Can you make frozen yogurt from store bought yogurt?

Making frozen yogurt at home is a delicious way to create a healthier dessert option using just a few simple ingredients. The process is easy and only requires some plain yogurt from the grocery store, a sweetener like honey, and a couple other ingredients you likely have in your kitchen already.

What you’ll need

The basic ingredients to make frozen yogurt are:

  • Plain yogurt – Opt for a high quality plain yogurt with active cultures. Greek yogurt works great. You’ll need about 2 cups.
  • Sweetener – Honey, maple syrup, or sugar. Use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup.
  • Vanilla extract – For flavoring. About 1 tsp.
  • Lemon juice – Around 1 Tbsp to brighten up the flavors.
  • Ice cream maker – You’ll need an appliance to churn and freeze the yogurt. You can also use a blender and freezer instead.

Why homemade is best

Here are some of the benefits of making your own frozen yogurt vs buying it:

  • Control the ingredients – Store-bought varieties often contain preservatives, artificial sweeteners or flavors. Making it yourself allows you to choose better quality ingredients.
  • Less sugar – Frozen yogurt can be surprisingly high in added sugars. Making your own allows you to control how much sweetener you add.
  • Customize flavors – Swap in different mix-ins, fruits, extracts to create the flavors you love.
  • Probiotic boost – Opt for a high quality plain yogurt to get more gut-healthy live cultures.
  • Simple and fun – Frozen yogurt is one of the easiest frozen desserts to whip up at home.

Choosing the yogurt

The base of great frozen yogurt is high quality plain yogurt. Some tips when selecting yogurt:

  • Greek yogurt – Its thick, creamy texture makes it perfect for freezing.
  • Low sugar – Choose an unsweetened or lightly sweetened yogurt.
  • Live cultures – Look for yogurts marked “active cultures” to get probiotics.
  • Whole milk – For creamier, richer frozen yogurt, opt for whole milk yogurt.
  • No additives – Avoid yogurts with gelatin, pectin or guar gum added.

Some good options are plain Greek yogurt, skyr yogurt or traditional yogurt like whole milk yogurt. You want a nice, thick yogurt without any preservatives or additives that will inhibit freezing.

Choosing sweeteners

When making your own frozen yogurt, you get to pick your own sweetener and control how much gets added in. Some common options include:

  • Honey – A natural sweetener with antioxidant benefits.
  • Maple syrup – Has a lovely hint of maple flavor.
  • Granulated sugar – Fine white sugar that easily dissolves into the yogurt base.
  • Vanilla sugar – White sugar flavored with vanilla beans. Adds sweetness and vanilla flavor at once.
  • Fruit juice – For a more tropical, fruity yogurt. Pineapple, mango or orange juice work well.
  • Stevia – A zero-calorie sweetener good for low sugar or low carb diets.

I recommend sticking with 1/4 to 1/3 cup of your chosen sweetener for 2 cups of yogurt. Taste as you go and add more if desired. The frozen yogurt will taste a bit less sweet than the base before freezing.


Stir in your favorite flavors to liven up basic frozen yogurt:

  • Vanilla extract – Start with 1 tsp for a classic vanilla frozen yogurt.
  • Citrus juice & zest – Lemon, lime or orange add bright, refreshing flavor.
  • Fresh berries – Mash up strawberries, blueberries, etc for a fruit swirl.
  • Cocoa powder – For chocolate lovers. Use 2 to 4 Tbsp for chocolate frozen yogurt.
  • Coffee – Brewed coffee or instant espresso powder both add a mocha flavor.
  • Tea – Cold brewed tea makes a nice matcha or chai yogurt.
  • Spices – Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cardamom add warmth.
  • Extracts – Almond, coconut, peppermint, etc liven things up.

Start with small amounts of extracts or spices, 1/4 to 1/2 tsp, until you achieve the flavor intensity you like.


Consider adding crunchy or chewy mix-ins before freezing for texture and extra flavor.

  • Chopped nuts – Pecans, walnuts, almonds, etc.
  • Granola – For some crunch.
  • Crumbled cookies or baked goods – Brownies, chocolate chip cookies, graham crackers.
  • Shredded coconut – Toasted is delicious.
  • Chopped fruit – Bananas, mango, berries, etc.
  • Chunks of chocolate or candy – Mini chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toffee pieces.

Get creative with the mix-ins and add your favorite crunchy or chewy toppings. The sky’s the limit!

Making the frozen yogurt

Once you have your ingredients prepped, making frozen yogurt is simple:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the plain yogurt and your chosen sweetener until fully mixed.
  2. Add in any additional flavors, extracts, spices, etc and whisk again.
  3. Stir in any mix-ins so they are evenly distributed.
  4. Transfer the yogurt base to your ice cream maker. Churn according to manufacturer’s directions, usually 20-30 minutes.
  5. Once thickened and creamy, transfer the frozen yogurt to a freezer safe container. Cover and freeze for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, simply transfer the yogurt base to a freezer safe dish or loaf pan. Cover and freeze, whisking and folding the mixture every 30 minutes until completely frozen, 2-3 hours.

Serving suggestions

Here are some delicious ways to serve your homemade frozen yogurt once frozen:

  • On its own for a tangy, creamy treat.
  • Top with fresh cut fruit like berries or banana slices.
  • Swirl with fruit jam, chocolate sauce or caramel sauce.
  • Sprinkle with chopped nuts, coconut flakes or crushed candy pieces.
  • Layer in a parfait with crunchy granola.
  • Drizzle with honey or maple syrup.

Frozen yogurt also makes a great dessert for parties served in a bowl with fun toppings for guests to customize their own.


Store frozen yogurt in a sealed container in the freezer. It will keep well for 1-2 months. For best texture, allow to sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before serving if too hard straight from the freezer.


Here are some common issues and how to fix them when making frozen yogurt:

  • Too icy – Allow mixture to churn longer during freezing or let sit at room temperature briefly before serving.
  • Too soft – Mix in a splash of milk before freezing to improve consistency.
  • Crystalized texture – Be sure to freeze quickly and stir regularly during the freezing process.
  • Not sweet enough – Add extra honey, maple syrup or sugar to taste.
  • Watery – Use a thicker, Greek style yogurt and drain off any excess whey.

Recipe variations

Some tasty flavor variations to try:

Berry swirl yogurt

  • Plain yogurt base
  • Honey for sweetener
  • Lemon zest
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fresh berry puree swirled in before freezing

Lemon blueberry yogurt

  • Plain yogurt base
  • Maple syrup for sweetener
  • Lemon juice and lemon zest
  • Chopped fresh blueberries

Piña colada yogurt

  • Plain yogurt base
  • Pineapple juice for sweetener
  • Shredded coconut
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Dash of rum extract (optional)

Mocha almond fudge yogurt

  • Plain yogurt base
  • Honey for sweetener
  • Instant espresso powder
  • Chopped almonds
  • Melted chocolate swirled in

Endless combinations are possible so get creative with the flavors and toppings!

Nutritional benefits of homemade

Making your own frozen yogurt has many nutritional perks compared to store-bought brands including:

  • Higher protein – From using thick, Greek style yogurt.
  • More probiotics – When choosing a yogurt with active cultures.
  • Less sugar – By controlling how much sweetener you add.
  • No additives – Avoiding preservatives, stabilizers and artificial ingredients.
  • Natural ingredients – Use real foods like fresh fruit for flavor and sweetness.

The protein, probiotics, vitamins, and minerals found in yogurt remain intact when frozen. Homemade can be a guilt-free, better-for-you dessert!

Health benefits of yogurt

All types of yogurt, including frozen yogurt, offer many health benefits. Here are some of the top nutrients and probiotics found in yogurt and how they support wellness:

  • Protein – Helps build muscle, aids in weight management and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  • Calcium – Important for bone health, muscle and nerve function.
  • Vitamin B12 – Supports red blood cell formation and brain health.
  • Potassium – Helps regulate fluid balance and blood pressure.
  • Magnesium – Involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body.
  • Probiotics – Beneficial bacteria that boost gut and immune health.

The live cultures found in yogurt can even help boost nutrient absorption and promote healthy digestion when consumed regularly.


Making frozen yogurt at home is easy, fun and allows you to control exactly what goes into your dessert. All you need is plain yogurt, a sweetener, and your favorite flavors and mix-ins to create a tangy frozen treat.

Homemade frozen yogurt has many benefits over store-bought including higher protein, more probiotics, less sugar and no unnecessary additives. And it takes just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes hands on time to whip up.

So next time you get a frozen yogurt craving, give this easy homemade version a try. Your taste buds and body will thank you!

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