Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

From Greek style to Icelandic, here's your guide to navigating the ever expanding yogurt aisle. 

September 01, 2017

Walking through the yogurt section of your grocery store can be intimidating. Greek yogurt in nonfat, 2%, and full fat, French yogurts in little glass jars, and bottles of drinkable yogurts all offer different ingredient lists, nutrition facts, and health claims. 

So what's the difference between all of these yogurt varieties? Are things like kefir and Labneh even yogurts at all? We have your answers. These are all the yogurt varieties you should know, in order of creamiest to most drinkable.  

Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez

Labneh 

Labneh is the thickest yogurt variety, and one of the lesser popular ones in the United States. The spreadable yogurt is strained until virtually no liquid can be removed and is closer to a cream cheese or sour cream consistency. The cheese-like-yogurt is widely enjoyed in Middle Eastern cuisine as a dip or sandwich spread. 

Photo: Yoplait

French

Yoplait recently made French yogurt mainstream in America with the release of Oui yogurt products. Though also strained, the result is a little bit looser than Labneh, but still thicker than others. The real difference French yogurt brings to the table is it's made in individual, small batches. French yogurt typically boasts no additives, because it's made in the container you eat it from, and has an almost buttery texture. 

Photo: Kelsey Hansen

Icelandic 

Also know as Skyr (pronounced Skeer), Icelandic yogurt is typically a fat-free, strained yogurt that is made from nearly 4 times the amount of milk as traditional yogurt. This variety uses cultures specific to Skyr, and because it's strained more than Greek yogurt, it typically has less sugar and more protein. The consistency is creamier than Greek, and many find the flavor to be less tart. 

Greek

The most popular of the yogurt varieties, Greek yogurt, is strained enough that most of the whey is removed. This produces a thicker yogurt, that holds up really well when cooked or mixed into a dip. Greek varieties use 3 times the amount of milk compared to regular yogurt, and it has twice as much protein.  

Courtesy of Noosa.

Australian

This unstrained yogurt is a little bit richer and creamier than the traditional kind. Most varieties use whole milk and gelatin or cook nonfat slowly to reach optimal richness. Typically sweetened with honey, Australian yogurts are slowly becoming more common in the US. 

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Traditional

The traditional stuff is what you probably grew up eating, and that's because it's old-school American yogurt. This type is unstrained yogurt, and usually contains less saturated fat, less protein, and more sodium and carbohydrates compared to Greek yogurt. 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Kefir

Though not technically "yogurt" this fermented milk beverage is made similarly but with different cultures. The drink gets its signature fizzy flavor from the probiotic colonies, which may make it a little less palatable for those seeking a traditional yogurt.