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TIP OF THE DAY: Substituting Nonfat Greek Yogurt

Save many calories and fat grams:
Substitute yogurt for fats in baked goods,
and make a sweetened yogurt topping. Photo
courtesy Nordicware.


We used to top our foods with sour cream, mascarpone and crème fraîche. One day, looking at ways to cut fat and calories from our diet (or at least, to counter our indulgences in the cheese and ice cream categories), we decided to substitute plain nonfat Greek yogurt.

Greek yogurt is triple strained, giving it the consistency of sour cream. It can be turned into savory dips or sweetened for dessert toppings.

Not only is Greek yogurt a great topping substitute; it also can be used in recipes for creamy soups, desserts, dressings, desserts and baked goods. Here are tips from Stonyfield Yogurt, makers of Stonyfield Greek Yogurt line:


  • Butter: 1 cup butter = 1/2 cup Greek yogurt + 1/2 cup butter (reduces butter fat and calories)
  • Buttermilk: 1 cup buttermilk = 2/3 cup yogurt plus 1/3 cup milk
  • Heavy Cream: 1 cup heavy cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Mayonnaise: 1 cup mayonnaise = 1 cup yogurt
  • Sour Cream: 1 cup sour cream = 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • Vegetable Oil: 1 cup oil = 3/4 cup Greek yogurt

    The caloric differences* of making the switch can be stunning:

    Butter Vs. 0% Plain Nonfat Yogurt/Lowfat Yogurt

    Calories/Cup: 162 vs. 130; Fat(g); 184 vs. 0/2

    Buttermilk Vs. 2% Plain Lowfat Yogurt
    Calories/Cup: 152 VS. 120; Fat(g): 8 vs. 2

    Heavy Cream Vs. 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
    Calories/Cup: 821 vs. 130; Fat(g): 88 vs. 0

    Mayonnaise Vs. 0% Plain Nonfat Yogurt/2% Lowfat Yogurt
    Calories/Cup: 1496 vs. 120; Fat(g): 165 vs. 0/2

    Sour Cream Lowfat and/or Nonfat or Plain Greek Yogurt (with fat) Vs. 0% Plain Yogurt/2% Lowfat Yogurt
    Calories/Cup: 444 vs. 130; Fat(g): 45 vs. 0/2

    Vegetable Oil Vs. 0% Plain Greek Yogurt
    Calories/Cup: 1927 vs. 130; Fat(g): 218 vs. 0



  • Stir & Fold: When adding yogurt, stir or fold it in gently to maintain a thick and creamy texture.
  • Add Gradually: When adding yogurt to a hot mixture, stir a few tablespoons of the hot food into the yogurt to warm it gradually. Then stir the warmed yogurt mixture back into the hot food. This will help keep the yogurt from separating.
  • Thickening: To thicken up a yogurt-based salad dressing or dip, just chill it for an hour.
    How does cooking affect the beneficial cultures in yogurt?

  • While heating yogurt above 120° will destroy them, the yogurt will still provide valuable nutrients like calcium and protein.

    Use nonfat Greek yogurt instead of butter in mashed potatoes. Photo courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

  • Freezing yogurt has little effect on its beneficial cultures.

    *Nutrient values are based upon a 1:1 cup ratio. Data from USDA.


    Related Food Videos: For more food videos, check out The Nibble's Food Video Collection.

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