We Tried It: Frozen Greek Yogurt

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Greek yogurt is all the rage because of its high protein content and versatility. It can be eaten like traditional yogurt (sweetened with fruit or honey, if you like), whirled into smoothies or used in place of sour cream in recipes. It's become so popular and has such a good reputation as being "healthy," that it's even showing up outside of the yogurt tub. You'll find the buzz words "Greek yogurt" outside of the dairy case these days in some unusual places like coating packaged granola bars, inside cereal boxes, mixed with store-bought hummus and even in frozen desserts.
We decided to take a look at this trend and see whether frozen Greek yogurt desserts offer any health benefits when compared to regular frozen yogurt. Plus, we wanted to answer the most important question of all: How does it taste?!

To find a sampling of as many brands as possible, we visited four local grocery stores: Kroger, Bigg's, Whole Foods and Fresh Market. Depending on the store, the Greek frozen yogurt was shelved in one of three places: with the regular ice cream and frozen yogurt, in the health food section next to the organic berries and frozen treats or (in the case of Healthy Choice) with the frozen dinners. We were able to find examples of eight different brands to try. We also rounded up eight taste testers so we could come up with an average score for each one that would be less subjective.  Testers tried a sample of each flavor and rated it overall from 1-5 stars as well as shared their comments on the flavor.

The Frozen Greek Yogurt Taste Test
Is it any surprise that the clear winner in the taste category was Ben & Jerry's? This offering had the most calories (190 per half cup), but also the most protein (6 grams). The testers thought the Vanilla Honey Caramel flavor we sampled tasted "like real ice cream," without much of the characteristic tang you expect from frozen yogurt. This delicious treat is made with skim milk, nonfat Greek yogurt, cream, egg yolks and butter—several ingredients you'd never find in traditional Greek yogurt—which explains its similarity to ice cream and its higher calorie content.

The second top scoring entry, Homemade Brand's Honey Granola Frozen Greek Yogurt, has the second highest calorie count. One tester said it tasted "like an oatmeal cookie." It has the same amount of fat as the Ben & Jerry's (5 grams per serving), which is significantly more than any of the other options. Although this one is called "Greek Yogurt" on the package, that ingredient was definitely missing from the nutrition facts label. We did find milk, sugar, cream and other yogurt-like ingredients, as well as "live and active cultures," but we're not sure that the base of this creamy treat is true Greek yogurt.
A third place tie goes to the Yasso Coconut Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar and the Kroger Honey Vanilla Greek Frozen Yogurt, which each boast 6 grams of protein per serving. Yasso only makes its frozen Greek yogurt in bar form (vs. a pint). This one had a strong coconut flavor, which would please any coconut lover. Plus, the very second ingredient after nonfat milk is Greek yogurt! Overall, this refreshing treat has a very short ingredient list. Besides coconut, they also offer mango, vanilla bean, raspberry, strawberry and blueberry flavors.  Kroger's store brand of honey vanilla was mildly flavored and less memorable: not too sweet, not too flavorful, but not bad at all. The ice-creamy texture was very pleasant and the bites with the most honey swirled in were even better. (The ingredient list includes cultured skim milk but makes no mention of Greek yogurt.)
Another tie, in fourth place, are two frozen Greek yogurt bars, one from Ciao Bella Adonia (Raspberry flavor) and the other from Weight Watchers (Blueberry Swirl flavor). Ciao Bella's line of frozen Greek yogurt pints and bars, called Adonia, include 10 different flavors: vanilla, raspberry, blueberry, key lime, peach, mango, espresso, peach bars, raspberry bars and blueberry bars. Like many of the other frozen treats here, the ingredients don't mention Greek yogurt, but do list cultured nonfat milk, as well as "live and active cultures," so at least you're getting the benefits of real yogurt! Tasters enjoyed the raspberry flavor that comes from the natural raspberry juice concentrate, according to the ingredients list.
Some of our tasters found the Weight Watchers blueberry flavor to be a bit artificial (even though it comes from blueberry juice concentrate and no artificial sweeteners), but agreed that the smooth texture was nice. Other tasters thought the flavor was good and it reminded one of "light cheesecake." If you really like the flavor, this treat will only set you back 2 points! The ingredients list contains real yogurt, but it also includes whey protein and thickeners to give it a Greek-style nutritional profile.
None of our testers particularly cared for the Stonyfield Oikos Vanilla Frozen Greek Yogurt, the only organic variety sampled. It's possible that their other flavors (rather than plain vanilla) are more robust. They also offer honey, chocolate, super fruits, blueberry and peach mango. The vanilla did have the most "tang" like real yogurt, according to testers, and it does contain "live and active yogurt cultures." If a short, all-organic ingredient list is important to you, it would be well worth trying the other Oikos options.
The final selection, Healthy Choice's vanilla was a bit "gummy" and plain, but also had a nice yogurt tang.  One thing we did like about the Healthy Choice option was that each serving came in a portion-controlled container (1/2 cup each), taking the guesswork out of measuring. It also comes in blueberry, dark fudge swirl, honey swirl, raspberry and strawberry flavors.

Ranked in order by our testers' favorites, here's how the nutrition stats of these frozen Greek yogurt treats stack up:
Rating Brand & Flavor Serving Size Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar
***** Ben & Jerry's Vanilla Honey Caramel ½ cup 190 5 g 6 g 30 g 22 g
**** Homemade Brand Honey Granola ½ cup 180 5 g 5 g 28 g 24 g
*** Yasso Coconut Frozen Greek
Yogurt Bar
1 bar (2.5oz) 80 0.5g 6 g 14 g 12 g
*** Kroger Honey Vanilla ½ cup 123 0 g 6 g 24 g 21 g
** Ciao Bella Adonia Raspberry Frozen Greek Yogurt Bar 1 bar
(2 oz)
70 0 g 5 g 13 g 14 g
** Weight Watchers Blueberry Swirl Greek Frozen Yogurt Bar 1 bar (2.3 oz) 80 0.5 g 5 g 13 g 13 g
* Healthy Choice Vanilla Bean ½ cup 100 2 g 4 g 17 g 12 g
* Stonyfield Oikos Vanilla ½ cup 100 0 g 6 g 19 g 17 g
Compare these stats to average non-frozen Greek yogurt, average frozen yogurt and average vanilla ice cream:
Type & Flavor Serving Size Calories Fat Protein Carbs Sugar
Vanilla Greek Yogurt ½ cup 80 0 g 11 g 9 g 8 g
Vanilla Frozen Yogurt ½ cup 100 0 g 4 g 20 g 19 g
Vanilla Ice Cream ½ cup 190 12 g 4 g 19 g 16 g
The Nutrition
As an occasional treat, none of these choices will derail an otherwise healthy eating plan, but all of them have too much sugar to eat every day. The more important question is are they any better for you than regular frozen yogurt? By and large, the answer is no. Ben & Jerry's, for example, offers a (non-Greek) Vanilla Low Fat Frozen Yogurt that only has 130 calories per 1/2-cup serving and still includes 4 grams of protein. Even a 1/2 cup of their vanilla ice cream only has 190 calories (same as their frozen Greek yogurt) and 3 grams of protein. And Weight Watchers offers a Dark Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream Bar with only 80 calories per serving, the same as their Greek Frozen Yogurt Bar. Overall, brand for brand, choosing the Greek yogurt option over the regular frozen yogurt generally nets about 2 extra grams of protein per serving and will typically cost your wallet a bit more money but won't give you added health benefits.  
"Grab Greek yogurt or regular yogurt to receive the protein, calcium and healthy bacteria boost," advises Becky Hand, Registered Dietitian with SparkPeople.  "Think of frozen yogurt and frozen Greek yogurt as you would ice cream, ice milk and other frozen treats: They are basically 'frozen candy'" 
If you're looking for a treat, don't go by the face of the package. Greek yogurt or not, read the nutrition facts label to determine just how healthy the frozen concoction really is—and how it compares with other options you're considering. Also read the ingredients to find out exactly what kind of milk the treat contains, as Greek yogurts can be made with skim, reduced-fat and full-fat milk (a surprise to many who assume all Greek yogurt is fat-free). Check out the ingredients list to also determine how prevalent sugar is (ingredients are always listed in order by volume), and whether it's truly Greek yogurt or just an imposter, which usually has "added whey protein concentrate to boost protein content," warns Hand.

The Bottom Line
When you're choosing an occasional frozen treat, there's nothing wrong with picking frozen Greek yogurt if you find a flavor that you enjoy and nutrition profile that fits your goals. But just because a food label claims it contains Greek yogurt doesn't automatically make it a healthy choice. It doesn't even mean that it offers the true benefits of yogurt, live and active cultures, that you'll find it traditional (non-frozen) yogurts.

Don't be deceived by slick advertising, Hand warns. "If you really want the benefits of Greek yogurt in a frozen form, then freeze your own!" Purchase your favorite brand of Greek yogurt and place the container in your freezer. While the end result won't be quit as smooth and creamy; you will still find it cool and refreshing. "The frozen consistency along with using a tiny spoon to eat the contents will automatically slow down the eating process and have you savoring every delicious bite," she recommends. To save money, you can also buy the larger containers of Greek yogurt and freeze individual portions using the plastic molds for freezer pops.
Have you tried frozen Greek yogurt? Do you like the taste, texture or nutrition profile of frozen Greek yogurt better?

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HAWKTHREE 2/24/2018
Article unfairly slams one of them for not having Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt doesn't have to specifically list "Greek Yogurt" to be legally called Greek Yogurt. It really doesn't have to have yogurt in it, just dairy and certain bacteria. Well, it really doesn't need dairy, does it? Then it can be Greek style. Report
EVILCECIL 11/26/2017
Looks good but lots of carbs. Report
Like others I just pop a regular container in the freezer. I usually let it set for about a few minutes to soften a little. A plus when it is frozen so hard is I eat it very slow making it last longer. Report
Sorry....tried the vanilla bean "flavor" and couldn't finish the one I was eating. And I eat almost everything. The rest went into the garbage. Report
Growing up as a Greek American, I can remember the days when no one even knew what yogurt was... let alone...Greek Yogurt! I remember my grandmother (YIA YIA) making yogurt and letting it drip through a cheesecloth- the more tang and thickness the better! We greeks don't just eat yogurt as a sweet- we use it for savory purposes also. I grew up eating dried crusty bread and dipping it in yogurt and a dollop of yogurt on rice pilaf..much like we Americans think of sour cream on baked potatoes...etc. I know it is hard for everyone to think of it this way because of the many years of marketing it with fruit and syrups on the bottom etc but try it! There is something magically healthful about a good pure yogurt. I recommend Fage ( its from Greece) or Trader Joes Greek Yogurt. Those to me are the closest I can find the to the original my YIA YIA made... I swear by it....my grandfather (PAPOU) lived to be 102 eating this way!!!

(bon apetit) Report
I've never tried frozen greek yogurt. I've tried regular greek yogurt but I never thought of the frozen kind. Must try! Report
To make a frozen treat for myself, I freeze ripe bananas that I have broken into 1 inch chunks. Then when I want something cold, I put about 1/2 of the frozen banana in a blender. To this I add skim milk, almond milk or soy milk, depending on what I have. Start out with a 1/2 cup of liquid. Blend on high speed till the banana is no longer chunky. You can add fresh fruit, frozen fruit, chocolate, most any thing you want. You can control the ingredients, the calories and the grams of sugar. I have added greek yogurt to it also. The key is the frozen banana. This could also be done in a food processor. Report
I tried the Oikos vanilla and LOVED it. It is healthier than ice cream, but still goes in the "treat" category. Report
I've tried frozen yogurt but not Greek. Thanks for the heads up and i will check out the frozen yogurt i buy for their sugar and protein count Report
I have not tried frozen Greek yogurt. But I love plain Fage Greek yogurt with Starbucks (can buy at any Starbucks store) sugar-free vanilla syrup in it. Report
I must admit that I do not get excited over Greek Yogurt, but the article is really interesting. I love TCBY and I love ice cream, so I am equal opportunity. Great article. Full of good info. Report
I love frozen yogurt including the Greek Yogurt. I do tend to eat too much though so I need to purchase it in single serving size. Report
I love TCBY Greek Frozen Yogurt. It's a nice treat. Report
Who assumes all Greek yogurt is non-fat? Where does that come from? The best Greek yogurt I've ever had is the Fage Total whole milk Greek yogurt; it's higher in calories but it's very high in protein and you don't need to eat very much of it to feel satisfied. It tastes much, much better than the low-fat and non-fat version, and the fat is important for absorbing vitamins. And there's not a bit of artificialness to it! Everything in it is honest and good for you. Report
I eat an oikos greek yogurt cup for lunch everyday. I LOVE it. I like the "tang" (as it is referred to here) of greek yogurt compared to regular yogurt.

On hot days I throw one of my yogurt cups in the freezer for a bit and make my own "frozen yogurt". Report
I find slapping the words "Greek" and "yogurt" on a package of whateveritis is just a marketing trend. Upon further investigation of the nutrition label & ingredients list, it's pretty much NOT yogurt (Greek or otherwise). Better option: just put about a 1/2 cup of a nice lowfat yogurt (like Mountain High vanilla) into a reusable (Gladware) container, toss in a couple of fresh raspberries, and pop it into the freezer for about 2 hours or less. The berries will freeze, the yogurt will get a little frozen, and you'll have a refreshing treat that doesn't max out the sugar and "fake food" quotient. :-9 Report
My whole family loves frozen yogurt. Two years ago I bought an ice cream maker and I just throw a big pack of low fat Greek yogurt in it, in 30 minutes we get real frozen yogurt in which we add toppings, mostly fruits for us and M&M for my kids.
You don't need a juicer to make a frozen banana treat. A blender will do. You can also chop up a half of banana, fine, and then freeze which is what I do. Makes it easier to eat. I'll pour a little milk on top to soften it plus it makes it creamier too. Try it. Sue Report
i love greek yogurt! even though i love ice cream, i rarely eat it...it's just not worth all the calories and fat. so when the frozen greeks came out i had to try them. though lower in fat, they're not nonfat (which my yogurt is) AND they are still pretty high in sugar. better for you than ice cream, yeah. but the only flavor i have loved enough to feel like it was worth all that was ben & jerry's liz lemon. the others have all been thrown away. maybe i should try freezing my chobani into popsicles??? Report
They have a yogurt at Fry's the name is carb-master 3 grams sugar and they are good also carb-master milk 3 grams of sugar they are both made I wanna say either krogger or fry's brand Report
I am going to try the coconut bars. Report
All are too high in sugar for me. I am a sweets lover and am working hard to cut back on sugar in take. I try not to purchase items with more than 10 grams of sugar if I can. If you like bananas I heard that you can run a frozen banana through a juicer and you've got ice cream. I don't have a juicer so I can't confirm this. If you've tried this let me know I may buy a juicer second hand just for that purpose. Report
I tried the Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt Strawberry and I found it to be good, but then thought why should I spend extra money on this frozen treat when I can freeze what I really like so that's what I did. The yogurt I like has fruit on the bottom so either I shake it up to mix before freezing or I open and mix really well, place in a freezer container to freeze then eat. Great article... Thanks for sharing good information. Report
If anyone is near a Safeway, you owe it to yourself to try their Safeway Select Cherry Greek Frozen Yogurt. It has the same protein as the Ben and Jerry's with less calories and I'm sure a much better price. I love that stuff. I eat it in a sugar cone (only 50 calories) because it makes the half cup serving seem like a whole lot of ice cream. Report
So glad I read this before I bought any of these. I think I'd rather just have the Greek yogurt by itself as part of my meals and a small dessert. Report
I add frozen blueberries to greek yogurt (not frozen) and it turns into "frozen" yogurt right in my bowl. My husband and I love it!! I NEVER liked yogurt before because it always tastes like sour milk to me..but I LOVE greek yogurt. Report
I love the Healthy Choice frozen Greek yoghurts. (strawberry, raspberry, or blueberry are the best!!)...I microwave them for a few seconds (10 seconds max) and they are absolutely wonderful, still frozen but soft and creamy...yum!!! The individual containers are a perfect size for a sweet treat...I actually crave the creaminess and will choose them over a candy bar now!! Report
Thanks for the review and comments Report
Only in the sense that I have taken a container of greek yogurt and put it in the freezer..... Report
I love Ben & Jerry's "Liz Lemon", it is probably my favorite frozen treat, but I never kid myself that it's not a dessert. I only have 1/2 cup or less and usually on days when I haven't hit my daily fat minimum. Or if I feel like I need a little something special:) Report
The article states that "ingredients are always listed in order by volume," but they are actually listed by weight (as opposed to volume). Report
Looking at the stats, if flavour over substance wins (calories, proteins, sugars and such) I think your winner is a big non winner. I personally like more bang for my calories and there is a big difference between "the winner" and some of the others. Report
Not a big deal, but if there's a tie for third place, there can't be a tie for fourth place. It would need to be for fifth place. :) Report
Purée fruit in season. Add some seasonings - any kind. Freeze in ice cube trays or any shape you have handy. Come out great. Better than any yogurt. Also you can add whey powder (small) amount. Practice makes Perfect. Watermelon purée. GREAT Report
I tried a frozen Greek yogurt last summer (summer of 2012). I can't remember what the brand was. I do remember enjoying the flavor but maybe it was because I had avoided all ice cream up to the point where I purchased it. (so anything would have tasted good.)

I am excited to find those Yasso Coconut Bars. I love the taste of coconut and for only 80 calories, I think I can fit that into my nutrion plan. Report
For anyone who likes a frozen treat, I have recently found "Arctic Zero". It comes in a variety flavors and at 150 calories per PINT, and very few ingredients, ( This is for the Vanilla Maple flavor:PURIFIED WATER, WHEY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE (MILK), ORGANIC CANE SUGAR, CHICORY ROOT, SUGARCANE FIBER,GUAR GUM, XANTHAN GUM, NATURAL FLAVORS, SEA SALT, MONK FRUIT CONCENTRATE.), it's a good alternative to ice cream or frozen yogurt. Granted, it doesn't pack a nutritional punch but it does satisfy my need for a low calorie, cold treat after a workout (36 calories per 1/2 cup). I've found them in the ice cream section at Walmart and I think they are available in many other stores. Also, the Healthy Choice frozen yogurt is awesome. One tip though - leave it to "thaw" a few minutes on the counter before eating. That definitely helps with both the flavor and the texture. Report
I love the Yasso bars. They have 80 calories and 6g of protein. I tried freezing regular greek yogurt and it ends up being hard and totally not the texture or taste of any of the items listed above.

I also like the Healthy Choice frozen yogurt (blueberry). Love having it portioned out and the taste. These have 100 calories and 4 grams of protein. So I switched to Yasso because they have less calories, more protein and the sugar is the same at 12 grams. Report
If you look carefully at the labels, you might notice that some of them actually read Greek FROZEN Yogurt, and not Frozen GREEK Yogurt. And maybe those are the ones that don't list Greek Yogurt as an ingredient. You know how the food industry can be. Report
I have found a few that I like. The bars are best for me because it's easiest for portion controll. It's nice to have a frozen option for those really hot days when ice cream would really hit the spot. Just like anything else, check the nutritional information and don't over indulge. Report
I eat frozen Greek yogurt after I walk because it is hot outside and I need something cold. I like Greek yogurt because it doesn't melt as fast. Someone told me once that it wasn't real yogurt. so I just save some calories to have a bar after I walk. I eat the popsicle type bars because it is portion controlled. Report
Thanks so much for the very informative article!
And many comments are very worthwhile! Report
I really like the Healthy Choice Frozen Yogurt. My favorite is strawberry, but the others are good too. Report
I actually really like the Healthy Choice frozen Greek yogurts - the vanilla and the raspberry are the best. I like that they're portion controlled too - makes it so much easier not to overdo it. Things in pint containers are dangerous for me! Report
Since "Greek" yogurt is actually a cultured milk product that has been thickened by draining out the water, I think any of these claims are ok if they have live bacteria. I love the one from Trader Joe's that is 100% frozen Greek Yogurt with a little sugar added. It actually tastes like yogurt. If it doesn't taste good I won't eat it, and if it's not good for me there is no reason to eat it, so I usually just freeze my own yogurt. I blend it with fruit and freeze it in bowls or popsicle forms. No added anything, if it's not in the original fruit or yogurt it's not there. My grandson (age "almost 3") especially loves the pineapple popsicles I make with fat free yogurt and crushed pineapple packed in its own juice. Report
I actually like the Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt. I like that it has single servings and only 100 calories. My favorite flavor is the dark fudge. Report
I make my own of sorts. I take Greek Plain Non-fat yogurt, add a half serving of agave syrup and a serving of frozen mixed berries and put it all in a bowl. I let the berries thaw a little, then mix it all together. The berries partially freeze the yogurt making it like soft serve. Report
If you're going to eat a serving of frozen yogurt that's 190 calories per 1/2 cup serving, you might as well eat real ice cream. Report
I have to admit, I LOVE the Yasso bars. I get the strawberry and blueberry (they come in a big pack at Costco or BJ's wholesale clubs) and I have found them to be exactly what I'm looking for in a frozen treat- reminds me enough of ice cream to kill the cravings for the bad stuff, but it also has a nutritional profile that I'm looking for: low calories, high protein. I couldn't ask for more from dessert! Report
it is pretty much a given that anything that tastes half way good will be BAD for us trying to lose weight.
i have tried many 'greek' yogurts - the only one i liked was way up in the fat gram and calorie counts. the rest tasted artificial, chemical, plastic, and horrible in general. i could not mask the taste even in a smoothie.
i would rather have a small serving of REAL stuff then try to 'fudge' it. Report
Nice reviews; I appreciate the attention to taste AND nutritional profile. I also think the point is good that these things are more expensive but generally speaking you don't get much extra nutrition for your money.

The only one I have tried is the Healthy Choice, and I bought it because of the cute little pre-portioned containers. If I'm concerned about protein in dessert I'll probably just freeze some actual Greek yogurt & put some homemade jam on it for sweetness! Report
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