Looking for a convenient breakfast, lunch, or snack? A healthy yogurt bowl is an easy, quick, and nutrient-dense meal! Start with plain yogurt (like Greek or homemade yogurt), then add your own flavorings and toppings: homemade granola, fruit, etc. Let’s talk about how to make the best yogurt bowls that are nutrient-dense, save time (take less than 5 minutes to make), and never feel boring (with 17 toppings, beyond just granola and fruit). Plus, I’ll share 6 different recipes to get you started.
Are yogurt bowls healthy?
Yogurt is a traditional food, that’s been consumed for thousands of years. Yogurt was first discovered during the Neolithic period, in an accidental kind of way: milk soured in warm temperatures and the end result was edible yogurt. Yogurt was a way of preserving milk, as it extends the life, through fermentation, of fresh milk. Fermentation not only preserves food, naturally, but is also incredible for gut health. Learn about the amazing benefits of fermentation in this podcast episode.
Today, 90% of the yogurt sold in stores is far from healthy. Most yogurt is filled with artificial and “natural flavors”(ingredients that are not disclosed…what ingredients are used to make that natural flavor?), large amounts of sugar, and even food dyes. Real, traditional yogurt is naturally plain, with a sour taste from the fermentation process.
I know that people today are used to sugary, flavored yogurts. That’s where making homemade yogurt bowls come into play! Buy a tub of plain yogurt (full of beneficial bacteria, protein, and fat), then sweeten and top the yogurt with granola, nuts, fruit, and other toppings to make a nutrient-dense, superfood breakfast or snack!
What kind of yogurt?
Start with healthy yogurt. In the healthy dairy guide, I share how to find healthy dairy. For the best yogurt bowl at home, here are the best yogurt options:
- Plain Yogurt: The healthiest and best yogurt for making yogurt bowls is plain yogurt. No dyes, artificial or natural flavorings, or added sugars. Check the ingredient list and look for just milk and active bacteria, that’s it! You’ll add real-food toppings and natural sweetener to your yogurt bowl, so stick with plain and let the mix-ins and toppings add the flavor!
- Plain Whole Milk Yogurt: Yogurt is a fantastic source of protein and naturally-occurring healthy fat. Whole milk yogurt is a healthy option with a great consistency for a yogurt bowl. Whole milk yogurt is particularly great for children who need the healthy fats in their diet.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: Greek yogurt is regular yogurt that’s been strained to separate the whey. The end result is a thicker yogurt. Greek yogurt breakfast bowls have a thicker consistency with higher protein than regular yogurt. If you’re watching your fat intake (fat is healthy and good for you, but if you’re counting macros and need to keep within a certain amount of fat during the day), then a non-fat Greek yogurt is going to taste amazing and have a great consistency (unlike non-fat plain yogurt which is runny and not ideal for a yogurt bowl with toppings).
- Store-Bought or Homemade Yogurt: Use either store-bought or homemade yogurt. If you’d like to make your own yogurt, it’s easy to do. Use the slow-cooker yogurt method or Instant Pot yogurt method.
My favorite yogurt brands: Stonyfield, Maple Hill Creamery, Culina (dairy-free), So Delicious Coconut (dairy-free), CoYo (dairy-free), Wallaby, Organic Valley, and Trader Joe’s Organic. The cheapest way to make yogurt bowls is to buy a 32-ounce tub of yogurt, which will make multiple yogurt bowls.
Step By Step Instructions
Yogurt bowls are one of the easiest breakfast meals you can make! The bowls are naturally a no-cook meal (except the homemade granola, which can be prepped in advance, or save time and buy a store-bought option) and take less than 5 minutes to assemble. If you’re short on time, assemble a bowl ahead of time and store it in the fridge for a grab and go meal or snack.
Step 1: Start with plain yogurt
Add 3/4-1 cup of plain yogurt to a bowl. If you’d like to add extra protein to your yogurt bowl, spoon 1-2 scoops of flavorless protein powder (I love to use this collagen protein powder).
Step 2: Add flavoring
This is optional, but if you don’t like plain yogurt, this is a great way to make flavorful yogurt. You can add honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, and/or vanilla extract.
Step 3: Add healthy toppings
There are many different yogurt bowl topping options: with frozen fruit or fresh fruit, homemade granola, nuts, peanut butter, coconut flakes, or cacao nibs (chocolate without the sugar). I’ve created a list of all the different toppings you can add to a homemade yogurt bowl to make it different each week.
17 Healthy Topping Ideas
The best part about a yogurt bowl is the toppings. There are many different ways to top a bowl of yogurt. I’ll share a few of my favorite yogurt bowl recipe variations in a minute, but first, let’s talk about the different ways to top a yogurt bowl.
YOGURT BOWL TOPPINGS
- Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
- Mango chunks
- Pineapple chunks
- Pitted cherries
- Peach slices
- Citrus slices (orange or grapefruit)
- Homemade granola or store-bought granola (like Purely Elizabeth)
- Nuts: cashews, almonds, macadamia
- Seeds: sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Nut or seed butter: almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunflower butter
- Coconut flakes or shredded coconut
- Cacao nibs
- Chia seeds
- Honey or pure maple syrup
- Naturally-Sweetened Jam (add a tablespoon as a topping or stir into the yogurt)
Use a natural sweetener for extra flavor
There are 3 ways to sweeten yogurt bowls: a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup, fresh or frozen fruit, or a naturally-sweetened jam. You can either stir an option into the yogurt before adding the topping, or add the sweetener as a topping.
Yogurt Bowls With Frozen Fruit: If you’re used to fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt, add frozen fruit of your choice to a bowl (or mason jar), then add yogurt over top of the frozen fruit. Let the fruit defrost for about 15-30 minutes, then stir the fruit (and juices) with the yogurt and add toppings of your choice! This is a great way to create naturally-sweetened yogurt bowls.
How to make a filling yogurt bowl
Many people say that yogurt isn’t filling for breakfast (or as a snack or lunch). I used to feel this way, too! There are a few ways to make yogurt bowls more filling…
- Add extra protein to the yogurt: Yogurt already has a good amount of protein per serving (Greek yogurt has higher protein), but if you want to add more protein (which will fill you up), add 1-2 scoops of a flavorless protein powder or collagen powder (I love this brand). I make chocolate protein yogurt bowls with chocolate protein powder–OBSESSED!
- Add fiber-rich fruit: Adding fruit, either fresh or frozen, which is rich in fiber, will make a bowl of yogurt more filling.
- Add granola, nuts, seeds, and/or nut butter: Granola made with oats and nuts or seeds (I love this recipe). When added as a yogurt bowl topping, the complex carbs and healthy fat in granola make yogurt more filling. If you don’t want to use granola, add nuts, seeds, or nut butter. These ingredients don’t have the same amount of carbs as granola (no oats), but they do have a good amount of fat and protein to bulk up yogurt and keep you full for longer.
Storing and Serving Tips
You can either make a yogurt bowl in the morning and enjoy the bowl right-away, or you can prep yogurt bowls in advance.
If you’re making and enjoying a yogurt bowl the same morning, add everything to a bowl and enjoy!
Enjoy the yogurt bowl as a breakfast meal (or lunch or snack), or serve a bowl alongside eggs (Instant Pot hardboiled eggs, sunny-side up eggs, scrambled eggs, the perfect cheese omelette, or one of 16 different egg styles), or a protein-rich muffin (like almond-banana flourless muffins).
Save time and enjoy a healthy breakfast or snack by making yogurt bowls in advance. To do this, you’ll need mason jars (8 or 16 ounce jars). Add the yogurt, fruit, honey or maple syrup (if using) to the mason jar. In a separate bag or container, add your toppings (granola, nuts, seeds, etc.). Store everything in the fridge together for an easy grab-and-go meal. Add the toppings to the jar before enjoying.
Yogurt Bowl Bar: Place a 32-ounce tub of yogurt, honey, and various toppings (granola, nut butter, fruit) on the kitchen counter or table and let the family build their own bowls in the morning. This is a hands-off way to serve a nourishing breakfast, even for young children. Kids need direction at first for how to build a bowl, but once they get the concept, they love to explore the different ways to make their own yogurt bowls.
6 Different Yogurt Bowl Recipes to Try
Below, you’ll find a general recipe for making healthy yogurt bowls. Here are 6 of my favorite yogurt bowl recipes for extra inspiration…
- Tropical Yogurt Bowl: Stir together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, (optional) 1 scoop collagen or protein powder, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 tablespoon honey. Top the yogurt with: 1/3 cup pineapple chunks, kiwi slices (from 1 kiwi), 1-2 tablespoons toasted coconut, (optional) 1-2 tablespoons chopped cashews or macadamia nuts.
- Chunky Monkey Yogurt Bowl: Stir together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, (optional) 1 scoop collagen or protein powder, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. Top the yogurt with: banana slices (from 1/2 banana), 1/4 cup homemade granola, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and 1 tablespoon cacao nibs (or mini chocolate chips like Enjoy Life brand).
- Citrus Delight Yogurt Bowl: Stir together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, (optional) 1 scoop collagen or protein powder, 1/2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. Top the yogurt with: 1/4 cup orange slices (or grapefruit slices) and 1/4 cup mango chunks, 1/4 cup homemade granola, and (optional) 1 teaspoon chia seeds.
- Very Berry Yogurt Bowl: Stir together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, (optional) 1 scoop collagen or protein powder, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. Top the yogurt with: 1/2 cup fresh or frozen berries (mixed or one kind) and 2 tablespoons sliced almonds.
- Blueberry-Banana Yogurt Bowl: Stir together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, (optional) 1 scoop collagen or protein powder, and 1/2 tablespoon honey or maple syrup. Top the yogurt with: 1/3 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, banana slices (1/2 banana sliced), 1 tablespoon peanut butter, and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Cherry-Vanilla Yogurt Bowl: Stir together 3/4 cup plain yogurt, (optional) 1 scoop collagen or protein powder, and and 1/4-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Top the yogurt with 1/3 cup fresh or frozen pitted cherries, 1/4 cup homemade granola, and a drizzle of honey.
Healthy Yogurt Bowl Recipe with Topping Ideas
Yogurt Bowl Base:
- 1/2 Tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 cup berries fresh or frozen: strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
- 1/2 cup mango chunks fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup pineapple chunks fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup pitted cherries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup peach slices fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup citrus slices orange or grapefruit
- 1 kiwi sliced
- 1/2-1 banana sliced
Crunch and Extras:
- 1/4 cup homemade granola or store-bought, like Purely Elizabeth
- 1/4 cup nuts cashews, almonds, or macadamia (chopped or whole)
- 1/8-1/4 cup seeds sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 Tablespoons nut or seed butter such as: almond butter, peanut butter, cashew butter, or sunflower butter
- 1-2 Tablespoons coconut flakes or shredded coconut
- 1-2 Tablespoons cacao nibs
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Add 3/4 cup of plain yogurt to a bowl (or mason jar if prepping in advance for an easy grab-and-go breakfast).
- Stir in any sweetener (honey or maple syrup), protein powder or collagen powder, or flavoring (cinnamon, vanilla extract) into the yogurt. Alternatively, you can drizzle any sweetener or flavoring (except vanilla, which is best stirred into yogurt) over the yogurt and toppings.
- Top the yogurt with desired toppings: fruit (one fruit or a mix of different fruits totaling 1/2 cup), nut butter, granola, cacao nibs, etc. If you're making the yogurt bowls in advance (to enjoy later), add the toppings to a separate container, then add before enjoying the yogurt bowl.
- Enjoy the yogurt bowl immediately, or place a lid on the mason jar and store the make-ahead yogurt bowl in the fridge and enjoy within 2 days.