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Why I DON’T Make Yogurt in my Instant Pot

Homemade yogurt in a bowl with blueberries

One of the major differences in the various models of the Instant Pot is that pesky yogurt feature. Do you really need that button?

Some people love making yogurt in their Instant Pot, but I will never be one of them. Here’s why.

1. Instant Pot Yogurt Versus Dinner Management

Honestly, I want to be able to incubate my homemade yogurt for 12 to 24 hours to get as much of the lactose sugars out as possible. I have a lot to think about already when it comes to feeding hungry mouths three times a day every day. (Remember, that’s one reason why I’m teaching my kids to cook so that we can all share responsibility!)

I just don’t feel like I have the bandwidth to consider whether my Instant Pot will be tied up making yogurt when I really want to use it for a quick healthy breakfast like Instant Pot steel cut oats or Instant Pot hard boiled eggs. I’d much rather tie up my picnic cooler, which does not get used nearly as often as my beloved electric pressure cooker.

Instant Pot and homemade yogurt in a bowl with fruit. 2. I Have a Great Method to Make Easy Homemade Yogurt Already.

I’ve been singing the praises of this homemade yogurt making method for almost a decade now. It’s so easy, I could almost do it in my sleep, and I have done it in labor before!

My method makes no dishes other than the jars I store my yogurt in, takes about 15 minutes total in three 5-minute chunks, and doesn’t involve moving yogurt around which always seems to make a mess on my counter if I ever have to do it. I am simply not looking to add more dishes or processes to my life.

Call me set in my ways, and I will give you a high five. I am totally set on my jar-in-pot and pot-in-cooler method of making homemade yogurt. In fact, I’m about to assert some wicked peer pressure on you to do it too! Come on… Give it a try…

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.

3. Yogurt That Smells Like Ham

I know you might be saying, “Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.” And I am being a bit hard-headed about not giving my poor Instant Pot a chance with yogurt.

To my credit, I did give another appliance an opportunity to make yogurt once. I had a Vitaclay multi-cooker appliance that could be a slow cooker or rice cooker or yogurt maker. How cool, I thought!

That particular appliance managed the first two tasks well enough, but the one time I tried making homemade yogurt, not only was it runny, but it tasted like…ham. Just my luck that the last recipe I made in the unit was ham and beans! (That happens to be a family favorite staple, found in The Healthy Lunch Box, just not great in yogurt…)

I know the Instant Pot‘s stainless steel insert won’t absorb odors like the clay insert in question, but the sealing ring does. I do have an extra sealing ring for sweet recipes and keep it separate from my main savory ring, but I always forget to swap it out.

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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My Final Decision

I’m just a fan of making easy homemade yogurt in other ways! Not in the Instant Pot.

I’m open to seeing other points of view though, so if you are a raving Instant Pot homemade yogurt fan, feel free to gush in the comments and we can try to convince one another of the errors of our ways.

As for me, I have some jars to put in a pot and a cooler to bring in from the garage. It’s homemade yogurt day!

Have you tried the Instant Pot yogurt function? Have you had consistent, good results?
=Traditional Cooking School Instant Pot Sourdough Cornbread Pressure Cooker Recipe

My dear friend Wardee at Traditional Cooking School can do just about anything with her Instant Pot – cakes, bread, main dishes, veggies, even “stacking” multiple kinds of food at once!

She’s offering a free sourdough cornbread Instant Pot recipe!

This cornbread is delicious, nutritious, super easy to make, and it only needs 12 minutes of cook time.

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

About The Author

14 thoughts on “Why I DON’T Make Yogurt in my Instant Pot”

  1. I had never made homemade yogurt prior to getting my IP. It was SO easy and good that I’d have no motivation to try another method. I have found that as long as I promptly wash the sealing ring in hot soapy water, I avoid any carry-over smells/flavors. However, I would consider having to rings, as you mentioned, if that became an issue – rather than stop using the IP for yogurt! Also, the last thing I need in my small kitchen is a cooler sitting around. 🙂 Thanks for your thoughts.

  2. I also don’t make yogurt in my Instapot. I personally do not like the final product. I use a yogo therm. Yes it is another “gadget” sort of. It is not a plug-in just a well insulated large container. I use it for more than yogurt though. I make most of our soft cheeses and our cultured buttermilk. Having this large insulated container that I can put anywhere in the house is great for me. I have been making yogurt for forty years now and this is the best way I have found so far. I made it in the Instapot twice. I used whole milk and added dry milk to my mixture. Each time my yogurt was so watery that I HAD to hang it to make Greek yogurt. That route is definitely not for me.

  3. This method is way more complicated and uses more dishes than the IP method I use. I just pour my milk directly into my IP liner. No jars. I use a gallon at a time. The most complicated part of using the IP method is checking the temp. Easy peasy. And I have never had any smells transfer to my food from my sealing ring. But, I do wash my sealing rings and lid in the dishwasher and I always store my lid upside down on top of the IP.

    1. Hi Kat – the only dishes I wash are the jars that the yogurt is stored in. You must transfer the yogurt from your IP liner to something for the fridge, right? I have no pot to wash, no liner. IP may be easier for you, but it’s definitely not fewer dishes because you have to wash the liner and lid and ring. 🙂 Katie

  4. I’ve made yogurt for years. But the Instant Pot makes the best yogurt very consistently. The fact that you need to bring in a cooler is a good reason to use your Instant Pot, but yes, only when you won’t be using it for something else. That is something that I have to work around. I could use my dehydrator or yogurt maker to make yogurt but I know it won’t be quite as perfect.

  5. Hey Katie! I’m a huge supporter and recommender of your information. I wanted to share that I LOVE to use my Instant Pot for heating my milk. Thanks to you, I have made yogurt for the last 10 years. I used to heat the milk in a pot on the stove, pour it into jars and put it in the oven to incubate with the light on. When I tried to use my Instant Pot for heating the milk, it was incredible! No more keeping an eye on the stove waiting for the 180 degree temp. My Instant Pot does it for me! It’s so much easier to clean the pot as well. After it cools, I pour it into jars and put it in the oven like I always have. I use my Instant Pot for everything and my yogurt doesn’t taste off from chicken broth, chicken breasts, soup, etc. Thanks again for all you do!!

  6. This is why I make mine overnight. Start it around 8-9pm and it incubates overnight. Place in the fridge in the morning to rest. We have multiple rings so stink isn’t an issue and, having an extra inner pot and the glass lid means it’s free for use in the day. Sounds like you already had a routine established that works for you which is awesome! This is what got me started making yogurt so this is just the routine I settled into.

  7. Charlotte Benfield

    I’ve made yogurt for years in many different ways. I’ve used a crockpot, yogurt maker, cooler, but lately I HAVE been using the instant pot, and I won’t go back!
    Firstly, I set my yogurt to incubate overnight in my instant pot (when I wouldn’t be using it anyway), so I don’t feel it “unnecessarily ties up my pot”).
    Secondly, like you I have felt that the sealing ring absorbs odors but I don’t actually USE the ring when making yogurt! Since you aren’t using the instant pot to bring anything to pressure, it’s not needed. My yogurt has never tasted or smelt like anything except yogurt.
    So why do I prefer to use the instant pot over other methods?
    1. I can “boil” my milk before incubating and then incubate all in one pot. No more boiling in a saucepan and transferring to other containers.
    2. The instant pot takes all my guesswork out of temperatures. It boils the milk and shuts off and also keeps it at the perfect temperature for incubation for however long I set it for and then shuts off. In fact, I don’t even use a thermometer when I make yogurt at all anymore. The only temperature I have to gauge myself is if my milk has cooled down enough to add my culture. And since I’ve made yogurt for so long, I simply stick a clean finger into the milk and if I can hold it in there comfortably for a few seconds and it feels right, I go with that and I’ve never gone wrong with it. (I will say that I wouldn’t trust this method if I was a newbie to yogurt making).
    3. I prefer Greek yogurt so I always strain my yogurt after it’s made, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to make it in individual containers that I’d have to dump into my strainer after incubation.

    Having said all that…I say everyone needs to go with what works for them!
    But I LOVE using my instant pot for yogurt!!!!

    1. I am fascinated by not using the seal! I might actually try this! I have done yogurt in the slow cooker and in glass jars but I haven’t used my IP for yogurt; and partly for reasons Katie mentions; I use my ip a lot and I don’t want it stuck doing a job when I need it for something else. I was also definitely worried about flavor contamination. I made chicken broth yogurt in my slow cooker once and that was nasty. I may try yogurt in the instant pot on your recommendation, though!

  8. Like you, I do love my Instant Pot, but not for making yogurt. I made it in the Instant Pot recently and it just took too many unnecessary steps to make. I’ve made yogurt for years, sometimes weekly, on the stove top and have found it much easier, quicker, and less messy making it this way.

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