Yogurt provides thickness, creaminess, and tanginess to smoothies. To replace yogurt, you can use:
- Avocado – Provides creaminess
- Banana – Provides thickness and sweetness
- Silken tofu – Provides creaminess
- Cottage cheese – Provides thickness and protein
- Greek yogurt – Provides tanginess and thickness
- Kefir – Similar tanginess and thickness to yogurt
- Coconut milk – Provides creaminess
- Nut butters – Provide thickness and richness
Why Do People Use Yogurt in Smoothies?
Yogurt is a common ingredient in smoothies for several reasons:
- It provides creaminess and richness.
- It adds protein.
- It provides a tangy, acidic flavor.
- It acts as a thickening agent, giving smoothies a milkshake-like texture.
- It contains live active cultures, which some people believe boost gut health.
The creamy, tangy qualities of yogurt complement both sweet and savory smoothie ingredients. It blends easily into smoothies without curdling or separating. For many smoothie fans, yogurt provides the classic smoothie texture they know and love.
How to Replace Yogurt in Smoothies
Luckily, there are plenty of yogurt alternatives to use in smoothies. Here are some of the best options:
Avocado provides creaminess and richness similar to yogurt. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 an avocado in place of a few tablespoons to 1/2 cup of yogurt. Avocado pairs well with tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, and banana.
Ripe banana can replace both the texture and sweetness of yogurt in smoothies. Use half a medium or large banana for a few tablespoons of yogurt. Bananas blend extremely smoothly. They work in both fruit and green smoothies.
Silken tofu is a vegan alternative to yogurt in smoothies. It provides a similar creaminess while boosting the protein content. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of silken tofu in place of yogurt. Silken tofu works well with berry smoothies.
Cottage cheese provides both protein and thickness similar to Greek yogurt. Use 1/4 to 1/2 cup cottage cheese in place of yogurt. Make sure to blend cottage cheese thoroughly to achieve a smooth texture. Cottage cheese pairs nicely with fruits like peaches, berries, and cherries.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink with a tangy flavor and thick texture much like liquid yogurt. Use an equal amount of plain kefir in place of yogurt. Kefir contains probiotics like yogurt. It works well in any yogurt-based smoothie.
Canned coconut milk provides creamy richness without the tanginess of yogurt. Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk for a few tablespoons to 1/2 cup yogurt. Coconut milk complements tropical fruits and vanilla flavors.
For a thicker, more tart yogurt replacement, use Greek yogurt. Since Greek yogurt is strained, it has a thicker consistency and more pronounced flavor. Use a 1:1 ratio when swapping in Greek yogurt for regular yogurt.
Nut butters like almond butter, peanut butter and cashew butter add thickness, richness and protein to smoothies. Use 1 to 2 tablespoons nut butter in place of a few tablespoons of yogurt. Nut butters pair well with bananas, chocolate, vanilla, and cocoa.
Non-Dairy Yogurt Replacements
For vegan smoothies or if you have a dairy allergy, try these non-dairy yogurt replacements:
As mentioned above, blended silken tofu mimics the texture of yogurt nicely. Be sure to use silken, not firm or extra firm tofu.
Coconut milk yogurt provides tanginess and creaminess without dairy. Look for unsweetened, plain varieties to use in smoothies.
Soy yogurt has a similar nutrition profile to dairy yogurt. Always choose unsweetened, plain soy yogurt for smoothies.
For a rich, creamy alternative, try cashew yogurt made from blended soaked cashews. It can be found at some grocery stores or made at home.
Vegan Protein Powder
Add a scoop of vegan protein powder, like pea, hemp or soy, to provide thickness as well as a protein boost.
How to Adapt Smoothie Recipes Without Yogurt
When a smoothie recipe calls for yogurt, keep these tips in mind:
- For thickness, use banana, avocado, nut butters or silken tofu.
- For tanginess, use citrus juices like orange or lemon juice.
- For creaminess, use coconut milk, coconut yogurt or soaked cashews.
- For protein, add vegan protein powder, Greek yogurt or cottage cheese.
- For probiotics, use kefir or non-dairy yogurt replacements.
- Reduce the liquid by 1/4 cup if replacing yogurt with a liquid like coconut milk.
- Add extracts like vanilla or almond for flavor if needed.
Experiment with yogurt replacements to find your perfect substitute based on the flavor profile you enjoy. The possibilities are nearly endless for creamy and delicious yogurt-free smoothies!
Health Benefits of Yogurt vs. Common Replacements
Many yogurt alternatives can provide similar nutritional benefits to yogurt itself. Here is how yogurt stacks up against some common replacements:
As shown, Greek yogurt and regular yogurt provide more protein than most replacements, while also containing probiotics. Tofu is the closest alternative nutrition-wise. However, options like avocado and coconut milk provide healthy fats. Overall, yogurt alternatives can match yogurt well in protein, fat or carbohydrate content.
The Best Yogurt Substitutes for Common Smoothie Ingredients
Certain yogurt alternatives complement specific smoothie ingredients nicely. Here are suggested subs for common smoothie add-ins:
- Fruit smoothies: Banana, avocado, nut butters
- Berries: Silken tofu, cottage cheese, coconut yogurt
- Tropical fruit: Coconut milk, avocado
- Green smoothies: Silken tofu, banana, coconut milk
- Protein smoothies: Cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, nut butter
- Chocolate: Avocado, nut butters, soy yogurt
- Vanilla: Coconut milk, cashew yogurt, banana
Test out a few different yogurt subs to find your favorites with specific smoothie flavors. The options are diverse enough to work for any ingredient combinations.
Smoothie Recipes Without Yogurt
Here are some tasty yogurt-free smoothie recipes to try:
Tropical Green Smoothie
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 2 cups spinach
- 1/4 avocado
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
Blueberry Protein Smoothie
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie
- 2 frozen bananas
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cherry Vanilla Smoothie
- 1 cup cashew yogurt
- 1 cup cherries, pitted
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon honey
Get creative with combining your favorite fruits, veggies, nut butters, extracts and thickening agents for a delicious yogurt-free smoothie. The options are endless!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is yogurt commonly used in smoothies?
Yogurt is commonly used in smoothies because it provides a creamy, rich texture while also adding protein and a tangy flavor. The thickness of yogurt helps create a milkshake-like consistency that many people enjoy in a smoothie.
What’s the best yogurt substitute for protein smoothies?
For a protein-packed smoothie without yogurt, use Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, silken tofu, nut butters, or vegan protein powder. They will help bulk up the protein content to replace yogurt’s protein.
Can I use water instead of yogurt in smoothies?
Using only water instead of yogurt will make for a very thin, watery smoothie texture. For best results, replace yogurt with a thickening agent like banana, avocado, nut butters, or protein powder blended with water or milk.
Is it okay to use yogurt alternatives if I’m lactose intolerant?
Yes, yogurt alternatives like coconut milk yogurt, almond milk yogurt, soy yogurt, and other dairy-free options are safe for people with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies. Always check labels to confirm a product is lactose-free.
Do you need yogurt for smoothies to be healthy?
No, yogurt is not required to make healthy smoothies. Many yogurt replacements like avocado, banana, and nut butters provide important nutrients like healthy fats, fiber, and protein. And ingredients like spinach, kale and fruit pack in vitamins and minerals.
The Bottom Line
Yogurt provides distinctive creaminess, protein and tang to smoothies. Luckily, ingredients like avocado, banana, nut butters, tofu and non-dairy yogurts offer similar nutrition and texture when swapped into your favorite yogurt smoothie recipe. Getting creative with combinations can lead to delicious, nourishing yogurt-free smoothies that rival the original versions.