Learn How to Make Yogurt with this tutorial using the super easy heating pad method, or even an Instant Pot! You can always adjust the tartness and flavor to your liking! For a snack that the kids will love, use our recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola to make our Peanut Butter and Jelly Granola Parfait!
Have you ever heard someone say they made something, and you thought to yourself, “Wow, I didn’t know you could make that!”
That’s what I thought when I heard you could make yogurt.
I mean, who actually MAKES yogurt? That’s something you can DO?!
Actually, yes! And anyone who is looking to save money should consider learning how to make this recipe, because it can save you TONS of money!
How to Make Yogurt
Once you get over the shock that you can actually make yogurt, there are several reasons why you consider making this at home:
- It’s really easy (heat + stir + wait)
- It’s mostly hands-off (so you’re not stuck in the kitchen!)
- You can adjust the level of tartness.
- You can flavor it however you want.
- If you eat a lot of yogurt, it’s much cheaper to make it yourself!
Plus, there’s several ways to make it. Find which method works for you and run with it!
Ingredients for Making Homemade Yogurt
You only need two basic ingredients:
- Milk (preferably whole cows milk)**
- Yogurt Starter. This can be an actual starter like this, or existing cultured yogurt.
** You can make homemade yogurt with non-dairy milk, but the process is different. Please don’t follow this tutorial and expect your non-dairy yogurt to turn out, because it won’t!
How Do I Make Homemade Yogurt? My Favorite Method.
There are a few different ways to make yogurt, but I think the heating pad method is the easiest. The only catch is that you need a heating pad that has a MANUAL on/off switch like this one, not an auto-off function.
You certainly can work around this by being home to turn the heating pad back on, but that makes it a little more hands- on. If that doesn’t bother you though, or if you have a heating pad that doesn’t automatically turn off, here’s a great method!
Here are some photos for those who are visual learners.
Heating pad set up on the counter. I took a bath towel, folded in lengthwise (hot dog) and placed one end on the counter. The heating pad is plugged in and on low, folded on top of the towel. I don’t know if the heating pad could burn the counter tops, but since we’re renting, I didn’t want to risk it.
My three jars on the heating pad filled with cooled milk/yogurt.
You can’t see it well in this picture, but I folded the towel over the jars first, then covered them with the pot. The term “incubate” from the recipe made me think “warm” and I thought another layer of towel would help the process.
Towel wrapped over inverted pot.
Ta da! The final product, 8 hours later! As you can see, the yogurt is really thick. I scooped some out and it didn’t fill in the hole – and this was right after incubation. It firmed up even more after refrigeration!
Homemade Yogurt Recipe Using Other Methods
The process is basically the same:
- Warm the milk.
- Add the starter and stir well.
- Divide into jars (optional) and let it culture for 8-24 hours.
**Step 3 – WHERE your yogurt cultures – is the only thing that’s different:
If you use a cooler, you’ll want to use a large cooler and add a pot of boiling water. That’s what will keep the temperature steady and warm.
If you use an oven, you’ll want to keep the oven light on. (The same reason why I use the oven light for the first rise in my einkorn sourdough.)
If you use a slow cooker, the lowest setting possible will keep it warm. Do be careful that your low setting isn’t medium… if the temperature is too warm, the yogurt won’t thicken and could burn.
If you use an Instant Pot, follow the directions that came with your machine. Many models like this one come with a specific “yogurt” function where it does the whole process for you, from start to finish!
If you use a dehydrator, you’ll place the jars inside and set the temperature to 100-105F. I have this dehydrator and it won’t work for making yogurt, but if you have a model similar to this one where you can remove the trays, you can easily fit the jars inside!
How long does homemade yogurt last?
The longer the culture, the longer homemade yogurt will last. I usually make four quarts at a time and it lasts me a month.
How do you make thick yogurt at home?
The longer ferment, the thicker it will be. If you want it to be super thick, make sure you let it culture for a full 24 hours!
How do you add flavor to homemade yogurt?
Adding flavors to homemade yogurt happens AFTER the initial culture. You can easily add fresh fruit or sweeten with maple syrup or honey. If you like vanilla yogurt, consider vanilla bean powder or vanilla flavored stevia!
Is it cheaper to make yogurt at home?
If you eat a lot of it, yes!
One gallon of homemade yogurt costs as much as gallon of milk and one cup of yogurt. I can get a gallon of whole milk for $2 at ALDI, and a cup of yogurt for about $1. That means I can make one gallon of yogurt for $3.
Compare this to the $3 it costs to buy one 32 ounce of yogurt at the grocery store. You can save 75% – or $8 – every month!
What else can you do with yogurt, besides eat it?
We like making 3-ingredient yogurt popsicles and homemade Caesar dressing (without using mayo). I also use it to make the dressing for my Costco-copycat Sweet Kale Salad and of course, in our favorite green smoothie!
Other Easy Kitchen How-to’s
- How to Make a Smoothie Without a Blender
- How to Can Applesauce
- Dehydrate Apples and Make Apple Chips
- Cut a Mango
- How to Freeze Strawberries
- 1 gallon of whole milk
- 1 cup whole yogurt
- Pour one gallon of milk into a large pot.
- Heat milk on medium high heat until the milk reads 160 degrees on a thermometer.
- Meanwhile, line the counter with a folded towel and heating pad turned on low.
- Line four clean glass jars on the heating pad. Measure ¼ cup of whole yogurt into each glass jar.
- Remove the milk from the heat when it reaches 160 degrees and allow it to cool to no cooler than 115 degrees. Pour into glass jars and stir well to combine warm milk with warmed yogurt.
- Cover the jars with two towels, creating an incubation station.
- Allow yogurt to culture for a full 24 hours before moving the jars to the fridge to cool.
- Enjoy thick, creamy and delicious homemade yogurt!
Continue Reading…How to Make Yogurt