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Ayran (from Turkish: ayran, Azerbaijani: ayran, Persian: دوغ‎ "doogh")[1] is a cold savory yogurt-based beverage that is mixed with salt.[2][3] It is popular in Turkey,[4] Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan,[3] North Caucasus,[5] the Balkans,[6] Afghanistan[7] and the Middle East, particularly Lebanon and Syria.[8] Yogurt drinks are popular beyond the Middle East region—ayran has been likened by some to lassi from the Indian subcontinent.[9]

Fresh ayran.jpg
A mug of traditional Turkish Ayran in Istanbul, Turkey
Alternative namesDoogh, Tan, Daweh, ماستاو or Yogurt Milk
TypeDairy product
Place of originIran, Turkey, Armenia
Region or stateCentral Asia, Middle East, Southeastern Europe
Created byunknown; Iranic or Turkic peoples(?)
Serving temperatureCold
Main ingredientsYogurt, water, salt
Bottle of carbonated tan sold in Yerevan, Armenia



Ayran is served chilled and often as an accompaniment to grilled meat or rice,[10] especially during summer.[11] It is made by mixing yoghurt with chilled or iced water[12] and is sometimes carbonated and seasoned with mint.[13][14][15] Ayran has been variously described as "diluted yogurt"[4] and "a most refreshing drink made by mixing yogurt with iced water".[16]


According to Shirin Simmons, doogh has long been a popular drink and was consumed in ancient Persia (modern-day Iran).[17] Described by an 1886 source as a cold drink of curdled milk and water seasoned with mint,[18] its name derives from the Persian word for milking, dooshidan.[13]

According to Nevin Halıcı, ayran is a traditional Turkic drink and was consumed by nomadic Turks prior to 1000 CE.[4] According to Celalettin Koçak and Yahya Kemal Avşar (Professor of Food Engineering at Mustafa Kemal University), ayran was first developed thousands of years ago by the Göktürks, who would dilute bitter yogurt with water in an attempt to improve its flavor.[19] The word ayran is ultimately of Turkic origin.[1][20]

A c. 1000 CE Turkic dictionary, Dīwān ul-Lughat al-Turk, defines ayran as a "drink made out of milk."[20]

Turkish national drink statusEdit

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, a conservative Turkish politician who has held the posts of President and Prime Minister, has promoted ayran as a national drink.[21] Speaking at a 2013 WHO Global Alcohol Policy Conference held in Istanbul, Erdoğan contrasted ayran with alcohol, which he claimed was a recent introduction to Turkey.

In 2015, Turkey's Customs and Trade Ministry, imposed a 220,000 TL fine (approximately $70,000) on state-owned Çaykur manufacturers for "degrading ayran" in one of their advertisement for iced tea, in which the protagonist raps that ayran makes him sleepy[22] and halted advertisements of Çaykur's competing ice-tea product.[22]


Salt (and sometimes pepper) is added. Dried mint or pennyroyal can be mixed in as well, as well as lime juice. One variation includes diced cucumbers to provide a crunchy texture to the beverage. Some varieties of doogh have carbonation.

See alsoEdit

  • Doogh
  • Calpis, Japanese yogurt-based soft drink
  • Chal, fermented camel's-milk
  • Chaas, yogurt-based drink made with yogurt, salt and water, and occasional mint and coriander leaves
  • Chalap, beverage consisting of fermented milk, salt, and carbonated water
  • Filmjölk, a yogurt drink from Sweden
  • Kefir, fermented milk drink made with yeast grains
  • Kumis, Turkic fermented mare's milk drink[4]
  • Lassi, yogurt-based drink from the Indian Subcontinent
  • Qatiq, Turkic fermented-milk beverage
  • Skyr, Nordic fermented-milk beverage


  1. ^ a b "Ayran kelime kökeni". (in Turkish). Retrieved 20 April 2018.
  2. ^ A. Y. Tamime (ed.) (2008). Fermented Milks. John Wiley & Sons. p. 124. ISBN 9781405172387.
  3. ^ a b Yildiz Fatih (2010). Development and Manufacture of Yogurt and Other Functional Dairy Products. CRC Press. p. 10. ISBN 9781420082081.
  4. ^ a b c d Halici, Nevin (27 April 2013). "Turkish Delights". Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies. University of California Press. 1 (1): 92–93.
  5. ^ Smih, Sebastian (2006). Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya. Tauris Parke Paperbacks. p. 25. ISBN 9781850439790.
  6. ^ Leslie Strnadel, Patrick Erdley (2012). Bulgaria (Other Places Travel Guide). Other Places Publishing. p. 58. ISBN 9780982261996.
  7. ^ Nazif Shahrani, M. (2013). The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan. 9780295803784: University of Washington Press. pp. 92–93.
  8. ^ A. Y. Tamime (ed.) (2008). Fermented Milks. John Wiley & Sons. p. 96. ISBN 9781405172387.
  9. ^ Heyhoe, Kate. The ABC's of Larousse Gastronomique : ayran Archived 2002-01-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Turkish Buttermilk". Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Turkey. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  11. ^ Gina Husamettin. "Ayran – Turkish national beverage". Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  12. ^ Davis, P. H. (1956). "Lake Van and Turkish Kurdistan: A Botanical Journey". The Geographical Journal. 122 (2): 156–165. doi:10.2307/1790844.
  13. ^ a b Islamic Republic of Iran (26–29 January 2009). Project Document for a Regional Standard for Doogh (CX/NEA 09/5/8) (PDF). Tunis, Tunisia: United Nations. Joint FAO/WHO food standards programme of the FAO/WHO coordinating committee for the Near East. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
  14. ^ A. Y. Tamime (ed.) (2008). Fermented Milks. John Wiley & Sons. p. 124. ISBN 9781405172387.
  15. ^ Yildiz Fatih (2010). Development and Manufacture of Yogurt and Other Functional Dairy Products. CRC Press. p. 10. ISBN 9781420082081.
  16. ^ Lake Van and Turkish Kurdistan: A Botanical Journey P. H. Davis The Geographical Journal, Vol. 122, No. 2 (Jun., 1956), pp. 156-165 Published by: The Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) Article doi:10.2307/1790844
  17. ^ Simmons, Shirin (2007). Treasury of Persian Cuisine. Stamford House Publishing. ISBN 1-904985-56-4.
  18. ^ Grosart, Alexander (17 July 1886). "Soor-doock" and "doogh". The Academy and literature. 30. Blackburn. p. 59.
  19. ^ Kocak, C., Avsar, Y.K., 2009. Ayran: Microbiology and Technology. In: Yildiz, F. (Ed.), Development and Manufacture of Yogurt and Functional Dairy Products. CRC Press, Boca Raton, U.S., pp. 123–141
  20. ^ a b "Ayran". Etimoloji Türkçe (in Turkish). Telif Hakları. Retrieved 31 August 2014.
  21. ^ "PM says Turkey's national drink is ayran, not beer". Zaman. 27 April 2013. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.
  22. ^ a b Çelikkan, Erdinç (9 November 2015). "State-owned tea firm fined 220,000 liras for 'insulting ayran' in ads". Hürriyet.