Did you know you can make creamy, thick, and protein-packed Greek yogurt (aka strained yogurt) at home with just one single ingredient? Learn how to make homemade Greek yogurt from regular store bought yogurt with my easy step-by-step guide, including a video and photos. There is absolutely no cooking required, and you don’t need any special equipment – just a strainer, cheesecloth, and a bowl!

Use your homemade Greek yogurt to make some delicious & nutritious recipes with Greek yogurt, such as my popular Greek yogurt salad dressing, frozen Greek yogurt, or Greek yogurt ranch dip.

bowl with homemade greek yogurt and a silver spoon, next to a few bowls of yogurt toppings

If given a choice, I’ll choose Greek yogurt (or strained yogurt) over regular yogurt any day!

When I was in school to become a Registered Dietitian, I had Greek yogurt as a healthy, protein-rich snack nearly every afternoon to get me through evening studies.

I’ve developed more than 50 recipes using Greek yogurt and have written about the nutrition benefits, so it was high time I taught you how to make Greek yogurt at home so you can use it in all these recipes!

Read on to learn how to make Greek yogurt. All you need to make it is:

  • A tub of regular, store bought yogurt: You can use any fat content plain yogurt. I’ve tested both low fat yogurt and full fat yogurt. The full fat yogurt will strain faster than the low fat.
  • A fine mesh strainer: This helps contain the yogurt while allowing the whey liquid to drip slowly out.
  • Cheesecloth: Line the mesh strainer with cheesecloth, which prevents any of the actual yogurt from dripping through the strainer.
  • Medium-large size bowl: Place a bowl under the strainer to catch the whey drippings.
tub of stonyfield organic yogurt
a fine mesh strainer and cheesecloth

Greek yogurt vs regular yogurt

Greek yogurt is much thicker than regular yogurt. This is because it has been strained to remove much of the whey: the slightly yellow, translucent liquid that collects on top of yogurt.

The straining process alters the nutrient content of Greek yogurt – so it is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than regular yogurt. In fact, Greek yogurt has nearly twice the protein as regular yogurt!

In addition to protein, Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium, and an excellent source of vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium.

How to strain yogurt to make Greek yogurt: visual guide

There are just 5 minutes of hands-on time before you set your yogurt in the fridge to strain!

fine mesh strainer over a blue bowl
1. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl.
cheesecloth lined mesh strainer over a bowl
2. Line the mesh strainer with two layers of cheesecloth.

A note on cheesecloth: There are many different grades of cheesecloth. The lower the grade, the more loosely woven the fabric.

  • I used grade 100 cheesecloth, which is tightly woven and therefore allows the yogurt to strain slowly over several hours.
  • If you use a lower grade cheesecloth, such as grade 50, your yogurt will likely strain faster – adjust straining time accordingly.
yogurt in a mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth
3. Scoop the regular yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.
yogurt in a cheesecloth-lined strainer, cheesecloth gathered and clipped
4. Gently gather the ends of the cheesecloth and secure them together with a bag clip or rubber band.
cheesecloth holding greek yogurt with a silver spoon scooping some yogurt
5. Set in the fridge for several hours until you reach your desired thickness – notes below. The yogurt will have reduced in weight by about half, once a lot of the whey has strained out.

How long to strain yogurt

The best part of straining your own Greek yogurt at home is that you get to choose the exact thickness and consistency you want!

  • Reduced fat or nonfat yogurt: Start checking the consistency by scooping the yogurt with a spoon between 8-12 hours. If you want it even thicker, strain for 18-24 hours.
  • Full fat yogurt: Start checking the consistency after 5-7 hours. For even thicker yogurt, strain for 12-18 hours.

The longer you let the yogurt strain, the thicker and creamier it becomes.

Storage

Store your yogurt in an airtight container or jar in the fridge. Use within the best by or sell by date that came on the original yogurt packaging.

Just like store bought Greek yogurt, a layer of whey liquid may appear on top. Just give it a stir to incorporate it!

bowl with homemade greek yogurt and a silver spoon, next to a few bowls of yogurt toppings

Recipes with Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is a versatile ingredient in the kitchen. Here are some favorite recipes from around the blog that you can make with your homemade Greek yogurt!

Let me know if you love this post by leaving a comment or star rating below, and check out Instagram and Pinterest for more healthy lifestyle inspiration. Thanks for stopping by!

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bowl with homemade greek yogurt and a silver spoon, next to a few bowls of yogurt toppings

Make Your Own Greek Yogurt (Shortcut Recipe)

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  • Author: Alex Aldeborgh, RD
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Straining time: 12 hours
  • Total Time: 12 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: about 2 cups of Greek yogurt 1x
  • Category: breakfast
  • Method: Strained
  • Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean
  • Diet: Vegetarian
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Description

Did you know you can make creamy, thick, and protein-packed Greek yogurt (aka strained yogurt) at home with just one single ingredient? Learn how to make homemade Greek yogurt from regular store bought yogurt with my easy step-by-step guide, including a video and photos. There is absolutely no cooking required, and you don’t need any special equipment – just a strainer, cheesecloth, and a bowl!

Use your homemade Greek yogurt to make some delicious & nutritious recipes with Greek yogurt, such as my popular Greek yogurt salad dressing, frozen Greek yogurt, or Greek yogurt ranch dip.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 32 oz container of plain regular yogurt, any fat content


Instructions

  1. Place a fine mesh strainer over a medium sized bowl.
  2. Line the mesh strainer with 2 pieces of finely woven cheesecloth. I used 100 grade.
  3. Scoop all the regular yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer.
  4. Gather the edges of the cheesecloth and gently secure them around the yogurt with a bag clip or rubber band.
  5. Set in the fridge to strain for at least 5-8 hours, depending on fat content of the yogurt (see notes for details).
  6. Once your yogurt is to your desired thickness and consistency, remove the yogurt from the cheesecloth using a spoon or rubber spatula and put it in an airtight container or jar for storage.

Notes

Straining time guidelines

  • Reduced fat or nonfat yogurt: Start checking the consistency by scooping the yogurt with a spoon between 8-12 hours. If you want it even thicker, strain for 18-24 hours.
  • Full fat yogurt: Start checking the consistency after 5-7 hours. For even thicker yogurt, strain for 12-18 hours.

The longer you let the yogurt strain, the thicker and creamier it becomes.