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How to Make Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Introducing my good friend and fellow real food proponent, Stephani Jenkins! Steph writes at The Cheapskate Cook about eating healthy on a budget, and I’m so pleased to have her on the team as a regular KS contributor. You are going to fall right in love with her (and her cute boys), let me tell you… 😉

I’ve written before about why I don’t make yogurt in my Instant Pot, but I know many people love Instant Pot yogurt! I was glad to have Steph write a tutorial for those of you who want to try making yogurt in an Instant Pot. Let me know what your preferred method of yogurt making is in the comments! -Katie 

Instant Pot yogurt bowl with berries, nut and seeds

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade yogurt was a problem for me.

I started making it as a 15-year-old who raised dairy goats on my family’s small homestead. Anyone who milks an animal twice daily understands how hard it is to use up ALL THE MILK ALL THE TIME before it goes bad.

Making our own yogurt was a simple answer.

At first, we did what everyone who made yogurt in the early 2000s did (all 12 of us). We bought a yogurt maker. It kind of worked, but the process was inefficient and frustrating for a large family. Also, it meant storing another appliance in an already tight kitchen.

Years later, when I had my first son, we were broke and living a thousand miles away from my family’s yogurt maker. If we wanted to eat healthy, we had to stretch every dollar. For us, making yogurt helped.

I started with the trusty Slow Cooker Method. When we discovered our son had dietary problems, we started fermenting the yogurt for 24 hours. This led to the Oven Light Method, using a Stove Top and a Soup Warmer, and eventually Katie’s Cooler Method.

Fast forward to now, and we still make homemade yogurt. Now we make it the easiest way I know (and I’ve tried most of them): we make yogurt in the Instant Pot.

Make Your Own Instant Pot Yogurt

Instant Pot Yogurt

We received requests for an Instant Pot Yogurt tutorial, so here it is – complete with step-by-step photos and a video to show the process.

Making your own yogurt is an extremely rewarding and satisfying real food skill. Learning how to ferment food by using a little acid and time applies to many real food cornerstones, like sourdough baking, lacto-fermented vegetables, homemade kefir, kombucha, and more.

You’re Just *7 Days* Away From Easier Meals with Your Instant Pot

Whether you have a few fav meals in your Instant Pot or still aren’t using it regularly yet, I can show you the secrets to SAVE time (and money) with my favorite appliance!

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This is the simplest way I know how to make homemade yogurt. With the Instant Pot, you can adjust the fermentation time to fit your schedule or diet needs. Most people like the flavor of a 4-8 hour ferment. Some people need or prefer longer.

Watch the video here, but be sure you scan the rest of this post for some very important tips and FAQs.

Yogurt Making Instant Pot

WARNING: Not every Instant Pot is equipped with a Yogurt Setting. If making yogurt is your goal, be sure you check the settings before you get one!

Here is a short list of current models that have a Yogurt Setting:

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Is Homemade Yogurt Cheaper?

YES! You’ll see in the recipe that homemade yogurt is essentially the same cost as the milk you use. You only need a little bit of yogurt to turn a large amount of milk into yogurt.

This is really good news if you are buying organic or raw milk because every cost savings helps.

Kid-Friendly Recipe

Enlist your kids to help with this recipe!

If they can already use an Instant Pot, they can certainly help make this yogurt. Just make sure you set a timer for the cooling step so you all remember to check the temperature!

Making homemade yogurt with your kids prompts meaningful conversations about real food, probiotics, and why we make our own yogurt instead of buying the brightly colored, mouth-puckeringly sweet kind at the store.

Is Making Yogurt in the Instant Pot Hard?

Like any new cooking skill, homemade yogurt takes a little practice before you feel confident. However, the skills involved in making yogurt in the Instant Pot are extremely basic. If you can set your Instant Pot and stir a spoon, you can make yogurt in your Instant Pot.

Jars of homemade yogurt next to instant pot

Easy Homemade Yogurt: Do I Need Special Equipment?

Besides an Instant Pot with a yogurt setting (see above), you don’t need any special equipment to make yogurt in the Instant Pot.

The only slightly unusual equipment you might like is a meat thermometer. Using a thermometer ensures accurate temperatures. However, you can do it without using a thermometer.

You Will Need:

Optional but helpful:

How to Make Thick Homemade Yogurt

This is probably the most challenging part about making your own yogurt. Homemade yogurt does not usually turn out as thick as store-bought. There are many ways to make it thicker, but each method either requires adding ingredients or making the process more complicated.

Personally, I settled on 2 methods for making thicker homemade yogurt. The first I use all the time, and the second I only use occasionally.

  1. Refrigerate the yogurt for 24 hours after fermentation. Do not transfer it to a jar, DO NOT DO ANYTHING except set it gently in the fridge, cover it, and leave it alone for a full 24 hours. This helps the yogurt set.
  2. Strain it! Use this process to strain the yogurt through a cheesecloth and give it a thicker consistency. We love making it into thick, creamy Yogurt Cheese then using it in Real Food Fruit Tart or Cinnamon Roll French Toast Casserole.
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How to Make Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

  • Author: Steph Jenkins
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 34 hours
  • Total Time: 34 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 cups 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Instant Pot

Description

A simple, fool-proof method for making homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot.


Ingredients

Scale
  • ½ gallon whole milk
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt


ship kroger


Instructions

  1. Pour the milk into the Instant Pot and close the lid.
  2. Set it to Yogurt and the Boil setting. Press Start (keep in mind that each Instant Pot model is different. Refer to your owners manual for the exact yogurt setting process).
  3. When the boiling process is done, use oven mitts and carefully remove the inner pot and place it on the stove. This will help the milk to cool faster. Set your timer for one hour.
  4. In one hour, check the temperature of the milk. You want it to get to about 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is still too hot, set a timer for 15-30 minutes and check it again. Continue checking the temperature periodically until the milk is 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Return the inner cooking pot to the Instant Pot. Use a ladle to scoop 2 cups of milk out of the Instant Pot and into a mixing bowl. Add the plain yogurt and whisk gently (you aren’t beating eggs – you simply want the yogurt to mix completely with the milk).
  6. Pour the milk and yogurt mixture back into the Instant Pot, then whisk everything together (also gently).
  7. Close the lid. Set the Instant Pot to Yogurt and the Low/Ferment setting. Select the amount of time you want your yogurt to ferment. Most people like the flavor of a 4-8 hour ferment. Some people need or prefer longer. Press start and let the yogurt ferment for the selected time.
  8. Remove the lid of the Instant Pot. Gently carry the inner pot to your fridge, then replace the lid or cover the pot with plastic wrap. Let it sit in the fridge for a full 24 hours.
  9. Remove the inner cooking pot from the fridge. Pour or scoop the thick, creamy yogurt into jars (this is where we like having a funnel).
  10. Enjoy your yogurt immediately or store in the fridge and enjoy as desired.

Notes

How to Check the Temperature Without a Meat Thermometer:
Since you are trying to get the milk to just above body temperature, feel a little bit on your wrist (like you would for a baby bottle). When the milk is about 100-110 F, it should feel just warm, not hot.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 127

Keywords: fermented, yogurt, dairy

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Healthy Yogurt Toppings

Instant Pot Yogurt: Step-By-Step Photos

Note: I have an Instant Pot Ultra, so my settings and display might look slightly different from yours. However, the basic process is the same. Refer to your manual for the exact instructions.

In order to make Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot, you will need 1/2 gallon of milk and 1/4 cup plain yogurt.

Bottle of milk and scoop of yogurt for Instant Pot Yogurt


1. Pour the milk into the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Set your Instant Pot to Yogurt, use the dial to select “High” temp (displayed as “boil”, and press Start.

Instant Pot making yogurt

2. Remove the inner pot and let the milk cool down to 100-110 F.

Thermometer in yogurt

3. Combine 2 cups of milk and the yogurt in a small mixing bowl. Whisk gently to combine. Then pour the milk and yogurt mixture into the Inner Pot and whisk everything gently.

Bowl of milk, scoop of yogurt and whisk for Instant Pot Yogurt

4. Place the inner pot back into the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Select Yogurt, then “Med” or “Low” temp, and use the dial to adjust fermentation time (4-24 hours).

Yogurt in the Instant Pot

5. When the yogurt is done fermenting, remove the inner pot and place it in the fridge, covered, for 24 hours.

Jar of homemade, Instant Pot yogurt

6. Pour the yogurt into jars and refrigerate.

Homemade yogurt being put into jars

Making yogurt in your Instant Pot is a very simple process. Like any new skill, it takes a little practice before you feel confident. However, as we said, the skills involved in making homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot are fairly basic.

If you can set your Instant Pot, use a thermometer (optional!), and stir a spoon, you can make yogurt in your Instant Pot.

Where to Buy an Instant Pot

This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!

If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.

If you’d like to shop directly at Instant Pot’s website instead of Amazon (or just compare prices), check them out here.

You can even get a carrying case to travel with it! See my review of the Instant Pot carrying case we have.

If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.

Enjoy this simple, fool-proof homemade yogurt method, and let us know when you try it! Remember to watch the video and leave a comment there if you have any questions!

Have you ever made yogurt in your Instant Pot?
Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

22 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot”

  1. Can I use 2 fairlife milk 1can of condensed milk and 1/4 cup of starter in my 8 qtr instant pot and still ferment my yogurt for the 8 1/2 hours. That seems strange to use the same fermentation time for twice the milk. I would like to make a bigger batch and have the job done. Thanks

    1. Carolyn @ Kitchen Stewardship

      You can use the same amount of time, but it can also ferment for up to 24 hours, so if it would make you feel more comfortable you can do it for 10 or 12. I would double the milk and starter though, not just the milk. I hope that helps!

  2. I have used Katie’s method for heating the milk and using my oven with the light on for many years (at least 12!). I recently started using my Instant Pot to heat the milk (so I don’t have to keep watch over the heating process so closely), but I still put the milk into jars in the oven to culture. This week, I tried Steph’s method and I absolutely love it! My yogurt always turns out very thick and I believe it’s because my starter is thick. Years ago, I purchased Nancy’s Greek yogurt at the grocery store and used that as my starter. I always take a 1/4 cup out of each batch and stick it in the freezer to use as a culture for my next batch. No need to purchase it at the store anymore! Thanks for sharing an easy and great method for making yogurt!

  3. Good afternoon! Is it possible to make yogurt with an alternative milk, maybe coconut? (I don’t think goat’s milk will be available easily enough for my family.) 🙂

    1. Hi Anne, I have not tried coconut milk yogurt in the IP yet. I would look up a coconut milk specific recipe to see if they have tips or methods that will ensure the best results for you!

  4. I use my IP, but more along the lines of Katie’s cooler method. So instead of putting my milk directly in the IP, I put it in jars and put the jars in the pot with a cloth lining the bottom and some water. Then there’s no extra dishes! 😀

    1. Hello, how much is “some” water? I’ve often read you should use at least one cup to achieve pressure. Thanks.

      1. Depends on your IP. Mine is the 8qt size, so I need at least 2 cups. I’m not particular about the measurement though. And you’re not going for pressure here but a constant temperature.

  5. This is the way I used to make yogurt in my Instant Pot, and I would strain it after it cooled to the consistency of Greek Yogurt. I finally tried the cold start method after being very skeptical, and now that is the only way I do it. The downside is that you must use ultrapasteurized milk for it to work. I found that I just didn’t take the time to do it often using the conventional method, but make it often using the cold start. That method is really simple – add milk and yogurt starter to Instant Pot, whisk well and set to the culture setting for at least 8 hours (I usually do mine overnight and like to culture for more like 14-16 hours). It comes out really thick, there is no need to strain, and you have no waste in the strained out whey. I like mine lightly sweetened so I add one can of condensed sweetened milk along with the milk and starter. I do use whole milk and it may not be quite as thick with low fat milk.

    1. Steph Jenkins

      Mary P,
      That’s awesome! I like the cold start method too. We used to do that with our fresh goat milk.

    1. Steph Jenkins

      Hi Cindy!

      It doesn’t look like the Instant Pot Lux has a built-in yogurt setting. However, check your owner’s manual to be sure. If it doesn’t, there are a lot of recipes online about making yogurt in the Lux IP without a yogurt setting. Hope that helps!

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