How to Freeze Yogurt for Ice-Cream & Smoothies (Easy Recipes)

How to Freeze Yogurt for Ice-Cream & Smoothies
How to Freeze Yogurt for Ice-Cream & Smoothies

In this article, we will guide you on how to freeze yogurt to make amazing and tasty yogurt-based ice creams and smoothies at home

Now you basically have two options you can either freeze the yogurt and use it as a lower-fat substitute for ice-cream or you can add it as a base to make a healthy chilled smoothie.

How to Freeze Yogurt for Smoothies

Yogurt can be frozen in its natural state to make fruit smoothies, you don’t need to alter the yogurt in any way.

Now the texture of the yogurt will be altered when frozen, but it will not impact the consistency of the smoothie which will already have a grainy texture from whatever fruits are added.

An important tip for freezing yogurt that you plan to use for fruit smoothies is to actually place the yogurt into ice cube trays and then freeze it.

After the yogurt is frozen solid, you can transfer the yogurt from the tray to a freezer bag or freezer-safe container and use them for smoothies. 

The ice cube yogurt acts as the ice in a smoothie and adds a chilly component along with frozen fruit.

This also helps to extend the life of your yogurt that has nearly reached its expiration date. By freezing yogurt you can extend the life by 4 to 6 months.

What happens when you freeze Yogurt in it’s natural state

Yogurt cannot be placed in the freezer while still in the manufacturer’s tub and in its natural state if you want to use it for ice cream or frozen yogurt.

When you freeze yogurt in the container, you will find it becomes rock solid and difficult to scoop. This is because of the high water content found in the yogurt which forms crystals that make the yogurt icy and non-creamy.

Thawing the hardened yogurt will not change this, as the texture will be clumpy and grainy, like cottage cheese.

The smooth, creamy texture of yogurt that everyone loves will be lost in the freezing process as the cream will curd. So freezing it as it is will not be a great base for frozen yogurt as an ice-cream alternative.

How to Freeze Yogurt for Ice-Cream

For yogurt to be frozen properly as an alternative to ice-cream, it has to be altered by adding fat and sugars in some form.

Additionally, you would also need to reduce the water content in the yogurt by either using yogurt with high-fat content or straining the yogurt of unnecessary water.

This is to make the frozen yogurt the right texture and consistency to be used to make a smooth and tasty yogurt-based ice cream.

The Frozen Yogurt mixture will then need to be churned in an ice-cream maker or alternately by hand during the freezing process. This helps your the ice crystals in Yogurt to be distributed properly so it does not freeze rock solid.

Recipes to Freeze Yogurt for an Alternative to Ice-Cream

There are several tips and tricks to making your yogurt more creamy and scoopable for a Frozen Yogurt Treat that is made at home.

First Method For Making Frozen Yogurt

This is one of the most healthy options/ recipes when it comes to making frozen yogurt and it does not require the use of an ice- cream machine. It only contains natural sugars derived from fruit and honey and no added cream.

1. Add your favorite frozen fruit into a food processor along with some full fat Greek yogurt as it is higher in protein. The frozen fruit will give you a creamy texture once blended and the high fat content will make the frozen yogurt less icy.

2. Add a couple tablespoons of honey, this is crucial to making your frozen yogurt scoopable.

3. You can also add whatever flavorings you want such as vanilla or almond.

4. Pulse until the mixture is thick and the fruit and yogurt are well combined.

5. Transfer it to an airtight freezable container and freeze for a minimum 6 hours but preferably overnight.

Second Method For Making Frozen Yogurt

This method does not require the yogurt to be strained of its water.

1. Start with whole-milk yogurt and try to find yogurt with very high-fat content. 

2. Freezing dulls any sweet flavors, so even if you’re happy with the flavor of your yogurt straight from the carton, once it’s frozen it may be lacking in sweetness. So you may need to add sugar or experiment with other alternative sweeteners.

3. Then add 1/2 cup heavy cream to 1 quart of whole-milk yogurt for a richer more creamy frozen yogurt.

4. Optional adding 1 tablespoon of corn syrup can also help keep the frozen yogurt creamy.

5. Mix well until sugar dissolves.

6. If the mixture is cold you can place it in the ice cream machine and churn. If not place in the refrigerator until cold, then place in the ice-cream machine.

7. If you don’t have a ice cream maker, try putting the yogurt mixture in a baking pan and place it in the freezer. Stir up the mixture every two hours while freezing it. This help to distribute the ice crystals.

Third Method For Making Frozen Yogurt

1. Start by draining the liquid (water) from the yogurt by hanging it in some cheesecloth overnight, then mixing in some additional fat content.

2. You may use one of several options to return the yogurt to the proper creamy consistency after removing the excess water:

  • Heavy cream ( 1 quart of yogurt to 1/2 cup heavy cream)
  • Cornstarch and Cream cheese

3. After returning the Yogurt to the creamy consistency you desire. You can add sugar or some other sweetener such as honey which will also add to the fat content and also add some sweetness to the tart yogurt.

Sugar is crucial to making a creamier frozen yogurt. It inhibits the formation of ice crystals and also keeps the frozen yogurt creamy. Use at least 3/4 cup sugar per quart of yogurt for freezing purposes, plus more to taste.

4. Mix together the strained yogurt with either the heavy cream or cream cheese and cornstarch and the sugar until everything is combined well and the sugar is dissolved.

5. Pour it into your ice cream maker and churn until the yogurt reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. You can eat it at this stage or place it in the freezer until it hardens.

6. If you don’t have a ice cream maker, try placing the yogurt mixture in a baking pan and place it in the freezer. Stir up the mixture every two hours while freezing it. This help to distribute the ice crystals.

 Additional Tips To Making Frozen Yogurt

When deciding on the type of yogurt, for making frozen yogurt my recommendation is to use plain yogurt with no added flavor.

Full-fat Greek yogurt works best because it is thicker and creamier than regular yogurt.

And then tart, sugar, or other alternative sweeteners can be added and mixed in with some cream or fruit for the perfect frozen yogurt treat.

Does Freezing Yogurt kill the Good Bacteria/culture?

There is not a lot of research on this subject and a lot of varying answers. Some experts claim that the culture in the yogurt does not die by freezing instead it becomes dormant and carries no metabolic activities at this stage.

And when the yogurt is thawed, the dormant culture becomes active again. While others claim that freezing kills some of the healthy bacteria but not all. Either way, Frozen Yogurt is still a good healthy alternative for a refreshing treat.

Why you should make your own frozen yogurt

  • It is cheaper to make your own yogurt at home. According to one calculation, American frozen yogurt shops slap a 500% mark-up on their regular serving size. An excellent reason to try making your own.
  • You control the quality of ingredients that you put into your yogurt. And the amount of sugar that is used.
  • A lot of preservatives, thickeners, and powders are added to some store-bought frozen yogurt.

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