Even before I went on a quest to find real food high protein workout snacks last month, I’d always wanted to dehydrate yogurt to see if I could have a travel-worthy, mess-free snack option that didn’t involve nuts or grains but did include healthy fats and protein. It seems that, even though I have tons of great snacking ideas in Healthy Snacks to Go, many of them either make crumbs, include nuts, are grain-based, or are like the homemade dried fruit rolls which we covered earlier this week, which are super tasty but not lasting for hungry children. Or hungry mamas.
Now you might ask, “Katie, if you always wanted to do this, why didn’t you? Is it really that hard?”
And Katie would say, “I wasn’t sure if it was hard. I’m a little scared of new things, and we eat so much homemade yogurt around here that I rarely think, “Boy, I just have too much yogurt sitting around. Maybe I can preserve some.”
But for you faithful KS readers? I did a few small batches just to learn how.
And the good news? It’s not difficult at all.
Dehydrating Yogurt: The How-to Guide
I tried dehydrating yogurt plain and with a few different mix-ins, and it all worked really well.
- Spread the yogurt, homemade or purchased, as thinly as possible (about 1/8″?) on parchment paper or the sheets that come with your dehydrator (I have an Excalibur 9-tray and I love it).
- Dehydrate at 125F for about 6 hours.*
- Check often after 4 hours since dehydrators are all a little different, your thickness might vary, and how full you fill the machine impacts timing as well.
- You want the resulting “yogurt rolls” to be totally dry – so that nothing comes off on your fingers when you touch the very center, and if you stick two pieces together, they come right back apart – but still pliable.
*Anywhere from 100F-145F is probably just fine; enzymes and bacteria die at 150F dry heat, so you’ll negate the probiotic benefit of yogurt if you get it too hot. Strict raw foodies would say not to go over 116F, although that’s when enzymes die in wet heat, like boiling. If you’re not in a hurry, I guess I’d shoot for 110F to be safe and gentle on the healthy bacteria.
The yogurt rolls store fine at room temperature, but I noticed that they smelled increasingly sour as days went by. I think the probiotics are probably dying off at room temp as well, so I recommend storing long term in the freezer and semi-long term (a few months?) in the fridge. Since it’s dehydrated, it doesn’t take up much space anyway. The freezer does NOT kill the healthy bacteria.
Yogurt rolls would be a very frugal, nourishing snack on the go if you make your own yogurt. Check out my easy homemade yogurt picture tutorial, how to make raw milk yogurt, and homemade yogurt troubleshooting guide to get started.
How Does It Taste?
Dried yogurt is pretty tangy. Like most foods, the flavors are all concentrated once dehydrated, so the sourness of yogurt is very evident. If you don’t eat unsweetened yogurt, you won’t like dried yogurt without adding sweetener.
I recommend simply “seasoning” it with healthy stevia drops, raw honey, or maple syrup to taste before dehydrating. If you like it before drying, you’ll probably like it afterward.
“Recipes” for Dried Yogurt Roll Ups
If you’re dehydrating yogurt just for preparedness issues, plain is probably the way to go. (See my post on preserving dairy items for long-term storage.) If you’re making snacks, you might enjoy some flavors.
Fruity Yogurt Rolls
Blend in a blender or food processor 1 cup yogurt with 1/2-3/4 c. berries, fresh or previously frozen. Add sweetener to taste if necessary.
Pour onto parchment paper and dehydrate at 125F 4-8 hours.
Here’s what I did with blueberries:
It comes out like this:
Isn’t it funny how even the color concentrates? Love it.
I thought it tasted pretty doggone good even without any sweetener, but to my great surprise, neither Kimball kid liked it very much, even though they both eat plain yogurt every day, and blueberries are their favorite add-in. Or, they could have just been feeling stubborn and oppositional that day because I said I liked it.
Adding 5-7 drops of stevia to a cup of either the plain or blueberry yogurt rolls made a huge difference, in my opinion. It took the snack from “okay to eat” to “I would want to eat this.”
Peanut Butter High Protein Yogurt Rolls
Blend 1 c. plain whole milk yogurt with 3/4 c. natural peanut butter. Pour onto parchment.
Dehydrate as above.
The peanut butter still dries at about the same rate, maybe an hour or two longer, but it really has a different consistency:
Rather than rolling up your final product, you’ll have to crack off small pieces. It’s still shelf stable and easy to store, but not as cute.
The kids liked the yogurt with peanut butter, but my husband and I didn’t really.
Ultimately, I recommend trying a few small batches with different additions while you’re dehydrating a large batch of homemade fruit roll ups or dehydrated bananas or something. Then you’ll know what is worth the time to make in a larger batch.
My only lament is that I don’t think dried yogurt rolls would last well in a hot car over a period of weeks or months. I love to have “emergency car snacks” that are always stocked and rarely depleted, and my homemade dried fruit and crispy nuts are typically our only choices.
What snacks do you keep on hand that are truly nourishing and uber shelf stable?
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45 thoughts on “How to Dehydrate Yogurt: A Healthy Snack or Long-Term Storage Option”
Nice blog, I made these things several times as an alternative for fruit rolls, worked out great… but I dried it more like 14 to 18 hours like the fruit rolls…
I appear to have the same dehydrator than you have (excalibur 9 trays) so that can’t be the difference, do you happen to live in a very dry climate?
While I live in a humid one (the Netherlands…)
I liked the idea to dehydrate the yogurt as I make the yogurt on my own, and I always have a great amount of leftover. I dried plain yogurt yesterday and grinded it for later use.
Now please help me, Katie! 🙂
– Can I store the grinded yogurt on a shelf or have to keep it in the refrigerator?
– Do you have well-tried recipe for using the grinded yogurt in other food?
Thanks in advance.
The yogurt should be fine at room temp for a while, but I’m not sure how long. I do store mine in the fridge just to be safe since I’m not quite sure how perfectly my home-dehydrating was. As for using the ground up yogurt, I’ve never done it! I bet you could add it to just about anything for a little boost of probiotics! 🙂 Katie
Help! Mine (strawberry-yogurt combination) has been in the dehydrator for over 8 hrs and it’s still not done. Should I leave it on overnight?
Hi Lisa, I’m too late to be of any help, but I hope your “yogurt rolls” turned out ok! It does often take many hours to get completely dry! 🙂 katie
The sour smell and taste may be from the milkfat rancidifying, using skim milk yogurt would help in room temp storage.
If I dehydrate plain yogurt and store it for a year on the shelf, can I then add water to this stored yogurt and use it for a starter culture in raw milk, to form a new yogurt batch?
I, too, am wondering about this. Did you ever get an answer?
I wish I knew the answer, LD! Guessing it would work though… 🙂 Katie
I’ve never tried – with sourdough starter, that would work – for yogurt, getting the quantity right to culture properly would be a feat, but logistically it should work. I might freeze the dried yogurt if I had the option…? 🙂 Katie
I sweetened mine with honey and the result was so sticky and rubbery I couldn’t get it off the fruit-leather tray. Did I use too much? was it because I squeezed a lot of the whey out first?
I’m sorry, I’m really not sure – I’ve never used honey to sweeten… Katie
My yogurt rolls turned out flaky instead of pliable. Do you know why this would be? Did I just leave them in the dehydrator (110 degrees) too long?
Yep Angie, almost certainly. Sometimes adding fruit will make them more pliable too, but a shorter time should do it. Try taking them out before you think they’re *quite* done and let them sit for 20 mins or so – likely their texture will change a lot and you’ll know if they need a little more time or not…
Wow Katie! Thank you so much for your super quick reply! I’m preparing for a camping trip, so I hope I can get these to turn out. I recently purchased your camping handbook, and it’s already coming in handy!
I’m so sorry, I really don’t even know what cheesewax is for sure…
It is like the wax that is on the little babybel cheeses you can buy at the supermarket. It’s easily peeled off of food but keeps
Do think the dried yogurt would last well if dipped in cheese wax? I’m going to try drying my home made kefir.
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So, as a followup – I made some mango yogurt rolls just before we went camping, and I am SOOO glad I did! They kept great, even though they were left in our car the whole time (bear country, you know). I wasn’t wanting to provide probiotics, just a more protein-heavy snack. And I’m under the impression that the probiotic content falls off within a week even in the fridge anyways. Joy of Cooking recommends starting a new batch of yogurt every five days…
Plus, it seems my baby didn’t like some of the changes that came with camping and refused to eat the baby food I brought. One of the few things she would eat was these yogurt rolls, and I was so glad to have something with the fat and protein to offer her! She was 10 mo old at the time and did great with them.
Is it possible to dehydrate in the oven? I don’t have a dehydrator either, but this seems like a genius no mess snack!
It is, actually, but unless your oven goes down to 150F (many stop at 170F), you’ll kill your probiotics. Still a good protein/fat no-mess snack, but not quite as healthy. See here for more on using the oven:
I just tried this with my banana smoothies I made with kefir, my 8 year old daughter said it tastes like lollies 🙂 I’m a happy muma. Hubby was sold when I said it is a no spill version for the car.
Yay, that’s awesome! I should totally try dehydrating smoothie – what a power-packed on the go snack!
Oh, if one only had a dehydrator… though, they use electricity, don’t they?
Oh, well… I’m NOT going to start wishing for electricity… anyone who knows if they make them… battery-operated?
wait, how do you get on the internet, if you don’t have electricity? Solar charged laptop batteries?
Not sure on your climate, but if it’s somewhat sunny and not too humid, they do sell solar dehydrators, and you can also find plans to build them yourself if you or someone else in your family is handy. You just need something to reflect and increase the sun’s heat, and then a way to keep bugs and animals from getting at whatever you are dehydrating. (I would also have a temp gauge on hand so you don’t end up roasting what you’re trying to dry) I’ve also seen meshed covered hanging lightweight wire shelves that you can hang indoors (like near a woodstove or source of heat, or even in a sunny window possibly) that would work as well. Our ancesters did this for thousands of years before electricity, so I am sure there are some options for you!!! :Good luck!!! Ebay and Amazon are great places to start if you want to find this kind of stuff…..
Regarding your first question, Cathy; a smart phone with internet =)
I could do the woodstove thing… hmm. I just had my grandma tell me how they used to string up apple slices over the woodstove when she was little…
Thanks for all the good ideas! =)
oh, and I charge it in the car =)
This looks awesome! I totally want to try it! Thanks.
I still don’t have a dehydrator, but each thing you post using one gets me closer to getting my hands on one!
Love this and can’t wait to try it! Another whole foods, nutrient/protein dense snack I keep on hand in my purse is dehydrated goose jerky. it lasts a really long time and is wild game, home cured and dried. Even my very picky 4 year old will eat it in the car when she is hungry. I love that it is LOTS of protein! We hunt a lot of our meat, and this is the only thing that I really like using goose for. Of course, you don’t have to use goose, any type of very lean meat will work. It’s the fat that makes it not last, and since goose is ubber-lean, it is perfect for me.
Weird I thought Pemmican beef fat jerkey and cherries was shelf stable BECAUSE of the fat………
Not sure on pemmican, maybe it’s different from normal jerky in some way. fat is usually what gets rancid quickly and causes spoilage for things, though.
HMMM Coconut oil is shelf stable for very long time 100% fat ……
We are using a Cherokee recipe but the reason we have limited shelf life is our processor is unable to grind air dry pemmican with his equipment. The processor is leaving more moisture than the Native Americans in order to grind the jerky without damage to the grinding equipment. The Native Americans removed all the moisture and their product was shelf stable. We have a test batch dated October 10, 2009 and it is still ok in December 2010. Many have asked for shelf stable pemmican, and we have encouraged our processor to update to a better grinder soon.
From what I understand, coconut oil is shelf stable because it is almost completely saturated fat. Beef fat is not as high in saturated fat.
When I make beef jerky, the fat AND a lot of liquid comes out, so I think everyone is right- proper tallow, pure beef fat w/no liquid, properly filtered, is stable for a long time. But the moisture that comes with fatty beef makes dehydrating a bigger challenge. My two cents! 🙂 Katie
I wonder if one could make those yogurt covered dried fruit with this method? I used to love those 🙂
It would be so fun and cute to pour the yogurt on the paper then put sliced strawberries in rows in there. I bet ultimately that would taste similar…
Jerky is our favorite! I can’t keep it in the house, seriously. Everyone LOVES it and even the baby will grab a piece and gnaw on it for awhile.
We love jerky too. We prefer beef although we have tried pork and even venison. Its a tasty snack and it can be healthy too.
Would this be similar to those freeze-dried baby yogurt snacks? Is the dehydrated yogurt chewy, or does it dissolve quickly?
Its more chewy, I tried to make this before hoping to get the baby yogurt snack consistancy.
My DD loved it anyway though 🙂
Hi. First, I wanted to thank you for sharing your experience with dehydrating yogurt. I am rather fond of yogurt and I love new ways to eat it. Thank you.
Can you tell me if the one with the Peanut Butter had more of a ‘melt in your mouth’ texture and was less chewy than the first creation?
Freeze drying is so different from dehydrating – it would be REALLY cool to be able to recreate that texture, though, I know!!