For many, yogurt is less of a snack and more of an obsession. That’s because there’s little you can’t do with this creamy, tangy, pudding-like food. Sprinkle it with granola, turn it into tangy tzatziki sauce, substitute it for sour cream-heck, you can even make more yogurt using just a few tablespoons of the stuff. (Learn how here.)
But if you stroll along the dairy aisle of your local grocer, you’re likely to see dozens of yogurts with different styles, flavors, textures and fancy packaging. My corner store has more than 30. (I counted!) Quite frankly, it’s overwhelming. And unless you’ve tried them all, it’s a guessing game to figure out which yogurt tastes best.
That’s why we decided to put several brands of plain vanilla yogurt to the test. A taste test, that is. We snatched up the most popular brands from various price points and brought together a few of the Taste of Home HQ’s biggest yogurt fanatics to participate in a blind taste test. Void of packaging and price, we judged each product based entirely on its flavor.
Curious to know which was our #1 pick? Read on to find out.
#5 Yoplait Original French Vanilla Yogurt
Average score: 4.8/10
“They don’t call it vanilla for nothing.”
“This hit me as the sweetest one.”
“I would get bored eating this.”
In fifth place was Yoplait Original. The yogurt had a thin, smooth texture and its flavor was unmistakably sweet. Our tasters remarked that there was a very light amount of vanilla flavor, but what was there tasted pretty artificial. Because this brand was so sugary, one judge remarked that it might be a better option for little kids.
#4 Dannon Vanilla Yogurt
Average score: 5.3/10
“I would have liked it to be a little thicker.”
“If you’re a fan of Greek yogurt, you WON’T like this one.”
“You get very light hints of vanilla.”
Jumping up in the rankings is Dannon, another giant in the yogurt industry. This brand had a similar consistency to Yoplait, as it was thin and watery. (Much like a drinkable yogurt, versus one you’d want to scoop into a bowl.) Its flavor was much more tart and tangy but still had an artificial vanilla taste.
Fan of Dannon? Bump up the flavor with this homemade topping.
#3 Siggi’s 0% Strained Non-Fat Vanilla Yogurt
Average score: 5.4/10
“That tastes like sour cream.”
“Looks like you could frost a cake with it.”
“I would enjoy that with granola.”
Siggi’s had a puckery tart flavor that left our tasters divided. Some compared their spoonful to the likes of Greek yogurt while others said it tasted more like sour cream. Though the yogurt was spotted with flecks of vanilla bean, there wasn’t much vanilla flavor coming through. Siggi’s yogurt was also similar to Greek yogurt in its super-thick consistency. I imagine that many of the judges would have preferred this brand with a healthy drizzle of honey.
#2 Noosa Vanilla Yogurt
Average score: 7.8/10
“Whoa! You can SEE the vanilla!”
“Honestly I didn’t know vanilla had a flavor until this one.”
“This looks like a dip.”
Noosa stood out from the bunch because it was jam-packed with flecks of vanilla. (It almost looked like someone had dumped in a few tablespoons of chia seeds!) The result was a flavor blast that impressed the entire group; the yogurt positively sang vanilla. So much that our judges’ only qualm was there was too much vanilla. The brand tasted heavy of ‘nilla extract-and a few thought the flecks looked slightly displeasing.
#1 Oui by Yoplait French Style Yogurt
Average score: 8.4/10
“My favorite, I wouldn’t eat so much of it.”
“It’s like ice cream or whipped cream…sweet and fluffy.”
Our #1 pick by far was a newcomer to the market: Oui by Yoplait. The brand launched the flavor this summer. (If you haven’t seen it at the store, it’s sold in little glass jars.) This French-style yogurt was a perfect mix of smooth, creamy and sweet. The gang agreed that it almost tasted like a dessert, and a few judges gave the yogurt a perfect 10 on their scorecard. Its natural vanilla flavor shone through, making it the ideal treat to add to a smoothie, smother with maple syrup or gobble up plain.
And there you have it! Here’s a quick recap of how each brand ranked from best to worst: Oui by Yoplait, Noosa, Siggi’s, Dannon and Yoplait Original.
What We Learned
There’s a spectrum of sweetness.
The vanilla yogurts we tested ranged from sugary sweet to extra tart, but our judges were divided on which flavor they preferred. Some put their nose up to Siggi’s tangy taste, while other folks (like me) couldn’t get enough of the tart stuff. If you haven’t tried a brand of yogurt before, a good way to tell if it’s going to be a sugar bomb is by the nutrition label. Look at the sugar content on the back of the packaging. For a reference point, an extra-sweet brand like Yoplait Original had 18 grams of sugar per 6-ounce serving, while extra-tart Siggi’s has a mere 9 grams of sugar per 5.3-ounce serving.
Explore products within a brand.
I found it quite interesting that the top and bottom brands were owned by the same company, Yoplait. For this reason, I think it’s important to not buy based on brand name alone. Food giants like Yoplait offer many different product lines, some of which you may detest and others you may adore. Keep your eyes peeled at the store for new products (especially those from household brands). You could find yourself a new favorite, just like “oui” did.