How to Make Homemade Yogurt

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Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I’ll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home – promise!

Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!

If you’ve never made homemade yogurt before because you thought it was too difficult, I’m here to tell you that you can do it. It’s not difficult at all. In fact, after you’ve done it once, you’ll scratch your head and wonder why on earth you hadn’t done it sooner!

There are numerous ways to make homemade yogurt and if you read 10 different blogs about how to make homemade yogurt, you’re likely to find 10 different variations. And that’s because we’ve all found what works for us. There’s really no right or wrong way to do it. And thankfully, homemade yogurt is pretty darn forgiving.

Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

There are two main ways to make homemade yogurt – on the stovetop (and then incubated in the oven or in a cooler) or with a yogurt maker.

For me personally, I much prefer to use a yogurt maker rather than make it in a large pot, cook it on the stove, then keep it warm in my oven. Why? Well, first of all, I’d prefer to not tie up my oven for eight hours. Sure, you can do this overnight when it’s less of an inconvenience. But sometimes I forget to prep everything before bed, so have to make a batch during daylight hours.

Secondly, with the yogurt maker I use, the Euro Cuisine, the yogurt is automatically portioned out into individual serving jars – the perfect size for breakfast. The lids have a cool date stamp, so I’ll always remember how long ago I made the batch. The individual jars also prevent me from over-indulging on too much creamy yogurt goodness and make my homemade yogurt instantly portable – which is perfect if I’m grabbing breakfast on the go!

And lastly, I love my yogurt maker because after making probably over 100 batches of yogurt at home, I’ve never had one batch fail. Not one! The first couple of times I made yogurt on the stovetop I either boiled over my milk (a massive mess) or burned milk to the bottom of the pot (which is not fun to clean). I always seem to be distracted in the kitchen, so the stovetop method isn’t the best for me.

The digital yogurt maker I use costs about $40, but given how often I use it, I think it’s money well spent!

Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!
Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!

6 Basic Steps to Making Homemade Yogurt

To summarize the video above, there’s 6 basic steps to making yogurt at home:

  1. Heat the milk to 180 degrees fahrenheit. This kills whatever unsavory microbes may be lurking in your milk and ensures you’ve got no remnant bacteria, pathogens, mold, or spores. When you create an environment for bacteria to multiple, you only want the good bacteria (which you introduce to the milk) to multiply. Heating the milk also creates a thicker yogurt by changing the protein structure.
  2. Cool the milk to 112-115 degrees fahrenheit. After you’ve made the milk inhospitable for the bad stuff, you want to make it hospitable for the good bacteria – your starter mix. Use the same instant read thermometer you used when heating your milk, to know when it’s cooled to 112-115 degrees.
  3. Add your yogurt starter – the good bacteria. Pour out one cup of warm milk and stir in either a yogurt starter (I use Yogourmet) or 3 tablespoons of pre-made yogurt. For a good starter, look for lactic acid forming bacteria. At a minimum you want Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. Other good bacteria include Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium lactis.
  4. Stir the yogurt starter with the rest of the milk. This spreads the good bacteria throughout all the milk.
  5. Pour the milk into jars and incubate for 7-9 hours. A consistent, luke-warm temperature is paradise for all your good bacteria and promotes their growth. The longer you incubate your yogurt the thicker and tangier it’ll be. And after about 8 hours, you’ll have delicious, healthy, thick and creamy yogurt.
  6. Place the jars in the fridge to cool and set. Cool the yogurt in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. As the yogurt cools it will get even thicker!

It should go without saying that starting with the best quality ingredients ensures you’ll have the best quality end product. That means I always start with organic, grass-fed milk and use either a yogurt starter or a few tablespoons from one of my own previous batches.

You can definitely use supermarket-brand yogurt as a starter, but please read the ingredients carefully and look for live, active cultures. You don’t want junky fillers, stabilizers and flavorings in the yogurt you’ll use to propagate an entirely new batch.

Cuisine step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home in a yogurt maker - promise!
Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!

A few other homemade yogurt making tips:

  • You can use whole, 2% or skim milk. You can also use goat’s milk. The more fat in your milk, the thicker the end product will be. In the video above, I used 2% milk which is why it wasn’t super thick. In my red fruit salad with honeyed yogurt recipe I used whole milk and you can see it’s much thicker.
  • The first time you make homemade yogurt it will likely taste tangy, no matter how long you incubate it for. This is because your taste buds are used to overly sweetened, store bought yogurts. In time (and very quickly), your taste buds will adapt to this pure, homemade yogurt. But if you’d like to sweeten the yogurt, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup at step #4 above. You can also add vanilla extract or a scraped vanilla bean. In fact, just the vanilla flavor alone will make it taste automatically sweeter.
  • If you’d like to add fruit, do so after it’s incubated. This ensures you don’t upset the bacteria and prevent them from doing their thing, to create creamy homemade yogurt.
  • The yogurt will stay fresh in the refrigerator for about ten days. Though I doubt you’ll have any left once your family and friends learn you’re making homemade yogurt!
  • If you’d like to make dairy-free yogurt (i.e. coconut milk yogurt) it’s a very similar process with some nuanced differences. But good news – I’ve already got a recipe for coconut yogurt with blood oranges and cacao nibs (so yum!). Just read through those instructions and you’ll be good to go.

When I first started this website a few years ago I created a Gut Superfoods ebook and this recipe was included. As you know, I’m all about the gut health. And for now, you can still grab that ebook if you subscribe to this website (hint: the ebook also includes recipes for homemade sauerkraut, bone broth and pickled ginger) – all gut healing superfoods.

I’m not sure how long I’ll keep that ebook around, so if you’re interested, make sure to subscribe at the top or bottom of any page on this website.

More Delicious Recipes that Use Yogurt

Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!
Homemade yogurt is easy to make and I'll walk you through the process step-by-step (with a video). This is a fail-safe way to make yogurt at home - promise!

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

4.68 from 37 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 7 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

Homemade yogurt is healthy and easy to make! This is my preferred method for perfect yogurt every time. 

Video

Ingredients  

  • 42 ounces organic milk, (whole, 2% or skim milk)
  • 1 packet yogurt starter

Instructions 

  • Pour the milk into a large glass, microwave-safe bowl. 
  • Heat the milk in the microwave on high for 10 minutes. Using an instant read thermometer, check the temperature of the milk. Keep heating in 1 to 2 minute increments until the temperature has reached 180 degrees fahrenheit.
  • Remove the milk and let it cool to 112-115 degrees fahrenheit. This process can be sped up by using an ice water bath. 
  • Pour 1 cup of the milk into a small glass. Sprinkle the packet of yogurt starter on top and thoroughly mix it in. 
  • Pour the small glass of milk back into the large bowl and stir to combine. 
  • Fill the glass jars of the yogurt maker. Set the timer for 7-9 hours. The longer you leave the yogurt, the firmer and more tangy it will become. More beneficial bacteria are also produced with a longer incubation time. 
  • Once the incubation is complete, remove the glass jars and refrigerate. 
  • Before serving, you can add any toppings, such as fruit and granola. 

Nutrition

Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 17mg | Sodium: 73mg | Potassium: 224mg | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 275IU | Calcium: 192mg | Iron: 0.1mg
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade Yogurt, How to Make Yogurt, Yogurt Recipe
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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187 Comments

  1. Hi! I’ve been moving towards a more varied, whole foods, gut friendly diet and I’m interested in making my own yogurt for lower sugar and higher probiotics. I’ve ordered the yogurt maker and base, thanks for the recommendations! I’m already used to eating it unsweetened or just with whole fruit or seeds, so I’m hoping I won’t have trouble adapting to the more tangy flavor.
    I’m curious if you have ever tried flavoring yogurt with tea or herbs? In particular, I drink unsweetened hibiscus tea. I’m interested in trying to incorporate hibiscus into my yogurt (yes, it would likely be even more tart) – or other fruit teas for flavoring – and trying to decide what would be the best way. I thought about putting the flowers into the milk while it’s being heated, and then straining it out before making the yogurt. Or is it best to ferment only the milk, and add any other ingredients after the yogurt has fermented? I would welcome any thoughts or recommendations you’d have on this. Thank you!

    1. Hi Tabitha – I haven’t tried making any flavored yogurt yet. But if you do, I’d love to hear how it turns out!!

  2. I was intimidated a bit to ever try making yogurt until the first time I did. After that first batch, I figured that people had been making it probably since our earliest human family members began milking mammals for food. I never bought an electric appliance to make it for basically the same reasoning. I just use a stainless pot to bring to temp, cool it down to about 105-F, stir in my culture and place into the oven with the light on and walk away for 8 hours or overnight. (I like tangier.) I then sterilize a 100% cotton large hanky or napkin reserved just for this purpose, place that into a large stainless mesh strainer set over a large bowl, refrigerate, and let it drip until it’s very thick–hours or the next day. I don’t obsess over any part of the production. This results in about 50/50 thick yogurt and whey. Most of the whey goes to my daughter’s chicken flock; they’re crazy about it and climb all over each other to get it. (Fab eggs.) Now about culture–if all of a batch got eaten up, I start over with a little cup of plain Dannon or more recently, vanilla-flavored Activia; I now prefer the latter. Either makes wonderful yogurt that’s about the density of Neufchatel cheese. So versatile as is like sour cream, flavored savory or sweet, and our very favorite, add homemade wild elderberry jelly or syrup. Your article has no doubt given a lot of others the courage to begin their own yogurt-making adventures.5 stars

  3. I’ve been making yogurt for years and really enjoy it !. One thing I do is to filter out the
    whey by running it through a “fine” wire strainers ( shorter time of about 8 hours) or through a pot with holes in the bottom covered with a coffee filter (up to 2 days to complete).
    This is now Greek yogurt. Save the whey for you pets (they will love it).

  4. I love making homemade yogurt on a weekly basis! My favorite way to prepare it is using my Miriam’s Earthen Cookware clay pot. I have even created my own yogurt starter culture using the pot, not possible in metal cookware!

  5. Could I use a thermos for your recipe.A dutch lady I use to know made her yoghurt and put it in a thermos
    Regards Dawn

    1. I have heard of people doing that as well! I’ve personally not tried it, so unfortunately can’t comment on its success.

  6. What is a yogurt starter? and where can I buy it?

    In order to make Greek yogurt would I need to buy both the euro cuisine yogurt maker and the euro cuisine Greek yogurt maker ?

    1. You can find the yogurt starter I use linked in the ingredients. As for Greek yogurt, I haven’t tried making that yet!

  7. Hi there ! Could I use an ‘easiyo’ yogurt maker or does the temperature have to be maintained- the easiyo is insulated but gradually cools over the 10 hours5 stars

  8. Awesome video! Lisa where can I purchase the yogurt starter & yogurt maker? I live in Canada,

  9. Hi Lisa,
    I love all your recipes. We were able to introduce healthy, delicious meals to our table because of your website.
    Can you please share with me a copy of your ebook for the Gut Superfoods?! I’m very interested in recipes like bone broth. Thanks!!

  10. My yoghurt always comes out grainy, tastes fine but doesn’t look good. Any tips? Have tried heating milk very slowly, no difference. Help please!!,

  11. Hi, I just want to know when adding the 3 tablespoon of yogurt to the milk should it be straight from the refrigerator to the mixer or it has to be room temperature?

  12. Hey Lisa, I am testing in making my own yogurt with my homemade almond milk.  I am guessing from your post that it will not be very thick, is this correct? Would it be as thick a ps a regular yogurt vs thicker like a Greek yogurt?  Thank you

    Debbie

  13. Hi Lisa! Do you have any recommendations to adapt this to an instant pot with a yogurt setting? Thanks :) 

  14. I use two quarts of whole milk and add twelve packets of stevia to it while it is heating. After a night in the oven with the light on, it goes into the fridge to cool for a day. It is then transferred to a double steamer pan with a lid lined with cheesecloth. After a few days, it is transferred to a regular container. I usually get about a quart of whey that drains out through the cheesecloth. The end product is a thicker Greek-type yogurt that can also be spread on toast or bagels.5 stars

  15. This is excellant. My dad is convinced you can’t use Scottish milk because it’s been pasteurised.
    You’ve just proven him wrong.
    I love it.
    Im off to make some yog!!!!!!5 stars

  16. Thank you, the recipe worked well without yogurt maker.
    I have a question concerning nutrition. What amount of yogurt are you referring to?
    Lilia5 stars

  17. Everything you make Lisa intrigues me! You are such a gift to us! Thank you. I’m about to try the yogurt on my list and wanted to know if this is a Greek yogurt. I see Greek listed as healthy yogurt always to get….and not really knowing the difference. Is this considered Greek?  5 stars

  18. I’ve made many batches of yoghurt looking for the right recipe. I followed these instructions complete with the cheese cloth strainer. This yoghurt is the best I’ve made by far!!  As described it’s thick, glossy, smooth and DELICIOUS!!!  Thank you so much!

  19. HI Lisa-is there any way to make a small batch of this? I’m guessing no because I saw you need those starter packets. I have never made yogurt before and did not want to purchase a whole box of starter packets. Wanted to make a small batch as it will be for 1 person. Thank you.

  20. This article is a money saver as buying yogurt daily can be costly. Thank you so much. Please, suggest to me some good yogurt starter names that I can buy in India.5 stars

  21. Can I use cultured buttermilk from the store as a starter? If so, how much would I need to use in this recipe? I can not seem to find a definitive answer anywhere on the internet. I hope you can answer this for me. Thank you.

  22. Looks great! I’m going to try this soon! Wondering if the ebook for gut recipes is available? You mentioned bone broth and sauerkraut. Thank you as everything is wonderful I’ve tried!! 5 stars

  23. This looks amazing! I spend so much money buying containers of plain greek yogurt. Would this be similar? Not sure what the difference is between plain yogurt vs plain greek yogurt … if any. :)

    1. Plain and Greek yogurt are essentially the same, just differ in nutrients. But, this recipe is a great option if you decide to make it at home instead of store-bought versions :)

  24. After going to Scotland and enjoying the huge bowls of creamy fresh yogurt on the breakfast bar each morning I was determined to learn how to make yogurt.   I saw this video and bought the Cuisine machine and made it using Horizon Organic 2% milk and Fage 2% yogurt for the starter and incubated for 8 hours – it was so creamy and delicious with blended strawberries and almonds on top- yummy.

    1. Wonderful! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe. And yes, Scotland does have super creamy and delicious yogurt!

    1. Hi Miranda – this recipe will not work with a dairy-free milk. Make sure to follow my recipe for coconut milk yogurt. :)

  25. I need to know the ratio of starter culture to milk prepared e.g the amount of starter can be added in 10 litres of milk5 stars

  26. Hello. I usually do a much longer time for yogurt so it’s easier for me to digest, according to my doctor’s suggestion. The oven light, where I was making the yogurt, was inadvertently turned off while preparing dinner. When I came down this morning, the yogurt was only 85 instead of its usual ~101 when it went to bed. Have I ruined it? I’m less concerned about consistency bc I know it’ll firm up when I get it back to temp and leave it longer. But I don’t know the inner workings of yogurt well enough to know if pathogens might be an issue for hours at about 15 degrees less than it should be. (I flash pasteurized it at 162 for fifteen seconds beforehand due to immunity issues.)
    Thanks for any knowledge you can share and a great yogurt page.
    Amber

  27. I’m making yogurt today. My question is: I have the yogurt maker. When I’m incubating the yogurt do I put the covers on the individual jars? I’m guessing no. Thanks for your time!
    DonnaK

    1. Hi Donna – no, you don’t cover the jars until they’re done and you refrigerate them. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Lisa, I got the eurocuisine yogurt maker. It does make delicious yogurt. But the machine runs hot. 24 hours is the time the SCD diet recommends for removing the lactose. I measured the temp of the yogurt and it was 130 degrees F. Is it just my machine? The temp for yogurt is only supposed to be between 100-111 degrees. Have you ever checked the temp?

      1. Noticed the same too and have tried 3x to make yogurt n failed. Is it because it s too hot?

  28. Do you use pasteurized milk? I’m wondering if using raw milk is ok since it will be heated. Thanks!

  29. I tried your recipe several timesand the yogurt was delicious! However, I noticed it was kind of slimy .. long strings, almost like when you pick up a piece of pizza with mozza strings. I sterilised everything, used fatfree milk and Activia greek yogurt for a starter. I don’t have a yogurt maker, so I put the jars overnight in the microwave with a kettle of hot water. Why is this happening and what can I do to prevent it? It tastes fine but the texture is very offputting!

    1. Hi Sari – unfortunately I don’t know on that one. I’ve never had any issues with slimy or stringy yogurt. But it sounds like it may have something to do with the starter.

    1. Hi Jane – if you use dairy-free milk the process is slightly different. Check out my coconut milk yogurt recipe for details on that!

  30. Hi!

    LOVE your tecipes. But how do you figure out the calories, carbs, etc. I must keep track because I’m doiabretic. A lot of recipes I can’t use becausethat info is not available ( Not yours!)

    THANK YOU FOR THAT INFO.. It let’s me use a lot more recipes!

    Janie

  31. Hi there,

    I love your blog, videos, recipes, etc! I also have an autoimmune disease and was told recently that I am “sensitive” to, and should cut out all gluten/grains, all dairy except Sheep, and both coconut and Almond products. I love yogurt and totally miss it and am wondering if this yogurt can be made with cashew milk instead? Also, do you know of any yogurt starters that do not contain any of the things I mentioned that I am sensitive to?

    Thank you so much!

    Ps. I just purchased my Vitamix A3500 and Smart Scale after watching your videos! Thank you for the recommendation!

    1. Hi Darla – I’m happy you love my recipes and videos! I haven’t tried making this with my cashew milk, but I’ve made it with coconut milk with success. It’s actually a separate recipe when you use dairy-free milk and you need either a dairy-free starter or probiotic capsules and a thickener. Type “coconut yogurt” into the search bar and you’ll find my other recipe. :)

  32. Well, I’ve searched and searched, but see no link for “chai spiced yogurt” that you mentioned at the end of the homemade yogurt video….
    Could someone clarify where the link is or even where I find chai spiced yogurt starter?
    Thanks
    🙏😊