greek style yogurt

$2.39 recipe / $0.60 serving

Just in case you haven’t heard, I’ll give you the scoop. Greek style yogurt is all the rage. What is Greek yogurt? Basically, it’s just yogurt that has had some of the moisture drained off so that it has a thicker, creamier consistency. Some people also love it because it has more protein per ounce than traditional yogurt (everything concentrates as the moisture is removed). Greek yogurt is great for making dips (like the tzadziki I’ll be making later this week), topped with honey, nuts and fruit as a snack or as part of big bowl of Yoatgurt.

The problem with Greek yogurt is that it’s insanely expensive. I’ve seen little 4 or 6 oz. cups retailing for over a dollar when regular yogurt cups usually sell for about $0.50. Sure, it takes more regular yogurt to make the same volume of Greek yogurt but I really believe that some of that extra cost is a “fad fee”. People are lovin’ the Greek yogurt right now and are so willing to pay for it.

So, promise me this: If you’re a lover of Greek yogurt, don’t pay over $1 for a tiny portion. Buy some regular yogurt and magically transform it into Greek yogurt in your refrigerator and save yourself some money. K? Good.

Greek Style Yogurt

Greek Style YogurtPictured here with honey and almonds. YUM.

4.5 from 2 reviews
greek style yogurt
Prep time
Total time
Total Cost: $2.39
Cost Per Serving: $0.60
Serves: 4
  • 32 oz. plain yogurt $2.39
  1. Set up your straining contraption by getting a large glass bowl and placing a colander inside of it. You may need to place something under the colander, like a small measuring cup, to lift it up off of the bottom of the bowl just slightly.
  2. Place a coffee filter (or cheese cloth, muslin or a clean, lint-free dish cloth) in the colander. Fill the filter with plain yogurt. Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3 hrs. During this time the extra moisture in the yogurt will drain out the bottom leaving you with nice, thick, Greek style yogurt!
  3. At the end of the three hours the volume of your yogurt will have reduced by about half. If the yogurt is too thick you can simply stir some of the liquid back into the yogurt. If the yogurt is still too thin, refrigerate longer. Make sure the liquid in the bottom of the bowl is not touching the bottom of the filter in the colander. Raise the colander up as needed (with a small object like a measuring cup).
  4. Empty the yogurt into a resealable container and refrigerate until you are ready to use.

Step By Step Photos

bowl and strainerPlace a colander inside of a large glass bowl. Place a small object under the colander to lift it up another inch or so.

filter and yogurtPlace a coffee filter in the colander and fill it up with yogurt. Make sure the yogurt does not spill over the edge as it spreads out. (I had some tiny coffee filters from a coffee maker that I don’t have anymore so I had to do 4 small filters full. Large filters are definitely better.)

drained liquidThis is all of the liquid that drained off after 3 hours. That is the measuring cup that I used to elevate the colander.

thick greek yogurtThe yogurt is now so thick that a spoon will stand up straight in it!

NOTE: You should only use plain, unsweetened yogurt for this because as the liquid drains out, sweeteners will also become more concentrated and the resulting yogurt will be sickeningly sweet.

I used low-fat yogurt for this because I like the taste/texture of some fat but didn’t want all of the calories of full fat yogurt. Remember, as the liquid comes out everything gets more concentrated, even calories.

If you’re feeling really crafty you can even make the plain yogurt from milk which will probably save you even more. That project was a little too involved and time consuming for me today but perhaps I’ll post some instructions in the future. It’s pretty easy! Until then, a simple google search will give you plenty of online how-to’s.


  1. Elaine says:

    Great idea! I used a nut milk bag, and I drained the liquid into an empty yogurt container. I ended up with around 24 oz of Greek-style yogurt for $2.50, so this is a great option when Greek yogurt is not on sale. Next time, I will try this with TJ goat milk yogurt.

  2. Sarah says:

    Save the leftover whey and use it as liquid the next you make bread! Adds a slight sourdough flavor to the dough.

  3. Anon – The actual nutritional content won’t change, just the volume. So, if you measure the volume before and the volume after, you can use that ratio as a conversion factor.

    • Princess-TaLaiah says:

      So, Beth, the nutritional values don’t change at all; like when you mentioned the calories and sugar would be concentrated? Only the volume changes, which means you would have 30 calories per 1/2 cup instead of 30 calories per 1 cup (for example)?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Any idea how to calculate the nutritional information?

  5. Jamie – just as long as you would normally keep yogurt. I find that yogurt stays good for a couple weeks at least.

  6. Jamie says:

    How long does the yogurt keep after you do this to it? Thanks for the tip!

  7. Elizabeth says:

    Ah. Yeah, I was just not entirely sure if you’re getting more for your buck or not.
    Thanks for the reply. Still a good method for if you need a bunch (frozen yogurt. mmmm…) and are buying in bulk amounts.

  8. Yeah, if you can get a 16 oz. container for the same price, by all means, do! But if you can’t, I wanted to demonstrate how easy it is. Either way, the little single portion cups are seriously over priced!

    You could probably make this for less than I did too. I was at Whole Foods and picked up this name brand carton (even WF’s brand would probably be less) so I bet you could get a generic at another store for less. Or, some places, like Whole Foods, sell big gallon jugs of yogurt which surely has a lower price per ounce. Plus, yogurt stays good in the fridge for a while so the thought of using up a whole gallon (2 qts once strained) isn’t so daunting.

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I keep seeing make-you-own greek yogurt posts on food blogs as a money saving tip, but here’s what I don’t get. Aren’t you reducing the original portion (32oz) of regular yogurt by about half? So you’re really still paying the ~$2.50 for a 16 oz container? That’s already what I pay to buy greek yogurt at Trader Joe’s.

  10. I actually use this method to make up for my lack of skill in making regular yogurt. No matter what I do, my homemade yogurt gets too liquidy, so I do this to thicken it up and get it even a little thicker than regular yogurt. Yum! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Excellent suggestions, John! I like the mason jar idea because it uses a lot less space than the bowl and colander!

  12. John says:

    Don’t throw away the whey (the drained liquid), either. Appropriately given its “yoatgurt” destiny, the whey makes a great cooking liquid for oatmeal. But use it fast, because it turns nasty in a couple of days.

    In case it helps anybody, I use a coffee filter suspended by a mason jar opening, and usually cover and weight it in the fridge. I think I got the idea (and using the whey) from one of Graham Kerr’s old shows.

  13. I love greek yogurt and have never made it myself but after this great tutorial I think I am ready. Thanks so much!

  14. Oh thanks! I hadn’t looked too far into it, but wondered how to make my own…

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