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How to Thicken Yogurt Sauce (7 Ways)

More often than not, many cooks run into a problem when thickening yogurt sauce. That balance between a perfect thickness and a bad one isn’t something developed overnight. If you wanna thicken yogurt sauce you can try straining the yogurt or adding a thickening agent such as cornstarch or flour. These are only a few popular one’s. I’ll show you many more ways on how to thicken yogurt sauce and give you tips to make a yummy sauces.

What is Yogurt Sauce?

Yogurt sauce is a versatile condiment made by combining yogurt with herbs, spices, and other flavorings. Typically featuring ingredients like minced garlic, fresh herbs, and lemon juice, it offers a creamy and tangy accompaniment. This sauce serves as a topping for dishes such as grilled meats and falafel or as a dressing for salads.

Is Runny Yogurt Safe to Eat?

The good news is that it’s usually safe, but the texture may be different due to many factors, like how it was stored, how long it has been in the fridge, and its age. Although runny yogurt can be safe, it’s important to check for any signs of spoilage before eating it. If it smells strange, has mold, or tastes off, it’s best to throw it away.

What to Do with Yogurt that Didn’t Set?

If you’ve ever made homemade yogurt that didn’t set properly, you may feel like you’ve wasted your time and ingredients. However, there are ways to save your runny yogurt and turn it back into a versatile ingredient.

1. Use it as a Spread

Using runny yogurt as a spread is a healthy and delicious alternative to conventional spreads like butter or cream cheese. Runny yogurt is easy to spread on bread, bagels, or toast, adding a tangy flavor to your breakfast or snack. You can also mix in some herbs or spices to create a flavorful yogurt spread. It’s even rich in probiotics, which are beneficial for gut health and digestion. 

2. Make a Dip

It’ll make for a tasty and refreshing dip that can be enjoyed with fresh fruits, vegetables, or pita chips. Its tangy and creamy texture will also add a unique twist to your snack, making it a fun alternative to traditional dips like ranch or sour cream. You can even experiment with different herbs and spices to create a personalized flavor.

3. Use it in Smoothies

You can even add it to your smoothies for a creamy and tangy texture. It’s a tasty alternative to using ice cream or milk, and it can give your smoothie a unique flavor. You can also mix it with various fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients to create a customized and delicious smoothie.

4. Use it in Baking

It’s a delicious and unique alternative to traditional dairy products you’ll usually use in baking, like butter or sour cream. Whether you’re making muffins, cakes, or bread, runny yogurt can add a moist and tender texture to your baked goods.  

Ways to Thicken Yogurt Sauce

Adjust Your Milk

One effective way to thicken yogurt sauce is by adjusting the milk content. This is because milk contains proteins that can bind with the proteins in yogurt and thicken the sauce.

The type of milk and yogurt is also just as important. Choosing a high-fat yogurt like Greek yogurt will create the base thickening for the sauce. Using whole milk or heavy cream on top of this will give you an even thicker sauce than low-fat or skim milk.

To apply this method, simply whisk the yogurt until it’s smooth, and gradually add the milk or cream while whisking constantly. Add a little bit at a time until you get a consistency you’re happy with. If you prefer a thicker sauce, add more yogurt and less milk; for a thinner sauce, add more milk and less yogurt. Allow the yogurt sauce to refrigerate for at least an hour before serving to let the flavors meld together.

Strain Through a Cheesecloth

Straining yogurt through a cheesecloth is a simple yet effective way to thicken yogurt sauce and create a creamier consistency. This method also removes excess liquid, which can make the yogurt sauce less runny and more flavorful. All you need to do is line a fine-mesh strainer with a cheesecloth and place it over a bowl.

Pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined strainer and cover it with the cheesecloth. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and allow the yogurt to strain for at least 2-3 hours or overnight for an even thicker texture.

Once the excess liquid has been drained, remove the yogurt from the cheesecloth and transfer it to a bowl. Refrigerate the yogurt sauce for at least an hour before serving to allow the flavors to meld together.

Increase the Fat Content

One way to thicken your yogurt sauce is by increasing the fat content. This can be done by using full-fat yogurt instead of low-fat or non-fat yogurt. The higher fat content in full-fat yogurt makes it thicker and creamier, which is ideal for a yogurt sauce.

Another way to increase the fat content is by adding a fat source such as olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil to the yogurt sauce. These oils not only add fat but also flavor to the sauce.

You can also use other heavy-fat dairy products, such as sour cream or cream cheese. These products actually have a higher fat content than yogurt, which can make it even thicker. However, they also have a different flavor profile than yogurt, so keep this in mind if you do decide to use them.

Add a Thickener

Adding any thickening agent, in general, will help to increase the viscosity of the sauce, creating a thicker and creamier consistency. There are several common thickening agents that you’ll wanna consider, but be mindful, of course, of how they work.

When using a thickening agent, adding it slowly and stirring constantly is important to prevent lumps from forming. You may also need to adjust the seasoning of your sauce to account for the added thickness. 

Cornstarch is a very popular thickening agent that’s easy to use, as all you need to do is create a slurry and add it to the dish gradually and while stirring. Flour is another common thickening agent that also only needs a slurry to be used effectively.

Gelatin is a protein-based thickener that also requires a slurry. This gelatin will thicken the sauce as it cools. Xanthan gum is a great natural thickening agent often used in gluten-free cooking. Now, this one can be added directly to your yogurt sauce and thicken it quickly. However, be careful not to add too much, as it can make the sauce too thick and gummy. 

Heat the Milk Longer

Heating milk in a saucepan over medium heat is an effective way to thicken your yogurt sauce. Constant stirring prevents scorching and ensures even heating. As the proteins in the milk denature and coagulate, the liquid thickens, forming a skin on the surface. Experiment with different heating times to achieve your preferred consistency.

Once the milk thickens, remove it from heat, let it cool, and add a yogurt starter. Stir well, cover the mixture, and let it sit at room temperature for several hours or overnight until it thickens and develops a tangy flavor.

Add Dry Milk Powder

Adding dry milk powder to your yogurt sauce is another easy way to thicken it. Milk powder is made by removing the water from milk, leaving behind the milk solids. When added to yogurt, the milk powder increases the protein content, helping to thicken the sauce.

Just start by adding a tablespoon of milk powder to a cup of yogurt. Mix well to combine, and let the mixture sit for a few minutes to allow the milk powder to dissolve. If the sauce is still not thick enough, add another tablespoon of milk powder and repeat the process until you reach the desired consistency.

Chill It in The Freezer

If you’re looking for a very quick way to thicken your yogurt sauce, then just freeze it in your freezer. When exposed to cold temperatures, yogurt freezes and becomes more viscous. Just freeze your yogurt sauce in a sealed container for several hours, then let it thaw slightly and stir vigorously until smooth. The longer you freeze it, the thicker it becomes.


How do you thicken yogurt salad dressing?

To thicken yogurt salad dressing, consider using Greek yogurt for a creamier texture or strain regular yogurt through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth in the refrigerator. You could also create a slurry by mixing cornstarch or arrowroot powder with water, heat it gently, and stir into the dressing.

How to thicken coconut yogurt tzatziki sauce?

To thicken coconut yogurt tzatziki sauce, strain the yogurt by placing it in a sieve or cheesecloth in the refrigerator. You can also add a small amount of cornstarch or arrowroot powder as a thickening agent, creating a slurry and gently heating it until it thickens. For added richness, incorporate coconut cream into the tzatziki sauce. Adjust quantities to achieve the desired thickness.

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