How to Make Homemade Yogurt

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Making homemade yogurt is one of those things I have literally been meaning to try for years, ever since my friend Kelly shared this recipe with me back in 2010!  And now that I have finally gotten around to it, I can’t believe I waited so long!

Friends, this recipe is so easy to make that it is basically foolproof and I am literally kicking myself for not trying it sooner. I have made it a few times now, and even when I think I have completely screwed it up (like heated the milk to 200 degrees instead of 180) it has come out just fine.  My girls absolutely can not get enough of this stuff and I love that we can sweeten it with honey and coconut and fresh fruit (and maybe a few chocolate chips!) instead of just buying the sugar-laden stuff at the grocery store.

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Here is what you need:

1/2 gallon whole milk
1 6oz container plain, unsweetened yogurt
food or candy thermometer
slow cooker
2-3 large towels

 

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Step 1: Pour milk into crockpot; turn to high and heat to 180 degrees.  (This will take between 1 1/2 to  2 1/2 hours.)

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Step 2 : Turn off the slow cooker and allow milk to cool to 120 degrees (This will also take between 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.)  Let unsweetened yogurt and allow to sit at room temperature while milk is cooling.

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Step 3: Once milk has reached 120 degrees, mix yogurt into milk and stir gently but thoroughly.

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Step 4:  Replace lid and bundle crockpot with several towels.  Set crockpot in an out-of-the-way place where it the yogurt can ferment, undisturbed, for 6-8 hours or overnight.

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Step 5: Carefully unwrap crockpot and transfer crock to refrigerator to let yogurt cool completely. Do not shake or stir–the less you disrupt it, the better it will set.

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Note:  My family likes our yogurt to have a softer consistency, but if you prefer a thicker yogurt, you can line a colander with cheesecloth as shown, then pour in the yogurt to strain out some of the excess water.

Homemade Yogurt in a Crockpot

Step 6: Serve with fresh fruit, berries, chocolate, granola, or coconut…the sky’s the limit on this one!  Be sure to reserve 3/4 cup of starter for your next batch….you’ll be making it again before you know it!

 

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Have you ever made homemade yogurt?  Do you have any tips or tricks to share?

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{ 40 comments… add one }

  • Holly January 15,

    This looks so yummy! Can’t wait to try!!

    Reply
  • Shannon January 15,

    How long do you think it will last in the fridge? Just so I know how much I should make!

    Reply
    • Anonymous January 15,

      I make mine every two weeks and have never had spoilage.

      Reply
  • Jerilyn January 15,

    It’s actually not water you are straining out, its whey. Save the whey and use it for soaking grains, etc.

    Reply
  • Demaroge January 15,

    Jillee over at ‘One Good Thing’ oven a recipe that keeps the crock in the oven (no heat) with the oven light on overnight. Apparently the very low heat from the bulb keeps the right environment. Check it out.

    Reply
  • Erin January 15,

    I know it makes 16 servings, but what’s the serving size. Could I fit it all in a 32 oz. yogurt container?

    Reply
    • Danielle January 19,

      You should have enough to fill 2.5 32oz yogurt containers! If you strain out more whey, you’ll have less yogurt but it’s more like Greek yogurt – that’s why Greek yogurt is so much more expensive.

      Reply
  • Chelsea January 15,

    Would I be able to use soy milk for this?

    Reply
  • Kristen @ Joyfullythriving January 15,

    I’ve wanted to try making my own yogurt for nearly as long…but I have yet to try it! It does look easy, and delicious. I’m eager to give this a try!

    Reply
  • Christine January 15,

    Do you HAVE to use whole milk? Doesn’t seem super healthy that way, but I just didn’t know if that extra fat was needed in the yogurt process…

    Reply
    • Kelsey DuPont April 6,

      You do not need to use Whole Milk. You can use skim or 1%

      Reply
  • Karen Austin January 15,

    Having had food poisoning twice from shop bought yogurt, this scares me a bit. I’m sure its prob safer than the shop stuff, but could someone pls ease myworry!Are the temps in Fahrenheit? I’m from the UK, and received a thermometer for Xmas to make jam easier & maybe fudge! so hoping I can do this!

    Reply
    • Danielle January 19,

      Yes, the temps are in Fahrenheit. I’ve made this many many times and never got sick. Just follow the directions and eat it within a week.

      Reply
  • Hayley January 16,

    Just curious, how is it homemade yogurt when store bought yogurt is one of the two ingredients?

    Reply
    • miji January 18,

      You need the yogurts cultures as a starter for the first batch, after that your are culturing with a small bit of your own homegrown yogurt. I suppose you could buy the culture separately for your first batch but its a lot more convenient to grab some yogurt with live cultures from the grocery store :)

      Reply
    • Danielle January 19,

      It’s worth noting you don’t need store bought yogurt every time you make it. From your own batch, keep a 1/2 cup of plain yogurt and use that. Once you start the process you need to make the yogurt weekly, otherwise you’ll have to start over with the store bought yogurt.

      Reply
  • Kim Anderson January 16,

    This is a really cool idea. I remember sitting in the cafeteria in college eating a cup of yogurt when my nerdy engineering friend came up and sat with me to eat his lunch. As we sat at chatted he said, “Isn’t it amazing that you are eating something that can literally grow more of itself?” In that moment I had to stop and put the yogurt down. lol

    Reply
  • Indiengmom January 16,

    You can make yogurt without crockpot. Pour milk in stainless steel pot and bring it to boil on stove. Be careful when it starts boiling and rising in the pot, turn stove off immediately. Move pot to trivet or something and let it cool down to room temperature. Add little yogurt and leave it for 8-10 hours and your new big batch of yogurt is ready. Depending on season and the quantity of milk, you will have to experiment with how cool the milk should come down and how much yogurt to add. Once you have homemade yogurt you can save little at end of each batch to make new one. Also you can freeze homemade yogurt in little container to make new one, if you think you are not going to make it continuously. Yogurt in refrigerator wouldn’t go bad for about 2 weeks; it will just get sourer as days go by.

    Reply
  • Meenie January 17,

    Can you make it with half and half or cream? I follow low carb and don’t want the milk sugars in regular milk :)

    Also you say there’s 16 servings – what size is a serving? 1/2 a cup?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Anonymous November 23,

      I have made great yogurt with straight heavy wipping cream or half & half or a mix of the two. Heavenly!

      Reply
  • Pat January 18,

    What kind of yogurt do you buy that has no sugar added. I live in canada and have a real hard time finding it.

    Reply
    • Danielle January 19,

      Plain Greek yogurt will work too. The key is to not get something with fruit added. Flavors won’t really make a difference in my experience. A vanilla yogurt will work. What matters is the bacteria!

      Reply
  • Anonymous January 20,

    Hey Ruth,
    So I tried this recipe this weekend and it came out pretty lumpy. I’m not really sure what happened. Has this ever happened to you? If so, how do you avoid that? Thanks for the recipe! Hopefully I can perfect it next time!

    Reply
    • Emily R January 20,

      Oops. I forgot to add my email so I know if you respond. Thanks!

      Reply
    • Anonymous November 23,

      Do not let the milk boil. Take it up to 185 degrees, then cool to 100 -110 degrees. Boiling will cause grainy yogurt.

      Reply
  • Chantelle January 29,

    I made this yesterday, turned out great! The kids loved it!

    Reply
  • Dan Leeder February 1,

    A word or words are missing from Step 5 of the recipe. Are the missing words critical to the recipe?

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup February 3,

      Hi Dan,
      You can find step 5 in the recipe print out. In the post, steps 2 & 3 were combined and then the pictures and the numbers don’t match. So sorry for the confusion. :(

      Reply
      • Raiyan March 29,

        Anna!! Great to hear from you. Absolutely you can use lower fat milk for the yogurt. It will turn out great. The drain time won’t be too telrrbiy impacted. Let me know how yours comes out! And let’s catch up soon

        Reply
  • dj February 23,

    pls send icecream ingrediant

    Reply
  • jessica March 9,

    If you wanted to mix sugar in to have a sweetened yogurt how are when would you do that? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup March 10,

      Hi Jessica,
      I would suggest you use honey to sweeten the yogurt. Or you could also try a fruit pie filling like cherry, apple or blueberry for a sweeter taste. Enjoy! :)

      Reply
    • Anonymous November 23,

      I have added 1 to 3 Tsp of sugar to the milk when I inoculate it. Never had a bad batch. The sugar will offset the tartness.

      Reply
  • Gayle May 18,

    Do you have the nutrition info on this???

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 6,

    Is this safe for pregnant women?

    Reply
  • Anonymous June 21,

    Can you use lactose free milk?

    Reply
  • Janine September 16,

    Thank you for the recipe. Tried it yesterday. The only issue is that the yogurt is very runny, is there any way of correcting this?

    Reply
    • Ruth Soukup September 16,

      For a thicker yogurt you can strain it through a cheesecloth. I’ve tried it and it does work but the process is a little messy! :-)

      Reply
    • Anonymous November 23,

      Try letting it “cook” longer. I let mine cook for 10 to 11 hours. It comes out very firm, like soft cream cheese. Yummy!

      Reply
  • Ralph Fuller November 23,

    Great site! I love the ideas.

    Reply

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