With five boys in the house, we can go through a lot of yogurt. Unfortunately, most yogurts you find in the grocery store are either filled with sugar and other icky additives or really expensive. Spending $6 for a tub of yogurt that my kids will go through in one sitting is NOT my idea of a good time. So when I bought my Instant Pot a few years ago, I made sure to get one with a yogurt function. Can you make yogurt without an Instant Pot? Absolutely. But if I’m honest, it intimidated me for years, so I never tried it. Using the Instant Pot has made it incredibly simple, so if you’re looking for an easy button when it comes to homemade yogurt, go with this Instant Pot version!
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If you haven’t tried homemade yogurt, you are seriously MISSING OUT. There are so many reasons to love homemade yogurt vs store-bought! The most obvious, of course, is taste. There’s really no comparison – homemade is the way to go. Next, let’s talk ingredients. When you buy yogurt in the store, you aren’t in control over what you’re eating. There are so many unnecessary additives, many of which you can’t even pronounce, and flavored yogurts have an insane amount of sugar. When you make food from scratch, there’s no wondering what’s in it and you can feel confident in what you and your family are eating. We chose to make our yogurt with raw milk, since that’s what we drink in our house. But I’ve made this recipe with store-bought milk as well, and they both work great. And of course, the price is a game changer. I can make a gallon of yogurt for the price of one gallon of milk. As a mom of many, that is a MAJOR win!
I’m fairly obsessed with my Instant Pot – we use it several times a week for all kinds of meals. It takes all the guess work out of yogurt-making, which I really love. Plan to spend about an hour in the kitchen when you’re getting the yogurt started, but then you’ll walk away and let it do its job. Take note: when you are making yogurt, it is not under pressure. This means you can remove the lid at any time. I purchased a glass Instant Pot lid to use while making yogurt so that I can keep it covered in the refrigerator also.
- one gallon milk (whole milk will work – and taste – best, but you can choose whichever fat content you prefer)
- 1/2 cup yogurt starter (store-bought yogurt made with ONLY milk and live active cultures)
**Note: If you prefer a thicker yogurt, try using less starter. You could use as little as 2 Tablespoons of starter.
- Press the yogurt function button. Press adjust until it reads “boil.” Pour 1 gallon of milk into the inner pot. Boil yogurt until it reaches at least 180 degrees Fahrenheit (up to 185 degrees), checking the temperature with a digital thermometer. I whisk the milk throughout the boiling process, as I find this helps it heat up faster. Occasionally my milk doesn’t reach 180 degrees before the timer beeps. If this happens, I just re-start the boil process and it will usually reach the right temperature fairly quickly.
- When your milk has reached 180 degrees, remove the inner pot and place it in a cold water bath. I add ice to the water to cool it down quickly. Keep the pot in the water until the temperature has reached 110-120 degrees, whisking the milk occasionally to help it cool faster.
- When your milk has cooled, remove the pot from the water. Add your yogurt starter, stirring it fully into the milk.
- Once the starter has been thoroughly mixed into the milk, put the inner pot back into the Instant Pot. Cover it with a lid and press the yogurt function button again. Press adjust until it reads 8:00 (8 hours). I find 8 hours to be perfect for the taste we prefer. If you like a slightly more tart yogurt, try the 10 hour setting instead. The timer will begin and all you have to do now is walk away! It will beep at the end of the 8 (or 10) hours.
- When the timer beeps, remove the inner pot and put it in the refrigerator – COVERED – for at least 6-8 hours. I usually do this overnight, so it’s ready and waiting for us in the morning (this also helps make sure none of my kiddos accidentally dip into it before it’s ready ;) Don’t disturb the yogurt at all while it’s in the refrigerator.
When your yogurt is ready, stir it up, and add any flavorings you want. We prefer to stick with real maple syrup, raw honey, or pure vanilla extract. We also like to eat it with granola, fruit, chia seeds, hemp hearts, raw cacao powder… well, basically we add anything yummy we have in the house!
Since we try to avoid added sugars, we don’t add any sugar to our homemade yogurt. If you or your kids are used to very sweet yogurt and you need to transition to something with less sugar, start with maple syrup, vanilla, and lots of fruit. Make up some small jars adding frozen fruit and maple syrup and leaving it in the fridge overnight. This will help the flavors really mix together!
You can store your yogurt in the large inner pot with the glass lid, if you’d like. We actually purchased a second inner pot so that we can still use the Instant Pot while the yogurt is in the refrigerator, and because we use our Instant Pot so often that it’s nice to have an extra. But the pot takes up a lot of space in the fridge!
Lately I’ve been storing my yogurt in these large wide mouth mason jars, because the two jars fit a gallon of yogurt perfectly. You can also fill smaller jelly jars and flavor them individually. This is perfect for on the go, like sending them with your kids to school, quick breakfasts, or taking them to work. The flavor possibilities are really endless, so you can really go nuts!
Happy eating, friends! Enjoy. :)