Not too sweet yogurt
May 21, 2015 10:48 AM   Subscribe

While I enjoy Chobanis and other greek-style yogurt cups, they're little sugar bombs. And plain is a little too plain for me. Recommend me a brand of yogurt that is less sweet (lower sugar but not artificially sweetened) and comes in single-serve cups.

I've tried enjoying plain yogurt, but I just can't do plain Greek-style, it's too strong and sour (brands so far: Cabot and store brand - does Fage plain taste different?)

I've tried Noosa (cherry flavor) and it was delicious - until I stirred the fruit up off the bottom and then it was way too sweet. The first bite, though, where the flavor had just leeched off the fruit into the rest of the tub - Amazing!! This was what inspired the question, actually. I'm imagining some kind of yogurt that is just barely fruited.

I bought a tub of Indian plain yogurt for cooking with and found it almost palatable (can enjoy one spoonful but not two), but of course it comes in cooking-sized tubs not snack-packs. I know I could buy a big tub and then put a bit in little tupperwares to bring along for lunch, but that's not ideal. Find me a brand with single-serve cups!

I generally buy fruit flavors, not vanilla or honey because the one time I had it (Dannon vanilla) it was sweet and kind of flavorless.

Note, I'm not talking about low-sugar or reduced-calorie products that add other sweeteners until they're just as sweet.

So the questions
- is there a flavor I should be buying that is less sugary? (i.e. for what brands is vanilla a good less-sweet choice?)
- is there a brand or style that makes a plain that comes out sweeter than Greek or American plain?
- is there a brand that makes fruity yogurts with way less flavoring, or a fruity stir-up that's more like fruit puree and less like jam?

(small-batch whole-foods stuff is fine so long as I can buy it in Massachusetts)
posted by aimedwander to Food & Drink (42 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The Fage "split cup" might work - the fruit is in a separate cup, so you can mix in as much or as little as you want:
posted by mercredi at 10:51 AM on May 21, 2015 [8 favorites]

Have you tried the Fage single-serves that have the fruit separate in a little side cup? I like those because you can just put in whatever amount of fruit you like. My favorites are the cherry and the honey ones.
posted by msbubbaclees at 10:52 AM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: Buy plain FULL FAT Brown Cow yogurt. Don't be afraid of the fat, it's good for you. Full fat gives the plain yogurt a very light sweetness. If you need any more flavor, add it with maple syrup or honey.
posted by janey47 at 10:53 AM on May 21, 2015 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Nthing the Fage ones linked by mercredi. Also I would give Fage or Chobani honey a chance, I find Dannon to be overly sweet.
posted by brilliantine at 10:54 AM on May 21, 2015

Brown Cow has a cream top that I think might have the "sweetness" you want -- like Noosa it is full-fat.
posted by veery at 10:54 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Siggi has sugar (it claims "not as much" whatever that mean) but I don't find any of the flavors taste sweet. If you're looking for "not too sweet" in terms of taste, it's worth a try' if you're looking for "not too sweet" in terms of no sugar, it won't.

Also, I often buy a flavored and a plain and mix them together. It lasts okay in the fridge for a few days if I don't finish it.
posted by crush-onastick at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2015 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Siggi! It's pricey if you get it at Whole Foods, but I've seen it at Market Basket for cheaper.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Siggi's Skyr might work - it's similar to Greek-style yogurt, and is very, very lightly sweetened. Almost unsweetened, to my palate.
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2015

Oh and since you are in MA, you might seek out Blue Hill Savory Yogurts, which are just incredible.
posted by veery at 10:58 AM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

One thing you can do is add something sweet to plain yoghurt, of course. A couple of years ago when I checked through the nutrition information of all the yoghurt on the supermarket shelf, Chobani was actually the brand that had the lowest amount of sugar for plain yoghurt... some brands of plain yoghurt actually had more than twice as much sugar for the same sized serving, amazingly enough.

Also btw I was surprised to find that some "diet" brands would advertise an artificial sweetener on the front—like "Contains aspartame!"—but then would not only include sugar in the ingredients but have a higher sugar content than some of the non-diet products.
posted by XMLicious at 11:01 AM on May 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

I buy plain yogurt and cheap jam and add the jam to the yogurt to taste.
posted by asphericalcow at 11:03 AM on May 21, 2015 [6 favorites]

Nthing Siggi, yum! They're my new favorite for the exact same reason (less sweet).
posted by danceswithlight at 11:04 AM on May 21, 2015

I much prefer full fat yogurt and they tend to have a lot less sugar. If plain is still too plain, consider adding your own jam and/or agave syrup (if you don't have this handy, say, at work, you could also just use plain sugar).

You could do this with low-fat plain too. But really, low-fat yogurt is terrible - they just doctor it up with a ton of sugar to cover it up.

My favorite is the Voskos plain. It's hard to find in single serve though - but they do have a 16 oz package, so 2 serving.
posted by vunder at 11:19 AM on May 21, 2015

Buy plain yogurt and either add jam or buy bags of frozen fruit/berries and add a thawed spoonful or two.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 11:20 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

Full fat Fage (4%) is DELICIOUS (as rich as ice cream), but I think it might not be sold in America. An option would be to buy whatever full fat, no sugar added yogurt you can find in single servings, and also buy the tiny containers of honey that they have at coffee shops or fast food restaurants.
posted by estlin at 11:23 AM on May 21, 2015

I just love the plain Chobani for breakfast, just add a spoonful of honey to taste.
Also a teaspoon of homemade blueberry preserve.
posted by lungtaworld at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2015

Not sure if it's available near you yet, but Sophie Yogurt is delicious and actually contains no added sweeteners (including sugar).
posted by Mchelly at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2015

(But not both at the same time!)
posted by lungtaworld at 11:26 AM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: does Fage plain taste different

Yes. I think so. Plain Fage tastes like no other yogurt I've ever had. I think it's absolutely delicious. I'll eat plain yogurt/greek yogurt of other brands but I don't like them. Try just straight up Fage and see how you feel about it.

Things I like to do with it if I'm feeling fancy:

-squirt of good honey
-a sprinkle of chocolate chips
-spoonful of jam
-stick it in the freezer for an hour

Cream top brown cow plain yogurt is also delicious, but it's a different yogurt style.
posted by phunniemee at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2015 [3 favorites]

You can get full-fat Fage in the U.S., but the low- and no-fat varieties seem more commonly available.

As I hail from rural upstate New York, I love Chobani to pieces, but they have no full-fat yogurt.

Get a full-fat yogurt and add raw almond butter. Raw is key. It tastes sweet and has no sugar at all.
posted by jgirl at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2015

Careful when comparing sugar content from the nutrition labels on Greek-style yogurt; most yogurts that truly ship with live cultures have significantly less sugar than indicated on the label because the majority of the lactose is consumed by the bacteria, whereas the nutrition label reflects the sugar that was present in the ingredients.
posted by telegraph at 11:57 AM on May 21, 2015

I thought "Greek" yoghurt is just strained yoghurt like labneh, or with additives to give it a smooth texture like strained yoghurt, rather than anything to do with the fermenting.
posted by XMLicious at 12:12 PM on May 21, 2015

Fage is much much better than any other Greek yogurt, in my experience. I tried buying Cabot and it was disgusting. I also highly recommend getting the plain 2% and adding your favorite sweetener to taste, but I find that I like the taste of it by itself so much I just need a little drizzle of honey. The split cups are also great for adding just as much fruitiness as you want, and I've found a few that use 2% instead of non-fat for the base yogurt.
posted by MadamM at 12:28 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Nthing full-fat Fage. The only place I've ever been able to find it consistently is Whole Foods; Market Basket has the single-serves sometimes, but finding anything higher than 2% there is not a sure thing. It's not called "full-fat" or "4%" on the label, but it's the one that's just called "FAGE Total" and has a dark blue color behind the logo. The 2% is more of a turquoise color and the 0% is pink. They're both clearly labeled.

There is a definite difference between the 2% and the full-fat in terms of taste and consistency. So, you might try it plain and find that it's enough, but if it isn't, the plain + honey on the side is a good choice. I typically buy the large containers (which MB never has in full-fat variety, sigh), scoop about a cup's worth into a Pyrex container, and put frozen fruit in it. Then I put it in the fridge to let the fruit melt overnight and the result is really nice. (If you're looking specifically for single-serve containers, though, that may be too much work.)
posted by Kosh at 12:29 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Try Sidehill Farm plain or maple (maple is sweet, obviously) - it's a Western-Mass-made yogurt and they have it at a lot of Boston-area Whole Foods. It's in a purple-and green container with a brown cow on it.
posted by mskyle at 12:53 PM on May 21, 2015

I like Yulu: ( for this very reason. However, I'm really not sure what Aussie style yogurt is. My coworker is from Australia and he'd never heard of it. But to me it's right in between Greek yogurt and regular: slight tang, not too sweet, nice and creamy, and lighter than Greek yogurt.
posted by elisebeth at 1:01 PM on May 21, 2015

maia yogurt seems like exactly what you're looking for.
posted by sabh at 1:10 PM on May 21, 2015

I'm a Noosa fan because I fell in love with Mövenpick yogurt while in Germany last year and Noosa was the closest thing I could find that matched it.

You can't get that brand here, but they refer to it as a "swiss style" yogurt if that helps at all.
posted by JoeZydeco at 1:16 PM on May 21, 2015

I just add a little sweetener to plain yogurt. Sure, sure, honey or jam if I've got it handy. But frankly, here at my desk at work I just use a packet of plain ol' refined white sugar. (And I love it.)
posted by desuetude at 1:47 PM on May 21, 2015

Nthing: Fage plain full fat and add your own honey/jelly/chopped fruit to your liking. Sometimes I'll throw in Emerald cinnamon roasted almonds. They are so good and such little sugar.
posted by incolorinred at 2:21 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Liberte fruit, and don't stir it. Peach and passion fruit is particularly fine, and if you find yourself in Quebec, there are many more flavors on the shelf.
posted by xaryts at 3:12 PM on May 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Can you get Iogo where you are? It's delicious, wonderfully thick, and unless I'm misremembering the packaging, no added sugar. Fruit:yogourt ratio is ideal for me (very low).
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 3:25 PM on May 21, 2015

I third Brown Cow. It's not fruit flavored, but the coffee cream top is AMAZING.
posted by raspberrE at 3:33 PM on May 21, 2015

Have you tried tossing fresh berries into plain Greek or other yogurt? Or chopped up fresh fruit? You'd be surprised how wonderful that is. The fresh fruit provides plenty of sugar.
posted by bearwife at 3:37 PM on May 21, 2015

Best answer: I've tried enjoying plain yogurt, but I just can't do plain Greek-style, it's too strong and sour (brands so far: Cabot and store brand - does Fage plain taste different?)

I believe Fage is strained, while most Greek yogurt on the market is thickened with corn starch or something similar.

I eat store brand plain Greek yogurt, but a) I will eat plain yogurt anyway and b) my store brand is strained and not thickened (because HEB does random things like that). I slid into preferring plain yogurt by adding sugar or jam and then eventually just started eating it plain.

On the opposite end of the spectrum to Greek yogurt is Wallaby, which might be worth a shot. (Whole Foods stocks it. Other grocery stores are a toss up.)
posted by hoyland at 3:40 PM on May 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Another vote for full fat Fage or Brown Cow. Like others, I get the split cups when they are on sell or just add fruit/jam/nuts to taste to the plain.
posted by jadepearl at 6:21 PM on May 21, 2015

Fage with a pinch of stevia!
posted by susiswimmer at 11:16 PM on May 21, 2015

If you're okay with goat milk, I've found that Coach Farm yogurt (specifically, their maple brown sugar flavor) is thick and slightly sweet, tangy but not at all sour. It's the best yogurt I've had.
posted by Maladroid at 12:34 AM on May 22, 2015

If you're concerned about things like fat and sugar content in your yogurt, I strongly suggest making your own. It's really easy to do (it basically makes itself while you wait) and only requires a little bit of store-bought plain yogurt to start you off with your first batch. Here's a good recipe to get you started. My yogurt has only 2% milk, active yogurt cultures, and a little bit of Knox gelatin added for thickness; You can add fresh fruit, granola and a bit of honey for flavor, and it's way healthier than the supermarket brands.
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:54 AM on May 22, 2015

Response by poster: Wow, my next trip(s) to the grocery are going to be fun! Thanks, all, for your advice, lots of new things to try so I'll see how it turns out!
posted by aimedwander at 7:27 AM on May 22, 2015

Response by poster: So I've had 2 trips to the grocery that involved one each of about 6 different kinds of yogurt. It's been fun! Things I've concluded:
Chobani really relies on sugar to make their flavors work; while I enjoy their fruit flavors, they're very sweet and strong. Which makes sense, because their plain is very heavy and intensely yogurty, so they have to do a lot to overcome that. Basically just wasn't working for me, though I will say their green tea flavor is pretty good.
Fage plain was great - this is probably my new yogurt brand for the forseeable future. I realized one thing I really wanted was to be able to chop up fresh fruit into the yogurt and enjoy the fruit without the yogurt being so strong that it fought/ovewhelmed. Fage is a nice mild yogurt that melds flavor really well. The different fat levels (0/2/4) were definitely richer, but I didn't find a huge difference in terms of what I wanted.
I was really looking forward to trying Siggi, but it turned out to be not what I wanted at all, it was very sour. Not heavy and yogurty the way Chobani was, much lighter but very lemony-sour. tasty, especially the citrus flavors (orange-ginger!) but not what I'm looking for in general.
Byrne's Hollow Farm is a pretty good sugar:protein ratio for all their normal flavors, and is indeed less sugary, with the plus that it's not just less flavoring, there is still a lot of fruit, just less-sugared fruit. I'm fairly enthusiastic about their flavors, though I'm not wild about their plain.

Mostly what I've learned is, it's kind of fun to eat a lot of different brands of yogurt.
posted by aimedwander at 8:10 AM on June 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

Mostly what I've learned is, it's kind of fun to eat a lot of different brands of yogurt.

Live the dream, aimedwander!
posted by phunniemee at 8:54 AM on June 6, 2015

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