Ask Casey: Pinkberry at Home

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on November 5, 2009

Ask Casey: Cooking and Kitchen Questions Answered

Pittsburgh has a new yogurt joint called “karmic yogurt,” based on the Pinkberry style of frozen yogurt—two flavors, plain and green tea, with tons of fresh toppings. I sprung my niece out of Carnegie Mellon this week and it was the highlight of our food run. Do you have a “do it at home” recipe that comes close to that wonderful, fresh, tart flavor of the plain yogurt they offer?

There seem to be two schools of thought on recreating Pinkberry for home consumption—one version keeps things mostly yogurt, and the other mixes in additional acids to boost the flavor profile. I was leaning toward simplicity, but I had to try both to see what was more accurate. I test these things rigorously for you folks, you know.

The easier recipe, which was simply yogurt and sugar blended and frozen, was too thick and plainly sweet; it didn’t really replicate the tartness and granular texture that you get with a Pinkberry.

homemade pinkberry
The following recipe, adapted from Gourmet, is a bit more work, but the results are much more on the mark. Note that the lower the fat content in your yogurt, the more bricklike it will become over time in the freezer. I used 0 percent Chobani and it was pretty tough to chip off a bowl after a week or so. If you’re planning to keep your batch around for a while, I recommend upping your fat content to at least 2 percent.

And don’t be afraid of the corn syrup mixture. It does sweeten and mellow the flavor, but the buttermilk/lemon combo keeps that tangy freshness right at the forefront. If the green tea flavor is more your thing, add 2 tbsp matcha (Japanese green tea powder) to the buttermilk mixture before combining and chilling.

I’ve been eating my homemade Pinkberry with pomegranate seeds because I’m a superfan of tart desserts—they add a great textural crunch to your bowl as well.


Now that I’m officially freelance, I have lots of time to answer your amazing questions. Kitchen tinkering is the best time-waster! You know the drill: Ask Casey at casey@goodfoodstories.com.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Elpha August 19, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Pinkberry is my all time favorite. I always said it tasted like it had buttermilk in it and when I saw this recipe I knew it would come very close to the taste I love. It was right on the mark. My family finished off the whole batch. I can’t wait to try mixing in some other flavors like mango and passion fruit.

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Lori February 10, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Thanks for sharing this recipe. I used 4 tablespoons of corn syrup and instead of sugar I used stevia drops. It was so good I couldn’t wait the 4 hours for it to get hard in the freezer. YUMMY!

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jane March 21, 2013 at 7:15 pm

So wait…you consider bottled lemom juice to be “crap” yet you use corn syrup in your frozen yogurt?? Um, next…..

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Casey Barber Casey Barber March 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Jane, I use corn syrup (which, by the way, is not the same thing as high fructose corn syrup) in frozen yogurt to give the finished dish a creamier consistency. If you prefer not to use it, you’re more than welcome to leave it out of your recipe, but there’s really no need to be insulting about my inclusion of that ingredient.

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detalumis May 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm

I make the brick-like no fat kind but never in huge amounts, so say 500 grams of plain no fat Greek yogurt. I just take it out of the freezer to the fridge for an hour scoop it out and put it back and doing that two or three times have never had a problem with ice crystals, it is still smooth even refrozen. You also could use Boyajian oil if you want citrus, I use their oils for everything now and get raves with tarte au citron and such.

I will try your recipe because I love buttermilk!

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Saira June 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm

I dont have an ice cream maker.. what can I do ?

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jaime June 13, 2013 at 12:38 pm

I made this last night. This stuff is life CHANGING! So amazing. I don’t have an ice cream maker so I have eaten it not frozen and runny and it’s good. But I’m about to freeze it in ice cube trays, then blend those when frozen. I do this with regular yogurt for “frozen yogurt” at home.

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Elle January 13, 2014 at 6:18 am

Is there any replacement for the corn syrup? It’s really hard to find corn syrup where I’m from.

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Melissa February 23, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Thank you for this recipe! I live hundreds of miles from a Pinkberry, and the froyo shops around here only stock the wanna-be ice cream. UGH! The addition of the buttermilk is great! I followed the recipe exactly as written, and next time I might try it with half of the sugar/corn syrup mixture so that it’s REALLY tart.

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