Homemade Yogurt Cheese

  • 1 quart yogurt, store-bought or homemade, dairy or soy
  • 1 strainer
  • paper coffee filters or cheese cloth or any loosely woven fabric that is clean, and preferably, pet-hair-free

You may use homemade yogurt or purchased yogurt to make this recipe. I always use homemade because I keep it on hand regularly. Line a strainer with damp cheese cloth, or paper coffee filters or any clean loosely woven clean fabric. It will take about 3 or 4 paper coffee filters to line a standard sized strainer or colander. Spoon the yogurt into the filter or fabric. Set the strainer in the sink and allow it to drain overnight. The whey will drip out of the yogurt, leaving a smooth, creamy all natural cheese similar in texture to cream cheese or neufchatel. This recipe makes about 1-1/2 cups.

I use yogurt cheese to stuff celery, spread on crackers, bagels or toast, and as a base for dips instead of sour cream. I also like it mixed with brown sugar and cooked whole wheat berries. This is particularly good as a snack or for breakfast. This cheese is also good spooned into a bowl and topped with fresh or canned fruit. See the recipes for Cream Cheese Sauce, Cream Cheese Frosting, and Creamy Fruit Dip, for ideas.

A quick note for folks who have rogue nocturnal pets, specifically cats. I can’t drain my yogurt cheese in the sink overnight because cats will get into it and eat every bit of it while I sleep. To combat this, I set up my draining device and place it in the oven overnight. I find a large bowl or dishpan and invert a cereal bowl in the bottom of it. Then I place my strainer on top of the inverted cereal bowl. The inverted bowl acts like a rack, to keep the yogurt above the whey which drains out of it as it sits. The yogurt goes into the lined strainer as directed above. The whole apparatus goes on the bottom rack of the oven. I make sure the oven is turned off, shut the door and go to bed. In the morning, my cheese is perfect, having been well protected from lurking felines all night long. This method also works well if you want to save the whey to use in cooking. Some people prefer to drain their yogurt in the fridge, which is a great idea. My fridge is small though, so I’ve had to make other arrangements.

Soy Yogurt makes excellent soy yogurt cheeze. It can be used to replace dairy cream cheese in many recipes. It tastes a little fruitier and sweeter than dairy yogurt. Many people prefer it to dairy yogurt cheese. If you’re vegan you owe it to yourself to give this a try at least once. It is very good.

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Melanie - October 11, 2009

Great website. I’ve learned a lot. I’m looking for a use for the whey when I drain off (commercial) yogurt to make yogurt cheese. I worry of course that I’m draining away most of the nutrition, but can’t find much info on that. But I also want to use the whey. What do you think of using the whey instead of water to reconstitute the powdered milk in making homemade yogurt? Will that queer the recipe by adding too much bacteria?


Katelyn - December 29, 2009

You can slip the whey into smoothies of even cooking to add a bit of nutrition. If you plan to use it in smoothies, I would recommend using lemon juice to curdle it.

Katelyn - December 29, 2009

Oops, thinking about milk cheese! With yogurt whey, its excellent for putting into smoothies. Learned that in my pre-vegan days.

Debra - March 23, 2010

I used some left over whey in a cornbread recipe that called for milk. I use it in any baking that calls for milk, or buttermilk such as in waffles.

Janice - March 24, 2010

When you soak your beans, use filtered water and a Tbspoon of whey, and leave to soak overnight. Cuts the need for “beano” way down! :-)
You need the filtered water because the chlorine in tap water kills off the good stuff. Oh, and make sure to drain and rinse the beans between soaking and cooking!!!

laura - May 22, 2014

I use the whey in biscuits and bread, you can also freeze the whey for later use.sub it for the milk or use half milk and half whey.

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