Ayran is a cold yoghurt beverage mixed with salt.

Fresh Susurluk Ayranı with a head of froth

Fresh Susurluk Ayranı with a head of froth

In addition to Turkey, where it is considered a national drink, ayran is found in Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans, Lebanon, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and across the Caucasus.

Ayran is served chilled and often as an accompaniment to grilled meat or rice, especially in the summer months.

Similar beverages include the Iranian Doogh, but yoghurt drinks are popular beyond the Middle East region — ayran has been likened by some to the South Asian Lassi.


It is thought that ayran was first developed thousands of years ago by the Göktürks, who would dilute bitter yogurt with water in an attempt to improve its flavour.

Contemporary Ayran

Ayran is ubiquitous in Turkey, offered at almost all places that serve drinks, including even chain fast-food restaurants, such as McDonald’s and Burger King.

The town of Susurluk is well known in Turkey for its ayran, which characteristically has a foamy head and creamy taste.

How to Make Ayran

See Ayran – Turkish Yoghurt Drink


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