Greek yogurt is very rich, creamy and thick compared to other types of yogurt. Even no fat or low fat Greek yogurt has a thick, creamy consistency, giving it more the texture of sour cream than of typical yogurt. The secret to Greek yogurt lies in the straining step that is used after it has set. Greek yogurt has started gaining popularity in Western Europe and the United States as people have started realizing that it can truly be a guilt free snack or dessert that has the texture and consistency of far more decadent treats, which means it is a good choice for those of us who want the health benefits of yogurt, but normally balk at eating it. Although a number of brands are now available in the United States, they are not all equally good. In this article, I will talk about the best Greek yogurt brands I have personally tried, as well how you can get the best value on Greek yogurt, as it is typically rather more expensive than regular yogurt.
Greek yogurt is made in Greece with cow's or sheep's milk. In the United States, it is usually made with cow's milk since the sharper and tangier taste associated with sheep's milk may not be popular with many American palates. The brands imported or sold in the US have a mild taste and in fact can serve as a very good and healthy substitute for sour cream.
The process of making Greek yogurt involves an initial step heating milk and allowing it to sit after seeding it with live yogurt culture, just like you would with regular yogurt. But the difference is that the yogurt is left to sit in muslin fabric or cheesecloth suspended over a container, allowing the whey to strain out. This allows the runny liquids to be eliminated from the yogurt, giving it that rich and creamy taste.
Generally the best Greek yogurt, at least from a taste and creaminess perspective, is made from full-fat milk, but this is not exactly a low-fat or healthy option. Fortunately, even the 2% or no-fat Greek yogurt varieties have that creamy quality, and do not at all taste like low-fat or "skinny" options. I should mention that most of the reviews below pertain to plain yogurts, which is my preference over flavored varieties, or yogurts with fruit in them. Also, Greek yogurt is so rich and creamy that I feel it is best enjoyed plain, with perhaps a sprinkling of sugar to sweeten it. It really is like eating guilt-free whipped cream! But that is just my preference.
The best Greek yogurt brands
So far, the tastiest Greek yogurt I have had comes from the company Fage (pronounced Fayeh). Fage actually makes the yogurt in Greece and exports it to the US. They offer full-fat, 2% and no-fat varieties, and can be found not only in organic or upscale supermarkets like Trader Joe's or Whole Foods, but also increasingly in many "everyday" grocery store chains. While Greek yogurt generally costs more than regular yogurt, among Greek yogurt brands Fage is also the most expensive one I've noticed. However, you can save money on Fage yogurt by buying a larger size tub instead of buying small cups. Also, Costco carries Fage brand Greek yogurt in a large family size tub for under 6 dollars, which does make it quite a bargain.
Speaking of Trader Joe's, they do carry their own store brand of Greek yogurt. Buying the Trader Joe's store brand is a good way to save money on Greek yogurt, and the quality is also very good.
Another leading and very good Greek yogurt brand is Chobani. The Chobani 0% Greek yogurt is widely available in grocery stores and is cheaper than the Fage brand.
Lastly, one Greek yogurt brand I did not enjoy was Yoplait, of all brands. Their Greek yogurt was disappointingly runny and did not have the rich, creamy consistency of other Greek yogurts I have tried. Furthermore, I found their honey and vanilla flavored Greek yogurt to be cloyingly sweet, and even their plain variety was underwhelming. If anything, their flavored variety convinced me that Greek yogurt is best enjoyed plain.
So, I think several brands could legitimately claim to be among the best Greek yogurt brands, with maybe Fage holding a slight edge over the others.