Homemade Yogurt - With or Without the Instant Pot
Here is my tried and true method of making homemade yogurt. I love this recipe because it saves money and contains only milk and yogurt cultures.
1 yogurt maker or pressure cooker with a yogurt setting if you don't have a yogurt maker, see the notes below
1 medium to large saucepan
1 instant read thermometer a thermometer makes this easier, but if you don't have one, follow the temperature notes in the recipe.
4 2 cup mason jars optional
- 8 cups whole dairy milk You can use lower fat milk, but whole milk gives the creamiest results. See the recipe notes for more tips on using lower fat milks.
- 3-4 tbsp plain, whole milk yogurt
In a large saucepan, heat milk slowly over low heat to 180 F, or until it is steaming and at a bare simmer with bubbles around the edges, but not boiling. Stir the milk occasionally as it heats. Remove milk from heat and cool milk down to 110 F or lower. It should be warm, but not hot. If you stick your finger in the milk for 10 seconds, it should feel pleasantly warm, but not hot.
Transfer 1/2 cup of the warm milk into a small bowl and whisk in yogurt until it is well combined. Add this yogurt milk mixture back to the rest of the milk and whisk to make sure it is well combined.
Place milk and yogurt mixture into a yogurt maker (see notes below) and set the time for 8-24 hours, until it is thick and tangy.
Transfer the pot to the refrigerator and chill for at least another 4 hours. It will continue to thicken as it chills.
- You can substitute low-fat milk - the higher milk-fat, the creamier and thicker the final yogurt.
- If you use skim milk, you can whisk in 1/2 cup of dry milk powder or 1 teaspoon of gelatin in step 3 to make a thicker yogurt.
- You should heat the milk slowly - don’t rush step 1.
- You can cool the milk quickly in step 2, if you are in a hurry. Ways to do this include: use an ice bath, transfer the milk into into a cool bowl, stir the milk frequently.
- The longer the yogurt sits, the tangier it will become.
- If you’d like to make Greek yogurt, set a calendar or sieve over a bowl and line the colander with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Take your finished yogurt (either chilled or not) and pour it into the colander. Allow to drain in the fridge for 4-6 hours until it is as thick as you like. If it gets too thick, you can whisk some of the whey back into the yogurt. Transfer the yogurt to containers. The whey can be used for smoothies, soups, lemonade, or bread baking.
- Your final yogurt will taste like the yogurt that you used to start this batch with, so be sure to use a yogurt you like.
- You can save a few tablespoons to your finished yogurt for future yogurt making. I do this by freezing some of the chilled yogurt in ice cube trays and storing in a ziplock bag in the freezer.
- If you find you enjoy yogurt making, you can also find heirloom starter cultures on line or at some health food stores. These starter cultures typically have a wider range of cultures in them vs. the 3-4 that you find in store-bought yogurt, so they can have a better flavor and may be considered healthier as a pro-biotic food. Follow the directions on the package to active the powdered cultures and once you have a good batch of yogurt going, you can freeze small amounts for future batches of yogurt - it’s a continuous loop of yogurt!