Vietnamese Yogurt


vietnamese yogurt recipes

We love the current food fad of the Red Mango-Pinkberry-Yogurtland-a million other knock off names.  We especially love the newer style of shops that have a plethora of flavors and are 100% self-serve.  Mix ’em as you like them, top it as you want and have as much or little as you like.  No paying too much for a penny pinching owner to ration out a few meager berries to top your yogurt.  These are our favorite places for a quick afternoon sweet.

It is no surprise to see these yogurt shops popping up all over the place in Little Saigon.  The Vietnamese have been making their non-frozen, Vietnamese yogurt version of this yogurt  craze for quite some time.  The first introduction of yogurt to Viet-Nam came from the influence of French colonization. Now, Vietnamese yogurt is not only a tradition in the mother country, but has gained popularity in America as well. That slight sweetness combined with the bit of tang makes an incredible combination. It’s a hard toss up to say whether we love this yogurt or a great Greek yogurt topped with Tupelo honey better.

Vietnamese yogurt (da ua or sua chua) is smooth and touched with the sweetness of sweetened condensed milk. That slight touch of tartness is delicate, but still silky with a creamy texture. Often eaten more as a dessert and snack in VietNam, this yogurt is embraced by many others as the perfect breakfast yogurt. Topped with some fresh fruit, and even some crunchy granola, Vietnamese yogurt is a nice variety to add to your morning yogurt regime.

Lucky for us, nearly every grocer, banh mi shop, and patisserie in Little Saigon make or sell Vietnamese yogurt just for us so we can get our regular fix.  We normally find it in clear plastic cups and the prices are very affordable. OK, maybe they don’t stock it just for us, but we definitely help keep their supplies fresh by buying super habitually. Then something happened….   We made a batch at home.

vietnamese yogurt recipes

Mixed amongst all of Diane’s collective childhood slave kitchen days, was a recollection of Mom making enormous batches of Vietnamese yogurt.  Diane’s mom would save a big box of baby food jars and use those as the containers to store the Vietnamese yogurt. If you are making your own yogurt, those clear plastic cups or even small mason jars will also work just fine. In an effort to prevent withdrawal fits when we are too lazy to go out and buy yogurt (you know, the days when we just stay home & make our own damn coffee), we figured it would be a good idea to have some Vietnamese yogurt always in stock in the fridge.

So, you may wonder, is it hard to make?  Hell no.  Vietnamese yogurt is extremely easy to make! If it were any easier, it would fall into the boiling water category of difficulty.  We have to send out our apologies to all of our favorite banh mi shops, because there is one less fix that we have to get from you.  Fortunately there is plenty else that keeps us coming through your doors.  And for the rest of you, here you go, yogurt brethren, a super simple recipe for some damn good yogurt. – Todd

Vietnamese Yogurt Recipe

Total Time: 5 hours

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14oz.) Sweetened Condensed Milk (Longevity or Black & White are our favorite brands)
  • 1 1/2 c Water (near boiling)
  • 1 1/4 c Milk (we prefer whole milk)
  • 1 c Plain Yogurt (or Vietnamese yogurt if you can get it)

Directions:

  1. Pour the sweetened condensed milk into a bowl and add the hot water. Whisk until homogeneous.
  2. Pour milk into bowl and mix, then add yogurt and gently whisk until everything is smooth.
  3. Using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to catch any remaining lumps, pour mixture into the containers you will store it in. (Small plastic containers, recycled baby food jars, small canning jars, etc...)
  4. In a wide bottomed pot that is tall enough to go above rims of your containers, make a bath for the containers: Heat up enough water to a near boil that it will come most of the way up the sides of your yogurt containers when they are immersed in the bath.  In another pot or tea kettle, heat up additional water.
  5. After water is hot, turn off heat and place filled yogurt containers into bath. Pour in additional water until water level reaches nearly the top of yogurt containers. (Hint: Use a funnel to pour the water into the pot so no water splashes into the yogurt containers.)
  6. Place a towel over pot, being careful not to let it droop into yogurt containers and let yogurt set in the water bath.   After the water has cooled completely (@ 4-5 hrs total bathing time) the yogurt should be fairly set (it will thicken a bit more when refrigerated, but not much.) Remove from bath, put lids on jars and store in fridge until ready to serve.
  • If yogurt is sweet, but not set after water has cooled, most likely the water bath was too hot for too long. Next time try starting with a bath that isn't so hot,
  • Post-original post Note: We've adjusted the recipe and techniques a bit since the original posting.  After experimenting further, we found the current recipe to set more consistently.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. jenn @ beyond the stoop

    this sounds SO yummy! I might make it this week! I found you guys on thekitchn.com today and fell in love because you’re 1 part white and 1 part Vietnamese, like my boyfriend of 5 years and I, except i’m the white one 😉 …and we live on the east coast, not the west. we love to cook too, so I can’t wait to read more on your blog!!

    cheers.

  2. Diem

    Thanks for the recipe. Loving the new look of your site – haven’t been here in a while. I can’t wait to try it out. I’m using Rajtan jars from Ikea – I think they will be the perfect size. Your photographs rocks.

  3. Jennifer

    I love Vietnamese because it’s kind of vanilla-ee but most of all TART.

    I used to live in Portland, OR where the was an abundance Vietnamese stores where I can purchased yummy Vietnamese yogurt but after moving to the Bay Area, the only place where I can find decent Vietnamese yogurt was in San Jose (an hour from where I live). Perhaps the people in the bay have a taste for less thick and sweeter yogurt. I like mine thick and creamy and tart…almost like the thickness of the Yoplait Thick and Creamy yogurt but less gelatinous.

    I was happy to find this recipe (THANK YOU!!!). I tried making it yesterday and the result was not what I expected sadly. I did adjusted the recipe and ran into a small problem in the process. I substituted half a can of condensed milk with half a can more of whole milk (hoping to achieve a less sweet result) — well, the yogurt did turn out less sweet (but also less vanilla-ee). Then here’s the small problem I ran into: I didn’t have a big pot so I plugged up the sink and did the water bath in the sink, covered it with seran wrap, then use my supersized cutting board as a weight. After 7 hours, I checked the yogurt and noticed all the water was gone *shocked*. The yogurt thickened a little bit…like a sauce. I read somewhere else that the longer you let yogurt incubate, the thicker they become (also more sour). I didn’t want liquidy yogurt and I guess I wouldn’t mind a very tart yogurt so I did another water bath for an additional 3 hours. This time I made sure the water didn’t drain. I checked the yogurt later and it seemed thick enough…the surface wiggled a little bit when I tilt it lightly side to side. I put the cap on them and put them in the fridge. After a day in the fridge, I took one out to try. There were little white dots here and there even after I strained the milk mixture but I was okay with it. I used less condensed milk so it was less sweet and less vanilla-ee, which I was also okay with. Here’s the problem: the yogurt was not tart at all and not very thick. It wasn’t smooth but the consistency was like normal, store yogurt. Does that sound like the right consistency to you? How can I make it more sour/tart and thicker (and maybe creamier)?

    Note: I think compared to normal people or at least the people around me I have a higher threshold for sour…so maybe the yogurt was tart but I couldn’t taste it.

  4. Rose Pham

    My mom used to make this yogurt for me all the time! After I’ve found your recipe and made it, it tasted exactly like how my mom used to make it. I LOVE your recipe !

  5. Anna

    Hi,
    I tried the recipe over the weekend, it turn out great. I have a question though, people said that after a couple times of re-using the yogurt as a starter, it will loose its potency. Is this true? I’ve also heard that I need to set the yogurt aside for at least a week before I can use it as starter yogurt, otherwise the yogurt will not form in 8-10 hours. do you have any experience on this?

    Thanks.

  6. LDC

    Hi, firstly love your site. Thank you for sharing your recipes. I would like to ask, once I’ve made my first batch using normal yoghurt, can I then use the yoghurt I’ve made to make a 2nd batch in place of “1 cup plain yoghurt”?

    Thank you

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi LDC. Thanks for the compliments. Not only can you substitute the Vietnamese yogurt for the plain yogurt, but it is by far the best way to make the next batch. Hope you love it. Enjoy.

  7. Jo

    This recipe looks so simple. I have made homemade yogurt before without a yogurt maker, but I usually end up with something that is half set and pretty runny. How thick does this yogurt get with your method?

  8. soso

    I am totally in love with Vietnamese yogurt & since it is so hard for me to get some at the store, this recipe is really helpful for me! I’ve even added pomegranate on top :)
    I’ve tried following a Youtube user’s recipe and did the exact same steps as her but it wouldn’t come out right! Your recipe is BEST!!!

    Thank you so much!

  9. WindupBird

    Thanks! Tried it and it worked perfectly. It’s getting colder out in the mid-west around now, so I had trouble with my water bath cooling down too quickly. I ended up putting it in my warm oven after I had finished some baking, which did the trick very nicely.

  10. WindupBird

    Hmm so what size can is that of the condensed milk (ie how many ounces). I LOVE vietnamese yoghurt and have been dying to try to make it.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Sorry about that. I can’t believe we forgot to put the can size. It is a 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk. We’ve updated the recipe as well.

  11. threedogs

    This is great! My son opened a can of sweetened condensed milk, thinking it was evaporated milk (I’ve been buying a few cans to store away for when we want the luxury of adding it to our coffee – instead of drinking it black, or w/nonfat milk, like the good little children we are trying to be. 😉

    I used a couple of tablespoons and tried Vietnamese coffee – mmm. Now I have everything ready and I’ll use the rest of it for this yogurt recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

    Your site is fantastic, btw. I love, love, LOVE Vietnamese food – and have a tough time tearing myself away from here. Just fantastic…

  12. saskia

    Hey,

    I will make a whole load of them, could you make it in nice glasses and cover tightly with foil. I will use this within a few days for a party and serve it as a desert with fresh fruit.
    Or do I really need to put a lid on them ; )
    Thnks!

    Saskia

  13. gpaulski

    You guys are too much! Gracias!

    Can I skip the bain marie part and just refrigerate after cooling to room temperature while in step 3 of your recipe? Thanky.

  14. Dandelion

    I’ve tried 6 ways to Viet Nam to find the yogurt recipe… Not available. How come? Or where???

    Sorry about that. Most of our recipe links got lost. The post is now fixed with the recipe included. Hope you enjoy. -WORC.

  15. v.

    that link doesn’t work… for the recipe.

    Sorry about that. We are in the middle of site renovations. Some links are broken right now. We are working on fixing them. Thanks for the heads up! -WORC

  16. Liz

    Made a batch last night and this morning – Voila! yoghurt. I used 1/2 pint canning jars. Refrigerated it for a few hours and had some with lunch today. Impressed my co-workers.
    For the next batch I will using low fat condensed milk and low fat milk to see if it yields the same results. I used an organic plain Greek-style yoghurt as the starter.

    Thanks for the recipe.

  17. Alison

    I saw this on Serious Eats a while back, and told myself I needed to try it. I made a batch the other night, and WOW. First of all, I used my yogurt maker. Second, the consistency beats any other yogurt I’ve made, hands down. I like that the condensed milk adds the sugar for me (because I do like my yogurt a little sweet).

    But the consistency is what has me hooked. Thank you!

  18. bee

    i am so making this in my salton yogurt maker!!!! gosh, i have so many posts here to catch up with.

  19. shayne

    I have been wanting to make my own yogurt for years and recently listed to Warda at 64 sq ft kitchen and “Holy Baisl” at hot Sour Salty Sweet and Umami talk about how easy it was I really thought I should try it, yet I still have not taken that step. This post really has given me another reason not to postpone this endeavour any longer.

    Thank you!
    Shayne

  20. Zoë François

    This sounds divine! My mom used to make us yogurt when I was a child and I don’t do it. Now I will! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  21. shavedicesundays

    Diane and Todd,

    Nice site! I love how you present your yogurt, much better than the baby food jars we usually use. I’m still using the decades old jars my mom used when we were little. Guess I could easily use new ones but I guess the old ones are now antiques.

  22. joey

    You made your own yogurt! A dream of mine! Thanks for sharing your recipe :) I’ll be tucking this away and hopefully get to try it soon…I love yogurt!

  23. Kalyn

    Great post! This really looks like something I would just love.

  24. noobcook

    they look so gorgeous and delicious … lovely photography =D

  25. jacqueline

    I just started making my own yogurt but never thought of adding sweetened condensed milk to it. There’s a can of longevity brand sitting in my cupboard, heh heh
    p.s. thanks for the baby food jar idea. I’ve been making batches in a pot and then dishing out but I think baby food jars will be the perfect size!

  26. Eunice

    this just made my mouth water! it looks so good and fruity with the garnish on top! love your photography! I may just go fiddle with our yoghurt downstairs :)

  27. Marc @ NoRecipes

    You just reminded me to get my yogurt maker out of the closet and make some. Though I have to admit I had no idea how easy it is to make it without machinery. Also love the idea of adding sweetened condensed milk. This is usually how I make frozen yogurt (SCN + plain yogurt).

  28. Dani

    Wow, and did you know you could make your own sweetened condensed milk? I learned that the hard way one Thanksgiving! LOL http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Condensed-Milk

    Love yogurt! Must try this version. I hope you kids are okay and away from the fires. Eeek. I worry, I worry.

    xoxox
    Dani

  29. maryn

    I love Vietnamese yogurt – it is my absolute favorite thing for breakfast when I’m there, with a ca fe nau nong. (Can’t face pho before lunchtime…) Thank you so much for explaining it, I always wondered what makes it so special.

  30. Ling

    oh, WOW! this looks the spitting image of Kolkota’s mishti doi — thank you, thank you, thank you!

  31. Brooke

    I’m happy to see you’re EVERYWHERE now! Saw the link over at Serious Eats! It’s raining success over at Chez-WOR. Brava!

    I love this recipe and the inside scoop on Vietnamese yogurt. Even if it takes me a while to get going on the yogurt making, I know that I need to keep my eyes open for the da ua! Thanks!
    Brooke

  32. grace

    i live in a hole. we don’t have a single yogurt shop, so it should come as no surprise that i’ve never tried a vietnamese version. it looks downright luscious. :)

  33. Mollie

    I am deeply impressed at making your own yogurt… we need a good yogurt shop in my neighborhood… because I’m waaaaaaaay too lazy to make my own yogurt. :)

  34. Sandie

    The kids and I are addicted to yogurt. My husband? Not so much. That’s okay, we’ll try your version anyway! Now…off to check out that recipe!

  35. Susan at Sticky,Gooey,Creamy,Chewy

    We eat tons of yogurt around here, and I often make my own. I have to try yours. Anything with condensed milk is a winner with me! I’m assuming that this would also work in a yogurt maker too.

  36. julie

    Sometimes I get way too excited in those self serve yogurt places and end up with peanut butter, mango, coffee, blueberry yogurt… aka “what was I thinking pulling all those levers” yogurt. Oops. I love the sounds of your Vietnamese yogurt though. Condensed milk is basically the best thing in the world.

  37. Manggy

    Whoa, I’ve never even heard of this before, but just the mere mention of condensed milk makes my heart swoon :) I gotta give this one a try (might look up temperatures to be 100% sure– oh, you know me, heh heh, I make even boiling water complicated :) Also gotta make sure that the yogurt I get has a live culture!

  38. Peter G

    Wow! I’ve never seen this before and I’m really intrigued with the addition of the condensed milk. Sounds delicious and thanks for the recipe.

  39. TBC

    That looks wonderful! It really cannot get any simpler than this. I have to try this out when I can. Love your beautiful bowls too.:D

  40. Wandering Chopsticks

    It’s funny b/c as a result of the fro-yo craze, I noticed a few other restaurants featuring signs of homemade yogurt. But VNese have always eaten yogurt I thought. Guess they’re just marketing it more now to get in on the craze.

  41. Andrea

    Oh yum! I can’t buy yogurt fast enough for our family because we eat it every day, and I had vagely planned to start making my own sometime in the very near future, so I will definitely give this recipe a try.

  42. Chez US

    WE LOVE making yogurt – yum! Sounds delicious with condensed milk added, can’t wait to try it out.

  43. nikkipolani

    Okay, so I live in a cave… I’ve never bought the yogurt in stores! I do have very fond memories of yogurt in little baby food jars when I was a kid, visiting in Da Nang. The jars were placed in the freezer so there was a little ice to poke through at the top of each jar. Good memories. Off now to check out your recipe!

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