Greek yogurt can be vegetarian if it does not contain gelatin. Gelatin is derived from animals and is added to yogurt to make it thicker and stop it from separating. Greek yogurt is naturally higher in fat and strained so does not normally need the addition of gelatin.
There are brands that specifically state whether or not they contain gelatin. Look out for these if you are looking for a vegetarian option.
Animal Products in Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt varieties that contain gelatin are not vegetarian. Gelatin is extracted from the bones and skin of animals. For yogurt products this is usually from pigs or cows but can also come from of sheep, and fish.
Vegetarian Greek Yogurt Brands*
Here are some common Greek yogurt brands that are vegetarian. These products do not use gelatin, an animal derived product.
|Greek Yogurt Brand||Vegetarian|
|Farmers Union Greek Yogurt||Yes|
|Yoplait Greek Yogurt||Yes|
|Oikos Greek Yogurt||Yes|
|Voskos Greek Yogurt||Yes|
|Activia Greek Yogurt||Yes|
|Chobani Greek Yogurt||Yes|
|Stonyfield Greek Yogurt||Yes|
*Correct at the time of publishing. Check the label for the latest ingredient list.
Is Greek yogurt OK for vegetarians?
Greek yogurt is OK for vegetarians if it does not contain gelatin. Gelatin is an animal product derived from animal bones or skins. This will be mixed into the yogurt product to thicken it.
As Greek yogurt is strained to remove a large amount the liquid whey protein it usually doesn’t need gelatin to thicken it. You should always read the label however and look out for gelatin on the list.
Greek yogurt is naturally thick and creamy and is great to eat on its own, with oats and fruit for breakfast or added to sauces to give them a creamy texture.
Can vegetarians eat yogurt?
Those who are vegetarian and are avoiding eating animal products they can eat yogurt without gelatin. Yogurt that uses a plant based thickener such as pectin or uses straining to thicken the yogurt will be fine for vegetarians to eat.
If you are vegetarian, it is important to read the ingredients list on the packaging of your yogurt to make sure it doesn’t contain gelatin. Brand that are gelatin free include Activia, Chobani, Oikos, Voskos, Yoplait Greek Yogurt and Farmers Union Greek Yogurt.
Is Greek yogurt plant or animal-based?
Traditional Greek yogurt is considered animal based as it is made from dairy. Greek yogurt is typically made from cows’ milk on our grocery store shelves.
Traditional Greek yogurt was made from strained sheep milk which is rich and creamy.
Greek yogurt will contain dairy unless it has been specifically marked as a plant based yogurt.
There are new varieties coming out that are purely plant based made from coconut milk, almond milk or soy milk. These are perfect for vegans and a great option if you are lactose intolerant.
If you are following a plant based diet, look out for a yogurt alternative that has added calcium and added probiotic bacteria for the digestive benefits.
What animal is Greek yogurt made from?
Greek yogurt bought in most grocery stores will be made from cows’ milk. The cows’ milk is fermented using probiotic bacteria such as lactobacillus which will break down the lactose in the milk.
Traditional Greek yogurt was made from sheep milk.
The sugars will go through the citric acid cycle creating lactic acid as a by-product. This curdles the milk separating the curds and whey.
Greek yogurt is strained removing as much liquid whey protein as possible. This naturally thickens the yogurt.
Greek yogurt will usually have a higher fat content than other varieties of yogurt making it taste luxuriously silky.
What is Greek yogurt made of?
Greek yogurt was traditionally made from sheep’s milk and bacteria cultures.
Modern Greek yogurt varieties are made from cows’ milk, milk solids and bacterial cultures. There are sometimes other additives which are used to thicken or flavor the yogurt.
Most Greek yogurts won’t need added thickeners due to the higher fat content, but low fat varieties can do. Look out for gelatin on the ingredients list if you are vegetarian as this is an animal product.
If the Greek yogurt is thickened with pectin, it will be vegetarian. Pectin is an extract from fruit which is the same thickener used to make jam.
Flavored Greek yogurts can have added fruit, artificial or non-artificial flavorings, nuts and seeds.
What is difference between yogurt and Greek yogurt?
The difference between Greek yogurt and normal yogurt is that Greek yogurt has been strained to remove more of the liquid whey. This makes it naturally thicker and creamier.
Both yogurt and Greek yogurt are made through the fermentation process carried out by probiotic bacteria. This breaks up the lactose sugar in the milk releasing lactic acid which gives yogurt its sour taste.
Unstrained yogurts tend to taste more sour than strained Greek yogurt as they will contain more of the liquid whey protein and citric acid.
In both Greek yogurt and normal yogurt the probiotic bacteria survive benefitting our digestive system when we eat it.
To find out an easy way to make Greek yogurt at home, check out this video.
Is Greek Yogurt Vegetarian? | Summary
Greek yogurt will be vegetarian if it does not contain gelatin. Most Greek yogurt varieties don’t contain gelatin as they do not need it to thicken the yogurt. Greek yogurt will usually have a higher fat content and is strained so will be naturally thick.
Read the ingredients list and look out for gelatin listed. Many yogurt brands will list that they don’t contain gelatin to make it easy for vegetarians to know.
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.