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What is Greek Yogurt?

Bowl of greek yogurt.
Caviar canapés with Greek yogurt and basil.
Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to the high-calorie feta in Greek salad.
In Greece, cooks often marinate lamb chops in creamy Greek yogurt and spices before grilling them.
Greek yogurt can prove quite addictive for some people.
Milk, which is used to make Greek yogurt.
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  • Last Modified Date: 14 October 2014
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Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that is celebrated for its very thick and creamy texture. The process for making it includes extra steps that result in its thickness. It has about the same creamy texture as sour cream, and provides an excellent substitute. It has recently become more increasingly available in the US, because the taste and the lack of bitterness make it a wonderful treat.

Typical Greek yogurt made in Greece may use either sheep or cow’s milk. Imports to the US tend to stick with cow’s milk variants, since sheep’s milk has a tangier taste and may be disliked by those unfamiliar to it. Most US made versions of Greek yogurt use only cow’s milk.

The principle difference in creating Greek yogurt is that after the milk is heated and cultured, it is allowed to sit in muslin or cheesecloth bags, so that the whey filters out of the yogurt. You’ll note that some yogurts have an almost runny texture, or have liquid on the top when you open them. Greek yogurts don’t have this liquid because of the straining process.

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The results tend to be superior when whole milk, or a combination of whole milk and cream are used to produce Greek yogurt. Companies like Fage®, which produces its yogurt in Greece and exports to the US, use milk and cream. The result is some of the most wonderfully creamy yogurt on the market, though you aren’t eating low fat food. A container, 7 ounces (approximately 200 g) of Fage® Total Classic has a whopping 260 calories, and about 30% of the recommended daily allowance for fat. Nevertheless, this yogurt can prove quite addictive (as this wiseGEEK writer can attest), especially the Fage&; varieties that come with small compartments of honey or fruit which can be spooned over the yogurt. Fage® does make skim milk, 2% and 5% versions, but they are not as creamy in taste.

Greek yogurt is an essential ingredient in the yogurt dips so loved by the Greeks and gaining popularity elsewhere. The traditional Tzatziki dip which combines yogurt with spices, cucumber, and garlic is that much better when you use Greek varieties rather than more standard US yogurts. You can even find some premade Tzatziki dips on the market, made in the traditional way, though it’s also quite easy to make your own.

Do expect to pay more for Greek yogurts, even if they’re made in the US. The straining of whey means that more milk is needed to produce the same volume of yogurts that include whey. One good place to look for this style of yogurt — that may also save you a little money if you become a fan — is Trader Joe’s, which makes its own brand and also imports less expensively other brands. In a grocery or natural foods store, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1.50-3.00 US Dollars (USD) for an individual-sized container of yogurts imported from Greece, but though this luxury is a little pricey, it’s still less expensive than some of the Brand name ice creams, and many claim, even more tasty.

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anon341327
Post 83

I was very upset to see the writer say that sheep milk is tangier than cow's milk. I have been driving a truck that picks up sheep milk from Wisconsin farms and taking it to the creameries. I find it to be more mellow and a tiny bit sweeter than cow's milk. I think he is confusing it with goat's milk, which does tend to have a bit stronger flavor.

I would like to see someone else write who is familiar with sheep milk (not goat milk) products. Sheep milk products are a bit higher priced but well worth it.

anon328442
Post 82

Chobani yougurt is great! However, be aware of the vanilla flavored chobani yogurt. For whatever reason, this flavor is awful. It has zero vanilla flavor and straight up tastes like sour milk.

I found that very odd seeing as I've tried almost all of their other flavors and the vanilla one is the only awful one like this. All other flavors are great except the vanilla!

anon326239
Post 81

Re: Post 15 I lived in Athens 30 years ago and we used to get fresh (warm) yoghurt daily from the dairy shop. What you describe is traditional and most of these shops are gone now with Greeks resorting to pre-packaged Fage, etc., which is not the same taste at all.

anon318825
Post 79

How can so many people be sheep? Has no one in these posts ever had Greek Gods?

anon318765
Post 78

You need to try Easiyo. It's a product from New Zealand and it couldn't be easier. It is a system for making your own yogurt. I like the plain yogurt and the Greek yogurts: low fat Greek, Greek and Greek and Honey. You buy the refill packets with everything in it. Bed Bath and Beyond has the starter kits. It is wonderful, although I am not one to care for the flavored packets, as good as they are.

greeknothx
Post 76

Greek yogurt is a piece of crap! It's thick and has much less useful bacterias than the real yogurt made, for instance, in Bulgaria or other Eastern European countries. Those who are claiming that the Greek yogurt is great have probably never, ever eaten real yogurt.

anon290053
Post 73

Has chobani grown too fast to keep up its quality? Lately I find more and more samples are runny or have loose liquid on top.

anon285049
Post 72

There is no greek yogurt. What you love and eat is Turkish Yoğurt. Another Turkish food stolen by greeks.

anon260703
Post 71

Cabot of Vermont Greek Yogurt is the best Greek Yogurt in the U.S. market. It has that genuine slight sour taste of good yogurt and the texture is so rich. Try it with muesli in the morning and honey in the afternoon.

anon258656
Post 70

To 16oz Chobani low-fat plain yogurt, add 1 1/2 tsp Bakto key lime extract and two or three tiny scoops of Kal stevia, Mix and you have the best low-fat, low-cal (sugar-free) healthy key lime masterpiece.

anon247369
Post 69

Is Cabot Greek-style yogurt really authentic, if they add things like whey protein and milk protein concentrate to it? I asked my mother to buy Greek yogurt in the supermarket and she came back with Cabot Greek-style yogurt, but having read the ingredients, I would say that probably this is really a far cry from the real thing!

anon239918
Post 68

I stopped buying yogurt when I learned how incredibly easy it is to make. I add skim milk powder while I'm mixing in the starter, which makes it thicker and also increases the calcium and protein. You get the same volume of yogurt as the milk that you use, so it's a lot less expensive.

anon228753
Post 67

Being Greek, I am very picky about my yogurt. I disagree with those who claim that Cabot Greek yogurt is terrible. It actually is very similar to yogurt that I have had in Greece. I find Trader Joe's quite tasteless and runny.

I have had issues with Chobani - missing fruit, spoiling, container was bloated, before the due date etc. I will not buy it again!

Most importantly, always read ingredients. The cheaper brands have added thickeners. Fage does not - it is the best quality - well worth the money.

anon225095
Post 66

You can definitely tell the guys over at Chobani yogurt came across this article and took it upon themselves to self advertise.

anon224766
Post 65

I agree with the posters who say Cabot Greek Yogurt is horrible, at least the lowfat version. don't even know how they managed to make it taste so terrible. Fage is the best. Chobani is very good and can be cheaper. Both taste great and have creamy textures even with the non-fat versions. What more could you want--delicious, low fat, and very high protein!

anon210282
Post 64

Cabot's Greek yogurt is sour and awful. I'm going to try to mask the flavor by blending it into smoothies or else I would throw it out. Anyone posting that it's good must work for the company because it is awful and nothing like Fage. I tried it because it was cheaper but Fage is worth it. Disappointed.

anon196182
Post 63

Fage full fat is by far as close to real Greek yogurt as you can get. My father has been making greek yogurt at home for 40 years so I know what it's supposed to taste like.

All those fruits and other flavors added in are so not what greek yogurt is about. As for Cabot greek yogurt, it is the absolute worst. Tastes like sour cream.

Greek yogurt is also a great source of protein for your toddler or child.

anon191480
Post 62

I like Greek yogurt, but have to have something to sweeten it a little. It is pretty tangy, for sure. But yogurt is an awesome substitute for mayonnaise in chicken salad. I don't care for mayo, but I love the taste plain yogurt gives. I mix in a little mayo, for smoothness, but I'd way rather have chicken salad made with plain yogurt.

anon185617
Post 61

I tried yoplait greek yogurt in place of sour cream for a cucumber salad. It tastes awful!

anon168953
Post 60

I love greek yogurt. Oikos, Brown Cow and Chobani have all been good. Just tried Dannon and not happy at all. I poured an eighth of a cup of fluid from the container and the leftover yogurt was very thin and runny. Almost looked curdled. Not what Greek yogurt should look like.

anon166304
Post 59

I tried Chobani Vanilla Non-Fat, it's not supposed to expire for another month but it smells like sour milk and it tastes like it is sour as well, not like sour cream but like it has gone bad. Is this normal? All three that I have opened taste and smell like this.

anon165913
Post 58

I like the thick texture, but the taste was challenging to overcome. I found for a low glycemic taste boost, try a teaspoon of Agave nectar or a rounded teaspoon of honey (I use raw honey myself) changes this to my new favorite after dinner, or breakfast on the go treat.

anon162420
Post 57

are you people nuts? this stuff tastes like joint compound with few berries thrown in. is that what greek yogurt is supposed to taste like?

anon161576
Post 56

I live in Canada and where I live the only place we could get Greek yogurt was the health food store for about 6-7 bucks for 500g (2 cups). Then came LIBERTE about three months ago! Full fat, 2 percent or fat free in plain and flavors for only 4.99! I was in heaven. Coffee flavored and a date and honey flavored, etc, etc. Now, the superstore has brought in President's Choice Greek yogurt for about $3 for 2 cups! It's great.

anon160953
Post 55

I just tried greek yogurt a few days ago. It's Dannon. And Brown Cow brand. I really like the Dannon Honey greek yogurt. I didn't like the vanilla Brown Cow yogurt. It didn't have a vanilla taste at all. Just tasted like sour cream. I love sour cream but not when I expect a vanilla taste. Someone here mentioned dipping cucumbers in plain greek yogurt. I can't wait to try that since I always liked cucumbers and sour cream.

anon160017
Post 54

If you strain nonfat plain yogurt you get a yogurt that has the consistency of Greek - is it the same quality as Greek?

anon156887
Post 53

This crap is horrible. My wife with big arms made me try it. Wow, worst food I've ever tasted. I could eat a dog turd and I couldn't finish my yogurt. It was like eating straight from a chunk of cream cheese. Terrible. I'll die happy eating food with flavor.

anon155888
Post 52

Chobani is not Greek yogurt! 0% fat is an americanized version, when in fact full fat is better for you. Go with 10 percent greek yogurt for the real deal, the others are just posers!

anon154270
Post 51

I make my own yogurt and then strain it for Greek style. First I stir and boil 1/2 gallon whole milk in a stainless steel pot on the stove. Then I cool it down to about 115 in a sink of cold water. I stir in 1/2 cup room temperature Stonyfield plain whole milk yogurt. Then I wrap it up in a wool blanket and set it on my microwave. Overnite it's done.(Sometimes in only five or six hours.) Then I put some coffee filters in a strainer and let it drain in the fridge. Yum! There's also a blog about using the crock pot to make it.

anon153989
Post 50

Chobani tastes very good. But, it is not made in Greece. I am sure of that. It needs to be strained to become as thick as fage. Dannon greek, yoplait greek, please stick to your own culture. Just do not cut it either. They are simply cheap imitations. The best is the original.

anon153700
Post 49

have been eating Greek yogurt since I was a kid, topped with honey and almonds/walnuts. Also, Greek yogurt made from sheep's milk is even better!

anon153247
Post 48

Voskos Greek Yogurt is great.

anon148674
Post 47

I just tried Dannon Greek yogurt and it is insanely delicious! I had been a fan of Oikos, but compared to Dannon the Oikos is thin and runny. Now I know why.

Dannon does use cornstarch to thicken the yogurt so they can make it with non-fat milk. If you want true Greek yogurt without the added thickeners, you have to buy full-fat Fage. I may try that next, though I'm very happy with the Dannon!

anon148555
Post 46

SO addicted to The Greek Gods brand honey flavor. I could eat an entire quart in a sitting if I didn't have my lovely husband to pry it out of my hands. It's especially wonderful topped with granola.

anon140167
Post 45

I just tried the Dannon greek yogurt for the first time a couple days ago. I am hooked! I love the vanilla. The plain has less sugar but tastes bitter unless you add a little splenda. Going to try it with raspberries next time.

muddyrunrgrl
Post 44

I can attest too, that Greek yogurt is very addictive!

With the plain-flavored, fat-free varieties, you get a rich protein source that is non-fat and low in carbohydrates. The Fage brand is my favorite - and I love to eat it plain and dip cucumber slices into it - a great snack for the office that doesn't make you crash out later on!

anon132542
Post 43

Once you taste Greek yogurt, you will never eat regular yogurt again. My advice is you skip the flavored yogurts and add your own good quality honey and fresh fruit. My favorite and most available brand is Chobani. (Stonyfield is awful, and I usually love organic brands)

anon127531
Post 42

Thanks for the review, WiseGeek! Best, Emily, Communications Manager, Chobani

anon122563
Post 41

Dannon makes a great Greek yogurt. The Honey variety if certainly my favorite. It is a little more than regular yogurt varieties, but if you try the Dannon website, there are often times coupons that can help bring the cost down a bit, or try to sites of your favorite grocery chains. ~Rebekah in Florida

anon119020
Post 40

I have tried Chobani and found it okay but if you really want a wonderful Greek yogurt try OIKOS greek yogurt made by Stoneyfield Farm (a name one always trusts for organic, healthy food). It is more expensive but you can get coupons on the Stoneyfield site and use codes on the foil lids to get points for coupons for free yogurt, milk etc.

I eat a cup a day with 1 tablespoon honey and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon and it has increased my general health immensely.

anon118801
Post 39

Yogurt is much easier to make than many people seem to think. I have a Salton yogurt maker that, once you've scaled the milk and brought it back to 100-110 degrees, does all the work for you overnight while you sleep. Drain it with a strainer and paper towels for a few hours and, opa! Greek yogurt at about 50 cents a cup and with none of the odd ingredients I've seen listed on yogurt containers, like gelatin and cornstarch.

anon116243
Post 38

I am in cheesemaking, and whey (in its native state.) is cloudy and is spun off in a separator to separate the whey into lots of stuff like sweet whey powder, lactose, whey protein powder, etc.

However, with Greek yogurt, it's made in cheesecloth bags, allowing the whey to separate slowly and keep the whey solids with the yogurt, allowing for a lot more good stuff to stay in your food, rather then processing it into whey powder. Great idea. (But they can't sell the by-products, so it will be more expensive.)

Look at it this way, you don't have to add protein powder to it.

anon114335
Post 37

Whey is only one type of protein in milk. Caseins are another type, separate from whey, and they are the ones that account for the high protein in greek yogurt. They are a very high quality protein source, very rich in amino acids and highly digestible, more so than whey.

anon111081
Post 36

My sister was telling me to try Chobani, but I was a little hesitant because there was not a yogurt out there that impressed me at all, it was all either too sweet or had artificial sweetener.

When I tried Chobani greek yogurt I was amazed! finally someone got it right! perfect taste, perfect texture and not a lot of sugar, and the other yogurts out there no longer exist for me, thank you wonderful Greek people. kisses Roni

anon110667
Post 35

I haven't tried Greek yogurt before today, but I bought store brand from Fry's, and loved it. It's non-fat, sweetened with Stevia, and absolutely delicious! I might need to make the switch to Greek.

anon109081
Post 34

anon69422: I don't know about Greek style yogurt whey but in Mozzarella cheese they save the whey, boil it, add lemon juice and salt and the remaining solids coagulate to form Ricotta cheese. In Italian "Ricotta" means "re-cooked." In Parma, the whey from Parmesan cheese is fed to pigs because of its nutrition and those pigs are raised for Prosciutto ham. Nothing is wasted.

anon109009
Post 33

I have tried many brands of greek yogurt and can't get past the sour taste and way it feels in my mouth. Maybe the ones I tried were made with cornstarch or a thickener.

My niece just told me about the Chobani brand but I have not tried that one. Have to try that one. I like fruit with my yogurt as I like a little sweet with it so I could not eat plain. I have eaten Stoneyfield 2 percent vanilla for years and love it.

anon106168
Post 32

whey is the protein part of milk and if that is strained out where is the double protein coming into Greek yogurt? I agree about Dannon brand Greek stuff. It tastes awful. i am right now sitting with it for the past 30 minutes, trying to finish it. So again, no one has an answer to origin of protein in Greek yogurt. Any takers?

anon104479
Post 31

OK, so if they make Greek yogurt by removing the whey, which is high in protein, why does Greek yogurt have more protein than regular yogurt?

anon103278
Post 30

I wish I had read the comments on yoplait Greek yogurt. I love Fage and Chobani yogurt. Yoplait is nasty. It is terrible.

anon100448
Post 29

I recently tried chobani greek yogurt, and I will never go back to traditional yogurt again! I was surprised to find the lack of a sour taste like other yogurt.

anon100166
Post 27

I make my own Greek yogurt at home and it is as good as Fage (the best in my opinion). It is hard for some folks to believe, but you will lose more weight with whole milk yogurt than the non-fat and 2 percent. Read the book, 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat', but what do I know is I have only lost 75 pounds in a year and a half, mainly from making and eating my whole milk Greek yogurt.

anon94876
Post 26

I am a Weight Watchers member, and first heard of Greek yogurt at WW meetings. Since then, it is my breakfast staple, with fruit, or a granola bar - the non-fat kind gives you 20+ grams of protein for about 100 calories. I did "accidentally" eat a full-fat Fage tub - it was like whipped cream!

anon92107
Post 25

chobani is so good that I have trouble stopping with just six ounces. Fage is good also.

anon91361
Post 24

Chobani non fat yogurt is absolutely delicious. They have a variety of flavors with real fruit. It is delicious, thick and creamy. I can't imagine going back to thin, too sweet, unsatisfying regular yogurt.

anon89976
Post 23

Fage is delicious, especially with honey! I tried 2 percent only, but I love it. I always heard that Greek yogurt is "good" for you, but I don't really know if it is.

anon89364
Post 22

I bought a small Dannon's Greek yogurt just to try it and see how it was different than the regular yogurt. I found it bland, more almost chalky tasting.

I looked at the ingredients after eating it and was surprised to find that it was thickened with cornstarch. That was a turn off and seems like a bogus way to make it thick. I won't be buying any more of it, at least not that brand.

anon87808
Post 21

I love Voskos Greek Yogurt. It's delicious and it tastes even better when I dip blueberries in it! Yum!

Twenty Twenty
Post 20

If you love Greek yogurt, you can make something very similar at home called kefir. Kefir is much easier to make than yogurt, and you can drain the whey from the kefir to make it just like Greek yogurt.

anon80723
Post 19

I am so glad I found this article, mainly because of the comments!! I decided to buy Yoplait's Greek yogurt because I'm pregnant and it has twice the protein. Well the stuff tastes awful! So I looked up "what is greek yogurt" to see if I could find out why it had such a gritty feel and weird taste to it.

Lo and behold, someone else commented that Yoplait's is awful and to try Fage instead. So now I know that what I'm eating is not authentic Greek yogurt. Good grief, I usually love Yoplait because they don't use food colorings in their main yogurt flavors but this Greek stuff is just yuck! So now I need to find some Fage so I can try the real thing.

anon79784
Post 18

This item is new for me and I love it! I mix a little honey and 1/2 cup flax seed and pumpkin seed granola with 1/2 cup of yogurt and it makes a great filling breakfast!

anon77435
Post 17

I've tried both the Face and Cabot Creamery brand Greek Yogurts - they're amazing! The Cabot is so creamy, it's insane, but I like the taste of Fage better. I'll get the seven oz Fage tubs and bring them to work for lunch - just put some chopped walnuts and honey over top - mmm! So much better than ice cream, and not a bad meal!

anon77186
Post 16

Honestly, Greek yogurt tastes like sour cream to me. I'm not really into it. But I eat it for the protein punch. I have to mix four oz with about a tsp of honey.

anon75886
Post 15

I live in Greece and I buy sheep's milk yogurt from an old guy with a little dairy shop. This stuff comes with a thick "skin" on top. Can anyone tell me if this "skin" is mostly fat? His yogurt is full-fat (6.5 percent) and I could live without that. But the other health benefits are so obvious that I'll eat it if it has any value besides fat.

anon75405
Post 14

Whey has tons of nutritional value. It is used by concentrating it and drying it into whey protein powders that they sell at places like GNC.

anon72179
Post 13

Cabot of Vermont makes an incredible Greek yogurt. Very tasty and thick. I love that it's a small company owned by a dairy farmer co-op and they give all profits back to the farms. Good company, great yogurt!

anon69422
Post 12

Does anyone know what they do with the whey that is left after making Greek style yogurt? Does it have any nutritional value? Thanks, Schoolmarm.

anon68795
Post 11

I love fage and chobani greek yogurts so much! Both of them are really good. I recently discovered that my local grocery also carries Yoplait Greek yogurt - beware. It is terrible, and contains gelatin to thicken it, which just leaves it with a very bad texture. This yogurt may be slightly cheaper but not as good as the real thing!

I still love the other actual kinds of Greek yogurt out there though.

anon65737
Post 9

I just discovered Greek yogurt myself. It tastes so good compared to the traditional American yogurt. I got bored of the typical yogurt so I decided to try Greek Yogurt. I tried Voskos Greek yogurt and now love it because they have yummy flavors and lots of protein for when I work out. Thanks for the article. now I understand the difference between Greek yogurt and American yogurt.

anon62935
Post 8

I just recently discovered Greek yogurt. I love it! I've eaten US yogurt on and off for years, but never loved it. I've tried several different brands and Fage Total Classic is by far the best! There's nothing like it.

I tried it because Target put it on clearance and now they only carry the 0 percent and 2 percent versions. :( I'm now on the hunt. Thanks for the article.

anon62226
Post 7

I'm from Canada and I bought Greek yogurt as an ingredient in a low-fat version of Hollandaise sauce. It was a good recipe that I would make again. I'm using the rest of the yogurt with blueberries and blackberries. This is pretty good but I think I will use a little honey for a little more flavor.

Will buy this more often in cooking because it has much more protein than sour cream or even the commercial brand yogurts. The brand I am using is Liberte.

anon60323
Post 6

I am a yogurt lover since i was a kid. I never tried greek style yogurt until one day a saw a chobani brand on display at my local supermarket and decided to give it a try. I will never go back to the horrible tasting us style yogurt!

anon36217
Post 5

I like the Chobani brand of non-fat yogurt. I am in love with the Greek yogurt.

anon32378
Post 4

I think the 0% Fage is absolutely delicious! I love the thickness and I always drizzle honey over the top. It's my favorite breakfast: 150 calories for the whole thing. 15G of protein!

anon28037
Post 3

*I love Chobani* yogurt. It is non-fat, yet creamy just like *fage* full fat yogurt.

anon27793
Post 2

I love Fage yogurt, and I can't go back to regular yogurt. I buy the full-fat "total" variety in the large tub. I mix it with honey, flaxseed, and blueberries or raspberries. I wondered what process makes it so creamy- thanks for the article.

surreallife
Post 1

Yogurt with live cultures is beneficial for good health. It contains bacteria that help with digestion. A side benefit of unsweetened yogurt with live and active cultures, is that it helps keep mouth fresh and clean. Yogurt with live cultures reduce the level of hydrogen sulfide that gives that unpleasant odor.

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