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How to Substitute Yogurt for Oil

by Aline Lindemann, studioD

When you want to cut the fat in home made foods without compromising flavor and texture, use yogurt. Oil acts as a barrier in baked goods making flour less able to absorb moisture, and yogurt does the same thing. Yogurt is a superstar substitute for some of the oil that you usually use in home baked quick breads, cookies, cakes and brownies. You can also use yogurt the next time you make a savory chicken dinner or a salad, as yogurt tenderizes the meat and contains less fat than oil-based marinades and dressings.

Consider the kind of yogurt you plan to use; plain is best if you aim to make a product that is as close as possible to the intended flavor. If you use flavored yogurt, you might need to leave out some of the sugar. Otherwise, you'll add sweetness to your recipe that will alter the taste of the finished product.

Open the yogurt. If water pools on the surface, skim it off with a spoon or strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth for 20 minutes to remove excess water. Excess water in the yogurt can result in excess moisture in your baked foods, which might affect the texture and baking time.

Consider the recipe you plan to make; if the ingredients and method are unfamiliar, be conservative as you calculate your substitution ratio. Not all recipes can tolerate a drastic alteration. Cut the amount of oil by one-third. For example, if your recipe calls for one cup of oil, use two-thirds of a cup of oil and one-third cup yogurt. Next time, substitute half of the oil with yogurt and see which one you like best.

When baking with a marinade, substitute yogurt for oil, toss meat with the yogurt mixture and bake as you normally would. To use in a salad dressing, replace oil with Greek yogurt for a creamy dressing that is higher in calcium and lower in fat than oil-based dressings.

Items you will need
  •  Measuring cups
  •  Cheesecloth


  • Greek yogurt is thicker than regular plain yogurt. It is also higher in protein and has a tangier taste than plain yogurt.

About the Author

Aline Lindemann is a health, food and travel writer. She has also worked as a social worker, preschool teacher and art educator. Lindemann holds a Master of Liberal Studies in culture, health and creative nonfiction writing from Arizona State University.

Photo Credits

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