17 Recipes Using Plain Yogurt to Its Full Potential

chicken tikka masala over black beans
Photo: Aja

If you buy plain yogurt only to top it with berries and honey, you're missing out on all the ways you can (and should) use it! From marinating meat to making baked goods extra moist, this versatile fermented food will come in handy even more than sour cream or mayonnaise. Need proof? Just check these 17 recipes using plain yogurt.

01 of 17

Good Frickin' Paprika Chicken

paprika chicken on a blue plate with potatoes and greens
Valerie Brunmeier

Coated in yogurt, olive oil, garlic, and spices, chicken marinates for three hours before getting a coat of a vinegar-based sauce for unbeatable zing.

02 of 17

Cranberry Waldorf with Yogurt

cranberry waldorf salad in a white bowl

Though this recipe calls for vanilla yogurt, many reviewers prefer it with plain. Chopped cranberries, red apple, raisins, and green grapes provide plenty of sweetness.

03 of 17

Yogurt Chocolate Chip Cookies

chocolate chip cookies on a baking rack

This smart recipe replaces eggs with yogurt, resulting in nicely crispy cookies that average five-star reviews from our home cooks.

04 of 17

Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala

chicken tikka masala over black beans

Yogurt cools down the spiciness of Authentic Chicken Tikka Masala and thickens the curry. Serve it with naan for dipping so that none of the delicious sauce goes to waste.

05 of 17

Zucchini Yogurt Multigrain Muffins

Zucchini Yogurt Multigrain Muffins on a tray with teacups

Zucchini, carrots, applesauce, and yogurt make these muffins healthy, moist, and (surprise!) kid approved. Recipe creator CARINAB created this recipe to convince a "picky toddler to eat her vegetables."

06 of 17

Easy Cold Cucumber Soup

cucumber soup garnished with herbs in a blue bowl

Sour cream teams up with yogurt to thicken this cucumber soup, while lending it a cool, refreshing flavor.

07 of 17

Easy Yogurt Cake

slice of cake on a white plate with cake in the background
Diana Moutsopoulos

"This is an easy yogurt cake that uses the yogurt container to measure all of the ingredients," Allrecipes editor Diana Moutsopoulos says. "It's ready in under an hour and the perfect not-too-sweet snack or breakfast treat. It's known in France as 'Gâteau au Yaourt' and is typically the first cake that French children learn how to make."

08 of 17

Chef John's Turkey Burger

turkey burger with tomato and red onion on a bun
Holiday Baker

Chef John's Turkey Burger recipe incorporates plain yogurt, lemon juice, bread crumbs, ground almonds, and seasoning for a well-balanced burger that happens to be low in fat.

09 of 17

Blueberry Almond Pancakes

blueberry pancakes shaped like hearts

Yogurt and blueberries both lend a tartness to fluffy pancake that's made even better with a drizzle of maple syrup.

10 of 17

Shish Tawook Grilled Chicken

chicken shish kabobs
Holiday Baker

"These are served in every restaurant in the Middle East," recipe submitter Noor says. "Yogurt is a meat tenderizer." The shish kabobs need a few hours to marinate to soak up the yogurt and seasonings, but it's well worth the wait.

  • 15 Ways the World Does Grilled Kabobs and Skewers
11 of 17

Bobra's Banana Bread

sliced banana bread on a plate
Melissa Goff

"My Aunt Bobra's famous banana bread recipe. This recipe took her years to get just right," home cook Rachel Ziefle says. We'll bet adding yogurt to the batter helped.

12 of 17

GG's Bulgur Salad

salad with bulgur wheat, lettuce, cheese, dried cranberries
Baking Nana

A yogurt, lemon, and honey dressing coats this light but substantial bulgur wheat salad. Muenster cheese, slivered almonds, pitted dates, and apples add satisfying textures.

13 of 17

Grilled Lemon and Rosemary Lamb Chops

grilled lamb chop on a plate with rice and asparagus

"These grilled lamb chops are inspired by both Italian and Indian cooking," recipe creator Chef John says. "The yogurt-based marinade includes aromatic spices like cinnamon, oregano, and rosemary."

14 of 17

Ground Beef Enchiladas

casserole dish of enchiladas on stovetop
Andy Greene

Sour cream, who? This baked enchilada casserole can credit its superb creaminess to yogurt, condensed cream of chicken soup, and mozzarella cheese.

15 of 17

Best Tarragon Chicken Salad

tarragon chicken salad with lettuce on a white plate

Coat chicken with plain yogurt and a teaspoon of mayonnaise, and you won't miss all the mayo that the typical chicken salad calls for. "It was a nice change of pace from the fruity chicken salads I usually make, and I liked the yogurt more than I thought I would," Allrecipes Allstar Tammy Lynn says.

16 of 17

Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari)

indian chicken curry with yogurt sauce, rice, and naan
John W

Add yogurt to this Indian Chicken Curry (Murgh Kari) while it's cooking to achieve its silky sauce. If you have yogurt to spare, you can even make our recipe for Cucumber-Cilantro Raita (Yogurt) to spoon on top of the dish when you serve it.

17 of 17

Turkey-Lentil Chili

Turkey-Lentil Chili in two navy blue bowls

While our healthy, hearty Turkey-Lentil Chili doesn't actually contain yogurt, serving bowls of it with a dollop of plain yogurt adds a complementary tang.

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