A Brief Guide to the Different Types of Yogurt

The dairy aisle is always introducing new varieties of yogurt snacks and flavors. Now more than ever, the different types of yogurt available at the grocery store are continuously expanding and evolving. Though there’s plenty of variety, the many options can be overwhelming.

What is Australian yogurt and how is it different than Skyr? Is French yogurt different than Greek yogurt, or is it just a difference in packaging? Below we break down the different options you are likely to see in the yogurt section of the dairy aisle. 

“Traditional” Yogurt 

Yogurt is created and thickened by adding cultures to milk, creating that familiar tangy, sour flavor. Milk is heated to prevent curds from forming. Then, it is cooled and bacterial culture is mixed in. Most yogurt has live and active cultures (probiotics) that promote gut and digestive health. The traditional yogurt Americans are used to has a smooth, creamy texture. It is unstrained, so it’s not as thick as other yogurt options, but it’s still too thick to drink.

Greek Yogurt 

Once the yogurt base is created, Greek yogurt is strained to remove the liquid and whey, creating a thicker consistency than traditional yogurt. Greek yogurt has a strong tangy flavor, which makes it a popular substitution for sauces used in savory dishes. (Did you know that the liquid and whey removed to make Greek yogurt is used to make ricotta cheese?)

Australian Yogurt 

Like traditional yogurt, Australian yogurt is unstrained. However, it’s cooked slower and longer than regular yogurt, creating a creamier texture that is somewhere between traditional and Greek yogurt in thickness. 

French Yogurt 

Instead of being made in a large vat and then divided into containers, French-style yogurt is cultured in the individual-sized containers it is sold in. It is unstrained like traditional yogurt, but it has a smooth, creamy texture and is not as sweet as other yogurts. 

Skyr/Icelandic Yogurt 

Icelandic yogurt or Skyr is mildly tangy and noticeably thicker than Greek yogurt. There is a debate on whether Skyr should be considered a variety of yogurt. Because the process allows curds to form, it can be argued that it’s a cheese. Whatever Skyr technically is, it is consumed like a yogurt, and so it is marketed as Icelandic yogurt to Americans. Skyr is strained 4 times, creating one of the thickest consistencies of yogurt available.  

Lactose-free Yogurt 

Though yogurt with live, active cultures is already a good choice for those with a lactose sensitivity, there is yogurt available with no lactose. Lactose-free yogurt has been treated with a special enzyme that breaks down the lactose found in milk. Without this lactose, your body doesn’t experience the discomfort of lactose intolerance. It tastes like traditional yogurt because it is, the lactose has just been broken down before it enters your body.

Drinkable Yogurt 

Drinkable yogurts come in a variety of options, and we’re not only talking about flavors. They have a consistency for everyone, ranging from a thinner consistency like skim milk to thicker consistencies closer to traditional yogurt. You can also choose if you want to sip on a yogurt that is tart or sweet. This type of yogurt makes a great choice for a healthy snack on the go and while traveling. 

Kefir 

Kefir is a similar fermented drink to drinkable yogurt, but with a longer fermentation process. What makes kefir unique is the kefir grains blended into the milk. The taste is slightly tart and you’ll notice an almost bubbly quality to it.

The Dairy Alliance Has Recipes for All Types of Yogurt

Here at The Dairy Alliance, we have hundreds of recipes for every dairy product available, including the different types of yogurt. Count on our library of recipes to leave you satisfied.