Transform normal yogurt into magical Greek yogurt with a simple, really cheap DIY strainer

August 18 | Guest post by Alison


I love Greek yogurt, but Fage, my favorite kind, is a bit on the expensive side. For Christmas, my parents got me a yogurt maker, but the yogurt from it isn't thick like Greek yogurt. So I made myself a yogurt strainer. Here, I'll show you how.

You'll need two empty plastic containers like these.

It doesn't really matter what size they are, as long as one of them is shorter than the other.

You'll also need to make sure the small one fits inside the big one with room to spare, like so.

Take the smaller container and poke holes all over the bottom of it. Use an awl if you have it, or a fork, or the tip of a paring knife. Make lots of holes.

Here's how the holes will look on the bottom.

To use it, put a basket-sized coffee filter inside that small holey container like this.

Fill the coffee filter with yogurt, and put the small container inside the large container.

Throw the whole thing in the fridge and let it sit for an hour or two. When it's done, the yogurt will look like this. Look at the upper whitish line and you'll see that it's strained.

Inside the larger container, there'll be some yellowish liquid. My friend Sarah says it's very nutritious and you should drink it, but I've never been able to do that. It's too… icky.

Take the coffee filter out of the small container and put the yogurt in a bowl. Make sure you get all of it by grabbing the center of the filter (on the bottom) and squeezing it out.

I like mine with raisins, walnuts, and granola! There's yogurt under there, I promise.

  1. Booyah for DIY instead of Buy!
    This stuff is the best. If you let it sit longer, like overnight (w. plastic on top, it will turn into something resembling cream cheese. Then you make it sweet or savory for a snack plate, too!

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  2. I love this! I also live in Texas – don't you just adore HEB?

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      • I moved from Texas to Baltimore a year ago and I still miss HEB. We even fly the HEB Beef Fajitas home with us when we visit!

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  3. Isn't the greatest draw of greek yogurt the fact that it has large amounts of protein? I'm also a fan of the thickness, but it makes more sense to buy the real thing for the health benefit. (Plus if you have a Trader Joe's near you they have greek yogurt at a very reasonable price)

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    • The greater amount of protein per ounce is because the whey has been reduced by straining. It saves you a step to buy it in the store, but that's really it.

      I love this idea! I've made yogurt before, but I always balked at the straining part – this makes it a LOT easier.

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  4. I have strained yogurt in a really thin cotton muslin cloth that's my straining cloth for making curd (paneer). I just tie it to the kitchen sink faucet for an hour or two. You can do a bigger quantity of yogurt that way if you have a large cloth.

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    • This is what my newly aquired indian cook book recommends.

      It seriously confused me at first because I've always used greek or "greek style" yogurt in cooking anyway (seems to be the only way to get unflavoured stuff here) so I couldn't imagine what good draining it would do. Until I googled the process and found out you're supposed to start with runnier yogurt!

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  5. Brilliant idea! I make yogurt almost weekly. Will definitely try this. The whey can be used in cooking and to make pickles, sauerkraut, soak grains etc. Not sure I could drink it straight either :)

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  6. I've been making Greek yogurt with a cloth napkin and a colander. I place the napkin in the colander and fill with yogurt. I use White Mountain Bulgarian yogurt because it's a local company for me and comes in glass (I don't like my food to sit in plastic.) Folding up the corners of the napkin creates a little bag of yogurt. I carefully twist the folded corners around each other to wring the excess whey out. Next, I leave it in the colander (over a bowl)in the fridge for a few hours and when it's done, scrape the yogurt off the cloth. It can actually get VERY thick this way if you let it drain for too long.

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  7. lol I always used a piece of fabric that I tied over the sink. This seems much more sanitary.

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  8. I make yogurt about every other week. To thicken it- and make it more like a Greek yogurt/ custard consistency all you have to do is add nonfat dry milk. I add about 2-2 1/2 cups of drymilk per 1 gallon of yogurt.

    And you don't need to buy a yogurt maker to do it either- you have all the tools at home already.

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  9. The "yellowish liquid" is whey. It has a variety of uses, such as in making sauerkraut or ricotta cheese.

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  10. OBH you're blowing my mind! People make yogurt? Whaaaat? Had to google it, and now I need to make it! : )

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  11. You can also use cheese cloth, available at most grocery and culinary stores.

    Here's a question: I'm mostly vegan and non-dairy greek yogurt does not seem to be available anywhere. This is one of the few things that is making me hold out on becoming completely vegan. Does anyone know if this can be done with soy,coconut, or almond yogurt? Sometimes the non-dairy varieties don't perform the same as dairy yogurt. Just wondering.

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    • I imagine it depends on readily these products separate.

      You know how when you scoop out yogurt from a container but leave a depression in the middle, and the whey puddles in the hole?

      Does any of the yogurts you mentioned do that? If so, you could thicken it in this matter.

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  12. You can also mix the whey with water and feed it to your tomato plants!

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  13. I make yogurt every week. Aside from my starter culture, I use milk plus skim milk powder (I think the American equivalent is dry non fat milk?). It makes fantastic yogurt that's really thick. The ratio is about 50g (1/3cup) per litre (or roughly a quart?).
    Also, if you're using a packet mix and the company advises against adding milk powder to it, they're full of crap (and want to sell more packet mix).

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