Yogurt can be warmed in the microwave, heated in a water bath or added to meals to be heated through. Heating yogurt for too long at too high temperature will cause the yogurt to split leaving watery whey and milk solids separated.
There are some easy methods you can use to warm up yogurt. Check out this easy guide to warm yogurt without curdling or causing it to split.
How to warm up yogurt
There are some easy guidelines that you need to follow when heating yogurt. Because it has a high fat content it can become a semi-liquid and split if it is heated to hot or too quickly. Follow these easy tips for different yogurt heating methods.
Microwaving your yogurt is an easy and quick way to warm it up. Heating it in this way can kill off the probiotic bacteria but it is an easy method to use.
- Move yogurt to a microwave safe container – Microwave safe glass, ceramic or plastic will work well.
- Reset your microwave to the low setting
- Microwave your yogurt for 20 seconds
- Take the yogurt out and check the temperature
- Stir the yogurt and return it to the microwave for another 20 seconds if it is not warm enough
Heating yogurt in the oven is a good way to gently increase its temperature and avoid it splitting.
- Place the yogurt in an oven proof container (ceramic or Pyrex works well)
- Preheat the oven to a low temperature of 250 degrees Fahrenheit (120 degrees Celsius)
- Heat the yogurt for 10 minutes at this temperature
- Take the yogurt out and check the temperature
- Add it back to the oven for another 5 minutes if it is not quite warm enough.
3. Stove top
Yogurt can be warmed in dishes on the stove top. If you are planning on adding yogurt to curries or stews then here are the easy steps.
- Once you have finished cooking your curry or stew take it off the heat.
- Let it cool for around 5 minutes
- Mix through yogurt 1 tablespoon at a time
By taking the dish off the heat this will avoid overheating the yogurt and it won’t split.
4. Water Bath Method
The water bath method is the gentlest and safest way to heat yogurt.
- Fill a metal, ceramic and glass container with hot water or boiled water from your kettle
- Place the yogurt in a heat proof container. Ceramic or glass works well.
- Let the container sit in the hot water
- Gently stir the yogurt with a spoon to distribute the heat evenly
How to heat frozen yogurt
The best way to heat frozen yogurt is using the water bath method. Put frozen yogurt in a heat proof dish and place the dish in hot water. This start to defrost the outside of the yogurt and loosen it from the packet.
You can use a spoon to move the melted frozen yogurt away from the sides and start to stir it.
What happens when you heat yogurt
Here are the most important things that happen to yogurt as you heat it.
1. Probiotic bacteria can be killed off
Heating the yogurt above 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius) will kill the probiotic bacteria. The yogurt can still taste nice but it will lose the probiotic benefits.
2. Heated yogurt can separate
Heating the yogurt can separate the liquid whey protein from the milk proteins. This separation can lead to chunks of milk floating around. This will give the yogurt an unpleasant texture.
3. It can become more liquid
Heating yogurt will make it thinner and more liquid. As the fat in the yogurt is melted this will cause it to thin out and become runnier.
Can you warm up Greek yogurt?
Greek yogurt can be warmed up however doing this will cause it to become runnier. Greek yogurt has a higher fat content than other yogurt types so will be more likely to thin out on heating.
Heating yogurt at a temperature above 130 degrees Fahrenheit will also kill the probiotic bacteria.
To heat Greek yogurt without it splitting submerge it in a heatproof container in a hot water bath. Stir the yogurt to distribute the heat evenly.
Can you microwave yogurt in the container?
It is best not to microwave yogurt in the container it comes in. Not all plastic are heat stable and they may warp.
It is best to move yogurt to a microwave safe plastic, glass or ceramic container with a heat proof lid before microwaving. Make sure there is a vent to allow stem to escape.
You can also cover the container with cling film and place small holes in the top to let the steam out.
Can you heat yogurt to make a sauce?
Yogurt can be preheated gently int eh microwave before adding it to a sauce but it is much easier to mix it into the sauce. Add yogurt to the sauce after you have finished cooking it. Take it off the heat, let the temperature drop so it is no longer steaming.
You can then add yogurt and stir it through without it splitting.
Can You Warm up Yogurt? | Summary
Yogurt can be warmed up in the microwave, oven, water bath or directly in the dish you are cooking. Many curries call for the addition of yogurt to add a smooth and creamy texture. Always add to your dishes after they have been allowed to cool slightly so the yogurt doesn’t split.
Heating yogurt can kill off some of the good bacteria but it will still taste good if it is done gently.
I am an accredited practicing dietitian, experienced gardener and a dedicated cook. I love writing and sharing my experience so you can learn from my successes and mistakes.