How to Make Homemade 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!
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.
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 (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!
Watch This Quick Video of My Homemade Yogurt Recipe
It’s really easy to make this yogurt recipe at home, but it always helps to watch a quick video. I’ll show you how I make it step-by-step. Give it a watch!
6 Basic Steps to Making Homemade Yogurt
To summarize the video above, there’s 6 basic steps to making yogurt at home:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir the yogurt starter with the rest of the milk. This spreads the good bacteria throughout all the milk.
- 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.
- 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.
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
- Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
- Red Fruit Salad with Honeyed Yogurt
- Peach Breakfast Smoothie
- Smoked Salmon Frittata
- Broccoli Salad (this might surprise you!)
How to Make Homemade Yogurt
- 42 ounces organic milk, (whole, 2% or skim milk)
- 1 packet yogurt starter
- 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.
I am French and discovered your site recently. I just love it and tried lots of your recipes.
Today reading about yogourt, I had been doing perfect ones with plain cow milk but tried last week with goat milk . They came out very liquid . Yesterday going to a farmers market I bought ewe milk and the lady gave me a recipe which seems a bit difficult to follow. I am trying today and hope they get thicker than the goat ones. Will tell you the result.
Did you ever tried those two milks and if so do you have tips?
Hi Martine – unfortunately, I haven’t tried those milks. But I’d be interested to hear how it turns out!
I was very successful with my ewe milk yogurts😀
The milk and the first yogurt came directly from the farm so I don’t know if it’s different with supermarket milk.
Here is the recipe from the lady.
Heat the whole ewe milk to 90° In a saucepan in water bath . That avoids burning the saucepan but it takes a bit longer.
Then wait until it gets down to 42°.
Add the yogurt and let mature for 30 minutes at 42°.
I found it easier to put it in the oven but since it starts at 50° I turned it a bit to the left
After 30 minutes I checked the temperature with my thermometer and it was under 40°
Then put the pots in your yogurt maker for 6 hours.
Anyway the yogurts were perfect and they taste so good ! So different from the cow milk ones.
It’s a bit less easy than the cow milk process but worth it.
Maybe I will try with goat milk again but I will ask which ingredient you must add to avoid the liquidity. The farm lady raises goats as well !
Hope you have a farmers market not too far from where you live and be able to try this recipe.😉
Thanks for sharing Martine! I do have one somewhat close by and will definitely check it out :)
Where do you buy the packet of yogurt starter?
Hi Lisa – you can buy it online or at your local supermarket.
Great video. Thank you
Wow this is helpful, thanks so much. I will share with my friends, and some single mothers out there.
Hi Lisa, I’m lactose intolerant and have great difficulty to buy plain yogurt here in England. Do you have any experiences at all with lactosefree milk? Will making my own yogurt work the same way?
Hi Erika – unfortunately, I’ve never tried making yogurt from lactose free milk, so I’m not sure how it would turn out.
If you culture your yogurt for 24 hours it removes most or all of the lactose
Hi Lisa, hope you’re doing well. I’m just wondering, can i use probiotics capsules which i bought from the chemist as my yogurt starter?
Hi Kristy – you can, if it has the right bacteria. It needs to include at least one of these for a dairy-based yogurt: Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streptococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis or Lactobacillus acidophilus.
And if the milk fermented naturally can i still add the flavors like strawberry or banana yoghourt
Hi Verenice – yes, you can add any flavors you’d like after it’s fermented. Enjoy!
Good morning. I will like to venture into a business of yoghurt making. Any school where i can practically learn this . Tha k you.
Please tell us how to strain yogurt to the thickness of Greek yogurt. Can I put it n the fridge while straining it? Thank you…..🙂🙂
Hi Sandy – you can use cheesecloth or a nut milk bag to strain the whey from the yogurt and make it thicker, like Greek yogurt. And yes, you can place it in the fridge while straining.
Can a yorghut starter be this normal vanilla yorghut we buy in the supermarket and I didn’t boil the milk . Will it work? Am scared .
Can I use powdered milk?
No, you need liquid milk for this recipe.
I was going to use “non pastured yogart” as that was what the yogart maker I have recommended instead of “yogart starter”.
My question is.. How much of the yogart do I use. I have 5 a 6 oz. Cups with my yogart maker.
I can break down the measurement from 42oz to 30 oz. But need to know the amount of yogart for 42 is or 30 oz.
Maybe I can use the oven for the 12oz that is left.
Hi Sandi – I’d recommend referencing the instructions that came with your specific yogurt maker.
Can I use a probiotic instead of the yogurt starter? thanks
Yes, that should work as well.
Will this make Greek yogurt or will I need to strain for Greek? Thanks
Hi Janet – you’ll need to strain it for Greek style yogurt.
Is the homemade yogurt supposed to be tart? I made my first batch and was surprised how tart it was! Just wondering if I did something wrong…
All yogurt is tart, it’s just that most people are used to supermarket yogurt that’s loaded with sugar. ;) You didn’t do anything wrong, but you can also sweeten it up a bit as well. I love a little drizzle of honey or maple syrup.
After eating it the second day, I realized I like it just fine this way. No need to add any flavors! Thanks for your helpful comments. I am truly thankful for your input.
Easy to find on the web, enjoyable to listen to , And thankful for your willingness to put it out there!
Hi Sarah – Thanks so much! :)
Thank you for your recipe. It turned out perfect. I did exactly what you did and I can’t believe I can make yogurt! It is so easy! Thank you again!
Hi Kelly – Glad this method worked out for you! Now you can always make your own yogurt instead of buying it :)
Can I use almond milk?
Hi Helen – you can follow the instructions on my coconut milk yogurt recipe, and use almond milk in that one.
Can you use nuts milks with this recipe?
Hi Liz – not with this recipe, but check out my coconut milk yogurt recipe. You could swap a nut milk in that version. :)
The best yoghurt recipe ive read so far….
I’d love to make a large batch for brunch next Saturday,i’d like to know how to measure each ingredients for a large batch.
e.g -amount of milk and starter to use to make 100 bottles(500ml each).
Hi Lizzy – for each additional batch you make, just double the ingredients :)
This article thing really helps me doing my public speaking and its useful, easy to understand for child. The prove is I am currently nine years old and I got an achievement about the public speaking. -THANKYOU-
Note: i think my macbook is error right now i cannot rate, only comment though.
But I will give it a five star if its not error.
Hi Aline – Thanks so much for following along to my blog! I’m so proud and happy that my posts and videos are helping you with your public speaking :)
I just discovered you and have been amassing a “to try list” from your site for the last few days. I haven’t tried anything yet. But I can say that after three months of messing with the millions of ways to make homemade yogurt, I arrived at the identical method, down to the brand of yogurt starter. So, I think I’m probably gonna love your recipes.
Hi Amy – Haha I’m so happy to hear that! Can’t wait for you to try my recipes :)
Mine is heavily separated? Like a half inch of liquid on top of the yogurt. Did I do something wrong?
Hi Kathryn – How did you make the yogurt? With a machine or another way? And did you alter any of the ingredients?
Hi! I bookmarked this article so I could come back to try things out. Now I’m ready and the post is empty! I’ve tried a few browsers, fresh link, etc–all to no avail. Is there a plan to re-post it? Some great info in there! Thank you so much!
Hi Tito – the post is still there, so it sounds like an issue on your end. :)
Can I ask why you suggest pouring milk into a small container, then adding yogurt (or starter), mixing, then putting back in? Why not just skip that step: add yogurt to the whole thing, and mix?
It’s just to make sure it’s fully dissolved. :)
Can you brend fresh yogurt fruit into the milk after it has been heating?
Also can you add nut into the milk together with the starter
I would not recommend adding any fruit or nuts until after the yogurt is completely set.
Please can you scoop the milk with starter to make it thick with a scooping machine. if yes
Then can you scoop it again when it is back from the incubator
Hi Amoako – I’m not sure I understand the question.
With the electricity cost of incubation, is it still cheaper verses buying organic yoghurt?
I think it depends on where you live and by your spelling of yogurt, I’m guessing you do not live in the U.S. Yogurt is cheaper than in the U.S. in a lot of countries, but then milk is usually cheaper as well in those same countries. Yogurt makers use very little energy as they maintain a low temperature of around 115F. You will have to factor in the initial cost of the yogurt maker itself if you do not have one. Some people make it in the oven or with an electric blanket, but those methods are a bit iffy when it comes to maintaining the right temperature. For me, making yogurt at home isn’t just a little bit cheaper, it’s a LOT cheaper. But price isn’t the only reason to make yogurt at home. You get to control the amount of sugar and leave out all the gums and binders. But again, I will say, that European countries have far superior yogurt than the U.S. I actually started making my own yogurt because after spending time in Europe, I couldn’t stand American yogurt anymore.
Hi, Would I be able to use honey instead of maple syrup? I like mine a little sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet.
Hi Suzanne – Yes, you can definitely use honey instead of maple syrup to sweeten the yogurt. :)
Have you ever tried making yogurt with almond milk? Thinking of making it more keto friendly.
Hi Diana – yes, make sure to check out my post linked above for coconut milk yogurt. You can follow that same process for almond milk yogurt. :)
Hi, I’m a kid doing a science fair project about yogurt. I used your site as a resource on how to make yogurt. But we didn’t use an incubator, but will that affect the result? we just left it where it was warm instead of the incubating part. So can I say it is okay to make this without an incubator?
Hi Taylor – If you kept it in a warm environment (like the oven with the light on) that is still incubating the yogurt. You’re just not using an electric incubator like a yogurt machine. So you can say that it’s possible to make yogurt without an electric incubator or machine. :)
My yogurt came out nice and thick the first day, The second day it turned back to liquid,
That’s strange. Did you keep it refrigerated? And did you change any of the recipe ingredients?
Love it Got the maker and made a batch. Im trying to recreate the bery smooth creamy yogurt I had in Scotland with stewed fruits it was absolutely delicious and not too tangy but very creamy. Any ideas on how to achieve this flavor.
Awesome! Congrats on your yogurt maker. Homemade yogurt is the best. :) And unfortunately I don’t know how to achieve that flavor, but I’m sure you could find something similar online. :)
Great post! I love so much how you talked about WHY each step is done. I’ve read other recipes for yogurt, and it can seem confusing. (First boil the milk, then cool it again.. Whaaa??)
Thanks for posting!
I’m happy you found the information in the post helpful Britney! I know many recipes can be confusing when it’s your first time making them. Hopefully you had wonderful homemade yogurt success! x
What is yoghurt starter ???i have not made it before but I want to give it a trial
Hi Vivian – a yogurt starter contains the bacteria needed to make yogurt. I link to the yogurt starter I use for this recipe in the post above. :)
Can I ask how long you can make homemade yogurt by using your previous batch of homemade yogurt as the starter? I can’t seem to find much information online. I’ve been doing it for about a month and it still tastes good. Will you get sick if you don’t start again with a yogurt starter or store bought yogurt?
As long as it continues to firm up, that usually means the bacteria is still good. If it no longer sets, I’d start again with a new starter.
Thanks for the recipr. I received anbc Oster greek yogurt naker for Christmas. I just made a batch but the instructions said 9 cups of milk and One starter pack. It did not set. I am guessing not enough starter? I read other recipes and instructions on the starter packagr. Says 1 liter to .5 gram starter OR 1 cup plain yogurt. I have a 1 liter batch going again so I will see tonight if this workds. Also you didn’t boil the milk then do cooldown? This recipe said bring to boil then cooldown.. Hope this works. Thanks!
This was great basic instructions ! And this made it sooo much easier than other makers did . Can a slow cooker be used to make this yogurt ? Thank you for building up confidence for a first time yogurt maker
I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! I’m sure a slow cooker can be used, but unfortunately I haven’t tried that method yet.
I forgot to turn on my yogurt maker When I came back 6 hours later I was horrified with myself but though what the heck turn it on and try It was the creamiest smoothest least sour yogurt that I have ever made and I’ve been making yogurt for over 30 years
Oh yay! Gotta love when a mistake turns into a winner like that. Congrats!
Hi. Can I use a probiotic and the yogurt starter? Or do they have the same thing in it? How long will it last in the refrigerator after making? Thanks for the recipe. Will try.
If I want to save some yogurt from what I just made for the next batch how to I keep it do I still keep in the refrigerator with the other or keep it at room temperature
Yes, keep it in the fridge.
Is there any way to make the yogurt from Cashew Milk? I try to do dairy free most of the time. Do you think this would work, have you ever played with that?
Yes! Read this recipe for coconut milk yogurt. It would be similar to this one as a dairy-free yogurt. :) https://downshiftology.com/recipes/coconut-yogurt-with-blood-oranges-and-cacao-nibs/
Thank you for this recipe! Do you happen to know how to make skyr? I eat it every day, and I like that it’s high in protein, so I would love to learn how to make it!
Hi Anya – my understanding is skyr is thicker and strained, similar to greek yogurt. Unfortunately, I’ve never made it, but if you strained your homemade yogurt you’d definitely end up with a thicker version. :)
I have a question about the yogurt starter. I don’t think I can find this where I live so I was wondering if I got a commercially available organic plain yogurt if I could use that as a starter? I’ve never made yogurt and feeling tentative due to the starter and not growing the wrong bacteria!!
Thanks for any help you can lend!
Hi Ana – you could absolutely use commercial yogurt as a starter. Just look for a plain, organic one with with no added sugar (or very little sugar). And the more strains of bacteria the better! It should work out perfect. :)
Have you used the Instant Pot to make yogurt?
I haven’t yet. But it’s on my to-do list! :)
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I made homemade yogurt the other night and it worked great! I actually used a half gallon of ultra-pasteurized organic milk (before reading that it might not work) and a small cup of Dannon starter. The ultra-pasteurized milk worked fine! Instead of putting my jars in a cooler, I put the oven on 170 (the lowest setting available on mine), then turned the oven off, turned the oven light on, and put the jars inside. In the morning: yogurt! It was really delicious…much sweeter and milder than storebought plain yogurt, which I don’t like at all. I’m eager to try flavoring it differently, too.
Wonderful – so happy to hear it turned out! Homemade is the best! And yes, try switching it up with flavorings. I’m definitely taking advantage of all the in-season strawberries right now! ;) x
I have always wanted to try making this at home! I just love this tutorial. Now, I need hubby to get me the machine, haha – Jessica
Thanks so much! And just remind your husband that he’ll benefit from it as well! ;) x
I’ve never made my own yogurt and now I want to try.
You should definitely try it. So much healthier when you can control the ingredients. :)
Love how easy it is to make homemade yogurt! I’ll have to check out the Euro Cuisine yogurt maker! Your yogurt looks so creamy and delicious! Perfect for breakfast or as an afternoon snack! Great tips you shared too!
Yes, the Euro Cuisine makes it super easy. And after you do it once, you’ll be a pro! :) x
This a great tutorial! Thanks for sharing!
Glad you liked it!
Back in India where I grew up, our mothers wouldn’t dream of buying yogurt from the store – it was always made at home with a starter that sometimes were handed down for generations! But since moving to the US, I haven’t had homemade yogurt, for want of a proper starter.I’ll have to try Yogourmet soon! Thank you!
How amazing that the starter was passed down for generations. I can only imagine all the unique and beneficial bacteria in it! Definitely give this recipe a try and there’s quite a few different starters to choose from – just depends on the bacteria you’re looking for. Enjoy!
Thank you for this thorough written and visual recipe tutorial, as always! Love nourishing, full-fat yogurt.
Thanks Liz! It’s so creamy and good. And after filming this video, I now have a double batch to enjoy for the next two weeks. Ha! ;) x
I’m putting in my request for seasonal yogurt parfait recipes! :) x