Beyond Eating Yogurt Straight from the Carton: 9 Delicious Recipes

A carton of yogurt can be used in several recipes

Author: Alice Henneman, MS, RDN, UNL Extension in Lancaster County

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend individuals consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. Children 2 to 8 years of age should consume 2 cups per day and children 9 years of age and older should consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. (NOTE: If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.)

Low-fat dairy products may help with weight management, high blood pressure control and bone health. According to the American Dietetic Association, yogurt with "active" cultures may be tolerated by some people with lactose intolerance. 

One cup of yogurt, considered equal to a one-cup serving of milk, is a delicious way to add dairy group servings throughout the day. If you thought the only way to eat yogurt was out of a carton, think again! From dips to salad dressings to desserts and almost anywhere in-between, there are other ways to eat your yogurt. Here are some recipe ideas to get you started.

Yogurt is available in several forms, including low-fat, non-fat and a choice of yogurt sweetened by a no calorie sweetener. Choose the type you prefer for the following 9 recipes.

Fruit Mueslifruit muesli

A Swiss doctor, Maximilian Bircher-Benner, invented muesli in the late 19th Century for patients in his hospital. The original muesli was made with uncooked rolled oats, grated apple, milk, lemon juice and nuts. It was served at breakfast as a protection against a variety of illnesses. Today, muesli is still associated with healthy eating with many different recipes and variations available.

Cool and creamy—stir up a bowl of muesli the night before and enjoy as a quick, nourishing breakfast in the morning!

Ingredients Per Serving:

  • 1/2 cup oatmeal, quick or old-fashioned, uncooked (also called "rolled oats")
  • 1/2 cup orange juice or apple juice
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, vanilla or plain*
  • 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, sliced strawberries, coarsely chopped peaches, etc.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon chopped almonds

* You may wish to add 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar or equivalent amount of no calorie sweetener if using plain yogurt.


  1. Mix all ingredients, except almonds. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Serve topped with almonds.


  1. The following raw fruits may turn brown overnight and are best added just before serving: apples, pears, bananas and peaches.
  2. Create your own version of muesli by adding different nuts, fruits, spices, dried fruits, flavors of yogurt, etc.

Spiced Honey Yogurt Fruit Salad Dressinghoney yougurt fruit dressing

(Makes enough dressing for 1 cup of fruit—1 to 2 fruit salad servings)

This recipe is easy to double, triple or even quadruple!

Ingredients Per 1 Cup of Fruit:

  • 1/4 cup low-fat or fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped or sliced fruit (oranges, apples, pear, grapes, kiwi, strawberries, etc.)


  1. Mix yogurt, honey and cinnamon until well-blended.
  2. Add fruit to dressing and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for about a half-hour before serving to allow flavors to blend.

Strawberry Yogurt Shakestrawberry yogurt shake

Makes 2 servings

Shh! Don't tell anyone this shake is "good-for-you!" And all for under 150 calories!

  • 1/2 cup un-sweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1-1/2 cups frozen, un-sweetened strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar


  1. Add ingredients, in order listed, to blender container.
  2. Puree at medium speed, until thick and smooth.

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving: Calories, 136; Fiber, 2.6 g; Cholesterol, 4 mg; Sodium, 63 mg.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  1. If you usually don't drink pineapple juice, buy a carton of the 6-ounce cans of pineapple juice rather than a larger container. You'll be ready to make this treat whenever you like! You may have a few tablespoons of juice left in the 6-ounce can when making this recipe -- just add it an open container of juice, such as orange juice, in the refrigerator.
  2. Any extra shake may be poured into popsicle molds and frozen for later enjoyment. Or make an extra shake just for the purpose of making popsicles!
  3. A no calorie sweetener can be substituted for the sugar in this recipe.
  4. If you make half this recipe, be aware a large blender that is wide at the bottom may not thoroughly mix the shake. Rather, the ingredients may just spin around the bottom. If you have problems making single-serving shakes and smoothies, you may need to purchase a smaller blender that is narrow at the bottom.

Orange Honey Fruit Dip

You can blend equal portions of ricotta cheese and yogurt in a blender or food processor until smooth to make a base for dips. For fruit dips, consider using vanilla-flavored or other type of flavored yogurt. Allow dips to chill for at least a half hour for flavors to blend. Here's a fruit dip made with yogurt and ricotta cheese for you to sample.

  • 1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or blender until smooth. Cover and chill for at least a half hour before serving to allow flavors to blend. Serve with an assortment of fresh fruit.


  1. Keep cut fruits, such as apples, pears, bananas and peaches, from turning brown by coating them with an acidic juice such as lemon, orange or pineapple juice. Or use a commercial anti-darkening preparation with fruits, such as Ever-Fresh (TM) or Fruit-Fresh (R), and follow the manufacturer's directions. Cut fruits as close to serving time as possible.
  2. Cover and refrigerate cut fruit until ready to serve. Avoid leaving cut fruit at room temperature for more than two hours.

Peach-Raspberry Smoothiepeach raspberry smoothie

(Serves 1)

Three common ingredients, unlimited variations and full of healthy fruits and calcium-rich yogurt! This smoothie recipe, courtesy of the National Cancer Institute's Eat 5 to 9 A Day program, may become your favorite, too! 

  • 1 cup un-sweetened, frozen raspberries
  • 3/4 cup 100% orange juice (if you use frozen juice, don't forget to dilute first)
  • 1/2 cup fruit-flavored, low-fat yogurt (try peach)

DIRECTIONS: Blend all ingredients well in blender, and drink!


  • Frozen strawberries, blueberries, mixed berries, mango, or peaches
  • Pineapple juice, orange-tangerine juice, and other 100 percent juice blends
  • Different yogurt flavors


  1. Using frozen fruits helps thicken the smoothie. To freeze fresh berries, wash them thoroughly under running tap water, pat dry with clean paper towels and freeze in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Transfer to a freezer bag when frozen. Pour out as needed.

Yogurt Salad Dressingyogurt dressing on salad

Makes 8 servings. Serving size: 2 tablespoons.

Try it, you'll like it! The mayonnaise gives a nice creamy texture to the yogurt. The herbs and lemon juice add a delicious burst of flavor.

  • 8 ounces plain yogurt, fat-free
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, fat-free
  • 2 tablespoons chives, dried
  • 2 tablespoons dill, dried
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients in bowl and refrigerate, covered.

Nutrition analysis per serving: Calories: 23; Sodium: 84 mg; Total fat:
0 g; Calcium: 72 mg; Saturated fat: 0 g; Magnesium: 10 mg; Cholesterol
1 mg; Potassium: 104 mg; Fiber: 0 g

Source: Courtesy of National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute - DASH recipes


  1. I think this recipe tastes best if eaten the day it's made. Try to allow it to chill at least a half-hour in the refrigerator to let the flavors blend. This recipe is easy to modify to make a smaller quantity if you won't eat this much at one time.
  2. Besides using this recipe for a salad dressing, try it for a dip. If your dressing seems a little thick, thin with a tablespoon or so of water.
  3. At times when I haven't had any lemon juice on hand for this dressing, I have used an equal amount of white wine vinegar with satisfactory results.

Fantastic Fruit Parfaitfruit ;parfait with cereal

We're tired, there's no one else to fix dinner for tonight and all we feel like doing is pouring out a bowl of cereal.

But, wait! Take an extra 5 minutes and fix this luscious parfait, full of foods from 3 of the 5 food groups.

No need to get out your recipe book. Forget about the measuring cups and spoons. Just layer yogurt, low-fat granola and fruit in whatever proportions you'd like. Add some nuts and you've included a 4th food group. A sprig of mint is optional!

And there's no sink full of dishes!

(It's OK to eat this for other meals besides dinner, including breakfast!)

Fruit Slush

Serves: 4 people

  • 3 cups frozen fruit (such as frozen strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or melon)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup fat-free milk or nonfat plain yogurt

    fruit slush

  • Sweetener as needed: about 1-3 tablespoons sugar or the equivalent in artificial sweetener

DIRECTIONS: Blend first three ingredients until smooth. Sweeten to taste.

Source: Courtesy of the National Cancer Institute


  1. This is a great recipe for using up odds and ends of frozen fruit. The slush in the picture includes raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
  2. It may be difficult to blend very large frozen strawberries in some blenders. You may be more successful if you thaw the strawberries slightly until you can cut them into smaller pieces.
  3. This slush is best if served immediately. It makes a great dessert and can be quickly assembled just before serving.

Cocoa-Berry Yogurt Tartscocoa berry yogurt dessert in goblet iwthout the tart shell

Makes 6 servings       Prep time: 10 minutes

Recipe courtesy of of Nat'l. Dairy Council and provided by Jennifer Meyer, Program Director, Dairy Council of Nebraska.

Cocoa-Berry Yogurt mixture also can be served without the tart shell

  • 1 1/2 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced fat ricotta cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons un-sweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 graham cracker tart shells
  • 3/4 cup strawberries, sliced (raspberries or blueberries can also be used)

DIRECTIONS: Mix yogurt, ricotta, sugar and cocoa powder thoroughly with whisk until creamy. Spoon 1/6 mixture into each tart shell and top with sliced strawberries.

Nutritional Facts Per Serving: Calories: 260; Total Fat: 9 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Cholesterol: 20 mg; Sodium: 250 mg; Calcium: 20% Daily Value; Protein: 9 g; Carbohydrates: 37 g; Dietary Fiber: 3 g


  1. This recipe also tastes delicious spooned directly into a serving dish and topped with berries. Dress it up for an elegant meal by serving it in a fancy glass!
  2. If you have extra ricotta cheese after making this recipe, you can blend equal portions of ricotta cheese and yogurt in a blender or food processor until smooth to make a base for dips.

Special thanks to Jennifer Meyer, RD, LMNT, Program Director, Dairy Council of Nebraska, for her help with this article.