Froyo: How to Make Homemade Frozen Yogurt

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Frozen yogurt is going through a bit of a makeover. Soft serve that tastes like ice cream is out while creamy swirls that burst with the flavor of real yogurt are in. Shops serving cups of froyo that burst with yogurt’s innate natural tartness are opening everywhere. Forget my favorite college flavor of orange, which tasted more like creamy ice cream that had been melded with baby aspirin. Today’s frozen yogurt highlights sweet fruit flavors and is enticingly tangy.

After a few trips to some yogurt shops where four servings cost around $20 — because let’s face it, the new frozen yogurt chains are more expensive than the old ones — I decided to try making my own concoctions. I found that if you have an ice-cream maker (the kind where you pre-freeze the canister), frozen yogurt is remarkably easy to make. It’s also nice to be able to control your own ingredients. You can choose to use organic and nonfat yogurt, or luxuriate in a treat made with creamy whole milk. You can also opt to sweeten your dessert with sugar, or go for a healthier alternative like fruit juice or honey — it’s all up to you.

I experimented with whole fat, nonfat and Greek yogurts and found that although whole fat and Greek yogurts freeze better, nonfat frozen yogurt desserts can be creamy and soft — just eat them within an hour or two of churning. This isn’t hard to do as homemade froyo tastes so rich and creamy straight out of the ice cream maker that it’s easy to eat the whole batch with a few friends. But if you want to freeze it ahead of time, make your batch with whole yogurt. It will be harder than ice cream, but still scoopable. There are also some frozen yogurt recipes out there where you incorporate your yogurt into an egg custard, much as you would when making homemade ice cream. I had no desire to stand over the stove on a hot day when we all just wanted a quick and fun dessert, but those recipes are out there if you’re interested.

Following are a few recipes you can try for your own frozen yogurt adventures. If you have kids or aren’t super fond of yogurt’s innate tartness, I suggest using vanilla or a fruit-flavored yogurt for your initiation to this homemade frozen treat. Although my kids liked my first batch of peach frozen yogurt (made with plain nonfat yogurt strained overnight), they adored all combinations made with vanilla whole yogurt.

It’s also worth noting that even when I used the more expensive organic and local yogurt varieties, the cost of a batch of homemade frozen yogurt still never exceeded $5 — a pretty nice price for a fun summer dessert that fed four people.

Peach Frozen Yogurt
This recipe uses peaches, but you could easily use any other summer stone fruit (including cherries). I used nonfat yogurt, which was perfectly creamy straight from the ice cream maker. My daughter had a second helping a couple of hours after I stuck the leftovers in the freezer and the texture was still velvety. The peach nectar measurement variation from 1/4 – 1/2 cup is dependent on how thick your yogurt is after adding the pureed peaches. If you’re using regular or nonfat yogurt, you will need less, but if include Greek or strained yogurt, you’ll probably need to add a bit more.

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups strained nonfat or whole milk yogurt
1 cup peaches peeled, chopped and pureed
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 – 1/2 cup peach nectar (I used Kerns) (measurement varies according to taste and

Preparation:
1. If straining yogurt, do so at least 4-6 hours ahead of time by placing your yogurt in cheesecloth and tying it at the top. Then set the package in a strainer set over a large bowl or container to catch the liquids. After a few hours your yogurt will be so thick and creamy it will look more like cream cheese.

2. Peel, chop and puree your peaches until smooth.

3. Place peach puree and sugar in a small pot and heat until sugar melts into the peaches. Cool mixture. You can also just add simple syrup instead of sugar to the peaches if you have some on hand.

4. Once peach puree mixture is cool, set up your ice cream maker so it’s ready to go.

5. Take the yogurt out of the refrigerator and place in a large bowl. Mix in the peach puree and peach nectar. Taste and add more nectar if needed.

6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn as you would normally make ice cream. Serve when frozen and creamy or place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt
This recipe uses a heated peanut butter, sugar and water combination, which flavors the yogurt beautifully and provides a nice backdrop for toppings, such as chocolate jimmies, crumbled peanut butter cups, or M & Ms. I used nonfat plain yogurt, but will use vanilla flavored yogurt next time as I think it will nicely compliment the peanut butter flavors. I also recommend against using strained yogurt in this recipe as the peanut butter is already thick enough.

Note: the measurements for this recipe vary according to taste. If you like your frozen yogurt light and tangy, then use 1/2 cup peanut butter and sugar; if you like a more pronounced peanut butter flavor, then go with the 3/4 measurements.

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
1/2 – 3/4 creamy peanut butter
1/2 – 3/4 cup sugar
2 cups nonfat or whole vanilla-flavored yogurt (not strained)
1/4 cup water

Preparation:
1. Place peanut butter, sugar and water in a pot and set on medium heat. Heat mixture while constantly stirring until peanut butter and sugar are melted into each other. If mixture is too thick (you should be able to easily stir the peanut butter), add a little more water.

2. Cool peanut butter mixture. You can do this in a cold water bath (setting the mix in a bowl and then placing that bowl over a larger bowl containing ice cubes and water) or just let it cool on its on the counter. Then place it in the refrigerator so it’s cool but still stirable.

3. Set up your ice cream maker so it’s ready to go.

4. Take the yogurt out of the refrigerator and place in a large bowl. Stir in the peanut butter mixture.

5. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn as you would normally make ice cream. Serve when frozen and creamy or place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

Banana Frozen Yogurt
The Banana Frozen Yogurt recipe uses vanilla yogurt mixed with bananas that have been pureed with a little juice. This was hands down my kids favorite froyo and was also the easiest to make as you don’t need to heat anything.

Makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups vanilla yogurt (whole milk, lowfat or nonfat)
1/2 cup mango, apricot, orange or any other full-bodied juice
2 large or 3 medium bananas cut up

Preparation:

1. Chop up bananas and then puree with the juice.

2. Set up ice cream maker so it’s ready to go.

3. Take the yogurt out of the refrigerator and place in a large bowl. Stir in the banana mixture.

4. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn as you would normally make ice cream. Serve when frozen and creamy or place in the freezer for 1-2 hours.

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Category: Bay Area Bites Food + Drink, dessert and chocolate, DIY, foraging, urban homesteading, kids and family, recipes

About the Author ()

I am a writer, editor, mother of twins, and enthusiastic home cook. I was raised by an Italian-American mother who, in the 1970s, grew her own basil (because she couldn’t find any in the local grocery stores), zucchini (for those delicious flowers), and tomatoes (because the ones in the store tasted like “a potato”). My mom taught us to love all kinds of food and revere high-quality ingredients. I am now trying to follow in my mother’s footsteps and am on a mission to help my daughters become adventurous eaters who have a healthy respect for seasonal food raised locally. My daughters and I grow vegetables and go to the farmers’ market. We also love to shop at Piedmont Grocery and Trader Joe’s. When I’m not hanging out with my daughters or cooking, I like to contribute to cookbooks (including Williams-Sonoma’s Food Made Fast and Foods of the World series), work as an editor, and write about food for Bay Area Bites and Denise's Kitchen. My food inspirations are M.F.K Fisher, Julia Child, and Alice Waters — three fabulous women who encompass everything I love about food.
  • pb_babies

    May one use natural peanut butter in your peanut butter frozen yogurt recipe? Which did you use?

  • http://deniseskitchen.wordpress.com/ Denise Santoro Lincoln

    Natural peanut butter is completely okay. That’s actually what I use. I made it again last night with whole vanilla yogurt, which I really liked.

  • Herbert

    I recently got an ice cream maker and want to try homemade frozen yogurt in it. Do you have a frozen yogurt recipe for cake batter? If I don’t strain the yogurt before I make it, does putting it in the freezer before I eat it accomplish the same thing?

  • http://nuttyfig.com Susie

    Manually made banana fro yo in a bowl, which I kept scraping to mix in the frozen part like a maker. Very delicious:
    1 c lowfat yogurt mixed with a mashed up banana, 2 T honey, toasted coconut, shaved dark chocolate and walnuts mixed in.

  • Lauren

    Is there an expiration date on homemade frozen yogurt?

  • J-Jo

    “froyo”? It is… frogurt!!

  • Sarah

    Can you make just plain vanilla froyo

  • Alayna

    well can you use a different kind instead of peach like chocolate or vanilla strawberry?

  • soso

    its yummy like sex

  • Linda Hope

    When I make frozen yogurt and then put it in the freezer for later it turns brick hard. Any way to fix this?

  • Maryellen Ashmore

    Do I have to strain(with the cheese cloth)? guess I am lazy and don’t have cheese cloth. or is something I might have that would work instead of cheesecloth?

  • DLincoln

    Hi Maryellen – If you don’t have cheese cloth you could use a study paper towel. You could also just use Greek yogurt, which is thicker than regular yogurt and so should work. Good luck!

  • Alborz Azizpour

    Hi.
    Thank you for your great recipe, I was wondering if there is any way to make soft and good frozen yogurt without an ice-cream maker. I mean I don’t have one and I can’t afford to buy one right now, so if you have some alternative action to replace the ice-cream maker it would be more than great if you could say.
    Thanks again

  • Jessica

    Homemade ice cream maker:

    1 large and 1 medium metal coffee cans with secure lids
    Lots of crushed ice
    Rock salt or ice cream salt
    Your favorite frozen yogurt or ice cream mix, prepared

    It is important to use metal coffee cans for this. It will not work the same if they are not metal (at least the smaller of the two needs to be metal). Also make sure the lids are secure or your yogurt and ice/salt will mix together and ruin your treat! You might consider putting 2 large rubber bands around each can from top to bottom crossing each other (x) to secure lids.The medium coffee can should fit easily into the center of the large can with about 1 to 1 1/2 inches around the outside of the medium can (see photo). Spread 1 inch of ice evenly in bottom of large coffee can. Pour yogurt mix into the smaller of the two cans, secure lid and place inside larger can. Loosely layer crushed ice and rock salt in the space between the two cans by pouring 1-2 inches of ice and 1/8 cup salt evenly around the sides and repeat until you are at the top of the smaller can covering the top with ice. Turn can on side and roll around for about 20 minutes (great job for the kids!) Check ice every 5 minutes or so. You may need to add additional layers of ice and salt as it melts. Check yogurt after 10 minutes being careful to remove top layer of ice/salt and wiping lid before you remove. Yogurt should be thick and creamy. For soft serve eat immediately or for hard serve freeze for a few hours. Enjoy!!