Yogurt changes the game when it’s added to baked goods like banana bread. It’s a go-to for bakers who need more moisture and tangy flavors.
Sometimes, though, while the recipe calls for yogurt, you might not have any on hand to use. In that case, you’ll need a suitable banana bread yogurt substitute.
To help with this, we have listed some possible alternatives, including buttermilk, sour cream, cottage cheese, and Greek yogurt.
How can you pick the best one for your preferences, and what swapping ratios would work? That’s what we set out to find in this guide!
Before learning what alternatives can replace yogurt in your recipe, we’ll have to see why people use it in their banana bread recipes in the first place.
Here are the top three reasons to consider:
1 – Acidity
Did you know that yogurt’s pH is around 4.3 to 4.4?
This acidity can actually help activate the leavening properties of baking soda. As a result, you’ll get fluffier banana bread!
The beauty of yogurt is that it has a thick, creamy texture. So, using it in the batter (with moderation!) can add a lot of moisture to the finished product without diluting the rest of the ingredients like a pure liquid would.
Plus, since the batter is kept somewhat firm, the banana bread should also hold on to its structure without becoming too crumbly after baking.
Yogurt can give banana bread a tangy, crave-inducing flavor when added to the recipe. This taste is somewhat old-school, but it’s delicious and pairs nicely with the sweet flavors in the batter!
While plain, full-fat yogurt is a good ingredient overall, sometimes you need a substitute that can take its place in a recipe. Maybe you just ran out and don’t really feel like taking another trip to the store when you have other ingredients to use.
In that case, you can check out these suitable substitutes for yogurt in banana bread recipes.
The most commonly used substitute for yogurt is sour cream. This stems from the fact that they have almost the same manufacturing process and thus have a lot of similarities.
Overall, sour cream and yogurt are both acidic, have a thick texture comparable to syrup, and add a tangy taste to the flavor profile.
The main distinction between the two is that sour cream is made by fermenting cream. Meanwhile, yogurt comes from pasteurized milk.
With all that in mind, you can safely interchange sour cream with yogurt in a 1:1 ratio since they’re so similar. Generally speaking, sour cream is the best option for a yogurt substitute in just about any recipe, including banana bread.
Buttermilk is the liquid that’s left behind after churning butter, and nowadays, it’s made by fermenting cultured milk.
Since it was originally a by-product, some people might find that a bit revolting. However, it’s actually a good substitute for yogurt for several reasons.
First of all, it’s a fermented milk product, just like yogurt and sour cream. It also has a comparable level of acidity (around 4.4 to 4.8) and possesses the same tangy flavor.
The catch here is that buttermilk has a much more watery consistency when compared to yogurt. So, baking with buttermilk could yield a somewhat thinner product.
If you don’t mind this change in the batter consistently, you can use buttermilk instead of yogurt in a 1:1 ratio as well. Just try to add it gradually instead of pouring it all at once so you can stop if things get too runny for your liking.
Cottage cheese has a savory and creamy flavor.
All in all, it works reasonably well as a substitute for yogurt in banana bread recipes and could save you in a pinch. However, it’s still not the go-to option for most people.
When you do use it, though, you can go for a 1:1 ratio.
The main difference you’ll have to worry about is that cottage cheese might not deliver the same level of acidity as yogurt. As a result, the banana bread might not end up being as fluffy as you had hoped.
Suppose you can’t find any good-old plain yogurt, but Greek options happen to be available. In that case, you can just grab it and try to make things work.
After all, Greek yogurt is just regular yogurt that has the whey and liquid parts filtered out.
That’s why you can expect it to have a much higher viscosity when compared to its regular counterpart. This could affect the consistency of your finished banana bread and make it a bit denser.
The final result could also be slightly less sweet but richer in protein.
So, when you choose it as a substitute, use about 2/3 of the plain yogurt that the recipe originally calls for.
Mixing it with a ¼ cup of water (or less) could thin it out a little so that it’s almost the same consistency as regular yogurt. Just don’t overdo the dilution, or you might lose the rich flavor.
Once it’s thoroughly mixed in with the water, you can now use Greek yogurt as a substitute.
Regardless of which yogurt substitute you choose for your banana bread, you’ll need to remember that it could affect the loaf’s taste, texture, and nutrition boosts.
Some can be highly similar to yogurt, such as sour cream, Greek yogurt, and buttermilk. Meanwhile, other options like cottage cheese can add a new savory twist.
Alternatively, you can always just opt for a banana bread recipe that doesn’t call for yogurt in the first place and save yourself the hassle!
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.