Where Has This Nutty, Creamy Yogurt Flavor Been All Our Lives?

April  5, 2018

I remember one time, when I was little, begging my mom for whipped strawberry yogurt in the supermarket. I can’t remember the year or the brand—early 2000s? Yoplait Whips?—but I remember wanting it—please, please—because I saw a commercial and it looked like yogurt meets mousse meets cloud meets heaven. My mom obliged. I suspect because she already knew: one spoonful and I’d hate it and never ask again, which, of course, is exactly what happened.

I just don’t like fruity yogurt. A bummer, since fruit is the go-to flavor in the U.S. Out of Yoplait’s current 20 flavors for original yogurt (as opposed to Whips or Light), 18 are fruity. And then there’s fruit on the bottom or the side. It’s also a bummer because I love fruit and I love yogurt. But I don’t like all the added sugar and flavorings and colorings.

The solution is simple, of course: Just buy plain yogurt and add fresh fruit, or fruit purée, or jam, either on top or bottom, alongside or swirled in. Easy. Our co-founder Merrill Stubbs wrote about making fruit yogurt (from scratch!) for her daughter, Clara, in 2012. And a few years later, Caroline Lange wrote about vegetable yogurts and how to gussy ’em up. Carrot yogurt? Give it here. Parsnip yogurt? Why not!

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Then I stumbled upon another type of yogurt. It’s flavored, but not with produce. And, chances are, you’ve been sprinkling this ingredient on your yogurt for years: nuts. Missy Robbins writes all about this in her book Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner...Life: “Nut yogurts are not something we often see in the States and it was revelatory to me. Nutty, earthy, tangy, and slightly sweet.” She tried the flavor in Italy—a commercial product that was actually made in Germany. And largely unavailable across the sea. “When I came home I looked high and low for it and couldn’t find it anywhere, so I came up with this recreation.”

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Top Comment:
“Like other commenters, I like to add nuts and/or nut butter to yoghurt, but savory yoghurt? No, thank you!”
— FS

Robbins combines 1 quart Greek yogurt with 2 cups toasted, skinned hazelnuts, plus some hazelnut oil and honey. Buzz all this in a blender until smooth, then done! “If you’re not using it all right away,” she writes, “store the yogurt in a tightly sealed container in the fridge to enjoy all week.” We can do that.

Breakfast of champions. Photo by Ty Mecham

At her Brooklyn restaurant, she does another iteration. Different nut, totally different context: “I do a savory walnut one that has been on the menu with scallops since day one at Lilia,” she wrote me. “It’s got lemon, garlic and anchovies in it as well.” (Adds to to-do list.)

I riffed on the recipe to use pecans instead of hazelnuts, maple syrup instead of honey. But there are also cashews, walnuts, and pistachios, sorghum, molasses, and brown sugar. I lowered the amount of sweetener, to taste—you could lower it again, lose it altogether, or increase it. You tell me. You are the ruler of your nut yogurt! I dropped the hazelnut oil—that’s not a pantry staple for me and it felt unnecessary—but if you have any nut oil on hand, a tablespoon or two will bump up the flavor and richness.

What you don’t want to change is the Greek yogurt. Adding nuts significantly thins the yogurt. If you start with unstrained, it will turn out extra runny. You also don’t want to use a food processor instead of a blender. I tried this and the machine’s wider surface area left the yogurt gritty and nubby. Not the worst thing in the world, but the blender will give you a smoother, silkier result. And while I love whole-milk yogurt for a lot of—even most!—recipes, the nuts here contribute enough fatty richness. Using 0% or 2% yields the right balance, to me, but see which you like best.

Robbins tops her yogurt with dried figs and a few shakes of cocoa powder. We topped our rendition with fresh figs and blackberries and blueberries and strawberries and pomegranate seeds because, well, fruit is really good with yogurt, especially whipped yogurt. Who knew?

What are your favorite yogurt mix-ins and add-ons? Let us know in the comments below!

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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    Shawn Smart Longino
  • 70&holding
  • FS
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Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.


Shawn S. April 10, 2018
some time back in the 70's I was given a bowl of yogurt topped with a handful of ground almonds and drizzled over with honey. It's been my go-to since then.
70&holding April 8, 2018
I will keep my, SOYGURT, plain! Just give me a bowl and spoon!! I do not like fruit, etc...in anything that is wet and sits for long periods of time, slimmy!! My PBJ, homemade quick bread, just nut butter and fresh fruit!! I do not like sweet soygurt!! Savory I have tried as I use it in sauces! It is, near impossible to find, plain SOYGURT, anywhere!! Anyone who knows where to find it in the Los Angeles area, pleas let me know, I like the SILK brand, willing to try others!!! Thanx in advance!raf [email protected]
FS April 8, 2018
Sweet hazelnut yoghurt is beloved in Germany, and for good reason. It's the closest thing to hazelnut ice cream, which is also a favorite there.
Like other commenters, I like to add nuts and/or nut butter to yoghurt, but savory yoghurt? No, thank you!
Monica B. April 8, 2018
Savory yogurt is delicious. Think of all the cuisines that use yogurt as a condiment or side dish--Persian, Turkish, South Indian, Russian. There is a much wider repertoire once you go down the savory side.
Monica B. April 8, 2018
So I have been doing almond butter (or lately trader Joes Mixed Nuts Butter) in my yogurt for years. Usually with some chopped apple and banana. With or without honey. No blender needed.
Sherry E. April 8, 2018
curious you mentioned TJ's mixed nut butter. did you find product on the thin side? love your idea, just add to plain yogurt?
Monica B. April 8, 2018
Definitely very thin. That is why it works in the yogurt. It is delicious in plain yogurt. I used to do sweetener but the fruit, nutbutter and yogurt combo don't need it, in my opinion.
Sherry E. April 9, 2018
wish it came in chunky, not a fan of smooth nut butters! but am intrigued to try your idea
Chris W. April 8, 2018
Love going to Italy so I can indulge in the nocciola yogurt and ice cream. Thanks for the DIY I can try on my fresh batch of homemade yogurt!
Wendy B. April 8, 2018
I have been adding chocolate chips and nuts to my bowl of any kind of yogurt for years, just never thought to blitz it up because I like to chew things. I also this that if you soak your nuts and drain them well before blitzing them, your end product could be just as creamy, with out Greek yogurt. Will have to try it.
Victoria R. April 7, 2018
I love tahini yogurt—and it’s so easy—no blending:-)
v April 7, 2018
Do you think it will work if I use coconut or almond yogurt?
Emma L. April 9, 2018
It should! Though it will be thinner if you're starting with un-strained. Coconut-pecan sounds sooo good.