How to cook matzoni at home and make a delicious sauce out of it

Homemade matsoni

From this article you will learn about matsoni, what it is and what it is eaten with. We will give you recipes on how to make matsoni at home. Let’s talk about the difference between matsoni, kefir, and yogurt. Let’s teach you step by step how to make matsoni sauce at home.

Origin story

The original fermented milk matsoni has been known in Georgia, Armenia and a number of other Caucasian countries for more than 2 thousand years. There is even a legend about its origin – as if one housewife accidentally poured milk into a jug, where there was some curdled milk left. She did not notice her mistake, and after a few hours, thanks to the hot weather, the milk turned into a thick drink with excellent taste.

According to dictionaries, the gender of the word matsoni in Russian is neuter. But in colloquial speech, masculine is also widely used. This is due to the fact that the Armenian name for the same dish – matsun – is masculine.

To explain what matsoni tastes like, let’s compare it with kefir and Greek yogurt. Something in between these products will be matsun. It is sour, refreshing, without a “carbonated aftertaste” (like tan or ayran). And when preparing it at home, a crust of black bread is often placed in the container where the matsun is fermented – it gives the fermented milk drink a bready tint.

Useful properties and possible contraindications

Matsun is a healthy drink. This is not surprising – it, like other fermented milk products, contains many lactobacilli. Such bacteria contribute to the breakdown of nutrients inside the body and restore intestinal microflora.

From the above, the following advantages of the product follow:

  • normalizes intestinal function;
  • helps the body more easily overcome dysbiosis or colitis;
  • improves blood circulation, increasing vascular tone;
  • improves digestion (accelerates the production of gastric juices) and appetite;
  • helps cleanse the liver of toxins (including in case of poisoning and intoxication);
  • removes cholesterol from the body, “breaks up” fatty plaques (these are important properties in the prevention of heart attacks and strokes);
  • strengthens nails, hair and teeth, prevents the occurrence of caries;
  • accelerates skin regeneration (useful for burns and skin diseases).

Some even claim that the drink calms stress and helps with insomnia. These properties (unlike those listed above) have not been proven, but each person can check them for himself. The main thing is to follow the principles of eating matsoni. After all, it can be not only beneficial, but also harmful – for example, matsoni is prohibited for pancreatitis. We’ll talk more about this later.

Composition and calorie content

Matsoni is a product rich in “benefits”. It contains the following microelements and vitamins:

  • calcium – strengthens the skeletal system and joints;
  • sodium – produces digestive juices, normalizes the functioning of the heart and blood vessels;
  • phosphorus – improves the absorption of food, has a beneficial effect on the condition of the liver;
  • nicotinic acid (not to be confused with nicotine!) – strengthens the gastric mucosa and tones;
  • vitamin A – “responsible” for the quality of vision, regenerative processes of the skin and the general immunity of the body;
  • Vitamin B2 – accelerates the processes of metabolism and wound healing.

And acidophilus bacillus, contained in any fermented milk products, promotes the rapid absorption of the listed microelements. A small amount of the drink is useful even for people suffering from lactose intolerance – the stick quickly breaks down milk sugar and makes the drink harmless in small volumes.

The nutritional and energy value of matsun depends on the manufacturing process, but the differences are usually small. The average indicators per 100 g of drink are as follows:

  • proteins – 2.7 g;
  • fats – 2 g;
  • carbohydrates – 4.8 g;
  • calories – 50 kcal.

The low fat content of matsun is preserved even when prepared at home. And the low calories in matsoni make it a complete dietary product. However, it must be taken into account that goat milk produces a drink with more calories – about 65 kcal per 100 g.

For men and women

The benefits of matsoni have already been described in detail above. But there we focused on how the product affects human health. There are other situations that are not directly related to health, in which the benefits of matsoni for the body are also great.

Eating this dish helps men with the following:

  1. The product significantly accelerates the growth of muscle mass. Combined with its energizing impact and low calorie content, this product is an excellent choice for people actively involved in sports.
  2. For the same reason, matsun is loved by many men who earn their living by physical labor.
  3. The ability to remove toxins from the body also helps a lot with hangovers. The situation is delicate, but quite common – and the Caucasian drink comes in handy, quickly bringing the “victim” to a normal state and reducing unpleasant sensations.

The drink also brings noticeable benefits to women:

  1. Matsoni’s ability to strengthen bone tissue is indispensable during pregnancy. This helps the baby develop normally in the womb.
  2. The drink is rich in phosphorus, therefore it improves the immunity of both the fetus and the mother.
  3. Many women successfully include the product in their home cosmetics. It contains a lot of lactic acid, which is known to rejuvenate the skin and remove small wrinkles.

But you need to use matsun after childbirth with caution. You should first consult with your pediatrician to make sure your child is not lactose intolerant or allergic.

For children


The beneficial properties of matsoni also have a beneficial effect on the children’s body. Many doctors recommend adding fermented milk products to the diet of infants after 1 year, and matsun in this case is more favorable than kefir. It is not so sour and is easier for the baby to digest.

The main properties of matsoni in relation to children:

  • strengthens teeth and bones;
  • increases food digestibility;
  • improves appetite;
  • reduces the risk of developing rickets;
  • increases immunity;
  • normalizes intestinal function, which is often very important for young children.

But it is important to know not only the benefits of matsoni, but also the possible harm from this product. Let’s talk about it further.


The benefits and harms of matsoni, like any fermented milk product, go hand in hand. Contraindications for eating this dish include various diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and some other body systems.

It is forbidden or not recommended to use matsoni if:

  • gastritis (with this disease the gastric mucosa is inflamed, and any fermented milk dishes should either not be eaten at all, or, if the body has low acidity, in small doses and only on the recommendation of a doctor);
  • pancreatitis (drink is strictly prohibited);
  • diabetes (usually fermented milk products are useful, because they help fight excess weight, but sometimes doctors prohibit them, citing the exact clinical picture – it is better to consult a doctor before drinking matsoni or kefir for any form of diabetes);
  • stomach ulcer (all fermented milk products are prohibited);
  • hepatitis;
  • renal failure (to find out how to eat matsoni correctly and whether it’s possible at all, you should definitely talk to your doctor);
  • urolithiasis.

In addition, matsoni is also a harmful food for diarrhea. This drink cleanses the body and softens the stool, which will only aggravate the situation with an upset stomach. And in the absence of the above-mentioned diagnoses, matsun can be safely consumed without restrictions.

How to cook matsoni at home

The traditional recipe for matsoni at home is very simple. All you need to do is create a warm environment in which lactic acid bacteria can actively multiply. A modern recipe for making matsoni at home usually includes a multicooker or yogurt maker, since it is very easy to maintain the desired temperature. But in the absence of such equipment, matsoni is also prepared in an ordinary pan.

The classic milk recipe also includes matsoni starter, which can be found in Russian stores. But if you couldn’t buy one, yogurt and sour cream are suitable for fermenting matsoni. This will not be the correct matsun, but the replacement will not affect the taste.

In a slow cooker

The easiest way to make matsoni at home is in a slow cooker. This homemade matsun is very tasty and requires almost no effort.


  • milk (fat content – ​​3.5%) – 1 l;
  • starter for matsun (or 20% sour cream) – 150 g.


  1. Pour all the milk into the slow cooker. Turn on the cooking mode and cook for 10 minutes.
  2. Turn off the appliance and let the milk cool to 40°C. Remove the foam.
  3. Pour approximately 300 ml of milk from the multicooker into a bowl. Mix with sourdough there. If you couldn’t find one, you can make matsoni from sour cream.
  4. Mix the ingredients until smooth and pour back into the multicooker bowl.
  5. Turn on the device and select the yogurt preparation mode. Timer – for 8 hours.
  6. When the time is up, the multicooker will contain ready-made matsun under a layer of whey. It needs to be drained – the whey is perfect as a stand-alone drink or for other dishes.

The finished drink should be poured into small jars, tightly closed and stored in the refrigerator. It’s better to eat it cold – it tastes better.

In a yogurt maker

Cooking matsoni in a yogurt maker is slightly different from the recipe in a slow cooker. To make matsoni, you will need the same ingredients.


  • milk (fat content – ​​3.5%) – 1 l;
  • sourdough (or 20% sour cream) – 150 g.


  1. Heat the milk on the stove without bringing it to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and cool to 40°C.
  3. Add the starter to the milk and stir until smooth. If you don’t have it, sour cream or Greek yogurt will do.
  4. Pour the mixture into glasses or small jars. Cover with lids.
  5. Place the glasses in the yogurt maker and turn it on for 10 hours.
  6. When the device finishes working, put the glasses in the refrigerator.

Matsun-Armenian recipe

In Georgian style, matsoni is prepared at home from a large volume of starter. In the Armenian version it is used much less. Let’s look at the Armenian recipe to understand what matsun is.


  • milk (fatter than 2.5%) – 1 l;
  • leaven – 2 tbsp. l.


  1. Heat (but do not boil) the milk.
  2. Cool to human body temperature (about 37°C).
  3. Pour into any container that has an airtight lid.
  4. Mix thoroughly until the starter dissolves in the milk. Then, tightly “seal” the container with a lid.
  5. Wrap with a towel to protect from light. Leave for 5 hours.
  6. Drain the whey and put the finished dish in the refrigerator.

From sour cream

In previous recipes, it is permissible to replace sourdough with sour cream. But still, looking for something to replace the sourdough prepared for matsoni is already a departure from tradition. In order not to violate them, you can choose a separate existing recipe, which traditionally uses sour cream.


  • milk (fat content – ​​3.2%) – 1 l;
  • sour cream (20%) – 3 tbsp. l.


  1. Heat the milk to 90°C, but not to a boil.
  2. Turn off the gas and cool the liquid to 50°C (unlike previous recipes, the milk should be slightly hotter here). Remove foam.
  3. Pour the milk into a thermos of sufficient volume.
  4. Add sour cream to the thermos and stir thoroughly. Leave overnight (at least 8 hours).
  5. Pour from thermos into jars, close the lids and put in the refrigerator.

How to express whey

In addition to how to properly use matsoni, many people ask another question – how to drain the whey. In many recipes, a portion of matsun fermented at home is covered with liquid whey. This is what needs to be decanted – after all, the less of it remains, the longer the product will be stored.

To properly drain the whey, you need to follow this process:

  1. Take a bag made of canvas or linen. If this is not the case, it can be formed from gauze folded in 4 layers.
  2. Carefully pour the matsun into the bag. Tie it up.
  3. Hang it on a nail or hook, and place a container underneath to drain the whey.
  4. Leave for a day (sometimes it may take a little longer).

Draining the whey is a prerequisite for preparing matsoni. If you ferment matsun correctly, there will be a lot of whey. You can use this liquid to cook okroshka or other dish.

Matsoni sauces

Matsun is also wonderful as an independent drink, but in Russia its role is successfully fulfilled by kefir. Therefore, in our country matsun is often used not as a separate dish, but for preparing sauces.

With garlic and herbs

Georgian matsoni sauce with herbs and garlic is one of the most popular cooking methods. It goes great with meat and dolma.


  • macun – 350 ml;
  • garlic – 5 cloves;
  • greens to taste (dill, parsley, cilantro, basil) – 1 bunch;
  • salt and pepper.


  1. Place matsun in a small container.
  2. Chop garlic and herbs. Add to dairy product.
  3. Salt, add pepper and stir. Pepper and even salt are not required ingredients for matsoni sauce with fresh garlic, but only a matter of taste.
  4. Cover the container tightly (with a lid or cling film) and the matsoni sauce with garlic is ready.
  5. Leave on the table for 1 hour. Then put the garlic sauce in the refrigerator.

As you can see, preparing matsoni sauce at home is as easy as shelling pears. Serve it with meat  for khinkali and for shish kebab.

For dolma

Matsoni dolma sauce is another common recipe. It’s not surprising, because dolma with matsoni is a wonderful taste combination. The sauce is prepared very similar to the previous one, but with minor differences.


  • macun – 400 ml;
  • garlic – 4 cloves;
  • dill, cilantro – half a bunch;
  • salt and pepper.


  1. Pour the matsoni drink into a bowl.
  2. Chop the greens. There should be a lot of it so that the sauce is thick enough.
  3. Crush the garlic. Add together with the greens to the matsun.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then mix thoroughly.
  5. Place the sauce for matsoni dolma in the refrigerator for about 40 minutes.

Be sure to try this sauce, because dolma with matsoni is a classic! It would also be appropriate as sauce for manti.

With cucumber

Matsoni sauce with cucumbers is a traditional recipe of many Caucasian cultures. It’s easy to prepare. And if you use lightly salted cucumbers in the recipe instead of fresh ones (but not pickled ones), you will get something similar to tartare. Sauces with  fresh cucumber, it’s always something refreshing and spring.

We will need:

  • macun – 400 ml;
  • cucumbers (medium size) – 4 pcs.;
  • garlic – 2 cloves;
  • dill – 1 bunch;
  • parsley – 1 bunch;
  • salt and pepper.

How to cook:

  1. Cut off the edges of the cucumbers and chop into thin short strips. Then sprinkle with pepper.
  2. Chop the herbs and garlic as finely as possible.
  3. Combine matsun with herbs and garlic in a bowl. Add cucumbers and stir.
  4. Leave for about 30 minutes.

The sauce is very similar to Greek Dzadzyki, but is a little easier to prepare.

With mint adjika

Mint adjika, with which matsun goes simply well, can sometimes be found in stores. In this case, the recipe for making the sauce will be very simple – mix matsun and adjika in any proportions to your taste. We are giving you a recipe for making sauce with adjika together, because it is very simple.


  • Matsun – 1 l (volume can be changed to suit your taste);
  • green pepper (hot or not – also to taste) – 500 g;
  • green apple – 100 g;
  • onions – 50 g;
  • garlic – 100 g;
  • mint – 1 bunch;
  • coriander (grains) – 1 tsp;
  • sunflower oil – 2 tbsp. l.;
  • salt – 20 g.

How to do:

  1. Peel and finely chop the pepper. Chop the onion into the same pieces.
  2. Peel and core the apples and chop finely.
  3. Pour salt and coriander into a blender and grind.
  4. Then add onions, garlic and oil (preferably refined). Beat until smooth.
  5. Place the apples in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and blend again until the fruit turns into a puree.
  6. Add pepper and mint to adjika. Turn on the blender for no more than 10 seconds – you should feel pepper pieces.
  7. Transfer the adjika from the blender to a bowl and mix the adjika with the matsun. Place in the refrigerator.

In the video you will see another recipe for adjika with mint, and we have our own adjika recipes. And in general, mint sauces for meat are a separate story!

Matsoni, kefir and yogurt. What is the difference

You can often hear the question of how matsoni differs from kefir, yogurt and other fermented milk products familiar to Russian people. Let’s deal with this in order.

The difference between matsoni and kefir is the type of fermentation:

  • Caucasian drink – based on lactic acid fermentation (the role of ripening bacteria is performed by streptococci and Bulgarian bacillus);
  • kefir, which is familiar to us, is based on a combination of lactic acid and alcohol fermentation (yeast fungi play the main role, and lactic bacteria only “help”).

This technological difference between matsoni and kefir also affects the taste. The latter is a little sour, not so tender. Matsun is devoid of the weak “alcoholic” taste characteristic of kefir. Another important factor that distinguishes matsoni from kefir is thickness. Kefir is usually more liquid – a little, but this is enough to notice the difference when drinking.

The question of how matsoni differs from yogurt is even easier to answer. Although the taste is similar, the preparation is very different. Yogurt is made from whole milk, and to create matsun, sourdough is mixed into the milk (which, by the way, is sometimes the sour milk itself).

You can compare katyk and matsoni. This Turkic drink is almost identical in taste and creation technology to the hero of our conversation (except for the temperature – hotter milk is needed for katyk). Therefore, in most dishes the difference between matsoni and katyk is not felt, and they are interchangeable.

Yogurt and matsoni are also often compared. This product is really similar to traditional Greek yogurt both in taste and manufacturing features. The only difference is in thickness – yogurt is still more convenient to eat with a spoon than to drink. Although there are a lot of yogurt recipes, and some of them are not at all similar to matsun.

So, matsun is a separate product, different from kefir and other fermented milk “analogues”. And Georgians and Armenians will name even more differences between matsoni – they really love their traditional drink. And there’s no point in asking what’s healthier – matsoni or kefir. After all, all fermented milk products are very healthy.

How and with what to use

Now let’s figure out how to use pure matsoni and the sauce made from it. After all, it can be difficult for a Russian person to understand what matsoni is and what it is eaten with. So, the most traditional ways:

  • use matsun instead of sour cream;
  • serve as a sauce for dolma and fried vegetable dishes;
  • mix with herbs and spices, and then spread on bread or homemade flatbread (sandwiches with salty matsun or cottage cheese are one of the favorite snacks in the Caucasus);
  • just dip fresh pita bread into matsun.

It is especially worth noting dishes with the addition of matsoni. In Georgia, based on this product, they prepare shechamanda, borani and other soups – mostly cold ones, like okroshka. And how sauce for okroshka made from matsoni is a fairly popular option in Russia. And in a number of countries they prepare ayran from matsoni.

Other popular ways to use matsun:

  • sauce for meat with herbs and garlic;
  • sauce for fish or vegetables;
  • barbecue marinade;
  • base for making homemade cheese;
  • dessert drink made from matsoni with honey and walnuts;
  • traditional fast food similar to shawarma – thin Armenian lavash with basturma, matsun and herbs;
  • matsoni salad with meat and herbs (fermented milk drink is used here as a dressing).

In general, you can eat matsun in different ways. Matsoni is a universal dish. From use as a drink to a soup base, from meat marinade to matsoni dessert – all these options are widespread in the Caucasus and beyond. The main thing is to remember that matsun should be consumed chilled.

What to replace

Often, when preparing a dish, it turns out that one of the ingredients in the recipe is matsoni. But it can be difficult to buy it in Russia. Or another scenario: there was expired matsoni in the refrigerator, because it doesn’t last long. Therefore, many are interested in what to replace matsoni in a recipe.

For most recipes, the best analogue of matsoni is regular kefir with a fat content of no higher than 3%. The final taste of the dish is almost identical, and kefir is often successfully added to matsun-based soups and sauces. And kefir is the best option for replacing matsoni in a barbecue marinade recipe.

Another product similar to matsun is unsweetened Greek yogurt. It is used as a salad dressing and an ingredient for sauces.

Sometimes, when looking for something to replace matsoni, they even choose fresh milk. And it really gets the job done—especially in dessert recipes.

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