Yogurt cheese is easy to make at home from plain or flavored yogurt and comes out with the consistency of a spreadable cream cheese or a thick, firm cottage cheese. In fact, you can turn most regular yogurt into a thicker Greek-style yogurt by the same method.
If you like the tart flavor of yogurt, this is a great, easy method to turn it into a thicker cheese to use in recipes or to spread on a bagel or other bread products instead of cream cheese. Adding sugar to plain yogurt makes it more spreadable and works well in dessert dishes.
A plain yogurt cheese is said to produce a superior frozen yogurt, so if you enjoy making your own frozen treats, you can start with plain yogurt, make yogurt cheese, and then complete your frozen yogurt recipe.
The equipment you will need is a funnel or strainer, a cheesecloth or coffee filter, and a cup or bowl over which you can position the funnel or strainer. Your funnel or strainer needs to be big enough to hold all of the yogurt you are going to convert into yogurt cheese.
This recipe is appropriate if you make your own yogurt as well as for commercially-prepared yogurt.
- 1 cup yogurt
- For yogurt cheese, line a strainer or funnel with a double thickness of cheesecloth or a single coffee filter, and place it over a container to catch the liquid.
- Spoon in the yogurt into the filter or cheesecloth.
- Cover the top of the funnel or strainer with plastic wrap and refrigerate it at least overnight.
- The moisture will drain out and firm up the yogurt. The longer you let it drain, the firmer it becomes.
- Keep your yogurt cheese refrigerated. It is best when used within one week.
The drained liquid is whey, the same as the liquid removed during any cheesemaking process. You can discard it or it may be used as part of the liquid or milk in baked goods or in place of milk or water in your smoothies. You can refrigerate it to use within a couple of days if you are going to be doing some baking. See more on whey and how to use it.
If you start with a flavored yogurt, you will have flavored yogurt cheese. For a fruit cheese, mix in more fruit, jam, or jelly.
You can also make savory spreads from plain yogurt cheese. Mix in some finely chopped onions, chives, herbs, or powdered seasonings. Your yogurt cheese can be a great base for dips and spreads for parties and on game day.
See more tips for cooking with yogurt.