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Yogurt ‘Cheesecake’ Souffles

Yogurt Souffle

Can a dessert be a cheesecake when it doesn’t start with cheese? My gut feeling tells me that it can’t. In spite of that, I can’t resist calling these little yogurt-based souffles, “cheesecake souffles” because they taste exactly like a light and fluffy cheesecake – only without all the calories and fat of a “real cheesecake.”

When I first set about making these, I was simply experimenting with yogurt as a potential souffle base ingredient in a recipe that was originally created by Alice Medrich. Souffles are such classy little desserts and always make a great presentation, so I enjoy making them. But because I don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen, I have a slight preference for souffles that don’t require pre-cooked bases. Yogurt has an appealing thickness to it, but it isn’t generally known for its ability to stand up to heat well. I shouldn’t have been worried because the eggs, sugar and flour that also go into the base of this dish serve to support the yogurt and give plenty of structure to the souffle.

The texture is very light and fluffy, similar to some souffle-style ricotta cheesecakes I’ve tried in the past, and has a very fine, pillowy consistency. If your egg whites are beaten well and you give each of your ramekins a tap on the counter before putting the into the oven, you should have no large air pockets in the souffles to mar their beautiful interiors. The souffles have a very slightly tangy flavor to them from the yogurt. They are lightly sweet and have a pleasant vanilla flavor. If you prefer your souffles/cheesecake to be sweeter, you can add 1 or 2 additional tablespoons of sugar or top off the finished souffles with a drizzle of chocolate syrup or fruit.

I used thick, Greek-style yogurt for this recipe and opted for a low fat instead of full-fat. Nonfat Greek yogurt actually works well, too, although the souffles will be very slightly richer with the low fat variety. If you don’t have Greek-style yogurt, you can use regular, plain yogurt. Make sure to choose a brand that is all natural, then pour the yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined strainer for about 15 minutes before using to thicken it up and drain off excess liquid.

Yogurt Souffles

Yogurt ‘Cheesecake’ Souffles
1 cup plain yogurt (greek style, pref.)
3 large egg yolks
3 large egg whites, room temperature
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar
butter and sugar, for ramekins

Preheat the oven to 375F.
Butter six 6-oz. ramekins. Pour a small amount of sugar into each and roll the ramekins to coat (just like flouring a pan). Set on a baking sheet.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt, egg yolks, flour, salt and vanilla extract.
In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually stream in sugar and continue beating on medium-high speed until all sugar has been incorporated and egg whites have reached soft peaks.
Working in two or three batches, gently fold egg whites in to yolk mixture. This can be done with a whisk or with a spatula. Make sure all egg whites have been fully incorporated.
Divide mixture evenly into ramekins, using about 1/2 cup in each and leaving ramekins on the baking tray.
Bake for about 15 minutes, until evenly risen and lightly browned around the edges.
Serve immediately.

Makes 6.

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50 Comments
  • Andrea
    June 13, 2008

    OMG. Brilliant! Low fat, individually sized, and I have all these things in my fridge. I’m SO making this tonight. And…I may even eat TWO of them by myself!

  • Ammy
    June 13, 2008

    Oh my, those look fabulous.. I’m storing this to try later..

  • Dustin
    June 13, 2008

    I don’t know if i can deal with hot “cheesecake”. How do these hold up when cool?

  • Nicole
    June 13, 2008

    Dustin – They do fall, but they actually retain a cake-like shape (as oppose to just sinking in the center) and taste good both chilled and at room temperature

  • Joanna
    June 14, 2008

    SO clever – everything you could want in a pud …

    Joanna

  • Deb Schiff
    June 14, 2008

    What a neat idea! And, lovely little ramekins. ;D

  • Delicious Chroncles
    June 14, 2008

    these are quite appealing… i’ve been craving an alternative to those high calorie cheese ones.. thanx
    and i agree lovely ramekins

  • Delicious Chroncles
    June 14, 2008

    these are quite appealing… i’ve been craving an alternative to those high calorie cheese ones.. thanx
    and i agree lovely ramekins

  • Evelin
    June 15, 2008

    That’s exactly what I’d like right now! And I’ve even got yoghurt in the fridge…

    Would it be possible to make them without the cream of tartar? Or could it be substituted here?

  • katie
    June 15, 2008

    WOW, now that looks SO great. Must try this immediately!

  • reenie
    June 15, 2008

    Wow, these look really good, nice and fluffly. It’s hard to get natural (as in not sweetened) yogurt here, let alone greek… is there any reason I shouldn’t try these with homemade yogurt? Or in last case, how about commercial flavored yogurts?

  • Lily
    June 16, 2008

    Hey, this looks really good. Just wondering if you have a good recipe for New York cheesecake. your website is always my reliable reference.

    Cheers.

  • Amanda
    June 16, 2008

    These look so delicious. Thanks so much. Bookmarking this to a page on autism that I have made for my brother, with some great cooking sites.

  • Jennifer
    June 16, 2008

    Reenie,
    Our local Walmart just started carrying Greek yogurt, so maybe it’s becoming more widespread.
    I noticed that the recipe mentions “all natural” yogurt, so I’m wondering if that means no gelatin? I think any yogurt with added gelatin might be difficult to successfully strain through cheesecloth to thicken it…
    Jennifer

  • Nicole
    June 16, 2008

    Yes, by “all natural” I just mean a yogurt that doesn’t have gelatin or any other oddball thickening agents. It may work with yogurt like that, but I can’t guarantee it. And homemade yogurt should work just fine, although I would definitely strain it if yours tends to be on the thinner side.

  • Ashley
    June 23, 2008

    Oh my oh my these look so good and I love that they’re made with yogurt!

  • Jesselyn
    July 2, 2008

    I tried the recipe and I absolutely loved it! It’s great with fresh fruit sprinkled on top – I used blueberries.

  • Angie
    July 28, 2008

    Hi

    I love your recipes so much…. but my oven can only adjust upto 200 degree… n most of your cookies, cakes etc need to preheat to at least 350… could U pls advise me

    Thanks

  • Nicole
    July 28, 2008

    Angie – It sounds like your oven measures in degrees celsius, while my temperature is given for Fahrenheit. 350F is 176C.

  • Lesley Huntley
    October 3, 2008

    I am always on the lookout for recipes like this, I can wait to try it! It’s always hard to find desserts that are delicious but aren’t out of bounds. But At around 125 calories each you can’t go wrong. I’ll let you know how they go!

  • Chocolate shavings
    October 8, 2008

    This looks delicious, especially with the yogurt!

  • Maggie (Pithy and Cleaver)
    October 8, 2008

    These look so good! I’m afraid of souffles but I LOVE greek yogurt so maybe I’ll try this. Would it work in one big souffle dish as well? or only individual?

  • Deborah
    October 8, 2008

    These are great!!

  • Y
    October 8, 2008

    OOh, clever, using yogurt! I must try this!

  • Yuri
    December 18, 2008

    wow~ I love cheese cake! and if I can eat it with less calories and fat of real cheese cake, I’m very happy!I’ll try this!

  • Ranjini
    April 1, 2009

    hi nicole,
    Two questions, if you don’t mind answering. i recently found greek yogurt, but i have ‘non-fat’ greek variety from Fage. can i use that. and also will this recipe work without the cream of tartar, i can’t seem to find it.

  • Nicole
    April 1, 2009

    Hi Ranjini – The nonfat greek yogurt will work fine for this recipe, and you don’t need the cream of tartar for it to work (all it does is help to stabilize the eggs as you are beating them, but it is definitely not required).
    Good luck!

  • Louise
    April 6, 2009

    I don’t have cream of tartar, would I be able to make it without?

  • Georges Elliot
    May 5, 2009

    Yeah I used the non-fat yogurt as well, anyways I never put any of the fat quantities any recipe give, always try to put lower usually it doesn’t affect the result. And usually there is less aftertaste when you put less fat. By the way that recipe is awesome.

  • cheap wholesale clothing
    April 25, 2010

    am always on the lookout for recipes like this, I can wait to try it! It’s always hard to find desserts that are delicious but aren’t out of bounds.

  • p90x
    April 25, 2010

    love your recipes so much…. but my oven can only adjust upto 200 degree… n most of your cookies, cakes etc need to preheat to at least 350

  • mac makeup
    May 18, 2010

    I love cheese cake! and if I can eat it with less calories and fat of real cheese cake, I’m very happy!I’ll try this!

  • Natalie
    August 30, 2010

    Just tried this and was delicious! Only downside was that my souffles fell a little. 🙁
    Delicious anyways

  • ama
    February 10, 2011

    i tried first time and these are great…..

  • Keeetykat
    September 27, 2011

    This is the first time I have ever left a comment on anyone’s food blog, but I just have to say that this recipe rocks!!

    Have just made these, just put down my spoon in fact =) and can’t wait to tell you that these turned out near-perfect for me!! and coming from a beginner this proves that souffles need not be intimidating!!

    I used plain natural low fat yoghurt and strained it for 15 mins and also squeezed out the excess liquid. The resulting souffle rose nicely, but cracked on the top, like the tops of muffins. Would anybody have any idea why this was so? Anyway the texture and taste was superb and it was so easy to make, I will not hesitate to make this again! great for impressing guests at dinner parties!

    p.s. i served these with your balsamic strawberries, what wonderful stimulation to my palate 😉

  • Diane {Created by Diane}
    November 16, 2011

    These look great, I LOVE how high they are!

  • Catherine
    March 20, 2012

    Lovely recipe! I did a few modification: I added 1 tbsp lemon juice & lemon rind to the liquid. Added a hot water bath to bake the souffle in, sifted flour 3 times. It was yummy!

  • Dianna
    March 21, 2013

    I found this recipe through Pinterest and tried it tonight. It is hands down the most delicious dessert I have ever had. I am even more impressed that I can have it for breakfast guilt-free. Thank you!

  • Rachael
    March 28, 2013

    could you use a muffin pan if you don’t have ramekins?

  • Consetta
    July 25, 2013

    This looks really good but my only question is, have you tried making it gluten free or know if anyone has? I would love to try this but I can’t do the flour 🙁

  • Tricia
    August 9, 2013

    Just finished making these– SO GOOD! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I would love to try them with lemon-flavored greek yogurt, or even adding lemon extract instead of vanilla. SUPER easy and yummy dessert!

  • Frn
    January 11, 2016

    This recipe is great! They turned out lovely 🙂 Served them with strawberry compote, everyone loved them!

  • Rajani
    October 10, 2016

    This is a favourite in my household . Have made it so many times and thought I should thank you for the recepie. Have never commented on any blogs ever,

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