Greek yogurt is all the rage, and it’s no wonder: Because the product is strained to remove excess whey (the liquid that remains after milk has been curdled), it’s thicker and creamier than regular yogurt and boasts nearly twice as much protein. The downsides? It’s slightly lower in calcium and higher in calories (about 120 to 140 per cup, vs. 100 to 120 for regular yogurt)—and it often costs more. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay up for it; it’s cheaper—and easy—to make your own at home.
Save 8 cents an ounce making your own Greek yogurt vs. buying Chobani.
Here’s how we did it in our food-testing lab. We purchased 32-ounce containers of three brands of regular nonfat plain yogurt (Stop & Shop, Dannon, and Stonyfield Organic). We lined a large mesh strainer with a few overlapping paper coffee filters, placed the strainer over a bowl, and emptied two containers of each yogurt into the strainer. Then we covered and refrigerated it for 6½ hours. (You could also let it sit overnight.) The yield after straining two containers ranged from 33½ ounces to 38 ounces.
When we tasted the strained yogurt, we found it had a similar thickness to two plain nonfat Greek brands—Fage 0% and Chobani 0%. There were minor differences in flavor between our homemade Greek and the Greek brands. (Once you top the yogurt with fruit or nuts, though, the differences would be less noticiable.) The cost savings was significant in two cases. The Stop & Shop brand cost 38 percent less than the Greek variety and Dannon cost 19 percent less, even when the few cents the coffee filters cost was factored in. Stonyfield Organic, on the other hand, came out to be more expensive.
But is straining yogurt really worth the time and effort? Try this quick trick in the dairy aisle: Double the cost of a 32-ounce container of plain yogurt. If it’s cheaper than one 32-ounce (or even a 35.3-ounce) container of the Greek kind, the answer is yes.