Substitute For Yogurt In A Marinade: What to Use?

Many people who are on a diet or just want to eat healthier opt for marinades instead of using sauces.

Marinades can be used for meats, vegetables, and even tofu. They often contain yogurt as an ingredient but if you’re lactose intolerant there is no need to worry.

There are several substitutes that can be used in place of yogurt while still retaining the flavor and consistency of the marinade.

Keep reading to find out what ingredients will work best.

Best substitutes for yogurt in a marinade

substitute for yogurt in marinade

In my experience, here are the best substitutes for yogurt in a marinade you can use:

  • Coconut milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise

Now, let’s briefly talk about them.

Coconut milk

Coconut milk is from the white flesh of coconuts (the matured ones with brown exteriors). It has a thick consistency and a rich, creamy texture.

This milk is popular in many countries, including Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, India, Hawaii, and some Caribbean and South American countries.

Coconut milk is not the same as coconut water. Coconut milk is made from coconut flesh and water, whereas coconut water comes from a young green coconut.

Coconut milk has less fat and fewer nutrients than coconut water.


Buttermilk is milk that has been fermented. It is thicker and lumpier than normal milk.

Buttermilk smells like vinegar and it is sour. It tastes like yogurt. Acids in buttermilk make it good for cooking because they can make things taste better.

Sour cream

Sour cream is made when you add bacteria to milk.

The bacteria makes the milk slightly sour, which is good because it tastes good with food. It has long been an ingredient in Eastern and Central European cuisines and moved west as people immigrated to other countries.

Sour cream is a kitchen staple. It’s used to make dips, thicken sauces, make frosting creamy, and garnish baked potatoes and soups.

You can also use it to tenderize or soften baked goods.


Mayonnaise is a thick and creamy sauce. It is often put on sandwiches, hamburgers, and salads. It can also be used to make other sauces like fry, tartar, salsa golf, remoulade, and rouille.

It contains egg yolk, vinegar (or lemon juice), and oil. There are many kinds of mayonnaise with different flavors.

It can be white or yellow in color and it can be light like cream or thick like gel. Mayonnaise is good for people who don’t eat chicken eggs or who want to avoid dietary cholesterol.

Vegan mayonnaise is also a good choice if you’re allergic.

Can I use mayo instead of yogurt in the marinade?

Yes, sometimes you can use mayonnaise instead of yogurt. If the recipe requires yogurt, then the water will make it less tasty. (source)

Can you use milk instead of yogurt to marinate chicken?

Milk is best for tenderizing meat. You can also use it in a stew or curry if the yogurt is also meant to smooth out the heat of the dish. If you want to marinate chicken, add some milk or cream.

What can I use if I don’t have yogurt?

You can use buttermilk instead. Or, if you don’t have it, use milk that has been mixed with lemon juice or vinegar. Use 1/4 less milk than the amount of yogurt called for in the recipe. (source)

Can I substitute milk for yogurt?

There is a type of yogurt, plain yogurt, that you can use in recipes instead of milk. Use the same amount as you would with milk. But if you are using Greek yogurt, then first mix it with some water before adding it to your recipe.

Can I use applesauce instead of yogurt in baking?

Yes, you can use applesauce instead of yogurt to bake. Yogurt has less fat, and your baked goods will have a thick and creamy texture.

What can I replace yogurt with in biryani?

You could use cream instead of yogurt. Sour cream is another option. You could also use mashed potatoes or vegan milk.

What can I use instead of yogurt in butter chicken?

You can use heavy cream or half-and-half. Add the curry sauce and it should thicken up. You could also add sour cream, but it will taste a little different than yogurt.

Can I use mayonnaise instead of yogurt?

Yes, but the recipe will not taste as good. So, it should only be your last resort

What is the vegan substitute for yogurt?

Vegan yogurt substitutes are made from healthy ingredients like peas, soy, coconut, cashews, and almonds. The best vegan yogurts have no added sugar and plenty of protein. (source)

How do you make yogurt with milk?

You make yogurt with milk by adding the yogurt and then whisking until it becomes smooth and is dissolved in the milk.

Whisk the thinned yogurt into the warm milk while gently whisking.

Then pour this mixture of yogurt and milk into a bowl or pot with a lid to keep it warm. Leave for eight hours to make your own homemade yogurt. (recipe)

Can sour cream be substituted for yogurt?

Yogurt is a good substitute for sour cream. If your recipe calls for 1 cup of sour cream, you can replace it with 1 cup of yogurt.

Can you substitute sour cream for yogurt in the marinade?

Yes. Yogurt is a good choice for marinades and sauces. But you can also use sour cream instead. It has a lot of fat, but it can be used for baking and many other things too.

Can we use curd instead of yogurt?

No. Curd and yogurt are not the same. Yogurt is good for weight loss because it has fewer calories, but curd is good for skin and hair.

Can you marinate with milk?

It is tricky. The balance is hard.

Milk can form a good part of the food. Whole milk and buttermilk are traditional in Southern eating, and they are good reasons to use them.

You need to know how to treat the meat before it becomes chewy or mushy in order for it not to be that way in the fryer.


In my experience, here are the best substitutes for yogurt in a marinade you can use:

  • Coconut milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Sour cream
  • Mayonnaise

These substitutes for yogurt in a marinade can be used successfully to give your meat or vegetables a tangy, creamy flavor that’s perfect for the summer.

Give these options a try and let me know if they work out.

Mariana Rouco

Mariana Rouco is the editor-in-chief of She loves traveling and writing about foods and cooking in general. She has a degree from the New England Culinary Institute and enjoys Mexican, Italian, and Chinese cuisines the most.

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