March 2, 2011

Quick Brownies with Vanilla Yogurt {Powernap}

Brownies Made with Vanilla Yogurt | The Naptime Chef This is the latest installment of my Powernap column. The series where I share quick, easy food that can be made for all kinds of situations. Powernaps are short and sweet, and so are these recipes. These are the things I make in a jiffy when I need a quick snack, am in the mood for a recipe experiment, or simply need to clean out the pantry.

Today’s Powernap Conundrum: How use the almost-finished yogurt in the fridge before it has to be thrown out.

I am constantly on a quest to make sure nothing in my refrigerator goes to waste. This is easier said the done. Almost every week I find myself faced with containers of sour cream, ricotta, yogurt, buttermilk and the like, all only a quarter full, with very little time before their expiration date. Using up things like vegetables, fruit and eggs is easy…omelet with a side of fruit salad anyone? But using up the condiments is a task that requires a bit more creativity. The other day I found myself down near the bottom of the gigantor Stonyfield Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt container I buy every week. I’d been making our usually smoothies and granola yogurt snacks, but hadn’t used it all up. What, I wondered, could I do to finish off the container instead of throwing it out?

Since my daughter was awake and interested in a quick mixing project (her attention span when baking is only a few minutes at best), I decided to use an extra brownie mix I had on hand and substitute the vanilla yogurt for the oil. It was a win-win. I could use up the yogurt while lowering the fat content of the brownies at the same time. Plus, my daughter is an expert at mixing quick batters so I knew it would be right up her alley.

The brownies were delicious after they had been baked. They were slightly denser and a little more chewy than brownies baked with oil, but they still had an intense chocolate flavor and cool subtle tang from the yogurt. All in all, the experiment was a hit. I already purchased our container of yogurt for this week and I know what we’ll be making if there is any leftover!


Quick Brownies with Vanilla Yogurt


1 box brownie mix, any kind

Substitute exact amount of yogurt for the oil in the recipe


1. Mix the brownies according to the directions for “fudgy brownies” NOT “cake-like.” Substitute exact amount of yogurt for the oil in the recipe. Bake until the top is shiny and set. Press the top of the brownies to check that the top springs back. Remove from the oven, cool and serve.

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Cut these into mini brownies for a cute kids snack!

Naptime Stopwatch

5 minutes prep time!

Naptime Reviews

These were a huge hit with our house and I like that I didn’t feel as guilty letting her eat them!

  • Lauren

    Oh my god, my life is about using things before they spoil. I often fail. Love this recipe, reminds me of the no pudge fudge mix concept.

    • Anonymous

      Exactly Laura! It is a fun way to eat well. Or, at least, eat better than full-fat brownies!

  • Marla {family fresh cooking}

    Yogurt adds so much health & great texture to recipes. How fun!

  • Great idea to use up the yogurt! It is so hard to make sure nothing goes to waste. I made a lasagna yesterday to use up ricotta but I still have some buttermilk I need to find a use for. Thanks to you, I know where my leftover yogurt will be going! 🙂

    • Anonymous

      Enjoy Stephanie!

  • Have you ever used the No Pudge Fudge brownie mix? That’s where I first learned about using yogurt instead of oil — and the NPF mix has portion sizes/directions for making single-servings…in the microwave! mmm!

    • Anonymous

      I’ve never used that mix before Kim, now I’ll have to try it!

  • Jennyg

    Will definely try this recipe. Like you, I use yogurt instead of oil in many recipies. Pancakes, muffins, cake, etc. Soak you chicken in buttermilk before baking or grilling- it’s a good meat tenderizer. Thanks for the great ideas as usual!

    • Anonymous

      Enjoy Jenny, glad you like the idea. I’ll have to try the buttermilk suggestion!

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  • I would really try to make one of this recipes. It looks delicious, definitely my children would love this. kids nutrition is the most important thing for me.

  • A Wright

    Delicious! I substituted vanilla greek yogurt for the oil and the brownies were truly amazing. Thank you so much for the idea!!

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