Homemade Yogurt in the Crock-Pot

Homemade Yogurt in the Crock-Pot

Now, I realize making your own homemade yogurt could very well put you in the ranks as being superwoman, but let me assure you…

I am not superwoman.

In fact, once you see how easy this homemade yogurt is to make, you will wonder why you haven’t made it yourself.

I am all about easy and tasty!

When the two combine, BAM, I love the results!

Before I share the steps to make homemade yogurt, I think I should settle something first. While I do make yogurt, I regularly buy it.. Gasp! I know.

Sometimes life pulls in too many directions and I just don’t have the time to spend an extra 15 minutes in the kitchen. I found a brand that is hard to find at big conventional grocery stores, but many health food stores carry it. I would love to share the brand, which reminds me most of homemade yogurt, however, I am concerned my readers may wipe me out.

Okay, okay, I will share.

I love Seven Stars.

But, you must promise to leave some if you go out and buy this yogurt.

While most weeks I buy (in bulk through my food co-op) a case of Seven Stars Plain Whole Milk Yogurt, there are times it simply isn’t available or cost-wise I need to cut down on my food spending.  Perfect time to make my own.

A few years ago, as our family decided to start eating real food and started reading food labels in the store, I realized the yogurt in the grocery store just wasn’t going to cut it! Talk about scary ingredients.

I switched over to Stoneyfield Whole Milk Yogurt, but the cost for our family was just too much for the amount we consumed each week. I tried many homemade recipes online but none really turned out well. One day I found a crock pot recipe featured on Keeper of the Home. I eagerly tried it out and guess what?

I successfully made yogurt!

I tweaked a few components of the recipe and soon found I could make great, real yogurt full of nutrients with just a few minutes of prep time and some planning.

If you are going to make this yogurt you will need to plan ahead. While this yogurt only requires 15-20 minutes of active kitchen time, it does need to sit for around 8-12 hours in a crockpot to allow it to culture and turn into creamy yogurt.  I have found it works best to do all the prep work before I go off to bed and leave it out all night while I sleep. When I wake up, I have yogurt. Viola.

Homemade Yogurt in the Crock-Pot

What you will need:

  • A saucepan or Dutch Oven- large enough for 1/2 gallon of milk (where to buy)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (this is called your “starter”. Read the ingredients on your store-bought yogurt to be sure one of the ingredients is ACTIVE CULTURES. In order to make yogurt, you need these cultures or good bacteria.  In the future, you can save a 1/2 cup of homemade yogurt as your starter)
  •  1/2 gallon of the best milk you can find. I have a difficult time getting my raw milk to always set properly.  Please avoid using ultra-pasteurized milk.
  •  2 large towels

Homemade Yogurt in the Crock-Pot

Step 1:

Turn your crockpot on high. Be sure to do this first, as your crock pot needs to warm up properly before you place the milk inside. Now is also the time to take out your yogurt starter and let it sit on the counter, to warm up a bit.

Step 2:

Pour all the milk into the pan (I use this) stirring occasionally until it begins to bubble and get frothy (around 185° if you would like to use a kitchen thermometer). Watch your milk to be sure it doesn’t bubble over or burn the bottom of the pan. While you are keeping a close eye on your milk, now is the time to get a cold ice bath ready for your pan. Fill your sink with some water and ice.

Step 3:

Now that your milk has started to bubble, turn off the burner and transfer your pan to the sink full of cold water. Place the pan in the cold water, but don’t allow any of the water to enter the pan and touch the milk. Keep the lid on the pan.  Allow, the milk to sit around 10 minutes. You want your milk to cooler, but not cold. You need to have warm milk for the crock pot.

Step 4:

While the milk is cooling, scoop out a 1/2 cup of yogurt starter. Once the milk has cooled (but is still warm…10 minutes) turn off your crockpot (which is now nice and toasty warm).  Place your yogurt starter and 1 cup of warm milk in the crock pot and gently whisk together. Now, add the rest of the of the warm milk to the crockpot and stir.

Note to self: The baby will try to eat all your yogurt starter. Next time, make yogurt after bedtime.

Step 5:

With the milk and yogurt starter in the crockpot (now turned off), place the lid on.  Now wrap up your crockpot with a couple large towels. Tuck your milk and yogurt into bed, all nestled in to keep nice and warm.  Let that bacteria get to work making fabulous, creamy yogurt!

Leave your crockpot alone for 8-12 hours. The longer you let it sit, the tangier your yogurt will taste. I like the taste at 10 hours. I know you may be tempted to take a peak and spy on what’s happening under those towels, but don’t! Your milk and starter need time to culture.

Relax!

Step 6:

After 8-12 hours, remove the towels from the crock pot and you will find–yogurt! Before you stir or shake the yogurt, place your crock pot in the fridge and allow the yogurt to set. I usually allow it to set a couple hours. I’ve even neglected it all day in the fridge.

Step 7:

After your yogurt has spent some time setting in the fridge you can now scoop into the containers of your choice. I use quart mason jars (like these).

Store in the fridge and enjoy.

We like to drizzle raw honey in our yogurt. We also berries or homemade jam to sweeten it up. I occasionally semi-defrost strawberries and blend with a little honey in the food processor and mix into the yogurt for a fruity twist. Pure vanilla extract (learn how to make your own) and raw honey can be combined for a french vanilla twist.

Way to go superwoman!

Homemade Yogurt in the Crock-Pot

 

More Real Food How-To’s:

How to Make the Very BEST homemade applesauce in a slow-cooker

 How to Make the Best Slow-Cooker Applesauce

How to Make Homemade Kombucha

Kombucha 101: How to Make Kombucha

homemade refrigerator pickles

Homemade Refrigerator Pickles

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68 Comments

  • Carrie From Carrie This Home says:

    My family eats tons of yogurt–we could really save a lot of money by making our own! I’m stopping by from Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop–thanks for linking up!

    • kmarr says:

      Thanks for stopping by Carrie! We eat a TON of yogurt too! It really has proven to be very cost effective for us even with buying the best milk I can find!

  • candice smith says:

    Kristin…you are a awesome super woman…to flippin cool!! I want to try and make this!

  • Yummy! Just bookmarked! Please feel free to share with our G+ Community, The Crock Pot Crowd. We welcome posts and recipes from bloggers! :)

    http://bit.ly/Zmy5vZ

  • Christie says:

    I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve seen recipes that have called for a lot more involvement that seemed a little overwhelming to me! This I could do!

  • You are inspiring me again! I am going to give this a try :) BTW I have something non-toxic that can probably get your crockpot looking new :) I can talk about it on the Norwex party I am doing for Candice on July 18. Don’t let me forget to talk about it :)

  • Michelle says:

    I can’t wait to try this! I love yogurt and I am hopeful one day Elizabeth will be able to eat it. We did a dairy challenge two weeks ago and it was not good.

    • Kristin says:

      It really is so easy and creamy! Hope she will be able to join someday too! Many times people with dairy issues do great and find lots of healing from raw dairy. Raw butter and raw heavy cream are usually what is considered the easiest to digest at first for people with dairy intolerances.

  • Emily says:

    I was so excited to try this recipe. Unfortunately it never set. I didn’t use raw milk and my yogurt did have probiotics in it. Any ideas why?

    • Kristin says:

      Did you allow it to set in the fridge after sitting on the counter for about 10 hours? Was the crockpot well wrapped with towels to keep it warm for those 10 hours? The fridge really helps set it. Also, ultra-pasteurized milk will cause it not to set.

  • Emily says:

    Yes, I followed the recipe. 10 hours on counter with towels and then 4 hours in fridge. I used batch pasteurized milk, grass fed. It seemed a little thicker after the fridge time, but still very, very liquid. It also didn’t have that tangy flavor of yogurt. Very faint but I could still taste the milk.

    • Kristin says:

      Not sure what happened. I would recommend straining it in a cheesecloth if you want to use it as yogurt because of the consistency you describe or it sounds like it will be perfect for smoothies. Not sure why it’s not tangy. I haven’t had anyone have these issues nor have I.

  • lagodard says:

    I made your crockpot yogurt last week..2 quarts last week and it’s gone! I’m not sure that for the effort it saved much money but it was very satisfying to have succeeded in making it. I have a question about the consistency.. It’s probably a science question related to the probiotic nature of yogurt. There is a stringyness to it that is different from store bought yogurt. Any idea what that is?

  • Heather says:

    My yogurt has been sitting in the crock pot for 1.5 hours now! So excited! It was a great science experiment for my little man. Thanks! Looking at making some other recipes you have! Love your site!

    • Kristin says:

      Its’ really an awesome project for kids to partake in! Love that you got him involved!

      • Heather says:

        I tried a different crock pot recipe a few weeks ago just to see how it went and it did not go well…I like your method best. I have found that it is important to follow the directions spot on; for those having trouble make sure you check your milk while it’s in the water bath to make sure it doesn’t get too cool, your milk will cool slower or faster depending on how much ice you use. My milk is in the mid to upper 90′s when I put it in the crock pot and it sets really well. Reheating the milk if it gets too cool has not yielded good results for me. I use plain Greek yogurt and let it set for 9 to 10 hours and it is pretty thick. I love how quick it is to make initially, I made some this morning and when we got back from our outings there was about 2 hours left until it was done! It is a very exciting thing to be making real food; my husband loves his yogurt and brags about it at work (and gets lots of oohs and ahhs)! A+ to you Kristin!

  • Kristin says:

    thanks for sharing this! I have a couple of questions, what is the reason for boiling /simmering the milk beforehand? I would have thought bringing it to warm with the starter would be enough? also, does it make a difference if you put it into a different container before refrigeration? I don’t often have room in my fridge for the crock pot! thanks.

    • Kristin says:

      Hi Kristin, Great questions. You want to heat the milk because the cultures from the starter need a nice warm environment to thrive and do their work. The warm crockpot and towels are not enough to do this, so we heat the milk just enough to get it warm. I have had the issue of the crockpot not fitting in my fridge. Unfortunately I find it never sets well when I scoop it in containers and then refrigerate. The refrigeration of the crockpot (without disturbing the yogurt) is critical to getting a set yogurt.

      • Ken McCann says:

        Hey! Guys make yogurt too! You can skip the ice bath step if you want, and just put in a thermometer and wait until the milk gets to about 115 before adding the yogurt and pouring into the crockpot.
        You can make keifer with the same steps.
        Ken Mc

  • McKenna says:

    Looks delicious! I am planning to make this tomorrow and wondering if you ever attempted making greek yogurt with this recipe? Would you just have to strain it at the end?

    • Kristin says:

      Homemade yogurt tends to be a bit runnier than store-bought. You can easily strain the final product (after the setting time in the fridge) through a cheesecloth for about 30 minutes (hanging) and you will separate the whey from the yogurt, the result being Greek Yogurt. It’s very yummy! Tangy and delicious :)

  • Sarah says:

    I don’t know if this was already addressed in the comments section, but for those who have an issue with the yogurt not setting properly, it is very important to use fresh yogurt for your starter in your initial batch. The cultures in store bought yogurt die off rather quickly! I hope this helps.

  • Paula says:

    The raw milk dairy I frequent makes yogurt. In order to retain the medicinal benefits of raw, they never heat their milk beyond 101 degrees. Their yogurt has just the right amount of twang and all the benefits of raw milk. Delish!

    • Kristin says:

      Thanks for sharing. We use low-temp pasteurized milk to make our yogurt as our raw milk never settles well. For a pasteurized milk I’d suggest not heating that milk any higher, but for raw I think it’s required for the yogurt to settle. Good tip :)

  • DeepintheWoodsofBellTrees says:

    Even our dog likes – no LOVES a little plain yogurt mixed in her dog food! Looks like I will be making it even more often.

    Come see me at my new blog:
    http://deepinthewoodsofbelltrees.wordpress.com/

  • Jacqueline says:

    Don`t know what I did wrong but this did not take for me.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hi Jacqueline, Sorry to hear your yogurt didn’t come out. There are so many variables and since I wasn’t there, I’m not sure what might have happened. The good news is you can still use it for smoothies as a milk kefir (just a drinkable yogurt like they sell in the store) and it still has good probiotics. I’d love to help you trouble shoot, can you explain a bit more?

  • Christina says:

    You’re awesome! Thank you so much for sharing. I am definitely making my own yogurt, after just watching a video on “5 Signs You’ll Get Cancer”. I searched Pinterest for his book, “The Guide To Healthy Eating” and he mentions how organic yogurt is best and you can just add fresh fruit for taste. So, I searched Organic Yogurt and found you!! Thank you for breaking it down and even sharing the links of the items you use. You’re the best!

  • shannon says:

    I made homemade yogurt yesterday with raw milk. It was a different recipe, but similar. The result was a liquid consistency, just slightly thicker than the milk was when it started. I do not have a crock pot that is big enough, so I used a regular pot that I wrapped with a ton of blankets. After 9 hours, the water bath was barely warm. I am now scared to eat the “yogurt” – do you think if the water got too cool, could it make us sick? Just curious if you have an opinion. I hate to waste it, raw milk is expensive!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hi Shannon, sorry for the delayed response. If it’s runny it’s still okay to drink or use. It will be more like milk kefir. It should be tangy like yogurt when you taste it. Raw milk is really hard to set for yogurt making. One reason I go with a low temp. pasteurized milk when making yogurt and save our raw milk for drinking and baking.

  • Emma says:

    Kristin you are simply amazing! Your blog continues to inspire me to create nutritious and healthy food for my family!

    Now for my questions… :)

    Are you using non homogenized milk?
    How long will it keep in the fridge?
    Have you ever put a couple vanilla beans in the milk?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hi Emma, Thank you :). I use non-homogenized, but lightly pasteurized milk. I find the raw milk is super hard to set. Because it’s been cultured it will last a few weeks, around 3 or so in the fridge. The culturing actually extends the life span of the milk. Vanilla beans are a wonderful addition to homemade yogurt. I usually add them after the yogurt has set in the fridge, along with a small amount of vanilla extract. I’ve heard of people adding the beans during the actual culturing in the crockpot, but don’t have personal experience. Enjoy :)

  • Kate says:

    Hi Kristin! Great site! I was wondering if you are using a U.S gallon or an Imperial gallon for your yogurt. There is a difference when I am converting to milliliters. Thanks! :)
    Kate

  • Jayme says:

    I’m sure it will be completely gone before I need to know this, but after yogurt is transferred into containers, how long can it be stored?

  • Jessica says:

    Would love to try this soon but need to get the utensils first! Question: how long does the yogurt keep in the fridge after it has been made? When would I need to use it by and how much yoghurt do you end up with? How many jars would I need?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Jessica, Yogurt tends to keep longer than milk due to the wonderful bacteria. I’d probably keep it in the fridge for two weeks. You could also freeze any extra yogurt. I usually end up with about 2 quarts of yogurt- so two quart size mason jars or about four pint sized jars. Enjoy!!

  • Jean Shaikh says:

    I love those jars in the picture! Where do you get them?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Thanks, Jean! They are actually glass yogurt containers. I can’t remember the brand, but I believe you can find them at Whole Foods and some health food stores.

  • Jeni says:

    I make yogurt using raw milk all the time. The temp matters big time while making this. You should never add the yogurt starter at a temp higher than 110 degrees, the cultures can’t survive high temps. I do the entire process in the crock pot. I add the milk to the crock on low leave in until it reaches 110 then add the starter. I remove it from the base and let sit wrapped in a towel in the oven over night with just the light on. I also strain off the whey to make a thicker Greek style yogurt. Love this yogurt!

  • Katrina says:

    Wow! Can’t wait to try this! I have two questions: I live at nearly 9,000 ft elevation, the ‘bubbling point’ of milk is obviously lower here, are there any adjustments that need to be made in the recipe for altitude? The second question is this: I ONLY have available here raw milk or ULTRA ULTRA pasteurized boxed (unrefrigerated) milk. Do you know of any adjustment I can make to use the raw milk for yogurt? Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Katrina, I’m not really sure about altitude. I live in Florida at sea level, so I’ve never had the chance to experiment with higher altitude cooking. I might try googling “making homemade yogurt at high altitude”. I would suggest not using the ultra-pasteurized milk. The milk is basically dead and won’t culture or even set. I personally don’t have a ton of success with raw milk, but I know bloggers that love using raw (successfully). Jenny at Nourished Kitchen talks about using raw milk here: http://nourishedkitchen.com/raw-milk-yogurt/. Much success!

  • Robyn says:

    Love his recipe—super user friendly! Thanks!!! I have made it a couple of times and planning on another batch this week. I have noticed mine runnier than store bought yogurt—but it looks like I should just strain it in a cheese cloth a little bit? What is the best way to do that? A scoop at a time? Thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Thank you, Robyn. The yogurt will be a bit runnier than store-bought yogurt. You can strain it through a cheesecloth. Slowly pour (scoop) the yogurt in a cheesecloth (with a bowl underneath). Hang the cheesecloth over the bowl for about an hour. The liquid in the bowl (whey) can be added to smoothies or used for soaking grains or fermenting. The yogurt in the cheesecloth can be scooped into a container and enjoyed.

  • Shirley says:

    Hi Kristin,
    I have been reading about homemade yogurt now I think I’m ready to try, question – would grocery store brand organic milk work (in gallon jug)? I’m not sure how pasteurized it is.
    Thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Shirley,

      As long as the milk isn’t ultra-pasteurized it should work. The jug will usually read “ultra-pasteurized…” if the milk is ultra-pasteurized. Regular pasteurized milk will work great for this recipe. I can’t wait to hear about your yogurt-making!

  • Lisa says:

    I make this with a gallon of milk and it makes about 8 cups which I eat all by myself each week yum!!! I use a crock pot liner so I don’t have to clean the crock and it transfers easily to strain for thicker “greek” yogurt. After it sits for 8hrs I put mine in a cloth lined strainer that’s set in a 13×9 baking dish that’s on a cookie sheet to drain the whey out for 8-10hrs and it becomes super thick which I love!!! I have it on the extra pans because the whey drips from the cloth that overhangs and it gets messy on the counter. You can drain less for less thick but I love it that way. It also works good to put on stuff like you would sour cream.

  • Belinda Davis says:

    Mine was a bit runny and lumpy but I just discovered that i used homogenized milk. Is that why there were lumps. It tastes awesome though and I’ll definitely try it again. After reading the comments I’ll also try straining it.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Belinda, I’m so glad it tastes great! There’s nothing like the taste of homemade yogurt. Sometimes letting the yogurt set for a bit longer in the fridge can help create a thicker yogurt. Homemade yogurt will always be a bit runnier than store-bought due to the lack of thickeners, but shouldn’t be liquid either.

  • Amanda says:

    How long is it good for?

  • Samantha says:

    Do you think this could be done with goat milk?

  • Astrid says:

    Hi Kristin,

    Your yogurt looks amazing. I attempted to make it and followed the instructions exactly. Low pasteurized organic milk, plain organic yogurt, and wrapped the crock pot with the towel for 10 hours exactly. Let it sit in the fridge for
    The end result was liquid thick milk with a hit of yogurt- ha!

    I did notice that the milk didn’t quite make boil to 180, not sure if my crackpot is going. I kept testing it with the Thermometer and it didn’t work. So I made it to about 170. Is that the culprit?

    Would love your feedback as I am giving it another shot.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Astrid,

      Lol, well, thick milk with a hint of yogurt is good :). Luckily, you can still use it. It will be great for smoothies and baking as it’s rich in probiotics, just not “spoonable.”

      The milk should come to a slight boil in the soup pot or sauce pan (while the crockpot heats on the side). The crockpot doesn’t do any actual cooking. The reason for heating of the crockpot is to create a very warm environment for the cultures in the yogurt starter to thrive and grow…creating yogurt. The milk in the saucepan or soup pot can take a bit of time to reach that slight boil…around 10 minutes, as it’s done slowly to not burn the milk on the bottom of the pan. Once the milk is heated in the soup pot or sauce pan, place it in the water and allow to cool, just long enough so when you add the yogurt starter to the milk it’s not scorching hot and kills the cultures. Then add the milk and yogurt starter to the crockpot and turn off as the heat has done the job of creating a warm environment. Place the top on the crockpot and wrap in towels to keep that nice warm environment. Then, follow with the fridge later.

      Hope that helps clear things up :). Let me know if you have questions.

  • Brandi Kilbourn says:

    I tried this for the first time last night and it turned out amazing!!! We go through two of those big tubs of plain yogurt a week for morning smoothies and this recipe will really help cut the cost…. it’s honestly the best plain yogurt I’ve ever eaten…. love it! A big thanks for the recipe!

  • Andrea says:

    I can’t believe I was able to do this! I used raw and local goat milk and organic plain yogurt as my starter culture. WOW, I definitely feel like superwoman! This is amazing and it makes so much. I’m a big yogurt eater but have a hard time finding yogurt that is from happy and local animals so I’m glad I’m able to use the goat milk. Thank you so much for this detailed and well-written tutorial :)

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