A love letter to yoghurt

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A love letter to yoghurt

If you’re only using yoghurt on your breakfast, you’re missing out. There’s so much yoghurt can do, beyond acting as a base for granola. From marinades to dips and garnishes, yoghurt is truly one of the hardest-working ingredients out there. How do I love yoghurt? Let me count the ways.

Use the best

The best yoghurt for these recipes is ideally full cream and plain. Low-fat yoghurts aren’t as stable to cook with and, obviously, flavoured yoghurt would just be weird used in most savoury settings.

Quick dip

Whether it’s for an accompaniment to a packet of crisps for yourself, or something to bring out when you’ve got some friends over for drinks, yoghurt makes the best base for a quick dip. You could use it in place of any recipe that calls for sour cream – yoghurt will bring all the same tang, but won’t feel quite as heavy. While a (very) generous squeeze of sriracha, along with some salt and lemon juice, will transform yoghurt into the ultimate spicy dip, we’re also fans of leaning into the sour cream-and-onion category. Follow the instructions for the dip served alongside these blooming onions (replacing the buttermilk entirely with all yoghurt – just remember to up the acidity with a good addition of lemon juice). My current favourite dip involves whipped feta (do this in the food processor), finely chopped herbs and lemon zest, all stirred into double-thick yoghurt and topped with a drizzle of olive oil.
Get the recipe for blooming spiced onion with spring onion-and-chive yoghurt dip.


Yoghurt for marinades is hardly ground-breaking, but especially when used for chicken, it can turn a run-of-the-mill recipe into something extraordinary. We know that yoghurt has a tenderising quality, but it also helps to impart masses of flavour into whatever you’re marinating, while also helping to keep the meat juicy. Siba’s recipe below demonstrates a basic marinade, but there’s no limit to what you can add to yoghurt. Blend up any herbs you’ve got lying around or even stir some chilli paste through it – all the flavours will work their way into meat with the help of yoghurt.
Get the recipe for Siba’s butter chicken traybake here.

Lighter dressing

We already know to substitute yoghurt for sour cream or mayonnaise in some recipes, but it’s worth delving into just how great yoghurt is as a dressing all on its own. Blended with tahini, freshened up with lemon juice, or even combined with herbs into something of a green goddess, there are few salads that wouldn’t shine with this dressing.
Green goddess-style low-fat Ayrshire yoghurt dressing recipeGet the recipe for green goddess-style yoghurt dressing here.


This might seem like a no-brainer but this is a quick reminder that yoghurt is an excellent final flourish to add to soups, curries, stews or even cakes. I’ve even been known to blob seasoned yoghurt on top of a baked potato, in place of sour cream and it’s worked very well. Yoghurt will add tanginess and creaminess to a dish, without completely overpowering it, making it a perfect accompaniment for most things.

Jess Spiro Article by: Jess Spiro

Jess Spiro is a freelance food writer, chef and restaurant critic based in Cape Town, who can often be found in search of the next great plate of food. Follow her on Instagram @jess_spiro to see what she's eating.

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