What is Frozen Yogurt?

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  • Written By: Niki Foster
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 29 April 2020
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Frozen yogurt is a dessert similar to ice cream, but lower in fat. It is typically made with yogurt made from milk, but non-dairy versions are also available. The yogurt may be sweet or sour, and may or may not contain the live bacteria cultures present in regular yogurt. Like ice cream, it can be made in nearly any flavor imaginable, and although it's often sold as soft serve, it can also be purchased in cartons.

Ice cream and frozen yogurt are made in the same way, with the ingredients mixed together and then churned at a very low temperature until they freeze. In addition to yogurt, most recipes include gelatin, some sort of sweetener, and additional flavors and colors. It's also possible to make this dessert fat free and sugar free, depending on the recipe.

While frozen yogurt was originally fairly sour, with Dannon producing one of the first commercial products in the 1970s, the dessert became sweeter through the years. Shops that offered it in soft serve form, often in a rotating variety of flavors with an offering of wet and dry toppings, led the trend of sweeter yogurts. The dessert became popular throughout the 1980s and 1990s as a lowfat alternative to ice cream.

In recent years, sour frozen yogurt has seen somewhat of a resurgence. Some companies have gained success by offering sour, fat-free yogurt topped with fresh fruit.

Frozen yogurt is easy to make at home with an ice cream maker, and chefs can make it sour or sweet to suit their taste. Many people who make it at home experiment with different favorite flavor combinations. Yogurt is slower both to freeze and to melt than cream, so the mixing time will be a bit longer than for ice cream. Some ice cream makers include a frozen yogurt recipe or two in their recipe books, and many recipes — from the standard chocolate and vanilla to unusual creations like lemon-ginger and vanilla-lime — can be found online.

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Discuss this Article

Post 12

@dautsun - That's a good point. I never noticed that before I read this article, but now that I think about it, I think frozen yogurt definitely does melt slower than ice cream does.

That being said, I prefer frozen yogurt because I think it's just a little bit healthier than ice cream. It has less fat and less sugar, so I feel better about eating it than I do about eating ice cream.

Post 11

I prefer low fat frozen yogurt over ice cream just because it doesn't melt as quickly! If you get frozen yogurt in an ice cream cone, you can actually eat the whole thing before it melts all over you. With ice cream, I usually end up a complete mess!

Post 10

@eidetic - It might just be your area. I'm on the East coast and I can think of at least one TCBY that's kind of near where I live. TCBY is pretty good, but I have to admit I don't really have a preference between that and an ice cream shop. I'll just go to whichever one is closer.

I'm kind of curious about Pinkberry though. I've never tried frozen yogurt that wasn't sweetened and I think it sounds kind of interesting. If I'm ever in LA, I will definitely have to give it a try!

Post 9

@jcraig - I live on the East Coast, but I can't think of a single frozen yogurt franchise near where I live! We have plenty of ice cream places, both chain and independent, and most of them seem to be very popular. Maybe frozen yogurt is more of a West Coast thing?

Post 8

@TreeMan - I have actually noticed this phenomenon, too. I am curious if you live in the Midwest. We don't have any frozen yogurt places around here, either. There used to be a TCBY frozen yogurt place in the next town over, but it went out of business several years ago.

I have noticed that we do have a lot of specialty ice cream places like Coldstone Creamery and Culvers, which is a regional restaurant that serves frozen custard. There are a lot of smaller chains, as well. This makes me think that maybe Midwesterners don't like frozen yogurt as much as ice cream, so they don't spend money putting in a lot of stores.

The other option could

just be that frozen yogurt chains are relatively new and they are starting on the coasts and slowly working their way to the middle of the country. Has anyone else noticed this? What types of frozen dessert stores are there in the South or Southwest?
Post 7

I just had frozen yogurt for the first time the other day, and I love it! I had always heard a lot about it, but for some reason there are no frozen yogurt stores around where I live.

I was vacationing in California and saw a Pinkberry store. I had seen the store used as part of the story in a TV show, and they were raving about how good it was, so I wanted to try it out. They were definitely not wrong.

I got some sort of bowl that was just regular vanilla yogurt mixed with fresh fruit. It was really good. I wonder why there aren't any of these stores around where I live.

Post 6

@kentuckycat - As I was reading this article I started wondering whether there was any way that you could use Greek yogurt as part of the recipe. I don't know what the frozen yogurt nutrition is, but if you used Greek yogurt it might add a few more probiotics. I would guess that the mixture would be a little thick, as well. You might just have to do something like a 1/2 and 1/2 mixture, though.

One of the flavors I really like that is outside of the norm is just vanilla frozen yogurt with some honey mixed in with it. I do the same thing with regular yogurt, and I really like it. It tames the sourness a little bit and gives a different type of sweetness than sugar.

Post 5

@turkay - I agree. Frozen yogurt is much better as far as I am concerned. I remember eating it as a child and have enjoyed it ever since.

For some reason, I own an ice cream maker but have never seen any frozen yogurt recipes. To be honest, I was never really even sure how it was made. I just assumed yogurt was incorporated somehow.

Like people have mentioned, the frozen yogurt can be a little more tart than ice cream, so you have to be careful with what ingredients you can use. Does anyone have any good frozen yogurt combinations? I think I am going to look around online and see if I can come up with a good recipe or two and try it out.

Post 4

@turkay1-- Have you tried the sugar-free, low fat frozen yogurts? Both franchises and grocery stores have them now.

I tried it recently and I don't really like it. I was really excited to know that there is sugar-free frozen yogurt because I have diabetes and I can't have the regular kind. But it just doesn't taste the same! I guess the sweetener that's used changes the flavor a little bit. I'm disappointed.

Post 3

I used to think that I was an ice cream person. But after having soft serve frozen yogurt, I absolutely prefer frozen yogurt over ice cream.

I like sweets, but I prefer light sweets and I like that frozen yogurt has a much lighter taste than ice cream. I don't really care about calories but it's nice to have a dessert that's low in fat and possibly sugar.

My favorite flavor is the original sour flavored frozen yogurt. It's not really sour because it's also sweet, but there is a tartness to it that comes from the yogurt. It's so good with fresh fruits like strawberries and blueberries. Yum!

Post 2

@anon72118-- I think that if the frozen yogurt is made directly from yogurt, it will have probiotic benefits because yogurt naturally has that. But some frozen yogurts are made from milk and other ingredients like the article mentioned. Even though they are called frozen yogurt, they're actually not. So those don't have probiotic benefits.

It is possible to add probiotic cultures into the product later but then the product should actually state that on the label. So if the frozen yogurt wasn't made from yogurt and you don't see cultures in the ingredients list, it doesn't have it.

If you're getting the frozen yogurt from a frozen yogurt franchise, just ask them directly if it has probiotic cultures and if it's made from yogurt.

Post 1

How can you have soft style frozen yogurt that is pro biotic. Another article stated that yogurt has pro biotic properties BUT frozen does not. Is it added after?

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