
- Add an optional tablespoon or two of nuts, seeds, nut butter, or seed butter.
- Add ice if you want an icy cool taste.
- Blend and add more liquid if you want a thinner consistency.
Consider using frozen produce to eliminate adding ice. Chop fruits like bananas and mangoes into smaller pieces before freezing so that the blades of your blender can handle the job.
7. ADD CEREAL
Take a break from your usual bowl of cereal and milk and combine your cereal with plain Greek yogurt instead. Your cereal likely has some sweet or nutty flavor to offset the tanginess in Greek yogurt.
This way of eating cereal with plain Greek yogurt is particularly helpful if you need a boost in protein since Greek yogurt contains more protein than milk.
If your cereal could use a healthy makeover, check out my post on how to make cereal more filling and nutritious.
Hot cereal works well with plain Greek yogurt, too. Like in this chocolate proats (protein and oats) recipe.
8. AS A MARINADE
Greek yogurt makes a wonderful marinade for meat, poultry, and fish. Mix it with herbs, spices, and lemon or lime juice for a tangy and flavorful marinade.
There are several benefits to adding plain yogurt to a marinade:
- Tenderizing: Yogurt contains enzymes and lactic acid that help break down the proteins in meat, making it more tender.
- Flavor: Yogurt can add a tangy and slightly sour flavor to the marinade, which helps enhance the overall flavor of the dish.
- Moisture retention: The acidity in yogurt helps to keep the meat moist during cooking, which can prevent it from drying out.
- Uniform coating: Yogurt can help the other marinade ingredients adhere to the meat, creating a more uniform coating.
While your meat is marinating, you can make a yummy savory sauce using plain Greek yogurt. Use the sauce as a condiment to go with the meats and other foods you’re planning to cook.
9. MAKE A SAVORY DIP OR DRESSING
Plain Greek yogurt is a perfect blank canvas for a quick savory dip that needs only a few ingredients.
You can make plain Greek yogurt dip tasty with different herbs, spices, and other ingredients, which makes it a versatile condiment for a wide range of foods.
Sometimes a yummy dip is all you need to eat your veggies! Try yogurt dip with veggies like carrots, celery, broccoli, bell peppers, and snap peas. And if you don’t care for raw vegetables, check out this air fryer frozen vegetables with dip recipe.
You can also spread savory yogurt dip on crackers, pita bread, and sandwiches.
Or use it as a sauce for grilled meats, fish, and chicken.
Here’s a simple recipe for yogurt dip using just a few basic ingredients:
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 small garlic clove, minced (or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic or garlic powder, salt, and pepper until smooth.
- Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
Optional: Add herbs like basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, mint, or dill for extra flavor.
And to make the above dip into a creamy salad dressing or sauce, whisk in some more olive oil until you achieve the desired consistency. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.
10. USE IT AS A SUBSTITUTE
Yogurt offers protein and calcium and is generally lower in fat and calories than some other creamy condiments. Use it in recipes that call for mayonnaise, sour cream, or whipped cream.
For example, replace mayo with plain Greek yogurt in potato salad, chicken salad, or tuna or salmon salad as well as in coleslaw. Or do half mayo and half plain Greek yogurt if you still want a mayo flavor in your creation.
You could also substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream in a baked potato. You’ll hardly notice the difference when you mix it with other baked potato toppings like seasonings, chives or scallions, and cheese.
Lastly, plain Greek yogurt can be a healthier alternative to whipped cream on pancakes and baked goods. Mix it with a little maple syrup or honey and vanilla extract for a sweet and creamy topping.
Play around with these different ideas to find your new favorite way to enjoy plain Greek yogurt.
Even if you prefer flavored Greek yogurt over the plain version, it’s important to note that not all Greek yogurts are created equal. To make a healthy choice, compare products and be sure to choose a yogurt that is low in added sugars and artificial ingredients.
Additionally, those with dairy allergies or lactose intolerance may need to avoid Greek yogurt or opt for a dairy-free alternative.