Home » How to Strain Yogurt at Home: The Ultimate Guide

How to Strain Yogurt at Home: The Ultimate Guide

Yogurt straining is the process of separating yogurt liquids from yogurt solids to get thick and creamy yogurt. It is the traditional way to get thick yogurt that people in the Balkans have been using for centuries. Also known as Greek yogurt, Strained yogurt is high in protein and is mainly used for the recipes like dips and desserts that need thicker consistency yogurts. 

If you are using yogurt strainers, they can be used for other things like draining beans or washing fruits and vegetables. A yogurt maker and strainer can also be a great tool if you’re fermenting your sauerkraut.

Many Quora users are interested to know, Can they make Greek Yogurt by just straining the regular Yogurt? And the Answer is Yes! Once the regular yogurt is strained, it becomes Greek Yogurt, according to The Everything Macro Diet Meal Prep Cookbook.

Why you may need to strain your yogurt?

The yogurt we buy from the store is already thick and creamy and has a very mild flavor. The reason why it’s sold this way is so that people won’t be able to detect anything different between homemade and store-bought yogurt, so they keep on buying it. That’s why you may need to strain your homemade yogurt to get a more traditional flavor and a thicker texture.

But, the most important reason why some people should strain their yogurt is because of allergies.

If you’re allergic or intolerant to lactose (milk sugar) – straining yogurt can help you consume milk products again without all the adverse reactions.

However, keep in mind that lactose is milk sugar, and it’ll still be present in yogurt after straining. So, if you’re intolerant to lactose, then straining your yogurt before consumption won’t help. You should try some other type of fermented dairy product like kefir or clabber.

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What are the benefits of straining your yogurt?

Benefits of Straining Yogurt

Here are some benefits of yogurt straining:

1. To make a thicker yogurt

2. To remove the whey liquid

3. To get homemade greek style yogurt

4. To control the amount/moisture in the yogurt

Why should we strain our homemade yogurt?

To remove excess whey liquid from regular yogurt to get thick, creamy, and luscious yogurt, we usually strain it. The extra fluid is the whey that can be used in baking recipes. Some people permeate to make a non-cultured (non-live) drink, but I don’t think it’s delicious.

We want the tanginess of the yogurt, not the wateriness. The excess whey liquid doesn’t hurt you, but commercial yogurt is less expensive and has less moisture than homemade yogurt. Some people like their yogurt a little runny, so they don’t strain it.

How do I know what kind of strainer to use?

The easiest way to start with is a cheesecloth that you can get from the grocery store for about a dollar. I use a cheesecloth and a rubber band to hold it in place over a bowl. It works fine; you have to change it often or allow liquids to drip to the bottom of your bowl so that fluid doesn’t seep back into the yogurt and make it watery again.


You can also use a fine-mesh strainer and muslin cloth if you’re going for it. I prefer cheesecloth cause it’s fast and easy.

What kind of yogurt do I need to start with?


Use only total fat, plain yogurt containing at least (4%) in the ingredients list. Fage or Chobani brands are some excellent options. I’m not too fond of the texture of Trader Joe’s yogurt, so most of this stuff is too runny.

 You can also use Greek yogurt but make sure you strain it twice or three times to get a thicker texture.

How do I know if my yogurt has enough fat?

If your yogurt contains at least 4% milkfat, it will be thick and creamy. If you can taste the yogurt and feel a lot of liquid even when it’s chilled, then your yogurt probably has too much water in it.

How much whey do I get from straining my homemade Greek Yogurt?

 I usually get about a cup of whey from 4 half-pint jars of yogurt.

Can I use whole milk instead of skim?

Yes, you can use whole milk but don’t expect to get the same texture as Fage/Chobani because they add extra thickeners to their yogurt for a creamy texture. You will probably end up with runny yogurt if you try it using whole milk.

How to strain the yogurt?

The entire process is straightforward and fast.

  • Just cover a pot with cheesecloth or muslin cloth.
  • Put a bowl in it add yogurt.
  • Tie the cloth to a peg on the wall above so that yogurt can drain quickly, leaving any water behind.
  • Leave for 30 minutes-1 hour or until desired thickness is reached

Remove the bowl with the yogurt in it.

What is the best way to strain yogurt?

The most effective way is to strain it in one of those yogurt makers with the mesh insert. It will separate liquids from solids very quickly.

How do you strain yogurt without a strainer?

You can strain yogurt in a colander with cheesecloth or use a muslin cloth and tie it to the faucet. Allow the liquid to drip through by pulling on one end of the fabric while holding the other end below your faucet. It will drain excess whey from your yogurt, giving you a thicker, creamier texture

How long do I strain the yogurt? 

Allow for 30 minutes to an hour or until desired thickness is reached.

How long can you keep strained yogurt?

It lasts about a week in the fridge, but I usually use mine up within two days, so I’m not sure about more prolonged periods of time. During warm weather, it is best to use within 2-4 days. During cold weather, you can use up to a week safely.

Yogurt Expert Sonia Uvezian was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. A renowned expert in Middle Eastern and Caucasian cooking and winner of a James Beard Award, she is the author of six other highly acclaimed cookbooks, such as Recipes and Remembrances From An Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, Cooking from the Caucasus along with The Book of Yogurt.