For years, Greek yogurt has been the hot product in the dairy aisle, however, recently skyr has risen in popularity in North America. From Siggis to Icelandic Provisions, there are several brands of skyr now available, but what exactly is it? Is skyr better than Greek yogurt? And which one has more protein? Here are the facts you need to know about skyr vs. Greek yogurt.
What is the difference between Greek yogurt and skyr?
Skyr, pronounced skee-er, is a traditional Icelandic cultured dairy product. While skyr is known to have roots in Scandinavia, namely Norway, it has been part of Icelandic cuisine for more than a thousand years. While often compared to Greek yogurt and referred to as Icelandic yogurt, skyr is not yogurt. In fact, technically speaking, skyr is closer to cheese than yogurt.
Both skyr and Greek yogurt are dairy products made from milk using live bacterial cultures, most commonly Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, however, the difference between Greek yogurt and skyr is that skyr is made using rennet.
Skyr is made from cow’s milk by heating skim milk with live cultures and rennet; an organic substance that contains the enzyme rennin commonly used in cheesemaking. The live cultures added to the milk are taken from previous batches of skyr, often heirloom cultures thousands of years old, and turn the milk from a thin and watery product into a thick and creamy product. Once thickened, the whey is strained off, which makes it into an even thicker product known as skyr (1).
Greek yogurt is also made by fermenting milk with live cultures; however, no rennet is added. Once the milk has fermented and thickened, it is strained to remove excess liquid whey and lactose, leaving behind a thicker-textured yogurt.
Another important difference between Greek yogurt and skyr is that yogurt is traditionally made using full-fat milk, while skyr is usually produced with skim milk. Although traditional Greek yogurt is made using full-fat sheep’s milk, most North American producers make Greek yogurt with cow’s milk, while skyr is always made with cow’s milk.
Skyr vs. Greek Yogurt Nutrition
While the exact nutritional values of skyr and Greek yogurt will vary depending on brand and milk fat content, both skyr and Greek yogurt are good sources of protein, with similar amounts of carbohydrates, low amounts of sugar, and varying amounts of fat. Here is a comparison of a 100-gram serving of plain skyr vs. plain 0% Greek yogurt vs. plain whole milk Greek yogurt (2)(3)(4).
|Nutrition per 100 grams||Skyr||0% Greek Yogurt||Whole Milk Greek Yogurt|
|Calories||60 calories||59 calories||94 calories|
|Protein||10.67 grams||10.20 grams||8.78 grams|
|Fat||0.00 grams||0.39 grams||4.39 grams|
|Carbohydrates||4.67 grams||3.60 grams||4.75 grams|
|Fiber||0.00 grams||0.00 grams||0.00 grams|
|Sugar||4.67 grams||3.24 grams||3.25 grams|
- CALORIES: A 100-gram serving of skyr contains 60 calories, while a 100-gram serving of 0% Greek yogurt contains 59 calories, making them almost identical calorie-wise, while whole milk Greek yogurt contains 94 calories per 100-gram serving.
- PROTEIN: A 100-gram serving of skyr contains 10.67 grams of protein, while a 100-gram serving of 0% Greek yogurt contains 10.20 grams of protein, and a 100-gram serving of whole milk Greek yogurt contains 8.78 grams of protein.
- FAT: A 100-gram serving of skyr contains 0 grams of fat, while a 100-gram serving of 0% Greek yogurt contains 0.39 grams of fat, and a 100-gram serving of whole milk Greek yogurt contains 4.39 grams of fat.
- CARBOHYDRATES: A 100-gram serving of skyr contains 4.67 grams of carbohydrates, while a 100-gram serving of 0% Greek yogurt contains 3.60 grams of carbohydrates, and a 100-gram serving of whole milk Greek yogurt contains 4.75 grams of carbohydrates.
- FIBER: Skyr, 0% Greek yogurt, and whole milk Greek yogurt do not contain any fiber.
- SUGAR: A 100-gram serving of skyr contains 4.67 grams of sugar, while a 100-gram serving of 0% Greek yogurt contains 3.24 grams of sugar, and a 100-gram serving of whole milk Greek yogurt contains 3.25 grams of sugar.
Note: Since skyr is made with skim milk, 0% Greek yogurt was used for comparison purposes, along with whole milk Greek yogurt. The nutritional values of other fat percentages of Greek yogurt will vary.
Other Differences to Consider
Both skyr and traditional Greek yogurt are made with milk and live cultures, however, the production of skyr uses the additional ingredient of rennet; a set of enzymes that cheesemakers use to coagulate milk and separate solid curd from liquid whey (5). While rennet is a naturally occurring substance and is not unhealthy, it does not add any significant nutritional value.
Plain skyr and plain Greek yogurt do not contain added sugar, as all sugars are naturally occurring, however, flavored versions will. The exact amount of added sugar will vary depending on brand and flavor, so it’s best to read the label to determine how much is added and opt for low sugar options as much as possible.
Vitamins & Minerals
Both skyr and Greek yogurt are sources of various micronutrients including vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2), selenium, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, pantothenic acid, vitamin A, and potassium (2)(3)(4). Generally speaking, skyr and Greek yogurt contain similar amounts of vitamins and minerals, however, Greek yogurt contains slightly more calcium than Skry and is often fortified with vitamin D. On average, skyr contains less cholesterol per serving than Greek yogurt.
Both skyr and Greek yogurt are made from cow’s milk which contains lactose, however, skyr contains less lactose than yogurt. The extensive straining process used to make skyr removes more of the whey; the lactose-containing, liquid by-product after the curdling of the milk, which removes roughly 90% of the lactose in skyr (6)(7). For this reason, many brands of skyr can be suitable for people with mild lactose intolerance problems.
Both skyr and Greek yogurt are fermented products made with bacterial cultures, and the probiotics in skyr are similar to those in regular and Greek yogurt.
Much like Greek yogurt, skyr has a slightly sour taste, however, it has a much milder or less tangy flavor than yogurt.
Skyr has a much thicker texture than Greek yogurt and a slightly creamier consistency.
Skyr vs. Greek Yogurt FAQs
Is skyr yogurt fattening?
No. Skyr, like any food, is not inherently fattening. In fact, skyr is a low-fat, high-protein food that can be included in a healthy and balanced diet regardless of health goals.
Is skyr better than Greek yogurt for weight loss?
Both skyr and Greek yogurt can equally support weight loss. The high protein content of skyr and yogurt can help to increase satiety signals and, when consumed within a calorie deficit, both foods can support weight loss and fat loss.
Is skyr good for your gut?
Yes, skyr contains beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics, which have been shown to support gut health.
Does skyr have more probiotics than regular yogurt?
Skyr and Greek yogurt have very similar amounts of probiotics.
So, is Skyr or Greek yogurt better?
Skyr and Greek yogurt are both good sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. Compared gram per gram, skyr contains slightly higher levels of protein, carbohydrates, and sugar, while Greek yogurt contains slightly more fat. Nutritionally speaking, one is not better than the other, they are simply different dairy products that offer similar nutrient density and health benefits.
The Bottom Line
Both skyr and Greek yogurt are fermented dairy products. Greek yogurt is made by fermenting milk with bacterial cultures, while skyr includes the additional step of adding rennet to the milk and bacteria, making it more similar to cheese than yogurt. While skyr contains slightly less lactose, skyr and Greek yogurt provide a similar amount of protein, calories, and probiotics per serving. Both foods can be enjoyed for breakfasts or snacks on their own, in smoothies, with granola and berries, or used in baked goods and desserts.