Chatelaine Kitchen

Pantry 101: Plain yogurt vs. Greek yogurt

When you're in the dairy aisle, do you reach for the plain or Greek-style yogurt? And really – what's the difference between the two?

Regular vs greek yogurt


Believe it or not, all yogurt is created equal. Whether it’s Greek-style, Balkan-style, fat-free, coconut or any other denomination, the life of yogurt starts out the same. Yogurt is created when active bacterial cultures are added to pasteurized dairy (or dairy alternatives). The type of liquid dictates the fat percentage and the protein (ie. cow’s milk, almond milk). The mixture is then left in a warm area to incubate and ferment, so bacteria can grow and multiply, thickening and souring it into what we know as “yogurt.” As soon as yogurt is refrigerated, this fermentation process will stop.

The main difference between plain and Greek-style yogurt is taste and texture:

Regular yogurt
Though the process starts out the same for both, plain yogurt’s journey usually ends when the fermentation process stops. When you open a tub of plain yogurt, it is often light, creamy and runny with liquid whey. Whey is acidic, which gives yogurt its trademark tang. (Non-fat yogurt varieties include the addition of commercial stabilizers to give it the creamy texture they can’t get from fat.)

We love it in: desserts and salad dressings.

Try it in:
Homemade yogurt
Strawberry vanilla yogurt pops
Lemon and dill potato salad

Greek-style yogurt
This style is made by straining plain yogurt multiple times to remove the whey. The result is a thicker, creamier yogurt with less tang. The higher the original fat percentage of the dairy, the more luxuriously creamy the yogurt will be. Because Greek yogurt is essentially a very concentrated version of plain yogurt, it also contains a higher amount of nutrients per serving. Regardless of which yogurt you prefer, both are rich in essential nutrients like protein, calcium and potassium, as well as probiotic bacterial (“good bacteria”) that is essential for a healthy digestive system.

We love it in: dips and thick sauces.

Try it in:
Parsnip savoury yogurt
Mediterranean beet plate
Easy eggs benedict


Did you know?  Compared to regular, Greek-style yogurt has almost double the protein content, and triple the amount of saturated fats.



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