Use these directions for how to make yogurt in an Instant Pot to start saving money by making yogurt at home.
So why on earth would you want to make your own yogurt?
I’ll give you two simple reasons: It tastes better and it’s cheaper!
Did you know for every gallon of milk that you use, you get a gallon of yogurt? Yes, really! So that $4.00 gallon of milk that you bought can get you 4 quarts of delicious homemade yogurt without all the added sugars and preservatives.
I have a family of 6, and my youngest son has an egg allergy, so we go through A LOT of yogurt every month, 8-9 quarts. And if you like Greek-style yogurt as we do, you know that it costs a premium. Buying 9 quarts of yogurt at $3.50+ is over $30 a month just in yogurt. Now I make homemade yogurt 2-3 a month and save at least $20 a month!
Ok, enough about why you should make your own yogurt, let’s get to the HOW part.
Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe
- An Instant Pot
- 1 quart – 1 gallon of Milk (Fresh, Unopened)
- 1 tablespoon of Starter Yogurt for every quart of milk (any plain yogurt cup, unopened)
- Yogurt Strainer (Optional – For Greek-style yogurt)
Expanded Directions and Tips for Making Yogurt in an Instant Pot:
The printable directions can be found at the bottom of this article. However, we recommend reading through the expanded directions with tips first.
First thing you need to decide is how much yogurt you want to make, keeping in mind that it's good in the fridge for about 2 weeks and Greek yogurt makes about ¼ less than you start with. For our family we make a gallon at a time, resulting in about 3 quarts of Greek yogurt. The process is the same no matter the quantity, but times listed will be a little shorter.
1. Pour your milk into the bowl of the Instant Pot. Press the “Yogurt” button, then the “Adjust” button until the screen reads “BOIL.” Place the lid back onto the Instant Pot, with the vent open, and let it come up to a boil.
Takes about an hour for a gallon of milk. (Optional step) – stir occasionally, this helps reduce scalding on the bottom.
2. When the Instant Pot beeps, take the lid off and make sure it’s up at 180° F.
Bringing it up to 180° pasteurizes the milk, killing any bad bacteria that may be present. I only did this the first couple times to make sure my machine works as it should, my Instant Pot has proven worthy so I now skip this step.
3. Let the milk sit at temperature for 15-20mins, this will help thicken the end product.
4. Now carefully pull out the Instant Pot bowl and place in a water bath, stirring occasionally, (a plugged sink works well) to slowly bring the temperature of the milk back down to 110-115° F.
Bringing the temperature back down allows us to introduce good bacteria back into the milk without killing it.
Resist the urge to add ice to your water bath. I have found I get a thicker product by letting it cool a little slower.
5. Once the yogurt is back down to 110° F, remove the pot from the water bath and dry the bottom and sides and add one tablespoon of starter yogurt (our good bacteria) for every quart of milk you used and whisk in to break the clump up.
For one quart of milk, use 1 tablespoon of starter yogurt, for a half-gallon, use 2 tablespoons, and for a gallon, use 4 tablespoons of starter yogurt. Less is more here, too much starter and you end up with a really runny yogurt. (Learned this one the hard way)
6. Return the pot to the heating unit and re-cover. Press the “Yogurt” button again and then the “Adjust” button so it reads “8:00,” 8:00 stands for 8 hours. Now just walk away!
The Instant Pot will now hold the milk at the correct temperature to culture the good bacteria and turn the milk into yogurt. 8 hours is the minimum amount of time you need, but you can always add time to make it tangier. We like ours at 12:30 hours. Since I culture for over 12 hours I start it at night so it's ready by morning to process.
It’s done! Congratulations! You have now made yogurt!
Albeit warm yogurt at the moment, so cover it and put the whole pot into the refrigerator for about 4 hours to let it set and cool completely.
(Optional for Greek Yogurt) Strain your yogurt.
If you don’t have a yogurt strainer, which I didn't initially, you can just use a colander and coffee filters. Place the colander over a bowl, to catch the liquid (whey) that will drain, and line it with a coffee filter. I have since purchased a staining bag specifically made for yogurt which you will see pictured above. To avoid extra dishes I just use the Instant Pot to drain into. Cover and place back into the fridge to drain. For a gallon of milk, it takes 2-3 hours to get it to the thickness we like. A smaller quantity will take less time, so check it every hour or so.
(Optional) Jar the Yogurt
I like to jar my yogurt so the pot doesn’t take up so much room in my fridge and I have it available for other uses. Jarring also helps keep your yogurt fresher longer as it's not exposed to as much air. Stile is better, so I like to use jars that have just been run through the dishwasher and cooled. I prefer wide-mouth jars with plastic lids. The wide-mouth allow easy scooping and the plastic lids are just easier than the two-piece canning lids.
When jarring I like to have a separate small jar, ½ pint, that I use to reserve a little yogurt as my starter for the next batch, reducing my costs even further. Even the little kids around here know which jar they aren’t supposed to use, so mommy has her starter!
Again, fresh yogurt lasts in the fridge for about two weeks and is wonderful to add different mix-ins or to use in additional recipes. Favorite mix-ins around here are a bit of homemade strawberry jam or a little honey and lemon.
Printable Recipe for Instant Pot Yogurt
Here are the basic instructions for making homemade yogurt in an Instant Pot. You can find additional tips in the expanded directions above. You can use these directions whether you are making homemade yogurt with one quart of milk or a gallon of milk. The only thing that will change is the amount of start yogurt you will need. Use 1 tablespoon of starter yogurt for each quart of milk used in the recipe below.
Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe
- An Instant Pot
- Yogurt Strainer (Optional – For Greek style)
- 1 quart - gallon Milk Fresh, Unopened
- 1 tablespoon of Starter Yogurt for each quart of milk used any plain yogurt cup, unopened
- Pour your milk into the bowl of the Instant Pot. Press the “Yogurt” button, then the “Adjust” button until the screen reads “BOIL.” Place the lid back onto the Instant Pot, with the vent open, and let it come up to a boil. (Optional step- stir occasionally, this helps reduce scalding on the bottom
- When the Instant Pot beeps, take the lid off and make sure it’s up at 180° F.
- Let the milk sit at temperature for 15-20mins, this will help thicken the end product.
- Now carefully pull out the Instant Pot bowl and place in a water bath, stirring occasionally, to slowly bring the temperature of the milk back down to 110-115° F.
- Once the yogurt is back down to 110° F, remove the pot from the water bath and dry the bottom and sides and add one tablespoon of starter yogurt for each quart of milk used and whisk in to break the clump up.
- Return the pot to the heating unit and re-cover. Press the “Yogurt” button again and then the “Adjust” button so it reads “8:00,” 8:00 stands for 8 hours.
- When done, cool in the fridge for about 4 hours to let it set.
- (Optional for Greek Yogurt) Strain your yogurt.
- (optional) Jar your yogurt in mason jars with plastic lids
Amy is a stay-at-home-mom in rural New England who has learned to make all the things she craves from her years spent sampling the Minneapolis food scene. She puts her culinary and hospitality management degrees to full use making delicious meals, on a budget, for friends and family.