What can I use instead of yogurt in a smoothie?

Quick Answers

Yogurt is commonly used in smoothies to provide thickness, creaminess, and nutritional value. If you don’t have yogurt or want an alternative, there are several options that can be used instead:

  • Frozen banana – Bananas blend up creamy and thick.
  • Avocado – Provides creaminess and healthy fats.
  • Silken tofu – Blended tofu provides a similar texture to yogurt.
  • Cottage cheese – Provides protein, calcium, and thickness.
  • Nut butter – Almond, peanut, or cashew butter add thickness and nutrition.
  • Coconut cream – Canned coconut milk/cream provides creamy texture.
  • Ice cream or sorbet – Adds cold creaminess and sweetness.
  • Plant-based milk – Soy, almond, oat milk add creaminess and nutrients.
  • Chia seeds – When soaked in liquid, chia seeds form a gel-like texture.
  • Ground flax or hemp seeds – Also release a thick, viscous texture when blended.

The possibilities are endless! Experiment with different ingredients to find the perfect yogurt alternative for your smoothie recipes.

Why Use Yogurt in Smoothies?

Yogurt is one of the most commonly used ingredients in smoothies, and for good reason. Here are some of the benefits yogurt provides:

  • Creaminess – Yogurt has a naturally thick, creamy texture that creates a smooth, milkshake-like consistency in smoothies.
  • Protein – Plain yogurt is high in protein, with about 12-15 grams per cup. The protein helps keep you full.
  • Probiotics – Yogurt contains live active cultures or probiotics that support gut and digestive health.
  • Calcium – Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium and other nutrients like vitamin B12, riboflavin, potassium.
  • Tangy flavor – The tangy flavor of yogurt complements both sweet and savory smoothies.
  • Binding properties – Yogurt helps bind together and thicken ingredients in a smoothie.
  • Nutritional boost – In addition to protein and calcium, yogurt provides vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

So in summary, yogurt adds protein, nutrients, creaminess and thickness, probiotics, binding properties, and great flavor to smoothies. When yogurt isn’t available, finding an alternative that can provide some of the same qualities is key.

Best Yogurt Substitutes for Smoothies

When yogurt isn’t an option, here are some of the top ingredients to use instead:

Frozen Banana

Adding frozen banana is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to give smoothies a yogurt-like creaminess. As bananas freeze, the starch converts to natural sugar, intensifying the flavor. The frozen chunks blend up thick and creamy. For best results, peel bananas when ripe and store them in a freezer bag until ready to use.


Avocado provides the healthy fats, thick texture, and creamy mouthfeel of yogurt. It blends up rich, smooth, and nutty. Plus you get benefits like antioxidants, fiber, vitamins C, E, K, B6, and folate. Opt for ripe Hass avocados and use around 1/4 to 1/2 in smoothies.

Silken Tofu

Silken tofu is made by coagulating soy milk, similar to the process of making soy yogurt. Blended silken tofu is a great non-dairy, vegan alternative with a consistency remarkably like blended yogurt. It creates thickness and richness without altering the flavor.

Cottage Cheese

Cottage cheese is thick, creamy, and packed with protein like yogurt. For smooth results, use blender-friendly small curd cottage cheese. Start with 1/4 cup and add more to taste. The mild flavor complements both sweet and savory smoothies.

Nut Butter

Nut butters like almond, peanut, cashew, and sunflower seed butter deliver protein, healthy fats, and natural creaminess when blended. They also provide vitamins and minerals. Start with 1-2 tablespoons nut butter in your smoothie.

Coconut Cream

Coconut cream, the thick layer from a can of full-fat coconut milk, mimics the texture of yogurt perfectly. It blends up rich, creamy, and dairy-free. Shake cans well and spoon out the thick cream before blending 1-4 tablespoons into smoothies.

Ice Cream or Sorbet

For an indulgent, milkshake-like smoothie, add a scoop of ice cream or sorbet. The creamy texture and sweet flavor mimic yogurt’s qualities. Opt for fruit sorbets to add flavor without overpowering the other smoothie ingredients.

Plant-Based Milk

Nondairy milks like soy, almond, oat, hemp, and coconut all provide creaminess ranging from light to rich and thick. They’re a neutral base that allow other smoothie flavors to shine. Use them in place of yogurt in any ratio that achieves your desired consistency.

Chia Seeds

Chia seeds are an excellent thickening agent for smoothies. When soaked in liquid, they form a gel-like substance that provides a tapioca-like texture. For 1 cup of smoothie, stir in 1-2 teaspoons chia seeds and let sit 5-10 minutes before blending.

Ground Flax or Hemp Seeds

Like chia seeds, ground flax and hemp seeds release a thick, viscous texture when blended with liquids. They add protein, fiber, and healthy fats too. Use 1 teaspoon per cup of smoothie and allow to sit before blending for best consistency.

Smoothie Inspiration Using Yogurt Alternatives

Here are some recipe ideas using non-yogurt ingredients to create thick, creamy, and nutritious smoothies:

Tropical Smoothie with Avocado

– 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
– 1/2 banana
– 1/4 avocado
– 1/4 cup coconut milk
– 1-2 tbsp lime juice
– Ice cubes

Green Power Smoothie with Silken Tofu

– 1/2 cup silken tofu
– 1 cup spinach
– 1/2 banana
– 1/4 cup orange juice
– 2 kale leaves
– 1/4 cup water

Protein Punch Smoothie with Nut Butter

– 1/2 banana
– 1 tbsp almond butter
– 1 cup almond milk
– 2 tbsp cocoa powder
– 1 scoop protein powder
– 1 cup ice

Berry Oat Smoothie with Plant-Based Milk

– 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
– 1/2 cup oats
– 1 cup oat milk
– 1 tbsp honey or maple syrup
– 1/4 tsp cinnamon
– Top with 1 tbsp granola

Tropical Colada Smoothie with Coconut Cream

– 1/4 cup coconut cream
– 1/2 cup pineapple chunks
– 1/2 banana
– 1/4 cup orange juice
– 1/4 cup ice
– Sprinkle of toasted coconut flakes

Tips for Using Yogurt Alternatives

When experimenting with yogurt alternatives in smoothies, keep these tips in mind:

– Start with small amounts like 1-2 tbsp and adjust to reach desired consistency.

– Sweeten to taste if needed since yogurt often adds natural sweetness.

– If too thick, thin with water, milk, or juice to reach a pourable consistency.

– Soak chia seeds, ground flax, or hemp ahead of time for best gelling results.

– Use ripe, frozen, or canned fruit and vegetables for thicker texture.

– Blend frozen ingredients like bananas, avocados, coconut cream for a chilled smoothie.

– Add a dollop of peanut butter, nutella, jam, or honey for extra richness.

– Top with granola, nuts, seeds, shredded coconut for added crunch.

– Use strongly flavored ingredients like cocoa, maple syrup, cinnamon to mask any bean-like flavors.

– For probiotics without yogurt, use probiotic supplements or fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut.

– Don’t be afraid to experiment with ingredients on hand until you find combinations you love!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to use a thickener if I don’t use yogurt?

Not necessarily, as long as you include ingredients with natural thickness like bananas, avocados, nut butters, etc. But thickeners like chia seeds, flax seeds, xanthan gum can help achieve a rich, creamy texture.

What’s the best yogurt substitute for protein in smoothies?

Cottage cheese, tofu, nut butters, protein powders, milk, and seeds are all excellent high-protein yogurt replacements that also provide thickness.

How can I make smoothies without yogurt healthier?

Focus on adding ingredients with nutritional benefits like leafy greens, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats from nuts/seeds/avocados, and probiotic-rich fermented foods. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.

Do you need to soak chia seeds before adding to smoothies?

Soaking chia seeds 10 minutes to an hour beforehand allows them to take on a gelatinous texture that thickens smoothies more effectively than dry chia seeds would.

What can I use for probiotics if not using yogurt?

Some good probiotic options are kefir, kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, miso, tempeh, apple cider vinegar, and probiotic supplements.

Can I freeze my smoothies made without yogurt?

Yes, smoothies made with any of these yogurt alternatives freeze well for grabbing on-the-go. Leave a little extra room at the top for expansion and thaw before drinking for the best texture.


While yogurt makes a tasty and nutritious addition to smoothies, there are plenty of great alternatives that can provide a similar creamy texture and nutritional profile. Get creative with ingredients like bananas, avocados, nut butters, tofu, cottage cheese, coconut products, and various milks and thickeners. Focus on adding nutrients from whole foods, protein, healthy fats, and probiotics. With endless delicious combinations, you can whip up nourishing yogurt-free smoothies anytime.

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