Learn how to substitute Greek Yogurt for Cream Cheese in all of your favorite recipes. Make “cream cheese” from greek yogurt with this simple tutorial.
Whether you like to use cream cheese in your cooking just for the holidays, or use it in your everyday life, you will love this handy fat-blasting tip that I have to show you all today.
Cream cheese and butter seem to be the main ingredient in most “heavenly” food dishes. So, showing you how to swap cream cheese for the Greek yogurt version of cream cheese that I make, will not only help with reducing the fat content to zero, but it will give everything you make with it a huge punch of protein.
Not to mention that it tastes much better than some of the alternatives and it has the right texture.
Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are lots of good cream cheese options out there, but none of them are both fat-free AND super high in protein… that I’m aware of anyway.
Can Greek Yogurt Really Be Substituted For Cream Cheese?
Yes it sure can, if you know how to do it right!
The key to having your Greek style cream cheese taste as good as possible is to make sure that you have bought a type of plain Greek yogurt that does not have a sharp taste to it.
Some brands are kinda tangy and to me, that is a turn-off… I’d rather eat the fattening stuff then to get that yucky zing taste in my mouth.
Anyway, There are two brands of Greek yogurt that I think have minimal sharp taste and those are Chobani and the Costco generic Kirkland Signature. That is my personal opinion, no one has paid me to tell you that, by the way…
Also, make sure that there are no funky smells going on in your fridge (if that’s a problem make sure to read my post “How To Permanently De-stink Your Fridge”), and use air-tight containers for those left-overs or your “cream cheese” will take on whatever smell you’ve got going on in there.
Here is what Homemade Cream Cheese From Yogurt looks like:
Notice how it is super thick and not runny at all? That is exactly what we are aiming for by using this method.
Now that you know those two things, we can begin the tutorial for How to turn greek yogurt into “cream cheese” :
- medium glass bowl
- large spoon
- mesh strainer
- greek yogurt
- coffee filter or cheese cloth
- tupperware type container
- Make sure that your refrigerator is free of any funky smells before you begin as the greek yogurt will absorb those smells to develop a funky taste, if you do not take this step. If unsure how to do that, try using my fridge deodorizing tutorial, found here.
- Allow approximately twelve hours between when you make your "greek yogurt" and when you actually need it.
- Prepare an empty space in your refrigerator that is large enough for a medium-sized glass bowl.
- Using a medium sized glass bowl, add a mesh strainer to the top of the bowl. Make sure that it allows 2 to 4 inches of clearance between the bottom of the strainer and the bottom of the bowl.
- Place a coffee filter or cheese cloth in the bottom of the strainer.
- Scoop your greek yogurt into the coffee filter/cheese cloth inside the mesh strainer.
- Cover greek yogurt with a coffee filter or cheese cloth (to prevent drying and texture issues).
- Place inside refrigerator for approximately 12 hours allowing the excess whey to drop into the bottom of the bowl, below the mesh strainer.
- When the yogurt has become a "cream cheese" texture, you are ready to remove it from the refrigerator.
- Scoop the remaining "cream cheese" into sealed rubbermaid type containers and refrigerate until ready for use.
- This thickened yogurt can now replace cream cheese in almost any recipe.
If you are cooking something that will need you to add the yogurt to a hot dish, make sure that you use the yogurt "cream cheese" at room temperature, which will reduce clotting and give the best results with texture.
Any remaining whey can be added to other recipes to add a bit of protein, or could be composted.
Please Note: Approximately 2/3rd's of a 32 oz container of yogurt will fit into a single standard sized coffee filter.
Also, one 32 oz container of plain greek yogurt makes about 2.5 cups "cream cheese".
If you’re needing to make several cream cheese dishes in the morning, just do this the night before. It takes just a couple of minutes of prep and you’ll be good to go.
If you need to use it right away, that’s great. It’s ready to use and should swap out cup for cup in your cream cheese recipes.
Those of you that have worked with dairy products are probably thinking “yeah, this is common sense”, but for those of you that don’t have any experience working with cheese cloth for its intended purpose, you are probably thinking “Wow, that’s pretty handy. There are so many recipes that this information would be useful for”… yes I’m putting words in your mouth but hey… I think it’s been pretty handy to know.
I figured out how to do this years ago when I posted my Mom’s Favorite Cheeseball, Now Made With Greek Yogurt recipe…a must for your holiday celebrations by the way, and decided that this method of “cream cheese” prep needed a tutorial all on its own.
If you are trying to trick your family into eating this instead of regular cream cheese, you could always use a box from regular cream cheese and put some plastic wrap inside and then mold the greek yogurt stuff into it then cover and chill…lol.
I’m always sneaking healthier ingredients into my family’s diet so that is what I would do if they were being super pick about it. Hee hee…just ask my dad, I made him a meal recently and waited until he was on his seconds to ask him if he could tell that it was brown rice pasta instead of regular pasta and he couldn’t tell a difference.
A great use for this, that you may not have thought of, is to mix a little with some of your favorite flavored jelly to make a delicious protein packed schmear for that morning bagel. It’s also the perfect texture for most dip recipes too, and I have even had success swapping it out in my baking/cooking recipes too.
What do you think? Did you try it? Did you like it? Any money saving suggestions on how to make it even more frugally?
Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Please make share this post with any of your Greek Yogurt loving friends and family via social media. Hoping you have some happy and healthier parties in your future! ~Sarah
P.S. You may also like my entire recipes section.
Here are five other recipe posts that you may want to check out :
For those of you that would like another option of a “pinnable” image to share on Pinterest, here you go. Thanks so much for the support.
*Reposts: Please note that this idea/post was originally posted to this website on 10/14/2016 but it was in great need of a refresh so it now is more user friendly/shareable.