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Believe it or not, making your own yogurt at home is so easy and requires no special equipment. There are lots of ways to make homemade yogurt, but the basic concept is the same. Heat whole milk to the desired temperature, mix in cultures, usually in the form of plain yogurt containing active live cultures like lactobacillus bulgaricus or streptococcus thermophilus.
Keep at a steady temperature for a period of 7-12 hours so the bacteria has a chance to “eat” the sugar found in the milk, called lactose.
As a result the milk will thicken and produce lactic acid. The lactic acid is what preserves the yogurt and gives it the tangy taste. That’s it. You now have yogurt! A creamy tangy yogurt packed with millions of happy, active good bacteria, or probiotics, that help keep the gut happy and healthy.
Good health starts from the inside out!
You can make yogurt out of regular store-bought pasteurized milk, organic milk, raw milk or even goat’s or sheep’s milk. Pasteurized milk, the kind you find at the grocery store, is basically milk that has been heated up to 180 F in order to slow the growth of bacteria in milk, which lengthens its shelf life. While this does make it safer by lowering the risk of harmful bacteria, there is growing research that shows that pasteurization changes the chemistry of milk and makes it less digestible.
I prefer making yogurt out of RAW, Unpasteurized milk– basically fresh milk, straight from the cow, that hasn’t been treated or heated. If you are curious about the benefits and risks of raw milk, here is a couple of websites that will explain both. Please do a little research and make an educated decision for yourself and family.
The first step is to heat 2 quarts of milk to the desired temperature on the stovetop. Here I am using local fresh raw milk, so I will only heat 110 F to keep the good bacteria that is already in the milk alive.
Otherwise, when using pasteurized milk, you would normally heat to 180F. If you are leery, or this is your first time making yogurt, just heat it to 180F. You will feel more confident about the whole process.
Cool the milk to 110F.
Add 3-4 Tablespoons yogurt with live cultures. When you add yogurt, make sure to cool the milk down to 110 F otherwise you will kill the cultures.
You can use any grocery store plain yogurt, or some of your own homemade yogurt. Don’t be tempted to add more than 3-4 tablespoons yogurt, or your yogurt may end up overly sour and runny.
Place in a barely warm oven for 8 hours. You want to keep the temperature steady between 100-110F. I preheat oven on the lowest setting for 5 minutes and then turn it off, but leave the light on. I wrap the dutch oven in a towel. In my gas oven, this works, and light and pilot keeps it warm enough. But it may not be warm enough in all ovens. There are many other ways to keep yogurt at a steady temperature like using a heating pad, Instant Pot or dehydrator.
After 8 hours, strain with a few layers of cheesecloth.
The yogurt will last up to two weeks in the fridge!
How to Make Homemade Yogurt
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 8 hours 10 mins
- Yield: 3 cups 1x
- Category: how to recipes, dairy,
- Method: stovetop
- Cuisine: American
How to make homemade Yogurt from scratch- an easy step by step guide with no special equipment needed!
- 1/2 gallon raw organic milk
- 3–4 tablespoons unsweetened yogurt from the grocery store with active live cultures ( or yogurt from a previous batch)
- Turn oven on lowest setting for 10 minutes. Turn off, but leave light on.
- Heat milk gently in a pot on the stove. If you want all the benefits of raw milk yogurt, remember to heat the milk only to 110 degrees and no higher. This ensures that milk’s own bacteria will stay alive. Or if unsure, heat to 180F . (please see notes)
- Add 3-4 tablespoons of yogurt. ( The general rule is 2 tablespoons yogurt per quart of milk) Resist the temptation to add more, or you will end up with yogurt that is watery and overly sour. Cover, wrap in a towel and place in the oven with the light on, or the oven on the lowest setting for short periods of time. The light will act as an incubator.
- You could also place on a heating pad on lowest setting. The idea is to keep yogurt at a steady but low warmth (100F-110F) for a period of 8 hours. If it gets too warm, it will curdle.
- After 8 hours, strain with a cheesecloth. Store in airtight container in the fridge. Once cooled it is ready to eat.
- If you like sweetened yogurt mix in honey, vanilla, maple, or agave.
- I prefer to sweeten yogurt in smaller batches, keeping my main batch, plain.
NOTES: Making yogurt from unpasteurized raw fresh milk is full of nutritious enzymes, fat soluble vitamins and linoleic acid. If you want all the benefits of raw milk yogurt, heat the milk only to 110 degrees- which will keep these enzymes alive.
IF using pasteurized milk, heat to 180F. OR If you are nervous about the process, or this is your first time making yogurt, just heat it to 180F. You will feel more confident about the whole process and when you get more comfortable you can try this with the lower heat.
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Calories: 143
Keywords: yogurt recipe, how to make yogurt, homemade yogurt, easy yogurt recipe, raw yogurt
Do I follow the recipe when using raw goat milk…Or do I need to do something different in the recipe for goat milk?
Yes, this will work with goat’s milk. 😉
How long do you strain yours fot?
It’s more about how thick you want the yogurt to be. Strain until it is thick enough – to your liking. 😉
Ahhh I like it, thank you!
I’m curious if it is okay to use a yogurt starter instead of 3-4tbs of yogurt?
Would I then need to follow the instructions on the starter box or can I still use your method? I use raw cow milk and would like to keep then bacteria too!
Hi Oliva, you can use a yogurt starter. I would probably follow the directions on the box? Or compare the two and see if it makes sense to alter for raw milk?
I can buy raw milk from a local farm, but because I am immunocompromised, I would have to heat the milk. Can I still make yogurt even if I heat the raw milk at a higher temperature?
Can I take this (finished) yogurt and make other products (e.g. cream cheese)?
Do you mean to strain it, like Labneh? Sure, I don’t see why not!
What to do with the strained liquid? Is it whey?
Yes Susan -it is whey! You can use it to make Beet Kvass!
My pigs love the whey and it fattens them up!
I’m curious to know if you’ve ever made raw milk yogurt in the Instant Pot using the cold start method. I believe the milk & yogurt cultures heats to about 114 degrees and holds at that temperature for 8 hours. The yogurt is then refrigerated overnight and does not require straining as long as you use Fairlife milk. I would love to use raw milk with this method.
I was just thinking about trying it in the instant pot! Haven’t yet!
Hello! I have leftover milk to turn into yogurt. Should I leave it on the counter or put it in the fridge and reheat when I have enough room in my yogurt maker? Thanks!
Put it in the fridge and use when you have room.
Hi there, thanks for the recipe. I heated my milk to 102F and added 2T yogurt, then incubated in the pot inside the preheated oven overnight. I then strained for about 6 hours. It turned out runny (closer to honey consistency than milk) and not tart at all. Not sure where I went wrong?
oh shoot. Did you use raw milk?
Thanks for your speedy response! I used organic bio-dynamic full cream milk, pasteurized. I don’t have access to raw milk..
Ok, I may have to make this one again,it had been a long long time! How did you keep the milk warm? Also, how much yogurt did you add? I do know that if you add too much, it can get runny.
I followed your recipe to the letter, I thought! Heated my 1L of milk to 102F and added 2T yogurt, then incubated in the pot that I heated it in – with the lid and wrapped in towels, inside the preheated oven overnight. Maybe the oven was too hot? Or fid I not hear the milk long enough?
Maybe that was it? too hot?
Do you know what the difference might be between letting it culture for 8 hours versus 24 hours?
You can experiment with this. It will get sourer as it sits. If you do it longer like 24 hours, I almost would lower temp a bit?
I ended up with only 2 cups of yogurt and it seems a bit rubbery, almost like cheese, what would you say is the trouble shoot for that?
Hummmm, is it possible it got too warm?
How long does raw milk yogurt last? (Refrigerated Shelf life)
Up to 2 weeks.
Sounds good I will try it.
I ruined my last gallon of Raw milk yogurt. I forgot to turn off before I went to bed.
it had sort of like the cream 7& oil on top and rest was like water.
Do you have any idea if it could be somehow rescued?? If so Please send me the way to
do it. Thanks.firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi Bonnie, I’m not sure how to salvage, sorry.
i would like a recipe for goats milk yogurt but i want to use a yogurt machine.
Sorry I don’t have a yogurt machine, but you could use Goat Milk here.
I’ve made yogurt from pasteurised milk for many years and I have never strained it. Usually, I heat it in large amounts and then portion into smaller pint- or quart-sized jars into which I add the yogurt. Why do you need to strain the yogurt? And is there a benefit to adding the yogurt to the large batch and then moving into smaller containers after it’s “become yogurt”? I’m wondering if these differences are because it’s with raw milk or just preference? Thank you! Planning to try with raw milk tomorrow.
Just personal preference. I like thicker yogurt so I strain. 🙂 Not imperative.
I would love a nut yogurt recipe. going to make this one today in the dehydrator
What do you think about coconut yogurt?
I would like to know about nut yogurt. ??? never heard of it
Is it still okay to consume the yogurt even if it turns out a bit sour and runny due to over adding the cultures? I’m assuming I’ll be fine🤣
Try a little and see how your tummy feels. In smaller quantities, probably ok? Unless you are very used to those bacteria?
I am lactose intolerantI . How can I make yogurt with an Instant Pot?
I am working on this, over the weekend. Do you want to make a nut yogurt?
Sorry to chime in. A coconut milk yogurt would be amazing!
Yes please! A nondairy yogurt recipe would be amazing! Thank you 😊
How do you adapt this recipe to an insta pot?
Emily! Sorry for the delay. I know it can be done! I just haven’t personally tried this. Here is a recipe for an instant pot version over at simply recipes…it has great reviews: https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/instant_pot_yogurt/
Turned out perfectly. So happy to finally have a good raw milk yoghurt recipe. Thank you for posting. Added some cream that was about to go off as well and it came out deliciously.
Great to hear!
I want to thank Margaret hat posted the reply . I also glad someone asks whey the Draining.. I Forgot Recipe and have been looking all morning to find my old recipe. This one answered my question. Thank you for this.
This turned out so good. Thanks for the detailed instructions!