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!
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- 1/2 gallon
- 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
- Pour milk into crockpot.
- 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.
- 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.
- Stir in 1 cup of plain yogurt from the store. If you're using powdered milk, stir in now.
- 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.
- Stir it up and put in your containers.
- 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!