Instant Pot Yogurt is all the rage for a very good reason. The taste and texture of homemade is worlds better than store-bought and once you make it you will never go back!
This post is going to dive deep into the ins and outs of making a perfect batch of yogurt. Trust me when I say, you have not tasted amazing yogurt until you've tasted this yogurt. My kids will eat a big bowl of this completely unsweetened, it's that good!
This post is loaded with Instant Pot Yogurt goodies! Included is a:
- STEP – BY – STEP YOGURT MAKING COLLAGE
- PRINTABLE RECIPE
- TIPS AND TRICKS GALORE
- ANSWERS TO ALL OF YOUR FAQS
- STEP – BY – STEP INSTANT POT YOGURT VIDEO
This is a One Stop Shop for all your Instant Pot Yogurt makin' needs! I also have another post here with more Yogurt Q&As. First, let me convince you of why you need this in your life.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE HEALTHY, HOMEMADE INSTANT POT YOGURT
- Homemade yogurt is CHEAP! For the price of one gallon of milk and a yogurt starter, you get up to 3 quarts of yogurt. Plus you can use the drained off whey as a buttermilk substitute. That's less than $5 for all of that!!! You would easily pay $20 for that in the store.
- It's made with only two ingredients: Milk and a yogurt starter, that's it! Have you ever looked at store bought? Cornstarch, gelatin, pectin, sugar, artificial sweeteners, etc. We don't need all of that! If you want it sweet, YOU choose how and what to sweeten it with – honey, maple syrup, cinnamon, sugar, date syrup, etc.
- EASY! The first couple times you make it, you may not describe it as “easy”. By the third time, you'll know what to expect, know the best time to start it, and won't even need to look at a recipe.
- Homemade yogurt TASTES A BAZILLION TIMES BETTER! It is creamy, mildly tangy, and has no chalky aftertaste. You will never settle for store bought again, I guarantee it! I've converted many yogurt eaters to eating unsweetened yogurt with this recipe. All you need is fruit, nuts, and/or granola. However, I'll admit, a honey or maple syrup drizzle pretty much makes it the best thing you've ever tasted.
- Homemade yogurt is so mild tasting that it can be used to make healthier sauces, dressings, and even homemade Frozen Yogurt Tubes.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE YOGURT IN THE INSTANT POT
Check out this video to get a quick idea of the process. Then click here to see the step by step collage below for all the details.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR FAILPROOF YOGURT
I haven't had a bad batch of yogurt in years and I want to make sure you get the same results. Here are some tips, tricks, and FAQs you'll want to read before getting started.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO MAKE HOMEMADE YOGURT
Here’s what to expect timewise: 1 hour for milk to warm to 185º F, about 1 ½-2 hours to cool to 110º F, 8 hours of incubation and then 4 hours or overnight refrigeration to chill yogurt in the pot before straining. The majority of this, of course, is inactive time on your part.
BEST TIME OF DAY TO START MAKING YOGURT
This will be different for everyone of course, but this is what that looks like for me. I start it at 5 a.m. (I'm an early riser). By 8 a.m. it has gone through the boil and cool down phases and is ready to incubate for 8 hours. My yogurt is done by about 4 p.m. at which point I cover it and refrigerate overnight.
The next day I pour it into the Euro Cuisine Strainers. Depending on how busy I am that day, I will let it strain for a few hours or more. There have even been a few times it strained for 2 days before I got to it. That's okay! Just add whey back into it to thin it out. So yes, it's a process, but very hands off and the chilling and straining parts are flexible.
Some people start it in the evening and let it incubate overnight, which works great too! Find the best time for you!
BEST MILK FOR MAKING YOGURT
This recipe is made with 2% milk. Lower to no fat milk may be used, but will result in a thinner, sometimes grainy, yogurt. Using whole milk results in a smooth, rich, and creamy yogurt that is so incredible it could double as dessert.
CAN I USE GOAT’S MILK OR SHEEP’S MILK TO MAKE YOGURT?
I have never tried this, so I can’t speak to the result, but I have read recipes for goat and sheep yogurt that use a very similar process. I suggest searching for those recipes specifically before attempting it.
WHY USE POWDERED MILK IN HOMEMADE YOGURT
Powdered milk can be used in homemade yogurt to add extra protein and help create a thicker end product. It is completely optional! I haven't used it in years, but if you'd like a higher percentage of protein, this is a great way to do it.
DO I NEED A THERMOMETER TO MAKE YOGURT
I'm going to say YES, a thermometer is a must! Ideally, the yogurt-boil function on the Instant Pot would warm the milk to 180-185º F every time, but this doesn't seem to be the case. This appears to differ from pot to pot and if the milk doesn't reach a high enough temperature, you will end up with warm milk after 8 hours.
Invest in a decent thermometer so you can ensure your milk is warmed and cooled to the proper temperatures. This is VERY important!
HOW TO COOL THE MILK DOWN BEFORE ADDING THE YOGURT STARTER
It's vital that your milk is cooled to 110º F before adding your yogurt starter. If the milk is too hot, it will kill your starter, and again, you'll end up with a big pot of warm milk after 8 hours. I prefer to place the pot on a cooling rack and let the milk cool naturally, which takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. I feel like my yogurt is smoother and thicker this way. In a pinch, the process can be hurried along by putting it in a sink full of ice water (this only takes about 20 minutes), or in the winter, I place the pot in a pile of snow which brings the temperature down very quickly.
WHAT IS A YOGURT STARTER?
A yogurt starter is a blend of bacteria that consume lactose which then converts to lactic acid. Lactic acid is what gives yogurt that tangy flavor and thicker texture.
BEST YOGURT STARTER/STARTER CULTURE
I've used kefir, probiotic capsules, my own yogurt, and just about every brand of yogurt at the grocery store as a starter. I've come to the conclusion that if you want the best tasting, smoothest, and thickest yogurt, use plain Fage 2% yogurt. It's the best, I can't say I know why, but it makes the best yogurt, every time.
If you want to experiment with other yogurts as your starter, stick with plain, unsweetened varieties. Avoid sweetened yogurt or yogurt with fruit mixed in and make sure the container says “Live Active Cultures.”
HOW MUCH YOGURT STARTER TO USE
A quick google search will reveal recipes that use anywhere from two tablespoons to 3/4 cup. I firmly believe that 1/4 cup of Fage 2% is the perfect amount. More or less of it leaves me with inconsistent results.
BEST LENGTH OF TIME TO INCUBATE YOGURT
The longer you incubate your yogurt, the more tangy it will become. Most people are happy with 8 hours. If you want it less tangy, try an hour or two less, however, this can result in more whey and less yogurt. If you want it extra tangy, let it incubate for an extra hour or so.
Another option to determine if your yogurt is ready is my son's method of “When my bike can hold a wheelie, it's done.” He snuck this in while I was taking pictures, haha!
BEST WAY TO STRAIN HOMEMADE YOGURT
Once the yogurt has incubated for 8 hours, place it undisturbed in the refrigerator. Chill it completely before straining, 6 hours or overnight. You will end up with more yogurt and less whey, if it's completely chilled before you strain it.
Strain yogurt with a nut milk bag, cheesecloth, or my favorite, the Euro Cuisine yogurt strainer. A full gallon of milk requires either two nut milk bags or two yogurt strainers to do it all at once. I strain mine for at least a few hours, and sometimes it ends up straining for a couple of days before I get to it. If it gets too thick, simply stir in some of the drained whey until it reaches the desired consistency.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE GREEK YOGURT THAT IS THICK, SMOOTH, AND CREAMY LIKE STORE BOUGHT
If you like your yogurt really thick, similar to store bought Greek yogurt, strain it overnight (or more). Once it gets that thick, it can be difficult to get it smooth using just a whisk. Solution: use a hand mixer! It works amazingly well at getting your yogurt smooth in seconds. Thanks to my little sis' Maegan for that tip!
HOW TO SWEETEN AND FLAVOR YOGURT
If using sweetener or vanilla extract, add it after the yogurt has incubated, cooled, and strained. If adding a liquid sweetener like honey or syrup, you may want to let the yogurt strain overnight until it's quite thick. This will ensure your yogurt remains thick and creamy instead of being thinned out too much by the liquid sweetener.
Always add pure vanilla extract after the 8 hour incubation period to avoid disturbing the yogurt making process (the alcohol can affect the bacteria needed to make yogurt). If using an imitation vanilla (that is alcohol-free) or fresh vanilla beans, it can be added at any time.
However, I suggest always adding vanilla and sweetener after your yogurt has strained. This way you are flavoring only the yogurt and not the whey that you strain, as well.
Use 2 – 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract or scrape 1 vanilla bean and about 1/3 – 1/2 cup sweetener like honey, pure maple syrup, agave, or white sugar for every gallon of milk.
HOW TO USE YOUR OWN YOGURT FOR YOUR STARTER
To use your own homemade yogurt as a starter, be sure to reserve one-quarter cup. Use within a week for best results. If you’re not going to be needing it that quickly, it can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw it gradually in the fridge and it will work just as well as a fresh starter. From my personal experience, I feel like my yogurt is a bit more tart when I use my own yogurt starter vs a fresh Fage starter.
HOW TO STORE HOMEMADE YOGURT
I like to store mine in the Euro Cuisine Yogurt Strainers. Quart size Mason jars are a great option, but any clean, sealed container will do.
HOW LONG DOES HOMEMADE YOGURT LAST
Homemade yogurt will store for at least a week, and up to two. Keep in mind, the longer it sits in your fridge, the more tart it will become.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT WITHOUT THE YOGURT FUNCTION
I get asked often how to make yogurt without the Instant Pot yogurt function. First might I suggest, GET AN INSTANT POT WITH A YOGURT FUNCTION! With all the money you save making your own yogurt, you'll pay for that new pot. If that's not an option for you, check out this post, How to Make Pressure Cooker Yogurt When You Don't Have a Yogurt Button.
HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT WITH ALMOND, SOY, COCONUT, OR RAW MILK
The process for making yogurt with other kinds of milk will be different than this recipe. Temperatures and cultures may vary. While I've tried my hand at almond and coconut milk yogurt, I haven't quite figured it out yet. A quick google search will supply you with many recipes to try. I'll post an update if I find one I love.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A COLD START AND BOIL YOGURT?
Cold start yogurt requires an ultra pasteurized milk like the popular Fairlife brand which tends to be more expensive. With cold start yogurt you skip the heating and cooling steps. With the more traditional boil yogurt, you can use more affordable regular pasteurized milk and must follow the heating and cooling steps below. I personally MUCH prefer the taste of the more traditional version, but the cold start is fun to try!
HOW TO MAKE FAT FREE YOGURT
I’ve tried making fat free with this recipe, but my yogurt ends up grainy and it yields much less. So for me, it’s not worth it. Store bought, fat free yogurts have additives that fix these problems. If you want to make a fat free version, go with this Skyr recipe instead. It is gloriously thick and creamy and has more protein in it than even Greek yogurt.
HOW TO USE WHEY AS A BUTTERMILK SUBSTITUTE
On its own, I feel whey is too thin for pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc. I like to fill a quart jar with two-thirds whey, one-third yogurt, then shake shake shake. This substitutes for buttermilk perfectly every time.
MORE USES FOR WHEY
Aside from a buttermilk substitute, I've added it to smoothies, I've cooked pasta and rice in it, added it to homemade bread, and my garden. Here is a great article on Sixteen Uses for Whey.
REASONS WHY YOGURT DIDN'T WORK/”WHY IS MY YOGURT WARM MILK AFTER 8 HOURS!?”
Failed yogurt is so disappointing. Here are some reasons it may not have turned out well
- There may be a malfunction with the cooker. Make sure your milk is coming to 180-185°F degrees on the boil function and that your milk is staying in the safe zone of 110°-115° while incubating
- If you’re using your homemade yogurt as your starter, it can become weaker and weaker with each batch. You may want a new start
- If you get impatient and stir in the starter before it gets down to 110°, it will kill the bacteria needed to create yogurt
- Lower fat content in your milk, results in a thinner yogurt
- Alcohol in vanilla extract can affect the bacteria in your yogurt. If your yogurt isn’t turning out, try omitting the vanilla or using vanilla bean paste or scraping a vanilla bean pod to get that vanilla flavor. Or simply add your vanilla after the yogurt is done and has been strained
- Make sure you stir in the starter really well. One way to guarantee it’s mixed in well is to put a couple ladles of milk into a bowl, stir in your yogurt, and then add that back to the main bowl and stir
Hopefully, that covers all your questions, thoughts, and worries about making your own yogurt. Once you make it 2 or 3 times, you'll be a pro!
I’ve made a thousand batches of yogurt and can now offer this as my “fail-proof recipe”. I can confidently say, there is no store-bought yogurt that can hold a candle to this creation.
Don't miss the other Yogurt Button Lovin' recipes!
- Instant Pot Mozzarella
- Instant Pot Burrata
- Instant Pot Skyr
- Instant Pot No Knead Crusty Bread
- Instant Pot Ricotta
Also be sure and check out this how to for an amazing Yogurt Parfait Bar.
For even more answers to FAQs, check out this Yogurt Q & A. Let me know in the comments below if you have other questions I didn't address.
TOOLS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT HOMEMADE YOGURT
- Instant Pot
- Euro Cuisine Yogurt Strainer (you'll need 2 for a full gallon of milk) or 2 Nut Milk Bags
P.S. You'll notice in the comments below that there are several about favorite yogurt toppings. This was part of a past giveaway. I've decided to keep the comments because there are some amazing ideas from my readers. Take a look!
OTHER INSTANT POT DAIRY RECIPES
- Instant Pot Funfetti Cheesecake
- Instant Pot Yogurt Parfait Bar
- Pressure Cooker Blue Cheese Cheesecake
- Pressure Cooker White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake
- All our Instant Pot Dairy recipes
Instant Pot Yogurt
Creamy, Dreamy Instant Pot Yogurt. So incredible you will never want store bought yogurt again!
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 8 hours
- Total Time: 13 hours
- Yield: 3 quarts 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Pressure cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 1 gallon 2% milk or whole milk
- 3 tablespoons powdered milk (optional)
- ¼ cup plain yogurt with live and active cultures (I like Fage 2%)
- 2 –3 teaspoons vanilla (optional)
- 1/3 – 1/2 cup sweetener i.e. pure maple syrup, agave, honey, white sugar (optional)
- Add milk to the pressure cooker pot. Whisk in powdered milk, if using.
- Secure the lid and press the yogurt function button (Note: it doesn’t matter what position the pressure release valve is in for yogurt making, but having it a sealed position will help hold the heat inside). Press adjust until the display reads “boil”.
- When boil cycle is complete, check the temperature of the milk. If milk is less than 180-185° F, select saute and continue to heat milk to 185° F, stirring often (see note below if you're having a hard time getting milk to the correct temperature).
- Remove pot from cooker and place on top of a cooling rack. Stir milk occasionally, until it cools to 110º F. As it cools, it will likely develop a skin on top. Use a spoon and remove this, don't stir it in, it can cause lumps in your yogurt
- Remove the yogurt starter from the fridge and allow it to sit on the counter, until ready to use.
- When milk is 110º F, ladle 2-3 scoops into a bowl, add the yogurt starter and whisk until smooth. Pour back into the pot, whisking until well incorporated.
- Place pot back inside the base, secure the lid, press the yogurt function and adjust to incubate on medium for 8 hours.
- When yogurt cycle is complete, place the pot of yogurt in the fridge to chill, about 6 hours (or overnight).
- When chilled, divide yogurt into two yogurt strainer bowls (like the EuroCuisine Greek Yogurt Maker) and place in the fridge. This can also be done with two nut milk bags by hanging bags over the top of a large bowl to collect the whey.
- Strain yogurt for 1 -3 hours or overnight until it reaches desired thickness.
- Return strained yogurt to a bowl and whisk until smooth if needed. Use a hand mixer if yogurt is especially thick.
- Add pure vanilla extract and sweetener at this point, if desired.
- Store in a yogurt strainer bowl (minus the strainer of course, like the Euro Cuisine bowl) or in quart size Mason jars topped with a white Mason jar lid. The yogurt will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Save one quarter cup of the yogurt to use as a starter for the next batch of yogurt.
- Serve cold. Topping possibilities are endless and include fruit, honey, pure maple syrup, granola, etc.
- Time Expectation
- Boil: 1 hour
- Cool: 1 1/2 – 2 hours
- Incubate: 8 hours
- Chill: 4 hours or overnight
- Strain: 1 – 3 hours or overnight
- For an extra thick and creamy yogurt, let strain overnight. Use a hand mixer to whisk yogurt until smooth, adding a splash of whey if needed.
- Don’t discard the whey! I like to fill quart-size Mason jars three-quarters full of whey, top off with yogurt and shake to combine, to make it thicker. Top with a Mason jar pour cap for easy pouring. Use the mixture as a buttermilk substitute in pancakes, waffles, muffins, etc.
- If you're having a hard time getting milk to 180° F using the yogurt-boil function, here is another option. Select the slow cook function and adjust to high. Milk will be between 180 – 185° F within 45 – 60 minutes
Keywords: homemade yogurt, pressure cooker yogurt
Welcome! I’m Marci, wife to my motorcycle dream man and mother of 3. I have a passion for creating and cooking delicious masterpieces in my kitchen and am ecstatic to share my discoveries on TIDBITS! I like my food tasty, wholesome, memorable, and always, ALWAYS followed by dark, salty chocolate.