Cook the Book: Greek Yogurt Gelato

Cook the Book: Greek Yogurt Gelato

[Photograph: Iaian Bagwell]

On a recent visit to the Ciao Bella kiosk at Grand Central Station, I decided to branch out from my usual scoops of chocolate and pistachio to explore some of the more exotic flavors that . After a few tastes I decided on a scoop of delicately flavored Saffron Orange Flower and a scoop of Greek Yogurt Gelato. The Greek Yogurt Gelato is fantastic, rich, and tangy with just the slightest hint of lemon and a wonderfully thick, rich texture reminiscent of the yogurt itself.

To make this gelato at home, a little planning is involved. First you'll need to transform your store-bought Greek yogurt into labne, an ultra thick strained yogurt. The labne is then incorporated into The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto's plain base with a bit of lemon juice for acidity, then it's time to churn it in your ice cream machine.

Once mine froze, I gave it a little—well, maybe not so little—taste to see how it measured up to Ciao Bella's version. Although the texture wasn't exactly the same, most likely because I don't have access to an industrial grade gelato maker, the wonderful yogurt flavors and smooth thickness were there in all of their sweet-tart goodness. I love this gelato on its own but just like yogurt, it's even better when served with something fruity, either a scoop of sorbet or sliced peaches and berries.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto to give away this week.

  • Yield:1 quart


  • 1 recipe Plain Base
  • 2/3 cup Labne (made from 2 cups Greek yogurt, see recipe below)
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  1. 1.

    Make the Plain Base and chill as directed.

  2. 2.

    Make the Labne: Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth or a double layer of paper towels and set it over a bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk the 2 cups Greek yogurt until smooth. Place in the colander and leave to drain in the refrigerator for 24 hours, stirring occasionally and pouring out the liquid from time to time. The labne should be thick and spreadable. Transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. 3.

    Place the labne in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the water. Add the sugar and whisk until dissolved. Whisk in the lemon juice, then whisk the mixture into the base.

  4. 4.

    Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.