Homemade Yogurt in a Crockpot

Posted by Cindy on February 18, 2011

I’ve been making my own yogurt for over a year. It’s so nice to make up a batch once a week that tastes better than store-bought, is cheaper and doesn’t take a special yogurt-maker! It really takes no time on your part, it’s just a waiting process. So if you have other things going on around the house, you have time to make yogurt in a crockpot. It’s simple, easy, frugal and cheap.

The main ingredient–milk. I have experimented with all types of milk throughout a year. Whole, not ultra-pasteurized milk works easiest, giving you the thick consistency yogurt you’re used to buying out of the store. However, low-fat, ultra-pasteurized milk can be used. It’s not quite as thick as you’re used to out of the store, but with the addition of nonfat powdered milk, it boosts the thickness. And after sitting in the fridge for a day, it becomes even thicker. Non ultra-pasteurized milk is getting harder and harder to find, so I had to experiment with it. Did you know yogurt companies use pectin to make the low-fat yogurt to the thick consistency you’re used to? That’s their work-around. Of course, you can, too, but I’ll just add some powdered milk!


You’ll also need an active culture starter. The easiest to come by and cheapest is plain yogurt from the store that contains active live cultures. Yogurt cultures can be purchased, but it’s just easier for me to use yogurt out of the store. You can use regular or non/low-fat. Just make sure it says “contains live cultures”–not ALL yogurt does! Also, if you buy the big container–I can’t find a small one here–you can freeze the yogurt in 1 cup portions to use later. You can also freeze the yogurt you make (the first batch with active cultures) into 1 cup portions. If you make a 1-gallon batch of yogurt, freeze 1/2 of it, you’ll have at least 8 cultures waiting for future batches (more if you bought the big container).

Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into crockpot. Here I’m making a gallon–it fits perfect in my 6-quart crockpot.

Cover, turn on high and let the milk heat until almost boiling. This kills off any competing bacteria so that the yogurt will respond better to the culture we’ll be adding in later. The actual temp is 180F, but I don’t use the thermometer. Mine takes about 2 hours.

Turn the crockpot off. Take the lid of and let cool back down to 115F or where you can stick your finger in and leave it for 10 seconds. If the milk is any hotter than this then it will kill off the yogurt cultures. Stir it around every once in a while as it’s cooling.

Stir in 1 cup of plain yogurt from the store. If you’re using powdered milk, stir in now. I use 1/2 cup per 1/2 gallon of milk if I’m using low-fat or ultra-pasteurized milk.

Put lid back on, wrap entire crockpot with a beach or bath towel and set away for 8-12 hours. The yogurt needs to cool down sloooowly. I usually stick it in the oven–keeps it away from drafts and it will retain some more of the heat longer.

I normally time this so I can stick it in the oven before I go to bed, then the yogurt is ready after I’ve had my coffee in the morning :)

Yogurt is done! Easy, peasy!

Stir it up and put in your containers! My 1 gallon of milk made 4 1/2 quarts of plain yogurt that I can fancy up for whatever mood I may be in that day for $3.38–simple, easy, frugal and cheap!

Add some jam for a fruit-flavored yogurt.

Top it off with some granola!

Other ideas: stevia or honey for a natural sweetener. How about a little applesauce? Or throw some pumpkin pie spice in with some honey and granola–a crunchy pumpkin pie yogurt!

Here's the full recipe and printable!

DSC09313

Crockpot Yogurt

Prep Time:
Cook Time:
Yield:
1/2 gallon

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon milk*
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt with active cultures
  • * 1/2 cup powdered milk if using 2% or lower milk or ultra-pasteurized milk

Preparation Instructions

  1. Pour milk into crockpot.
  2. Cover, turn on high and let the milk heat until almost boiling.  The actual temp is 180F, but I don't use the thermometer.  Mine takes about 2 hours.
  3. Turn the crockpot off. Take the lid of and let cool back down to 115F or where you can stick your finger in and leave it for 10 seconds.   Stir it around every once in a while as it's cooling.
  4. Stir in 1 cup of plain yogurt from the store.  If you're using powdered milk, stir in now.
  5. Put lid back on, wrap entire crockpot with a beach or bath towel and set away for 8-12 hours.   I usually stick it in the oven--keeps it away from drafts and it will retain some more of the heat longer.
  6. Stir it up and put in your containers.
  7. Remember to freeze some of this in 1 cup portions (of this first batch that has been cultured from store bought yogurt) for your next batch!

See all my Cooking Recipes!

132 thoughts on “Homemade Yogurt in a Crockpot

    1. Cindy

      You turn it off when it gets hot the first time….then you’re working on it cooling off. Thanks, I’ll make that clearer in the instructions :)

      Reply
  1. Renee

    I’ve been making the homemade crockpot yogurt as well but I’ve been draining the whey off of it. Of course that makes it thicker. I noticed that you didn’t say if you did or not, do you or do you just stir it up with the finished product?

    Another question is the finished products you show in jars, do you and can you freeze that and then thaw for later?

    Reply
    1. Kimber

      My father-in-law worked for the glass industry for over 20 years in the quality design and quality control department, he also worked for the top 10 glass companies in the industry(yes I am bragging on is qualifications because I want you to know he knows what he is talking about) and these are the rules he gave me to follow.

      He stated that you preferrably should use the jars with straight sides that are suggested for freezing.

      However, if you don’t have those you can use the regular quart jars provided you do the following, other wise you have potential to stress the jar and have breakage.

      First no matter which jar you choose make sure you have not run any metal utensiles down into the jar, knives etc. , this causes stress markes in the jar which you can not generally see. If you hold it up to intense light you can see a rainbow like effect with a line for older jars and i would suggest not using those.

      Yes we know when grandma use to can she used metal tongs ( cardinal no no by the way! use the ones that are plastic coated when doing regular canning to pull jars in an out)

      So if it is an older jar, hand me down etc, dont use it for freezing.

      No matter which jar you choose always make sure you leave head space at the top of the jar to leave room for expansion of the jar contents when it freezes.

      Typically, that headspace needs to be at least a 1/2 to an inch to an inch, the more the better when freezing.

      If you choose to use general mason or ball jars that are pints or have curves make sure that you fill it a 1/4 or quarter inch below where the jar starts to curve inward.

      This curve is a stress point on the jar and when you are freezing the jar it can stress that point and cause the jar to break. Therfore, rule of thumb is if you are using regular jar then only fill along the straight edge going up the jar.

      I know they are curved at the bottom of the jar, however, the way the jars are designed the one that has the greater stress point is at the top of the jar.

      His preference is when freezing a jar to use the plastic tops designated for freezing. You can use both, use which ever one you are comfortable with. Just make sure if you are using the metal make sure you do not screw them on too tightly, comfort fit them. Just enough to be secure not torked on the jar.

      If you need more clarification than that please let me know and I will ask my qualified source.

      Have fun and thanks for the tips!

      Reply
    2. Kimber

      Comments: Also an answer to your straining the yogurt and not waisting anything while your at it.

      When you are making your Greek yogurt don’t waist anything. Take what has drained off and use it in your general baking (breads, pies, etc). Never throw out anything!

      You can also take a general kitchen colander, typically I use as small as i can get or one that would have very small holes. If you don’t have cheese cloth use a simple loose woven cloth such as muslin. If the holes are really small sometimes cloth not required. Use unbleached muslin, Finish off the edges or get a muslin napkin. If you have cheese cloth or muslin go ahead and use it but it is not a requirement.

      I usually sit it right back in the refrigerator. Let it sit for about 4 hours.

      You can also do this with cottage cheese and use it as a substitute for ricotta cheese.

      You can also mix herbs in it after it has drained and let it sit for approx. 4 hours to marinate the flavors into the cheese. or overnight is better.

      We do this in place of cream cheese. this is simply a simplified version of farmers cheese.

      and you can do this with yogurt or the cottage cheese. If you want after it is drained run the cottage cheese thru the blender to smooth it out and use it as a substitute for sour cream.

      Have fun!

      Reply
      1. Tricia

        The whey is a great pro biotic. Add the juice }a tsp at a time then increase as tolerated} to foods,especially children, to improve digestion. It will kill off bad bacteria and repopulate the good. It also can be used as a starter for more yogurt.

        Reply
  2. Pete

    Have tried this method a couple of times now, and it is GREAT!!!!! We make our own granola, and hubs is even asking for the combination now, although we generally are eating about half yogurt and half granola – sort of a cereal thing here.

    Have found myself heating the milk in the microwave almost to the upper temp then putting it into the crock. The milk was in the big measuring cup anyway, so I fugured I could cut down some of the heating time.

    Again, thanks for a terrific idea! Am still working on the original commercial yogurt (a good, organic kind) to make sure I know what it’s supposed to look like and get the process down, then will make some with using our own yogurt as the starter.

    Reply
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  4. joykenn

    I used to make my own yogurt all the time without a yogurt maker or crockpot. I’d heat the milk on the stove til just about scalding. Then let it cool before adding the yogurt to it. Meanwhile I’d wash carefully a bunch of jars and lids and then pour boiling water over them as if I were making jam. I didn’t have a dishwasher or I would have used that. Let them sit for about five minutes, Then I’d take them out of the water and drain. I’d add the warm yogurty milk using a laddle. I’d put the covered, warm jars on a tray close together and wrap it in a old comforter and put it in a warm spot near a heating vent. Sure enough by the next morning you had beautiful jars of homemade yogurt to put in the fridge. The milky mixture is still warm enough and the jars retain some heat so well wrapped in an old sleeping bag or comforter it keeps the heat in pretty well. Generally when I opened the yogurt the next morning it was still a little warm. Easy, no need for special makers or appliances and great yogurt.

    Reply
  5. Emma

    Hi Cindy! I can’t wait to try this recipe, but I was wondering how long this homemade yogurt will stay fresh in the refrigerator? Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Lisa

    hi, i’ve been making my own yogurt with my crockpot for a few months now, and i absolutely love it! now i am searching for information about making my own frozen yogurt, using the homemade yogurt. the simplest way is the best for me. do you know how this is possible? to make frozen yogurt? i’ve searched the web some but i’m only finding that an ice cream maker is required. thanks for any help or advice you can offer.
    lisa m.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Hi Lisa,

      Based on my experience of making ice cream without a machine…I would drain the yogurt in cheesecloth to get a thick yogurt (Greek yogurt). Mix in anything you’d like. Put in a pre-frozen metal bowl (metal freezes faster than glass) and put in the freezer. Every 30 minutes or so (when you see it starting to freezer around the edges) take out and whip (with electric mixer, stick blender, whisk, spoon…you’re trying to whip air into it for a light and fluffy end mix). Continue until you have the frozen yogurt consistency you like!!!! My ice cream takes about 3 hours this way.

      I really NEED to make some of this!

      Reply
  7. Eliza

    Hey Cindy,
    If I want to make the yogurt thicker, how long should I strain it through cheesecloth? I don’t want to risk it going bad sitting out in the sink.
    Thanks!
    Eliza

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I leave it strain for several hours…usually overnight. You CAN put it in a cheesecloth in a strainer inside another bowl and put it in the fridge if you’d like :)

      Reply
  8. Kari Mackay

    It took closer to four hours to bring my 1/2 gallon up to 180 degrees. I measured the temp every half hour from 2.5 hours on. I suspect it could be because of our high elevation. (over 7,000 feet here) It takes longer to make “three minute eggs”. It takes longer to water bath can. It takes more pressure to pressure can. It’s logical that it would also take longer to make yogurt. My first batch is wrapped in towels to cool over night. I’m so excited to see it in the morning!

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Yes, elevation will play a part! I never thought of that. You could heat the milk on the stove (would take considerably less time) then put into a crock pot to cool down, mix in the culture then insulate.

      Reply
    2. Erin

      Thanks for that, Kari! I am high-altitude as well and would have been so frustrated sitting there for hours waiting for a good temp.
      Did the altitude affect the time it took to culture?

      Reply
      1. LitGirl

        I am trying to eat organic with as many natural products as possible which is expensive as heck and a total pain sometimes, as even yogurt and cottage cheese these days have preservatives in them. I was wondering if I should use organic skim milk or if I could use organic whole milk and then just skim off the cream? I think I saw you say that you can skim the cream off the top and make butter from it? How exactly do you do that? Is it once the yogurt is set? I feel dumb for asking but I am new to all this and am trying to eat as healthfully as possible.

        Reply
        1. Cindy

          LitGirl, is the organic milk you use homogenized (there isn’t a cream layer on top)? The milk I was referring to was raw milk…I would normally have about a quart of cream on top of the milk that I would skim off before using the milk for anything else. If you do have a cream layer, you can skim it off to make butter with. Here’s my post on making butter.

          Reply
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  10. Melanie

    Good work with your blog. I am going to share it with my friends on facebook.
    Putting together a chicken coop can be a not too difficult case when there\\\’s a variety of blueprints and kits out there. However you do it, it\\\’s a terrific thing to do in so many ways. Fresh eggs on a daily basis, as well as the delight which occurs from having a bit of going- back- to- nature and self-sufficiency.

    Reply
  11. Shirley

    This yougurt came out beautifully my very first time with the crockpot. I do use skim milk tho and so used your tip of the non fat milk so it would thicken. My oven always seems cold maybe because it’s on an outside wall so I left the light on inside and I could not believe how just right warm it was when I woke up. I will do that to raise my breads from now on.
    Thanks so much for your easy to follow instructions. Now I will make my homemade granola to sprinkle on. Cannot wait : )

    Reply
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    1. Cindy

      I’m sorry, Cathy, but I can’t. It all depends on which ingredients you use to make it. You can take the nutritional information from the milk and yogurt you use to come up with a new nutrition label.

      Remember! You have the power of what is added into your yogurt.

      Reply
  13. Heather

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I am currently at the cooling down stage and am having a significant film cover the milk…… Is this normal? Can I just skim it off and carry on?

    Reply
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  15. Kerrie

    Okay, I’m finally making this tomorrow…but I have a question. Two questions. In the body of the post you said you use 1 cup powdered milk per 1/2 gallon of milk, and in the printable recipe, you say it’s 1/2 cup per half gallon. ?

    Also, if I double the recipe, do I also double the yogurt I’d add? Normally, I’d just automatically do this, but since it’s a live cultures thing, I didn’t know if it was necessary…or on the other hand, adding too much if I double it?

    thanks!

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Kerrie, it’s supposed to be 1/2 cup pwd milk per 1/2 gallon milk. Thank you! I changed it.

      I always use 1 cup yogurt no matter how much I make. I normally make 1 gallon and use 1 cup (or if I don’t get the larger container, I just use the small single serve you can buy IF it’s truly plain yogurt, not vanilla, and has the live cultures).

      Have fun! You’ll be amazed how easy it is and how much better it tastes!

      Reply
  16. Pete

    Thought I had my first failure last night – it just didn’t set up before I went to bed, and it still tasted like warm milk, with mostly no “tang” to it. Just left it out all night, and it HAD set up by this morning.

    Very thin, but I used a frozen cup of homemade starter that had been in the freezer at least 6 months. Still, it’s YOGURT! Must have just taken those little bacterium longer to wake up!

    Reply
  17. Amy

    I made this yogurt last night and it turned out great- very thick!
    My only question is that it has some small curds in it that are chewy. I noticed (I missed the advice about stirring the powdered milk in with a small amount of the milk separately) that I had a very hard time dissolving the powdered milk or so I thought- it was lumpy. I whisked it and it got better. Do you think the curds are from the milk powder or something else? I don’t really care for them so I ‘d like to eliminate them if I can.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      They are probably from the powdered milk. You DON’T HAVE to use the powdered milk. That was just my way of thickening the yogurt using fat free milk. If you don’t use the powdered milk and the end yogurt isn’t as thick as you’d like, simply strain it. Line a colander with butter muslin (or I just use muslin from the fabric store!), set the strainer in a larger bowl or pan, pour the yogurt into the colander and set it in the fridge. Let it strain until it’s the consistency you’d like–greek yogurt. Some don’t set this in fridge to strain, I do because as it sits out it becomes tangier. It’s already to my tangy taste by the time it’s done setting up into yogurt.

      Reply
  18. Suzanne

    You’ve turned me into a yogurt making fool! I’ve been making batches every week for the past month. Thanks so much!

    Reply
  19. Melissa Absalom

    I made a recipe similar to this (1/2 gal organic milk to 1 c yogurt), and my yogurt came out kind of slimy instead of thick. I’ve made it tons of times before but not sure what went wrong. Any ideas? Should I still use it? It tastes ok, but texture is way off.

    -Melissa

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I have no idea what the problem might be with this. If it tastes ok, I would still use it. Knowing me, I’d whip it up in the blender to get rid of the texture issue, but I don’t know what that would do for it being set up.

      Reply
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    1. Kelly

      i am not an expert however all my kids are lactose intolerant and our natralpath and a dietician both told me to give our kids yogurt to help curb the lactose intolerance. It worked! They eat it everyday and don’t have any problems anymore digesting milk, cheese, ice cream etc. Now they have been eating yogurt since they were babies and it took several months to build up tolerance, so this might take your daughter a while but unless it’s an allergy I would go for it. I will say that raw milk was much easier for them than pasteurized though at the moment we buy organic whole milk from the grocery store so it’s pasteurized and they don’t have any problems.

      Reply
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  22. Andrea

    I’ve made this crock pot yogurt about 4 times now with great success. This morning, I put the milk in the crock pot but forgot to plug it in! I must have been half a sleep still. After 2 hours and 15 minutes, I realized the milk temperature was just 48 degrees. Luckily, I used a leave-in thermometer this time. I quickly plugged in the crock pot and am now waiting for it to get it up to about 180. Will this kill off any of the bad stuff that began growing during the first couple of hours between 37 and 48 degrees?

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I’m not an expert or a scientist on when “bad stuff” starts growing, but if it were me, I would keep on going. 48 degrees isn’t that warm…an average fridge temp is 42.

      Reply
  23. Katherine

    I was wondering if I could use milk that was close to the expiration date. My grocery store marks the milk down when it is about to expire in 1-2 days. If I used this milk Do you think this would effect the amount of days my yogurt will stay fresh? We go through about 3 quarts of yogurt a week. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I would say yes! As long as you go through that much in a week, I wouldn’t have a problem using the “close to expiration” milk.

      I found gallons of whole milk reduced to 99 cents…and decided to do an experiment on how long they would last. I kept them in the fridge, didn’t freeze, and continued to drink the milk. It took 5 weeks before the milk started to turn…I was down to the last 1/4 gallon. Very surprised! I won’t have a problem anymore buying milk at reduced prices when it’s close to the expiration date.

      Reply
  24. Chandra

    Hi Cindy, any thoughts on using un-homogenized milk? Our neighbor has a milk cow and they have more milk than they know what to do with.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Chandra, you can use raw milk the same way…or if you don’t want to kill of the good properties of raw milk (which by heating up will basically pasteurize it), you can only heat it to the 115. I would skim off most of the cream (make some butter!). Don’t use any powdered milk…raw milk will make a VERY GOOD yogurt all by itself!

      Reply
  25. Angie

    I am absolutely giddy to have found this site! Feel like I have stumbled on a gold mine of great tips on my newest passion-making my own yogurt. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, I look forward to visiting often.

    Reply
  26. Angela

    I am so STUPID! I read your recipe twice and I missed how much powdered milk to put in, LOL..oh well second time will be better I guess. Atleast I can use the first batch for starters right, LOL….

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      The powdered milk is only for thickening….you can strain what you have through some muslin if you want a thicker yogurt. Powdered milk is NOT required!

      Reply
  27. Heather E.

    I have a question: I followed your recipe to a “T” for 1 gal. of organic whole milk. It didn’t work. I’ve made yogurt many times before and this time it is just like it’s still milk with yogurt mixed in. Did it cool too quickly?
    Thanks for any help!

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Many things can play a factor. The yogurt starter, heating, cooling. Did you mix the yogurt into the warm (115F) milk well? If the yogurt starter is indeed live and active, it needs to cool slowly. It should still be above room temp when it has finished setting (that’s why I wrap entire warmed crockpot in towels and stick in oven…to retain heat and let it cool slowly).

      Reply
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  29. Anna

    Maybe I missed something in the freezing conversation, but can you simply freeze the yogurt in freezable plastic containers? Or does it need to be glass?

    Reply
  30. Tracy

    I have tried four batches, two worked and two turned out runny like the consistency of kefir. I still use it but it is Too runny to use as yogurt. Could you help me troubleshoot? I so want to do this.. Of the four three batches I did exactly the same thing with timing and heating in the pot. With the two successes, I used a plain yogurt culture from the store bought yogurt. The two failures were my cultures from the successful batches. My other question is how important to the set up is the slow cooling down? My oven with light on all night kept the yogurt at 110, and then I pulled it out, took the lid off to see if it would set up and it didn’t. I wonder if I should just put it in the oven without the light? Help???

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      The slow cooling down is important. Other processes of making yogurt using a yogurt maker or even a dehydrator keeps an even temp. The beauty of making it in a crock pot it you don’t have to have special equipment. By heating the milk up in the crock pot, your crock pot is warm. After you’ve put the culture in, wrap the entire crock pot (metal piece, too) in a big bath towel…that insulates it. I only put mine in the oven to keep drafts away from it and out of the way. I don’t put a light on or turn it on to get it warm to begin with at all. My house is 65F during the day and 60F at night.

      Hope this helps!

      Reply
    2. Lynn C Maas

      Your powered milk should not be instant powered milk, I have had very runny results from using instant powered milk. I used to get whole raw milk to use for my yogurt. It makes a wound full rich creamy dessert type of yogurt! I also used quart jars in my crockpot. Warm your milk, mix in the powered noninstant milk. Let cool enough to add your culture,mixing well. Divide into your jars, place the jars into the crock and add warm water to the crock. I believe I left the crock on low over night and had wonderful yogurt in the morning.

      Reply
  31. Erin

    My first batch came out thin (I strained it to get a very soft yogurt texture) but it tastes like SOUR CREAM!!!
    What did I do wrong???

    Reply
    1. Anthony

      I saw a video on YouTube that said the longer you incubate the yogurt, the more sour it becomes. Did you try waiting just 8 hours, or did you go closer to the 12? I made a batch at 8, and while it’s definitely yogurt, it’s not very tangy at all.

      Reply
      1. Cindy

        It’s true, the longer you leave it incubate, the tangier it is. I’ve made batches that have sat for as long as 20 hours (didn’t have time to deal with it in the a.m.). Find your preference.

        Reply
    1. Cindy

      Joanne, I, personally, have never used just powdered milk to make yogurt. BUT I have read many sites where they have! When the powdered milk is reconstituted, it is milk, pure milk. I say give it a try!

      Reply
  32. Ruth Anne Shattuck

    You do not need cheesecloth to strain plain yogurt. While in Greece my hostess used coffee filters in a colander to filter plain yogurt. I could not believe the amount of whey she gleaned from a quart of plain yogurt. She used this whey in making bread. After the yogurt filtered for one day it was the consistancy of cream cheese. RAS

    Reply
  33. Anthony

    A question about using frozen yogurt starter culture. Is it important to thaw it out in the refrigerator first before using it? I’d imagine it would bring the temperature of the milk down way too low if you didn’t.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Yes, thaw the culture first. The milk actually won’t be warm enough to thoroughly melt it before the temp is too low for things to work :)

      Reply
  34. christine

    I’ve been making the yogurt for about three weeks now and have really been pleased. I wanted to let you-all know how I’ve made it even cheaper. On Saturday morning our King Soopers (the local Krogers affiliate) often has 1/2 gals. for 1/2 price that are going to expier in 5-6 days. I do both my grocery shopping and my yogurt making on the weekends so this is perfect. Check your local stores for discount milk early Saturday morning for an extra cheap batch of this basic healthy food.

    Christine. I don’t have a website but check out my small little Healthy Table on Facebook.

    Reply
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  36. Wendy

    I just made this yogurt last week. This is my second time making yogurt in a Cock pot. Last time I used a different recipe that did not include dry milk powder. I used this yogurt last night in my Kitchen-aid ice cream maker to make strawberry frozen yogurt, it was delicious. Thank you for the recipe. As a side note I look forward to meeting you at CITR retreat.

    Reply
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  41. Justa Guy

    Tried your yoghurt method, and it turned out perfectly. Did it with whole milk and came out with a nice thick creamy batch….thanks for this!

    Reply
  42. Christy

    You have inspired me to make yogurt. Since I don’t have a crockpot, I followed the suggestions of the person who commented about just keeping it in jars in a warm place, and it has worked beautifully.

    Reply
  43. Lisa

    I heard that you aren’t supposed to stir yogurt or sour cream because it causes it to become more watery. Have you had a problem with this? I love greek yogurt, so I’m wanting mine to start and stay as thick as possible.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      I don’t stir anything until at least 8 hours and I check it. There may be water on top…either stir it in or take it off. If it’s not thick enough for you, strain it…voila, greek yogurt!

      Reply
  44. Brenda Stout

    This works amazingly well and soooooo easy. I used 1 gallon of raw whole milk and one cup of store bought plain yogurt. After it set overnight I strained it and was left with two quarts of the smoothest Greek yogurt ever. My only tip is “dont keep opening your crock pot to check the temperature. Give it two hours then check it.”

    Reply
  45. Amanda

    Ive had two batches not “yogurt” up. Any ideas why? The first I think I added it too early and killed the culture but the second I have no idea. Does humidity affect anything? Should I just keep watching it and see if it does anything? It has been in my oven for about 9 or 10 hours I believe but is still totally runny. Ive made three batches prior with no problems.

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      It may have been the yogurt culture you used? There have been a couple batches I’ve done recently using store yogurt that didn’t thicken up enough. I strained, leaving greek yogurt, and some milk to bake with :)

      Reply
  46. Linda

    I’m in the process of making this now:) It’s taking a long time to cool off, so I took the crock pot out of its base to see if that helps shorten the time.

    I hope this works out! I want to add vanilla extract to it, but I’m afraid the alcohol will kill off the good bacteria.

    Linda

    Reply
    1. Linda

      Ok…well I opened my yogurt to mix in the milk at just the right time and the yogurt was molded(well within it’s date and I just bought it!!:( ) So, as to make an attempt not to waste a half gallon or organic milk, I grabbed a container of my son’s vanilla yogurt and put it in there. We’ll see what happens!

      Linda

      Reply
  47. Hilda

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I haven’t bought yogurt in almost a year since I came across your homemade yogurt recipe. Now, my friend has started making her own yogurt as well. We love it, the taste and the monetary savings!!!

    Reply
  48. Pingback: Making Yogurt « landamongthestars

  49. Barb J.

    I’ve seen a lot of homemade yogurt recipes, but this one looks like the most simple. Love the idea of adding powdered milk for thickness. I had always shied away from making my own yogurt because everyone said it was very thin. I’m going to try this!

    Reply
  50. Sarah M.

    I’ve tried making yogurt 4 times using different methods, including yours. But my yogurt always ends up with little tiny cottage cheese-like chunks in it. It tastes and smells like yogurt, but I’m always afraid to eat it incase it is bad.

    Has this ever happened to anyone else?

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Are these clumps all the way through, or just a few? Yogurt is a cheese and what you are seeing are curds, I believe. Give it a good stir. If it tastes and smells like yogurt, it’s fine to eat. You will know by taste buds or your nose if it’s bad.

      Next time, stir your starter yogurt into a cup of the warmed milk to dissolve it, then stir it into the pot. I’m not sure if this will help, but it may be from undissolved starter yogurt creating more curd right around it.

      HTH!

      Reply
  51. sarah flowers

    I’m really disappointed in my effort with this. I used 1 gallon of pasteurized 1% milk. I heated it for two hours. It took about 20 minutes after cool down before it was cool enough to stick my finger in for 10 seconds (I rechecked every 5 minutes to be certain). I then added 1 cup of yogurt and 1 cup of powdered milk, wrapping it up in a towel and sticking it in the oven. I went to bed very excited! Then I wake up in the morning and…nothing. Nothing. The milk is maybe a little slimier looking than normal, but that’s it. It’s still very liquid. All liquid, actually. I double checked, and the yogurt said, “live active cultures” on the side, so I’m not sure where I went wrong. Any ideas?

    Reply
    1. Kansas

      I’d say next time heat it in the microwave, it takes about 20 minutes and it would save you a lot of time getting to that stage. I stir in my skim milk powder to the milk before I heat it. Cool down takes me well over an hour to get to 115F and I use a meat thermometer to check the temp, if it’s hotter you’ll kill the cultures. I also temper my yogurt before adding it; mix some of your warm milk into a small jar, add yogurt, stir gently, and then pour the works into your main mixture, again stirring gently. Was your oven/kitchen cold? Preheat your oven just a bit and then shut it off before putting in your crockpot.

      Reply
  52. Katie

    OK, so I made a gallon of 2% milk… I heated, cooled, added the 1 cup of started and got it nice and cozy for it’s overnight stay in the oven. I checked it this morning and its thicker than milk but still very loose! I don’t have any powdered milk but I do have Knox Gelatin on-hand. Would it be OK to put it in now? Should I mix it in and put it in the fridge to thicken? Or leave it in the oven? and how much should I use?

    Reply
    1. Cindy

      Katie, so sorry for not seeing this sooner. I’ve never used Knox gelatin in my yogurt, so I cannot give any advice on this…though I thought gelatin sets up after mixing with heat…thats my experience with jello. I hope you were able to save this batch. I only use powdered milk when using 2 percent or lower milk to give it more body….and that would need to be added BEFORE leaving it to set up over night. The most problems from not setting up comes from milk being too hot before adding culture and the culture dies or the culture isnt live in the yogurt used as culture.

      Reply
  53. Leslie Minyone

    I am so excited to try this recipe today. I’m going to use goat’s milk. Our Lamancha milk goat, Gracie gives us up to 3/4 of a gallon of milk a day. My freezer is full of half gallons of her milk. Gotta use it for something and this recipe seems to fill the bill. Thanks for posting and sharing all your tips. Wish me luck.

    Reply
  54. Tucson Cook

    I read your story and was instantly hooked. I followed your instructions and learned to make yogurt. My husband says he likes my yogurt better than store bought yogurt now. I made a few adjustments to your recipe over time and with experience I can turn out yogurt in under seven hours.

    First once I knew I would continue making crockpot yogurt I purchased a 2.5-Quart crockpot with a removable ceramic crock. I dedicated this crockpot solely for making yogurt and I make a half gallon batch each week. I know from experience that it takes 2.5 hours for my milk to come to 180 degrees and then 30 minutes holding at that temperature. That helps thicken the yogurt and ensures all competing bacteria are dead. I then pour the hot milk into a stainless steel bowl and do an ice bath to bring the milk down to 110 degrees. I use a thermometer to hit the temperature exactly and remove my bowl from the ice water bath. I then add one cup powdered milk (we prefer Nido) but I have used Carnation powdered milk in a pinch. (You can’t taste the powdered milk so don’t worry.) I also sweeten the milk mixture with whatever I’m in the mood for that day. Everything from agave nectar to Sucanat (pure cane sugar) Adding those ingredients brings the mixture down to about 105-106 degrees which is perfect.

    Then I temper my yogurt (I use Activia for the cultures) slowly adding two cups of my milk mixture and stirring constantly to keep it smooth. Then mix it all together and stir. Pour my milk mixture back into the warm crock. (I keep it with the lid on in my oven until I’m ready. That warm crock helps keep the yogurt curing and I don’t have to mess with towels, heating pads etc. I have an oven that shows temperatures and I warm the oven to 110 degrees and turn it off. Put my crockpot in the oven and set the timer for four hours. When the timer goes off the yogurt is done and ready for the refrigerator. I leave it untouched to thicken until the next morning when I fill my jars.

    Great tip- purchase a set of 8 oz jelly canning jars and some reusable plastic lids. I then fill my jars with yogurt and the plastic lids makes it just as portable as commercial yogurt to eat when away from home. Thank you for sharing because we eat healthier by making it ourselves.

    Reply
  55. Amanda

    I tried this and it didn’t set up much at all…used one 1 cup of Greek yogurt (plain Fage) as my starter. What could the problem be? Followed all the direction to a “t”.

    Reply
    1. KC

      The couple of times that I used Fage, I could’t get mine to set either. I eventually switched over to Nancy’s and have been much happier with the results!

      Reply
  56. Rose

    Thank you so very much for teaching all of us this valuable
    skill. I am making my third batch today. The addition of the powdered milk worked extremely well. Thank you for the time you have put into this process and blogging about it.
    I will be saving oodles of money on yogurt this year, and
    it really is the best yogurt I have ever tasted. I like to
    scoop some in a small bowl and add a packet of stevia and a handfull of fresh raspberries… and stir. Yum. Your blog is a gift. Thanks.
    Rose

    Reply
  57. CC Rider

    Cindy,

    After meeting you at CITR and taking a couple of your classes, your blog is a delight to read. Keep up the great work with all the great stuff you do and then are so generous to share with others! Many blessings to you in 2013!

    Reply
  58. CC Krull

    Cindy,

    I made your crock pot yogurt last night and I don’t have a clue what went wrong. I did exactly like you said in your recipe being sure to get the temps. exact. After 12 hours in the oven I was so disappointed to find it runny and rather curdled looking. I was so wanting to be what I ate at the CITR in 2012! So disappointed

    Reply
  59. Pingback: Crock Pot Yogurt | Recipes from Jean's Kitchen

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  61. Janet

    I made this yesterday and was so happy to see how it turned out! I used whole milk and a cup of Trader Joe’s plain yogurt for the starter. I used 1/2 gallon of milk, so that cost was $1.50, plus a few cents for the starter. The total “resting” time was about 13.5 hours on my counter wrapped in a big towel. Thanks Cindy!

    Reply
  62. lindsey

    Thanks for sharing. I have tried to make yoghurt a few different ways (one way being in a yoghurt maker) and it has never worked out. I tried it the way you explained and I was thrilled when I pulled it out in the morning to see that it did!!! I was so excited! So, thanks again!

    Reply
  63. Pingback: Homemade Yogurt & “Real” Easy Dressing: Days 4 & 5 | Hometown Harvest

  64. Carol Bennett

    Please don’t tell people to stick their fingers in to test the temperatures! I am a health inspector and I can tell you that the reason you heat to 180 degrees is to kill bacteria…to stick your fingers in at the lower temperatures will add new bacteria, no matter how clean your hands are. Then you keep the temp in the “danger zone” for bacterial growth and you will end up with a potential for dangerous bacteria growing. I love making my own yogurt….but be careful of reintroduction of bacteria! :-)

    Reply
    1. Cindy Post author

      Thank you, Carol!

      Heating the milk up is to kill bacteria that may work against the yogurt culture and cause the yogurt not to set up. Yogurt can be made by not even heating it up…and when I use raw milk (unpasteurized) I only heat it up to the 110-115 range, I don’t want to kill the good bacteria that is in raw milk. Personal preference! Proceed at your own risk of not heating the milk up to 180 first….the yogurt may not set.

      Proceed at your own risk of sticking your finger in the milk to test temperatures. If I were serving this to the public I would use a thermometer.

      Reply
  65. Elaine

    Hi, – at the top of your blog you say you used One Gallon Milk and 1 Cup yogurt to start it, but then in your recipe at the bottom, you say 1/2 Gallon Milk and 1 cup yogurt ??? which one is correct?
    thanks for great idea~! can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
    1. Cindy Post author

      1/2 cup!! I use 1/2 cup per 1/2 gallon of milk if I’m using low-fat or ultra-pasteurized milk. I have changed the printed recipe now. Thank you!

      Reply
  66. Taryn

    I have to say thank you!!! I have been trying to make yogurt for three nights now and when I get up in the morning I still just have milk! I tried your recipe last night and I’m so very happy to say I have yogurt this morning!! My kids will be so happy when they get up! Thanks Again!

    Reply
      1. Anne

        I have tried twice to make crockpot yogurt using almond milk and both times it has failed. I followed your recipe. Do you have any thoughts on this? Thanks. I may have to breakdown and buy a yogurt maker but would prefer not to.
        Anne

        Reply
  67. Ruth

    Did I read your instructions correctly? I used a 1/2 gallon of ultra-pasteurized milk so I only used 1/2 cup of yogurt as a starter. Was that correct? I have it in the oven right now and hoping I did it right.

    Reply

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