Lots of foods can benefit from the rich, creamy tang of a spoonful of yogurt.

The yogurt section in the grocery store seems to grow larger by the day, and for good reason: This sweet, creamy snack is filled with energizing protein and nourishing probiotics that make it the perfect breakfast, lunch, or afternoon snack. But there are many more delicious uses for yogurt beyond spooning it out of the container and into your mouth. Read on to discover five genius ways to cook with yogurt.

1. Baked Goods

Yogurt lends itself beautifully to breads, biscuits, muffins, and cakes, providing a slight tanginess and a light, fluffy texture. You can substitute yogurt for several dairy products like sour cream and kefir in many recipes, or bake up a recipe that specifically uses yogurt. If a recipe calls for regular yogurt and you have Greek, thin it out with some water. Or if it calls for Greek yogurt and you have regular, simply strain out some of the liquid.

Fresh Salmon Burgers with Lemon-Yogurt Sauce
Credit: Allrecipes

2. Marinades, Dressings, and Sauces

Marinating meat or poultry in yogurt tenderizes the protein much more gently than a more acidic vinegar-based marinade, plus yields a cooked piece of meat that's crispy but not tough or chewy. What's more, a tangy yogurt dressing or sauce perfectly balances out a spicy or slightly bitter dish when drizzled over before eating. Yogurt can also be a lighter and healthier replacement for mayonnaise in dishes like potato salad, egg salad, and coleslaw.

3. Frozen Yogurt

Take your favorite flavor of yogurt from sweet treat to showstopping dessert by using it to make frozen yogurt. Most recipes call for freezing in an ice cream maker, but if you don't have one you can still make frozen yogurt easily. Simply spread your mixture in a loaf pan or other baking dish, place it in the freezer, and stir it every 30 to 45 minutes until it's frozen, about 3 or 4 hours. Homemade frozen yogurt tends to freeze quite hard, so let it thaw for a minute or two before savoring.

Tzatziki Sauce (Yogurt and Cucumber Dip)
Credit: CC<3's2bake

4. Dips

Yogurt is a tasty base for both sweet dips for fruit and savory dips for crackers and crudités. It can be a healthy substitute for sour cream in any dip recipe, and can also be added to favorites like guacamole, hummus, or spinach and artichoke dip to lighten up the dish and add some tang. For savory dips stick with plain Greek yogurt (the thicker texture clings better to veggie sticks), while flavored regular yogurts can be used in sweet ones, if you prefer.

Traditional Homemade Yogurt
Credit: Chef Jackie

5. Soups

If you've ever sat down to enjoy a bowl of creamy pumpkin, carrot, pea, or lentil soup and felt like something was missing, there's a good chance a dollop of yogurt is all you need. Spooning some plain Greek yogurt on top of a bowl of warm, silky soup before eating balances out the rich, savory flavors with cold, tangy freshness. Plus, it adds another good-for-you ingredient to the dish. In addition to being a beautiful garnish for hot soups, stews, and chilis, yogurt can also be the base for chilled soups.

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