Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. 😊
As I’m writing this post, it’s 2023. We currently live in the land of shortages and constantly rotating stock in the grocery store. I don’t know from one week to the next what yogurt is going to be available. Personally, I prefer a thick yogurt which we’ll call Greek yogurt for simplicity. But finding that now can be difficult. But did you know it’s easy to transform ANY yogurt into a thicker consistency? I know you’re asking, “Yeah but HOW do you to thicken yogurt at home?”
I’m so glad you asked!
Why thicken yogurt?
The kind of yogurt we prefer is a personal choice. It’s also nice to have thicker yogurts for making dips or cheese or to use in other recipes.
I like mine served with homemade strawberry jam.
How to thicken yogurt at home
When I started searching for this information, I was inundated with additives I could buy and try in my yogurt. Here are some agents recommended by google as a good way to thicken yogurt:
- Milk Solids. Powdered milk solids (affiliate link) generally come in cow, 🐮 goat, 🐐 and soy varieties. 🤢
- Adding gelatin to milk before heating and culturing. This assumes you’re making your own.
- Guar Gum.
- Tapioca Starch.
- Arrowroot Starch.
- Ultra-Gel (modified corn starch)
Hmm. Ok. None of this stuff (except the pectin because I use it for canning…but WHICH pectin?) is all that familiar, and I don’t really want an additive in my yogurt to reach the desired texture. So I found something else.
Yes, I’m recommending a tool and not a food product. It’s doubled in price since I bought mine a few months ago, but I still think it’s worth having. Not only can you use this to strain your yogurt for a thicker product, (affiliate link) it can be used in place of cheese cloth. I have used cheese cloth a few times and it’s an absolute mess to clean up. And the cheese cloth wears out (affiliate link) pretty quickly with use.
The yogurt strainer is fitted with a super fine mesh screen that easily cleans after use, and works beautifully. It also tucks neatly into my fridge so I can set up my yogurt after dinner and let it sit in the fridge, out of the way, overnight.
Why is my store bought yogurt runny?
When you first open refrigerated yogurt, you may notice a layer of watery-looking liquid on the surface. This fluid is whey, which you should not be concerned about and you may simply stir it back into the yogurt. This means you’re adding liquid back to an already runny product.
Even the experts on Reddit agree with me that straining is the best option when it comes to thickening yogurt.
If you have dry milk powder on hand, you can also stir some of that in which also adds protein. I store dry milk, but I haven’t tried it in this way. Since I’m struggling to get enough protein in my diet, it might not be a bad idea.
Let me show you how to thicken yogurt at home using the Euro Cuisine yogurt strainer.
Place your yogurt evenly layered in the mesh basket, and place inside the large, clear, plastic bowl. This assumes you’re using the big 2 pound container of yogurt and not the individual packages.
Snap the lid in place. Almost immediately the whey will start dripping into the bottom of the bowl.
Place covered bowl in the fridge over night and remove in the morning to reveal your perfectly strained yogurt.
Place thickened yogurt into a container and pop back into the fridge. I like these glass meal prep containers (affiliate link) that I use for freezing leftovers as well.
Here’s your final product
From one container of yogurt you’ll wind up with enough strained yogurt to fill a meal prep tray (affiliate link) and about 4 ounces of whey. You can use the whey to make ricotta cheese, but you need like a whole gallon! When I figure out what to do with mine, I’ll let you know, but supposedly it can be added to protein shakes to add even more protein content.
I understand that many people are resistant to buying another kitchen tool. And with the cost of everything these days, believe me, I get it. I got mine for $20 about 4 months ago, and now they are almost double that. I don’t know what it will be when you read this article, and I am not responsible for inflation. 📈
Let’s talk about thickening agents
I make yogurt at home from time to time, and it’s a French version. That means it’s made in individual containers, and I’ll show you that in a separate post. It’s much thinner so I might add powdered milk (affiliate link) to it as a thickening agent since I have that on hand.
I stopped in the grocery store on my way home from errands today, and I happened to see a couple of the ingredients mentioned above. They were on the baking aisle with the gluten free products and HOLY TOLEDO. Look at the cost.
So what’s the best method to thicken yogurt?
Personally I would prefer to invest in a tool I can reuse time and time again that to spend $15 on something that may or may not thicken my yogurt. But that’s your call, and you might be able to find it less expensive somewhere else.
How to thicken soupy store bought yogurt into Greek or Skyr style yogurt.
1 or more 32 ounce tubs of store bought yogurt. Can be plain or flavored, but not anything with added fruit.
- Place your yogurt evenly layered in the mesh basket, and place inside the large, clear, plastic bowl. This assumes you’re using the big 2 pound container of yogurt and not the individual packages.
- Snap the lid in place. Almost immediately the whey will start dripping into the bottom of the bowl.
- Place covered bowl in the fridge over night and remove in the morning to reveal perfectly strained yogurt.
- Place thickened yogurt into a container and pop back into the fridge. I like these glass meal prep containers (affiliate link) that I use for freezing leftovers as well.
I have written this blog post assuming you’ll use a Euro Cuisine yogurt strainer. (affiliate link) There are others on the market, but I don’t have experience with them. I use this one personally so I feel comfortable recommending them.