Ayran recipe and everything you need to know about ayran

ayran recipe

What would life be without ayran? We collectively drink at least 2 liters of ayran a week and the Turkish yoghurt drink is an essential part of almost every meal – and we're not alone!


We wanted to bring you some great statistics on how much ayran the turks drink. We didn't find anything, but we now know that Turkey has exported ayran worth 12 million dollars in five years. Well, but the high ayran consumption in Turkey itself is also obvious. Because there is ayran EVERYWHERE here. 


Every single restaurant, whether it's a barbecue restaurant, kebab diner, cigköfte store, fast food chain or bakery: Ayran is in the refrigerator. In the supermarkets you can find ayran in 1-2 liter bottles and ayran is also quickly mixed up at home. But we can't deny it to anyone, because ayran tastes great and simply rounds off many dishes. 


What is ayran?

Ayran is a Turkish yogurt drink made from yogurt, salt and water. Ayran from the chiller cabinet may also contain additives, but usually only three ingredients are used. However, this does not mean that every ayran tastes the same.


Some ayran tastes saltier, some more full-bodied and others are very watery. Of course, this depends on the mixing ratio, the yogurt used and the salt content. Ayran Aşi, which is a cold yoghurt soup, is also similar to ayran. 


Ayran is now even considered a national drink. So it is often rumored that ayran has only been so popular since it was named the national drink. It is true that, according to some sources, consumption quickly rose by over 80% after it was named the national drink in 2013. Nevertheless, we have a different theory: Ayran has simply become more available for sale since then. It may be that the offer of ayran cups in different sizes in every catering establishment is modern. However, ayran has a long tradition in Turkish households.


People quickly mix themselves an ayran for dinner and don't see it as work. It's like pouring water and happens naturally. The huge offer in the chiller cabinet is in turn modern and theoretically not necessary. Because making ayran yourself is so easy.


Where does ayran come from?

The exact origin of ayran cannot be determined, but it can still be assumed to be of Turkish origin. Ayran is said to have been drunk by Turkic peoples between the 6th and 8th century. At that time, however, today's Turkey was not yet Turkish. Ayran therefore probably originated in the Caucasus region, but very probably from the original Turks. These were nomadic peoples and soaked the yoghurt in water in their barrels to prevent it from fermenting further – ayran was born. Today you can find very similar yogurt drinks throughout the Middle East. 


What does ayran mean?

Ayran no longer means anything in Turkish, except that it is the name for the yoghurt drink. In the Old Turkish Dictionary of 1073, however, you will find it as "a kind of milk drink". So you can see that ayran really is a traditional drink.


Yayik Ayran: What is it?

You're probably familiar with those pictures of ayran cups overflowing with foam - delicious! This is usually yayik ayran. Yayik is a butter churn. Yayik ayran is therefore not quite a classic combination of yoghurt, water and salt. Instead, the by-product of butter production is taken and mixed with water and salt. This makes Yayik Ayran more sour in taste. However, you don't find Yayik Ayran very often and when you do, the restaurant really advertises it.


The good news: with our ayran recipe, you can still make a delicious ayran with lots of foam!

ayran recipe

Is ayran healthy?

Yes, you can enjoy ayran every day and do something good for your body and soul. A little yoghurt every day can promote intestinal health and can of course also be consumed in the form of ayran. However, make sure that the salt content in the ayran recipe is not too high. This is the only point at which ayran may no longer be so healthy.


If you are trying to lose weight, ayran is also a tasty alternative to many other milk drinks. Buttermilk or classic yogurt and whey drinks, for example, have a higher fat and sugar content and more calories. However, please note that, unlike water or tea, ayran contains calories. There are not many (depending on the brand or fat content of the yoghurt used in the ayran recipe), but there are still up to 100 calories per portion.


What dishes does ayran go well with?

Counter question: What dishes does ayran not go well with? You can prepare our ayran recipe with all savory dishes. Of course, it tastes great alongside meat dishes, rice dishes or pastries such as börek and simit. A cold glass of ayran is also a must alongside cigköfte. Moreover ayran tastes great next to pizza or stews such as chickpea stew. So you can see that it really goes well with everything.


Tip: Wash down your food with ayran. That doesn't sound so nice, but it's the combination of ayran and the respective dishes on the tongue that is so excellent.


Of course, you can also drink ayran on its own to suit your mood. It is particularly refreshing and even slightly filling in summer.


How to serve ayran properly

In Germany (or in Turkish restaurants), you can usually get ayran in a cup, open the lid a little and sip directly from it. Alternatively, you can also put a straw in it. But you already know all that. Today we want to know how to serve our ayran recipe correctly and in its original form. There are several options.


Serving ayran in a glass is, of course, very popular. However, a cup would be more typically Turkish. These are now available in modern glass versions. However, the traditional ayran cup is made of copper and looks quite pretty. It sounds funny, but ayran tastes even better in a cup with a handle!


However, there is another typical way to serve ayran: in a bowl! At our parents' (in-law) house, for example, ayran is usually served in a bowl. But not everyone gets their own bowl. Instead a large bowl of ayran is placed in the middle of the table and spooned up with the meal. Incidentally, cacik (tsatsiki), which is enjoyed very liquid in some households, is often served in the same way.                           


Experiments allowed: changing the ayran recipe

Classic ayran consists only of yogurt, water and salt. However, you can experiment and come up with new creations. Sometimes ayran is prepared with fresh or dried mint. Dill can also be added to the ayran recipe. Turkish households also sometimes use sparkling water, which makes the ayran even more sparkling. A little milk can also be added instead of water, although this variation is not popular.


You can also experiment with the yoghurt in the ayran recipe. We always use any yogurt from the (Turkish) supermarket - as we live in Turkey - or homemade yogurt. In fact, the ayran recipe tastes best with the firm Turkish yogurt. 


You can also make the ayran recipe with Greek yogurt or "Süzme Yogurt" - the high fat content makes it taste particularly good. Finally, it doesn't have to be cow's milk yogurt. You can also make the ayran recipe with sheep's, goat's or buffalo yogurt. The latter is probably more readily available here in Turkey thanin the West.


Regional ayran recipe: hot ayran from Malatya

There is a really traditional variation that comes from Malatya in south-eastern Turkey: spicy ayran with purslane! The ayran is mixed with green, hot peppers and then left to stand for at least one night. Fermentation is also very popular here, so the ayran is left to stand for a week. It is also rounded up with chopped purslane. The purslane has its own name in this region, namely pirpirim (see our pirpirim asi recipe). We have also seen that apples are added to the traditional ayran recipe from Malatya. 

Incidentally, we tried the spicy ayran recipe from Malatya after our research into ayran. Although we didn't add any purslane, we added chillies and apple to the ayran. We also left the spicy ayran in the kitchen for a few hours and then left it in the fridge for a whole day. Brilliant! Ayran and spicy go really well together and are worth a try. For a spicy ayran recipe, simply use the ayran recipe below as a base and add chillies/hot pointed peppers and possibly purslane or apples. 


Tip: A good dose of salt tastes particularly delicious with hot ayran.

spicy ayran
ayran recipe

How can you make homemade ayran?

We always make our ayran recipe by feel. So we tip the yogurt into a bowl or pot and pour water and salt over it. Mix with a whisk and you're done! However, to make sure you do everything right, we have of course written down our ayran recipe in detail. 


Ayran recipe: What ratio of water and yogurt?

It is sometimes stated that the ratio of yogurt and water should be 1:2. However, this is quite liquid. Ayran in a ratio of 1:1.5 is better. 1:3 is a ratio that we don't agree with at all. In our opinion, this is far too liquid. However, you can also experiment and see which creaminess you prefer.


How does the ayran recipe get frothy?

There are various ways to make the ayran nice and frothy. The methods are very similar to those for frothy milk. You can simply whisk or blend the ayran until frothy. This can be done manually or with a hand blender, mixer or blender jug. Theoretically, you can also try using a French press. The firm foam you see in the photos of our ayran recipe was easily achieved using a blender. We threw the yogurt, water and salt straight into the blender and blended it thoroughly. Not only is it quick, but the froth on the ayran recipe is brilliant.


However, our ayran recipe always tastes good. To be honest, we only switched on the blender for the photo. We usually just drink our ayran without the froth.

ayran recipe

Ayran recipe: How to make your own ayran

Ingredients for two portions

  • 200 g/ 7 oz firm yogurt
  • 370 ml/ 1 cup water (cold)
  • 1/2 tsp salt 

Ayran preparation

Mix all the ingredients together until the ayran is homogeneous and smooth. This is easy to do in a bowl or a stainless steel pot with a whisk. For foam, use a hand blender or blender when mixing. Enjoy the ayran cold. You can simply store the ayran in the fridge. 

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