Greek And European-Style Yogurts, Ranked From Worst To Best

Let's take a look at the thickest, creamiest, most complex yogurts you'll find at the grocery store.

Greek yogurt became ubiquitous virtually overnight. Between 10 and 15 years ago, seemingly everyone awakened to the product all at once, and ever since it has been stationed alongside the tubs of Dannon and Yoplait traditionally preferred by Americans, steadily growing its market share and diehard customer base.

While I personally prefer a more traditional yogurt, this week's taste test of the best plain yogurts on the market gave me pause. There are so many Greek and European-style yogurts on the American market today that leaving them out of the equation felt wrong. They deserve their own rankings, taking into account their thicker consistency and unique flavor profile.

Here is an in-depth explanation of the different kinds of yogurts, but briefly, just so we can be judgy about them: Greek yogurt is basically strained yogurt. This is what makes it thicker, creamier, and packed with protein. Icelandic skyr is similar to Greek yogurt but tends to have even more protein, enough to fuel Viking pillages. The Bulgarian and Armenian varieties tend to be more sour, as they're fermented longer and made with alternative bacterias and probiotics.

The yogurts that follow in these rankings reflect the variety of full-fat options I could source from local grocery stores; this is by no means an exhaustive list of available European-style yogurts. I judged these based on:

  • Flavor (creamy, tangy, grassy, etc.)
  • Texture (smooth vs. chunky)
  • Balance (how round is the overall tasting experience?)
  • Here's how they fared, from worst to best.

7. Trimona Bulgarian Yogurt

I hate to rank this product dead last. With Russia as its noisy neighbor, the last thing Bulgaria needs is me coming after its yogurt. More seriously, because this isn't a yogurt I know or have cultural context for, I don't feel comfortable necessarily passing judgment—but I guess I will anyway. I'm sure there are great versions of Bulgarian yogurt, and this just probably isn't one of them. It's sour and tangy in a mouth-puckering way, but as we'll see with some later entries, those attributes can be pleasant in the right product. In this case, the texture is chalky in a way that dries out your mouth.

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6. Chobani Greek Yogurt

Chobani was one of the first American-founded brands to push Greek-style yogurt into the mainstream, so I'm surprised to have to rank it this low. But maybe with all its attention on oat milk and fancy SoHo storefronts, the brand has forgotten to focus on the OG product. While Chobani has the great, velvety texture we've come to expect from Greek yogurt, the flavor was bitter, almost plasticky. Now that there are so many great alternatives available, I won't be reaching for the Chobani anytime soon.

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5. Trader Joe’s European Style Yogurt

From here on out in the rankings, all of the yogurts were good. It's just a matter of how good. Trader Joe's European-style yogurt is thin, sour, and smooth. From a labeling standpoint, the only thing "European-style" seems to indicate is that there are no stabilizers in it. I would consider this Trader Joe's nod to the Eastern European styles given the sour, tangy flavor. The mouthfeel is silky and pleasant, but nothing makes this product really stand out.

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4. Siggi’s Skyr

While I resent that Siggi's didn't give me the strength or flowing locks of a Viking, this skyr was mighty good. While similar in thickness to a Greek yogurt, it had a bit more of a fermented funk, giving it a wonderful "essence of yogurt" kind of flavor. Knocking it down a few pegs was a little bit of the chalkiness Chobani suffered from as well. With these strained yogurts, extracting the proper amount of liquid is key, and not every brand strikes the right balance.

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3. Erivan Acidophilus Yogurt

This Armenian-style yogurt, or matzoon, presented all that tangy, sour goodness that other products missed. I think it is an acquired taste; it was certainly the most controversial yogurt among my team of taste testers. It is extra fermented, so there's a zesty, almost salty pungency to it. Texturally, it is much more similar to a traditional yogurt than the Greek variant, made with no stabilizers and containing some clumpiness. Overall, matzoon is a fun and exciting yogurt to eat, which is not something that can be said about most yogurts.

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2. Wallaby Organic Aussie Greek Style Yogurt

This yogurt is clearly trying to be a lot. It is made in Colorado. Is it Greek, or Greek-inspired? And how does the Australian element fit in there, exactly? The packaging says it's "Aussi-tude," a slow, natural vibe, that gives Wallaby its Aussi-ness. Whatever it is, it's succeeding. The flavors are balanced, but the texture is where it really stands out: It's less thick than some of the other Greek-style ones, and as a result has this velvety quality, almost like a sheen that makes it smooth and glossy.

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1. Fage Total Greek Yogurt

Oh, my sweet Fage. She has got to be the undisputed leader of the Greek yogurt empire, arguably the brand that put Greek yogurt on the map for American consumers—and Fage continues to stand out. This full-fat version—which, I would argue, is how everyone should be consuming all dairy products—is fluffy and pillowy. It is incredibly thick yet somehow doesn't lead to the dry-mouth feeling some of the other brands do. Eating a spoonful of Fage is what I imagine it's like eating straight whipped butter, but in the most delicious, yogurt-y way possible.

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BONUS: Redwood Hill Farm Goat Milk Yogurt

This goat milk yogurt tastes like you blended Greek yogurt and a log of chevre, and everyone should try it at least once if only for the experience. As a fan of that gamey, grassy, goaty flavor, I found this fun to eat in small portions, even if I couldn't imagine eating it straight out of a bowl for breakfast. Mixing it with garlic, thyme, and mushrooms to make a creamy pasta sauce, on the other hand, might just be my dinner tonight.

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