Ayran is one of those things that you probably will not like when you first try it, and then after a few tries you suddenly become obsessed with it. I remember when I first tried ayran I used to only drink a few sips and then give up, thinking I would never really like it. After about a month of not tasting it, I tried it again and was amazed at how much I liked it. I even crave it now and cannot imagine some Turkish meals without it. Turkish people traditionally drink ayran to accompany dishes that include red meat and spices, because it mellows out the flavors and helps with digestion; however, it can really accompany any meal.
Of course as soon as I began to love ayran, I began to worry about not being able to easily find it in the United States. It turns out that it is so simple to make at home that you can make it anywhere that you can find yogurt!
Since the yogurt is diluted with water, ayran is actually relatively low-calorie (in addition to being very hydrating!).
The yogurt section at a Turkish grocery store. Notice the large tubs as opposed to individual serving cups which are common in the United States.
1 cup plain yogurt (fat content of your choice)
3/4 cup cold water (180 ml)
Pinch of salt
Optional: ice cubes (if using, reduce amount of water just slightly)
- Place all ingredients into a jar and shake. I like to add ice cubes to help the blending process and also keep the ayran cold while I am drinking it.
- Taste and adjust water/yogurt content to fit your desired consistency. Ayran is traditionally quite watery, but you can make it thicker if you prefer!
Tips & Additional Information:
- Add a few fresh mint leaves to your ayran to give it more flavor!
- Another variation is to use soda water (aka sparkling mineral water) to make your ayran, which is naturally abundant in Turkey.