Imagine this worst case scenario. You’ve whipped up a few yogurt breakfast recipes over the span of a week, but then you’re stuck with an awkward amount of leftover Greek yogurt in your fridge. It's not even a sufficient amount to prepare a decent yogurt parfait, but it’s definitely more than you’d want to just throw into the trash. It turns out there are lots of ways to use leftover Greek yogurt, so whatever you do, don’t be quick to toss your leftover yogurt in the garbage. Leftover Greek yogurt can be used to cut calories and slash fat from salad dressings and pasta sauces. Yogurt is also something of a superhero of the dairy aisle, chockful of health benefits—from high amounts of protein that keep you feeling full longer to probiotics to boost your immune system.
Given all of the good stuff, there’s no reason not to buy Greek yogurt in bulk, especially if you’re trying to maintain a healthy diet. Besides, those 32-ounce tubs are more economical and environmentally friendly than the single serving containers that somehow disappear quicker than you think they will. That higher risk for food waste when you buy those big containers of yogurt is real, but it shouldn’t deter you since it’s totally preventable, especially if you know what to do with your leftovers.
Here are 10 smart ways to use whatever amount of leftover Greek yogurt remains in your fridge—whether that’s as much as ½ cup or as little as one tablespoon.
Make more yogurt
It’s ridiculously easy to make yogurt at home with a few simple steps, but you need a starter to culture the milk. Luckily, you have leftover yogurt to do the trick. Start working on a batch of DIY yogurt tonight, and eat for homemade yogurt for breakfast tomorrow.
Make creamier grilled cheese sandwiches
You google “how to make the best grilled cheese” multiple times a year, but there’s only one rule you need to know: add yogurt. Really. A thick layer of Greek yogurt provides any and every grilled cheese sandwich with the creamiest texture of your wildest dreams.
Freeze some yogurt
You don’t need an ice cream machine to savor a sweet frozen treat. Stir peanut butter, cocoa powder, or your favorite jam or jelly into a bowl of yogurt and freeze for an hour, then devour. Or pour the newly-flavored yogurt into a piping bag (or Ziploc bag with a corner cut off) and squeeze dots onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 30 minutes, and pop frozen yogurt dots like they’re going out of style.
When you’re making smoothies on a budget, not a dollop of yogurt should get left behind. Add a ton of protein to your post-workout shakes and smoothies with a tablespoon or two of Greek yogurt instead of packing your blender with protein powder, milk, or ice-cream. If you’re striving for social media fame, dump your smoothie in a bowl and swirl in yogurt for the perfect #smoothiebowl Instagram.
The next time you boil a big ol’ pot of pasta, forget the heavy cream, and use yogurt for the sauce. Oodles of noodles with Greek-yogurt pasta sauce will never leave you feeling weighed down, even after several servings.
Make toast with the most
The world doesn’t need another version of the ever-so-exhausted healthy avocado toast. And you don’t have to dish out $9 for tasty toast at a chic coffee shop. Forget butter. Forget avocado. Forget everything you know and make your own yogurt toast at home. Spread a tablespoon on a slab of bread and top with fruit and spices. A personal favorite: multigrain seeded toast, yogurt, mango, chili powder, and lime zest.
Swap in cakes and bakes
You’re baking sweet treats, but you don’t have oil, buttermilk, butter, cream cheese, or eggs. Don’t sweat it. It’s a simple swap to substitute fats with Greek yogurt. If the batter seems too dry, add a bit more.
Mix up salad dressing
A spoonful of yogurt is the secret to creamy homemade salad dressings. Because of the similar consistency, Greek yogurt acts as the perfect substitute for eggs in any classic Caesar salad dressing, and it adds extra tang.
Use for toppings
Creamy, tart yogurt is the perfect topping for latkes, tacos, baked potatoes, and curries—even pancakes. Yes, savory pancakes like carrot pancakes, sweet potato pancakes, and chickpea pancakes. (Sorry, maple syrup.) Take it an extra step further by mixing the yogurt—if you have about a ¼ cup left—into the batter for great Greek yogurt pancakes.
Substitutes for egg salad
Replace mayo with yogurt in your favorite egg salad recipe to cut down on calories and fat. It adds an extra punch of protein. It’s not just the perfect companion for bread, but yogurt egg salad is also the perfect dip for crackers and filling for leafy greens.