Instructions and photos on how to make yogurt simply using your crockpot!
Crockpot YogurtJump to Recipe
I’ll be honest. I’ve been trying to make yogurt for over a year. I think I’ve tried it three or four times and it just never worked out for me.
After a weekend of trying, you could walk through my kitchen and think that someone was trying The Gallon Challenge. Milk jugs. Everywhere.
And I could just never get it right.
My problems were twofold. The problem I knew I was having was temperature issues. I tried keeping the yogurt in a warm oven or in an insulated bowl and it just never kept in the right range for long enough. What I didn’t know is that I was also having milk problems. Using the right milk is really important.
Last week though, I nailed it. I was able to produce really good yogurt with the one piece of kitchen equipment that most people have that’s really good at keeping things at a steady temp: A crockpot!
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Instructions and photos on how to make yogurt simply using your crockpot!
1) Clean your crockpot well and add the milk. Heat it on low until it registered 175-185 degrees Fahrenheit.
2) Once it’s that temperature, turn off the crockpot and let the milk slowly cool until it registers 110-120 degrees. This will take at least an hour. No need to rush it.
3) Once it’s at that temperature, take out 1 Cup of warm milk and add 1/2 Cup of yogurt. Stir it well to make sure the yogurt is dissolved. Pour this mixture back into the warm milk and stir to combine.
4) Cover crockpot and place a large towel on top to insulate the crockpot. Keep the crockpot off but make sure the milk is staying in the 110-120 degree range. Maintain this temperature for 6-8 hours.
5) You might need to turn on the crockpot briefly on it’s lowest setting for 10 minute bursts to keep the milk in the right range.
6) Once the time is up, you can scoop out any extra liquid and stir the yogurt together or pour it onto some cheesecloth and strain it for an hour to make a thicker yogurt (Greek yogurt).
7) Feel free to add fruit or flavorings to the yogurt once it’s done!
How to Make Yogurt: The Ingredients
There’s really only two ingredients to yogurt: Milk and bacteria. The best way to get the bacteria is just to “borrow” it from a yogurt that you like.
That said, there are some important notes to make when picking out a milk and a yogurt.
For the milk, it’s really important to find a milk that isn’t homogenized and isn’t ultra-pasteurized. Pasteurized is fine, but ultra-pasteurized doesn’t work for some reason (at least in my experience).
I was able to find a great brand of milk at my natural foods store that is non-homogenized and vat-pasteurized. The bacteria just ate this stuff up.
As far as the yogurt goes, you can literally use any yogurt you want as long as it contains live active cultures in it. Most, but not all, brands do. Just be sure to check on the ingredients. You’re looking for the words “LIVE” and “ACTIVE”.
This should go without saying, but plain yogurt will make plain yogurt. Vanilla yogurt will make plain yogurt. Vanilla doesn’t reproduce people. So just use the plain flavor to keep it simple.
The reason why the crockpot is such a perfect tool for yogurt making is because it’s really important to keep the yogurt at a pretty narrow temperature range while it’s doing its thing. I’ve tried a few different ways, but this one definitely produced the best results.
They do make yogurt makers which are very good at temperature control, but unless you’re making it frequently, I’m not sure it’s worth it to invest.
So, to start, make sure your crockpot is really clean and then add all your milk. Set it to low, cover it, and let the milk come up to around 180 degrees F. Anything in the 175-185 range works, but try not to go out of the range. Definitely don’t boil the milk or it will mess up the structure of it.
Bringing up the temp slowly works great. It might take an hour or so, but don’t try to rush it or you’ll run the risk of scalding the milk.
Once the milk reaches that temperature, you need to cool it down to about 115 degrees. Again, I think anything in the 110-120 range should work, but if it’s too hot, it’ll kill the bacteria and if it’s too cold they won’t get busy.
This is why a thermometer is almost essential for this process.
When your milk is the right temperature, take about about a cup of the warm milk and add 1/2 Cup of yogurt to it.
Stir this up really well and then add it back into the crockpot. Stir it all together.
Maintaining the Temperature
This is the tricky part for yogurt. You need to keep this batch of milk in that 110-120 temperature range for around 6 hours, but 8 would be ideal. This is no easy task.
My crockpot is really well insulated which definitely helped, but what I did was layer on a large beach towel, folded over a few times to the top of the crockpot. I figured that’s where most of the heat was escaping.
Once I added my yogurt, I turned off the crockpot and just covered it like this.
This was shockingly effective. I was able to maintain that temperature range for about 7 hours just by this method. TWICE during that time, about every 3 hours, I turned on the crockpot, put it on its lowest setting, and let it heat up for just 10 minutes. Then I’d turn it off again.
Those two little bursts of low heat helped it stay in that perfect range. Honestly, I think my crockpot was so well insulated that I could have just left it overnight and woken up to perfect yogurt.
So the first time you try this, if you try it, I’d keep a close eye on it just to get a feel for how well your crockpot retains heat. If it’s doing a good job, then you can probably leave it unattended for the entire time assuming you do your best to keep the heat in.
The Finished Product
After 7 hours or so, I uncovered my yogurt to find this beautiful stuff.
Now, the fresh yogurt will have some liquid on top. That’s okay. You can try to scoop out any large liquid pools and then stir the yogurt to combine everything well. This is what I did for the yogurt in the first photo in this post.
My yogurt was really tangy which I liked and had great flavor. I had it warm on night one with some honey and almonds. It was an awesome dessert.
The Greek Method
I like my yogurt a bit thicker for everyday use. This is really easy to do once your yogurt is made. Just line a colander with some cheesecloth and pour your yogurt in!
Let this sit for about an hour or so and all that liquid will drain out. You’ll be left with a beautiful thick yogurt.
Not only did my yogurt turn out to be better flavored than the original that I used, but I’m pretty sure it was cheaper also. I didn’t compute the financials exactly, but if you can get good milk for a reasonable price, than you can probably save a buck or two.
The more important thing though is that it was a lot of fun. I think this would be an awesome thing to do with kids to teach them about bacteria. I’m a kid at heart still and I loved checking on the yogurt and seeing how it was thickening up over time.
Once you get the hang of it, you can add all kinds of flavoring to it as well!
If you’ve ever tried to make your own yogurt, failed or succeeded, leave a comment!
About MacheesmoRead More
Hello! My name is Nick Evans and I write and manage Macheesmo. I started Macheesmo 11 years ago when I was just learning my way around the kitchen. I love to cook and love everything food-related, but I have no formal training. These days I focus on fast, accessible recipes with the occasional “reach” recipe!
I’ve posted almost 2,000 recipes on Macheesmo. For each one, I do my best to give full explanations of what I did and tips on what I’d do differently next time. I’ll bring up the tricky parts and the easy parts.
I hope you can find something and cook something!
159 Responses to “Crockpot Yogurt” Leave a comment
I haven't had that sort of problem with different milks. At this point, I use dried milk and mix it up with 1 1/2 the amount of powder you need for normal milk to make thicker yogurt. (First few times, it didn't occur to me and I made 6c of milk, then boiled it down to 4… felt pretty silly when I realized that wasn't necessary.) It definitely does come out cheaper if you're using dried milk, too.
I use yogurt daily for smoothies, so I did find it worth the $20 to get an incubator. I had made it once before with a crockpot, and even the low setting on ours was too hot. Hah, um, and I (still not thinking things through) had some spare cake mix and dumped it in to flavor. So, of course, that cooked up and made a creepy texture…
I've made yogurt weekly for about two years now and actually find it very forgiving and difficult to mess up. I don't have an incubator, yogurt maker, or crockpot, but find that it's not necessary for good yogurt. I've used everything from non-homogenized whole milk down to UHT pasteurized non-fat milk with no problem, though the fat content did affect the final consistency and creaminess.
I usually heat the milk over about 5 minutes to around 180°, then allow it to cool to 105-115° (this takes about 30 minutes for 1 liter, but I have cheated and used an ice bath when in a hurry), whisk in my yogurt culture, and strain into a one liter glass jar which I then wrap with several kitchen towels. I pop the wrapped jar into my microwave/oven to keep it safe and out of the way while it incubates, but don't apply any additional heat or temperature regulation at all. I'm in Tokyo, where the seasons are quite variable, so I don't think climate is likely to be a factor.
I'm not an expert by far, but I wonder if your difficulties might be related to the ratio of yogurt culture to milk. I have heard that with yogurt more is not necessarily better. I generally go with 2 tbsp of starter (last week's yogurt) per liter of milk, or about half what you are using here.
It's also possible that checking the consistency disturbed the yogurt and prevented it from setting. The proteins that cause yogurt to thicken are fairly unstable, and stirring or otherwise disturbing them causes them to break down. This is why whey pools on the top of yogurt when you take out a big spoonful. It's best to leave it completely alone to do its thing until its ready.
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Interesting. Maybe Maya. I'll try it next time with less starter. Seems like a lot of people think this was easier than I made it.
I am trying to make some yogurt as I type. I have a quick question however. If the yogurt cultures
work at 115F Why heat the milk to 180F and allow to cool?
It's important to heat the milk because the proteins change structure around that temp which allows for coagulation. Then you need to cool it down so the cultures don't die..
Actually, heating to 180 kills any bad bacteria or yeast that may have started growing in the milk. Then you have to cool it to 110-120 so you don't also kill the good yogurt bacteria. I make about a quart per day since my wife and I use it on our cereal and with fruit.
To incease the thickness, I use skim milk, then add 1/3 cup of non-fat dry milk before raising to 180 F. This makes a thicker yogurt without straining it.
SInce I am pre-diabetic, I add 1/3C sucralose (Splenda) to sweeten but add no carbs. I also use a pure freeze dried culture that gives a flavor like no store-bought yogurt can come close to. It takes about 1/16 Tsp of the dry culture for a quart of yogurt.
Any idea on how it would work for a fat free version? I've made yogurt for my baby with whole milk and 2%, but personally am addicted to fat free Greek yogurt.
I think it would work just fine. The yogurt might end up a bit thinner which means, after straining it, you'll probably end up with less, but I think it'll work.
As noted above just use fat free milk powder at 1 1/2 times strength. have done it this way for years and love it. If you use greek yogurt for your starter it works even better.
oh gosh i don't know. i'm already tired reading all this.
you keep to your yogurts and i'll keep to my yoga.
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I've also been making my own yogurt for a couple of years or so (since the NYTimes ran a piece about how easy it is) and have tried many variations. Whole milk is tastiest and thickest, of course, but skim works just fine. Adding some powdered fat free milk to skim usually makes it thicken up more, if you're aiming for a certain texture. I always add a bit of sugar and vanilla to mine because I'm not a huge fan of really tangy plain yogurt. I also found that re-using my own starter for more than a few cycles, in addition to being hard (we'd often eat all of the yogurt before I remembered that I wanted to save some!) resulted in a more tangy culture, so I use a fresh starter (i.e. yogurt from the store) each week. Our climate is also variable, I can leave the yogurt out overnight to culture in the winter, but in the summer I try to only leave it 4 hours or so (again, not a fan of the tang that develops with longer culturing times). But I don't have any special equipment, just wrap my pan in a towel and leave it on the counter. I have a hard time eating store-bought yogurt anymore, mine is so yummy!
I make Yogurt at home every other day, and It's so simple, like Maya said it is hard to mess it up. What I do is that when I buy a fresh pack of Yogurt, I save a spoon of it and then in a clean container take some full cream milk, or any milk for that matter and whisk in the spoon of Yogurt and let it sit undisturbed outside overnight. But then again we have humid and warmer climate here in India. During winters when it is cold outside, what I do is I heat up a cup of water in the microwave for 2 minutes, and then just put the cup at one side and the container with themixture of milk+yogurt next to it and leave the microwave closed. The warm water helps maintain the temperature inside and next morning I have amazing Yogurt.
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Hmm.. yea.. I'm not sure why my versions failed before, but I definitely had 3 failed attempts before this one.
APFEL, I’d love to try your method. I live in a cold climate, who will use the microwave method.: about how much cream/milk do you use for that spoonful of yogurt? Thanks!
I think I'd have more luck with the gallon challenge… I admire your dedication!
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I took a day-long cheese making course last year and was warned not to use ultra-pasteurized milk because the temperature used to make it "ultra" kills the good little bugs. The same would apply to yogurt.
Trouble is, it's hard to find milk that isn't UHP, even from organic dairies like Stoneyfield Farms here in New Hampshire. I finally bought unpasteurized goats milk from a farmer and used it with some trepidation. We're still alive!
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Yea that makes sense to me.
When you bring the milk up to 180 degrees F, you are pasteurizing the milk, in addition to changing the proteins to make a better shape for thickening up. So, I don't see any reason why you can't use fresh unpasteurized milk.
My first attempt was fresh unpasteurized milk, it worked fine, no different from this time in which I justt used pasteurized whole… but then i keep it more liquidy for smoothies. Still tastes amazing! Plus I’ve found it cheaper because I get a lot more yogurt for the price of half a gallon of milk, then just buying it. Also more gratifying. ;-)
I had no problems making yogurt with store bought milk but raw milk has been a challenge for me. I will try your crockpot method to see if this helps?
You are confusing ultra high pasturized milk with pasturized milk. UHP aka UHT is shelf stable and comes in boxes. Pasturized milk is regular ole jugs of milk you buy in the store. Either way you are using the starter for the bacteria not the milk so it won’t matter one whit which you use.
Not a fan of Crockpots but have made my own Greek Style Yogurt for years – using Fat Free Skim Milk. Here is the recipe http://www.food.com/recipe/make-your-own-greek-yo…
As a sieve instead of Cheese Cloth I let the cured yogurt drain in a Hemp bag which I highly recommend too. http://sproutman.com/sprouters/sproutmans-natural…
I also highly recommend investing in a digital thermometer, there is nothng like it – I use mine for everything from cooking meats to getting the critical temp right making yogurt………..I did say making yogurt was easy if you hit the temp right. Setting it in your oven with the interior light left on is all the heat you should need to grow the culture.
How can you not be a fan of crockpots!!? They are awesome! :)
Glad to see this post on yogurt. I make a gallon every two weeks. Looks like you did everything right! I add 3 tablespoons of powdered milk to the milk (skim, 2% or whole doesn't matter), up to 180, back down to 120. Then… into a gallon sized pickle jar, wrap in a large towel and into a styrofoam cooler and leave it undisturbed overnight. Save a little for the next batch, or use fresh culture (not store bought yogurt) from New England Cheese Company (http://www.cheesemaking.com/) or some any other supplier. You will never pay for store bought yogurt again!
I am sooo jealous. I have been planning to make some for a while now and I keep forgetting to buy a thermometer!
Now I know I HAVE to get one and make some yogurt next weekend.
Awesome! I made yogurt once and just left it out in the Bermuda sun all day and it worked fine… Made the best froyo ever with it.
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I've been making yogurt about 8 to 10 yeasr, or longer. Started out with a yogurt maker and found it was hard to get replacement glass containers. On television, I saw the Frugal Gourmet use quart sized containers placed in a pressure cooker filled with warm water, then covered and wrapped with a towel (Winter). I use either skim, or 2%, and add a couple of tablespoons powdered milk. It's left untouched for 6 to 7 hours. Prefect every time. I also use Brown Cow as a starter, or Danon plain. I have found it safer to stay in the 105° to 115° range when adding the starter. I have had failures over 115%
My husband is crazy about the naturally sweet flavor and creamy texture.
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I make cream cheese every once in a while (from the recipe on the Homestead Kitchen http://www.thefamilyhomestead.com/recipes.htm) and this sounds really similar. Can't wait to try it :)
Great job Nick! I've been thinking about yogurt making for a while, I just love the stuff.
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I had great luck with this method. I did stray a bit because I used some gelatin and a bit of powdered milk.
After sitting for 6>8 hours, without straining it was so thick that my thermometer would stand straight up. After straining in my muslin it was nice and thick Greek style yogurt.
I think when it is on low, my crock pot will stay at around 100 degrees and that makes it very easy to let it cure.
First time with using whole milk here. I always use skim, but I got a "present" of Amish Friendship Bread starter, so I thought I'd buy whole milk for that, make yogurt with the other half. I have great success with skim milk, although I do strain it. I save the whey and cook my oatmeal in it. Makes the oatmeal very tender, and adds a nice little twang. Hope I have some whey from the whole milk recipe.
Thank you to all for taking the time to share your ideas, comments and advice. I'm inspired and encouraged to now make my own yogurt. Thank you!
I've been using my crockpot to make yogurt for about 4 months now. I find your instructions very clear and helpful! The temperature guidance is very much appreciated.
I use 1% milk and add about 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk powder at the same time I add the yogurt starter. I wrap the crockpot with a towel bit more tightly than in your photographs. When it's done, I imply whisk the liquid into the yogurt. II always keep about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the yogurt as the starter for the next batch.
A half-gallon of milk produces two quarts of yogurt at 1/3 the cost in the supermarket. If you strain some of the whey out using cheesecloth to produce Greek-style yogurt, you are looking at savings more akin to 1/5 to 1/4 of the price.
How much gelatin would one add to make yogurt so thick the thermometer will stand up?
I have been making yogurt for a couple of years now, in the crockpot (it looks like I have the same one in the picture!). I started doing it when our local recycling depot stopped taking plastic containers that don't have a neck (such as yogurt containers). Since my son and I share a smoothy every morning for breakfast, we were going through yogurt pretty fast, and the containers were starting to stack up much faster than we could reuse them. Then it occurred to me, milk bottles have a neck!
I use my local skim milk, and add a cup of dried milk powder for each half gallon, before I bring the milk up to 180 degrees F. This gives me yogurt about the consistency you get at the store. I usually strain some of the whey off to make a thicker yogurt. I then use the whey in baking, or in cooking oatmeal, etc… It's a bit sour, so you may need to add more sugar to things when you substitute whey for the liquid in recipes. The whey makes a great acidic substitute for buttermilk.
I’ve made yogurt in the past with a yogourtmet maker and today I’m making it and found that sucker only was heating to 90 degrees and I needed 110!. It worked before but now I’m using raw organic milk from a local farm so I had to make a mother culture out of my Greek Yogurt Starter. It says the culture is very temperamental to 110-112 degrees. I’m now using my Little Dipper Crockpot and plugging it in every few hours to maintain temp., it’s covered in towels. Tomorrow I will move on to the raw yogurt making. I’ll have to post again on how it turns out. Thanks for the crockpot tips.
Hey Stacie, definitely let me know. I’ve been trying to get my hands on some raw milk, but it’s not so easy to find where I live. I bet it’s super-delicious.
I’ve heard mixed reviews about the yogurt makers. Crockpot definitely worked fine for me!
If any of you guys have a bread or rice cooker, check it. My bread machine I only use to make, knead and rise dough that I punch down and put in loaf pans to rise the last time then bake. BUT I have one that acts as a slow cooker, food steamer, soup, beans etc. It has a yogurt cycle that makes excellent yogurt too. If you have either of those appliances, check their settings out.
Also there is such creature as a Greek yogurt “maker”. It is a bowl fashioned of ribs that support the bowl made of very, very, fine material. Finer than any strainer and it just needs rinsed well and a pass of a soapy sponge if you let it get yogurt get dried on the straining membrane. I find it easier and much less messy than cheesecloth or strainer with coffee filter or paper towels.
Hiya – I’d like to have a go at making yogurt, but my slow cooker only has one setting. Well actually it has 3 – steamer, rice cooker or slow cooker – but as a slow cooker it is either on or off. Will this work? Or should I heat the milk on the stove first?
I’m wanting your opinion. Let’s say I bring the milk up to temp, cool it down, add the starter and whathaveyou, and then let it incubate in glass jars, with warm water, in the crockpot, per your instructions. I’m thinking ultimate even temp and more controlled heat retention. What do you think? Too much work?
Well, I think it would definitely work and then you would have your yogurt in jars, but I’m not sure that it would lead to any better yogurt and it would be a lot more work.
At the end of the day, the yogurt is more lenient than I thought it would be originally to temperature. As long as you can keep it in a 5-10 degree range, you’ll be fine. I found that towels and a good crockpot did the trick.
Thank you so much! Your directions were both basic and descriptive in just the right way. I was able to make fantastic yorgurt the 1st time out ;-) After adding the starter yogurt I noticed that my temp dropped dramatically so I put my pot on low for 5 minutes to bring it back up to 115. After that I wrapped the pot and left it over night. I had perfect yogurt in the morning ;-) Next time cheese cloth..
Great Sandi! Glad it worked out for you!
Oh, I used local raw milk and my fav Greek yogurt as the starter btw.
So interesting, I would never think to make yogurt in a crockpot. Do you think this would work with non-dairy milk and non-dairy yogurt starter?
Not sure on that one Jeanette. Should work fine if the temperature ranges are the same that you would need to hold the yogurt at.
I’ve never even seen non-dairy yogurt starter… If it requires the same temp range and time though then it should work okay.
Hi Jeanette and Nick! First time yogurt-maker here and used you technique Nick with Silk Light Vanilla soymilk – GREAT results, although a bit runny. I’ve never seen homemade yogurt before so I can’t say if it was runny because of the soymilk as opposed to regular milk, or just because I’m not used to homemade yogurt. Either way, it was very delicious. I used a store bought soy yogurt as a starter. I wanted to make my own because only one store sells soy yogurt, in only two flavors and it is too expensive.
I started making my own yogurt about a month ago with great success. (I use a crockpot on warm and just check temp.)
I recently watching a video on making yogurt at home (link is below) and they used a yogurt starter called yo-mix 401. All that was needed for two quarts was a piece the size of a lentil.
I am interested in finding this kind of yogurt starter. The company that supplied the yo-mix starter is danlac at http://www.danlac.com. Unfortunately for me they are a Canadian company.
Has anyone here used this starter or one like it? Do any of you know where I can purchase this kind of starter?
FYI the National Yogurt Council has a logo for yogurts that are certified with a high amount of live cultures. You can google them to find what to look for when you buy store bought yogurt for a starter.
Here is the link that I spoke about above, where this couple uses the Yo-mix live culture as a starter.
oops forgot the link:
Hey Lynn, I’ve never used or seen a starter like that, but I’ve always just used leftover yogurt from whatever brand you like. If the cultures are live then they will produce more bacteria (yogurt) and you should be fine. I’ve never used a packaged starter…
Just make sure your yogurt lists live cultures as an ingredient!
I just made this yesterday. I started (i think) to late in the day. Or did I? I had it wrapped in a towel from 4pm to 5 am the next morning. Is it still okay to eat? It looks good – it’s nice and thick and creamy. Should it have been put in the fridge sooner? I was going to let it sit for 8-10 hours, but fell asleep! :)
Oh I think it’s probably fine Amy for that amount of time. If you left it out for days then I would be concerned, but a few extra hours shouldn’t affect it at all.
That said, if you eat it and get sick, don’t sue me! ;)
I am dairy sensitive so was wondering if I can make crockpot yogurt with rice milk and goat’s milk yogurt starter.
I am also dairy sensitive and I make and eat yogurt every morning!
I’ve read that most milks should work for yogurt/cheese/dairy products. I don’t know the difference between a dairy sensitivity and a lactose intolerance but I am lactose intolerant and can eat yogurt just fine. The reason being that there are active cultures in yogurt and an intolerance means you are lacking the cultures in your digestive track. This is why (with an intolerance at least), you take an enzyme to digest most dairy. Yogurt has cultures so most of the time, it’s digested okay for most people. If you’re talking about an allergy, then…I really have no idea. Good luck!
I’ve been making yogurt for years, and I use the same method as Amy posted above, as do several of my friends. I love it made with whole milk, but I usually use 2% because that’s what I have on hand from WIC.
This method is super easy and we call it the “old-fashioned middle east way.” I use a dutch oven with a tight fitting lid to bring my milk up to temp and cool down, then whisk in the starter. Then put on the tight lid and wrap the whole pan in a heavy towel. If I’m not baking, I place it in the oven to keep it out of the way and undisturbed, but if I need the oven, then anywhere out of the way is fine. Let sit 6-7 hours. I’ve gone as long as 9 and as few as 5. Once it sets, it sets, leaving it for a longer time just makes it tangier/more strongly flavored. I’ve had thinner results at 4-5 hours, but it was OK because we were using it to drink, diluted with water.
For a long time I’ve wanted to try making it with powdered milk, or with some powdered milk mixed in, but haven’t yet. Also, I’ve only made smaller batches of 1/2 gallon or less, because I’d heard that it could get tricky in large batches, but I know a couple of people who typically make a gallon at a time, so I’m going to go ahead and try it.
I have read up on this method online, and using this method, the residual heat in the pan (especially when wrapped in towels) is enough to keep it warm.
Have you made a gallon of the yogurt? I would like to know if it came out all right?
Linda, if you have the space for it a gallon should work just as well as a half-gallon. Just make sure you ratio of starter to milk stays the same. Good luck!
I made my first batch last night using reconstituted dry milk, 2 liters, and 3/4 c. plain Dannon. My water was boiled so I just added the powder milk when it was around 130 degrees. If it’s powder milk, is there really any need to bring it to 180 degrees? Well anyway, my milk was a little thin since I used enough powder for 2 quarts but actually 2 liters of water. I just put the milk in the crock pot and let it cool to about 120, then mixed in my Dannon. Then I left the covered crock, removed from the heater, on a heating pad at low over night, around 11 hours (I forgot about it!). It came out thin but tangy and actually quite edible! I left the extra whey in, just stirred it up, and added some gelatin. I don’t know if the gelatin will thicken it now or if I should have added it with the Dannon but gelatin is always a good idea anyway. I supposed it must be yogurt if it’s thickerer and tangy so well see if I’m still here in a little while..
Forgot to mention that I covered the whole thing with a thick towel.
Hey Ellie, thanks for writing back with your steps. Great to hear how others are adapting and using the technique!
Just did this on Monday — your directions were great. I think it really made a difference to know the temperatures. I added two tablespoons of vanilla and two tablespoons of agave nectar when I added the “starter yogurt”. It tastes great and even my kiddos (strawberry yoplait lovers) are enjoying it with some granola and a touch of honey for breakfast. I really appreciate your sharing this with everyone!
Oh. I love the idea of adding some vanilla. Great tip Beth. Glad it came out tasty!
Okay made your yogurt for the first time last night. I just wanted to know how long does this stay good? I mean what is a normal expiration for your yogurt? Would it be the expiration of the milk? Just want to know I made a whole gallon worth of yogurt I was very impressed with the ease of making it..And I am going to run to the store and grab cheese cloth and strain it for the hour you suggested to make it thicker but it was a creamy texture ….thanks
I would say that the expiration for the milk that you use would be a good guideline. It’s been my experience that yogurt generally keeps longer than milk, but just to be safe I’d use the date on the milk.
I used to make yogurt with a yogurt maker in the 70’s and 80’s. Was recently ill and my internist suggested I eat yogurt daily. So I got online to search for the best rated yogurt makers and found you instead. I love your method and my first batch was so good it made me remember why I used to make my own. Thanks :-)
I also read that one needs some fat to absorb the calcium, since I had trouble finding any commercial brands other than fat free making my own is even better.
I make yogurt in the oven with just the oven light on. I used to make it in the plastic containers from yogurt that I purchased but I have upgraded to glass with glass lids. I use 1/2 cup commercial plain yogurt with 1/3 to 1/2 dry milk and add 2% milk to the jar. Stir it well. Cover with a kitchen towel and put in the oven for about 22-24 hours. I have made the yogurt without the dry milk and it is a bit runny. Put this in the refrig overnight and the yogurt is fairly thick and really tasty. No problem.
If you find non-homogenized milk works best here’s a little trick: freeze homogenized or ultra homogenized milk. When it thaws it separates.
*Just be sure to take a cup or two out before freezing so the bottle doesn’t break.
Thank you for the great directions! I had tried making yogurt by the “no thermometer, just heat milk for so much time, and cool for so much time”, and twice had ended up with a very delicious yogurt drink that wouldn’t jell. Then I tried your thermometer method, heated to 180 degrees, cooled to 115 degrees and added regular yogurt from the store and — voila — real yogurt!!! Making more today, and I’m going to try using a turkey baster to get out as much whey as possible before scooping the yogurt out . . . if some whey is left in the pot, as you scoop it breaks down the yogurt and needs to be strained out. Well worth the few bucks for the thermometer!!!
(Oh, and I didn’t bother with the oven. Just wrapped it up well and — since my crockpot has a warm setting — did as you suggested and turned it on “warm” a couple of times for five minutes or so, to keep the crockpot warm.)
I just made my first crock pot batch of yogurt yesterday and it came out GREAT!! It’s now sitting on the counter straining to become Greek…LOL I used raw, whole organic grass fed milk.
I’ve made yogurt in the past by just adding regular plain yogurt to the raw milk, and letting it sit out overnight, because I didn’t have a crock pot, but the yogurt didn’t quite set up as firm. It was rather runny and made a great smoothie, but that’s about it. I just bought a crock pot recently and it really worked well in making great yogurt. Now, I will NEVER “buy” yogurt again. I will just take a half cup from the last batch to start the next and keep going on.
Thanks for this recipe. It’s a keeper.
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. 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?
Hey Andrea, I wouldn’t worry about it. It should be fine. Obviously, when you’re done if it smells odd or off then toss it but I bet it turns out fine.
I don’t know where I went wrong, but something is definitely off! I used a slightly different recipe, but same ingredients and only slightly different directions.
I have a new crock pot and I set it to low, but it took hours and hours and hours (4-5) to get to 180 degrees. I thought maybe my thermometer was busted, but got the same low temps with another. It seemed to hit around 130-140 and sit there forever. I ended up heating it on high for about 30 minutes and then shutting it down when it got to 180. By that time, it was late night and I couldn’t wait the hours it would take to get down to 115, so I put the pot in cool water. It still took 2 hours to cool, and maybe it got too low. I continued on, and the final product (next morning, after wrapping in towels) tasted pretty much ok, but it had a very odd texture. Ropey and string, I guess. Kind of sticky. I ended up throwing it out after another day or 2 when I decided I just couldn’t force myself to eat it.
Not sure whether I should give up the idea of the crockpot, start way earlier in the day, or what. The info on my crockpot doesn’t tell what temps the different settings are expected to get to, but I know I can get a slow boil on high. I wouldn’t think I’d ever get up to 180 on warm, so I’m amazed you’d get there in such a short time!
Don’t worry, it took my crock pot about 4 hours to reach the desired temp of 180 then another couple of hours to cool it down to 115. Best thing I can tell you to do is to start out earlier in the day. I learned about getting an early start when I first started baking bread, otherwise it turns into an all night affair. The very first time I tried making this yogurt, I turned on the pot for a couple of minutes to maintain the temp of 115..and I forgot to turn it off…We went out and came back a couple of hours later to brown milk that I wound up discarding. This last time I made the yogurt, it came out great and better than any store bought yogurt. Keep trying and don’t give up.
Don’t worry, it took my crock pot about 4 hours to reach the desired temp of 180 then another couple of hours to cool it down to 115. Best thing I can tell you to do is to start out earlier in the day. I learned about getting an early start when I first started baking bread, otherwise it turns into an all night affair. The very first time I tried making this yogurt, I turned on the pot for a couple of minutes to maintain the temp of 115..and I forgot to turn it off…We went out and came back a couple of hours later to brown milk that I wound up discarding. This last time I made the yogurt, it came out great and better than any store bought yogurt. Keep trying and don’t give up and most of all, be patient. As Nick said, it’s better to let the milk heat up slowly so as to avoid scalding it. Good Luck!!
I use a “quick cool” method as follows:
set a shallow pot (large enough for the milk you have heated) on a wire cooling rack near an air vent (or fan);
gently pour milk from heating pot (or crock pot) into this pan;
keep thermometer in the milk;
keep an eye on temp, especially the first time you do this, but in about 10min, I have reached 110 and can add yogurt cultures.
I was also concerned about this issue because, I don’t know about everyone else but, organic milk is just too expensive to ruin! So I decided to use water & test out my crock pots with a thermometer. My small crock pot, which is perfect for 1/2 gallon of milk, has a keep warm setting that is too hot for the 7-8 hour incubation period, 130ish. Of course the low setting is higher still, 150ish which is not hot enough for the first part. I’m now testing the High setting & it’s up to 195 now. I suppose I can use it to heat the milk up but keep a very close eye on it’s temp. But I definitely won’t be leaving it unattended for hours. I highly recommend a good digital thermometer & testing your crock pot’s settings for their exact temps before you use the milk & starter. :)
Hey Lisa, you are supposed to turn your crockpot off entirely during the incubation period. Just wrap the crockpot with a towel and it should keep plenty warm. Even the low setting on most crockpots is too warm.
But yes, using a thermometer is a smart idea. :)
Thanks, Roseann! Glad to hear it’s not just my crock pot that takes forever to get up to those temps. I was shocked reading how some got there in 20-30 minutes on low!
I will definitely try again this weekend and follow up on how it goes.
When the yogurt is strained to become thicker, Greek style yogurt, is the liquid that comes out usable as Whey?
I used to have tons of whey from making cheese, but I’ve given up on making cheese because I had problems regulating the temp. Maybe I should try using a crock pot for that too? lol Anyway, I’ve gotten into making lacto-fermented foods and was wondering if I could use the leftover liquid from the yogurt as whey?
I hope so, because I just made 3 quarts of Kimchi using the “whey” from the yogurt I made. LOL..nothing like doing the deed then asking questions later, eh?? Any advice would be appreciated.
Hi again Nick,
Never mind answering my last post. I just read a blog on Cheeseslave about how to make whey and found out I can use the liquid from strained yogurt or from clabbered raw milk.
What confused me was that in Nourishing Traditions, it says to use Piima culture, but basically I just found out that Piima culture is whey from yogurt/clabbered raw milk. The white stuff is strained out to make cream cheese and the yellow liquid is whey. I usually like to produce my own cultures instead of buying them, so it’s great to know that I don’t have to “buy” a Piima culture.
Thanks for your help and for this very informative website. Your recipes look very inviting and I will definitely try some of them. Bon Appetit!!!
Hey Roseann, thanks for answering your own question! :) It sounds like you have it down.
Thanks for reading!
Decades ago I had a cheap model of Salton yogurt maker. It worked well. The boring part came beforehand, when I heated and then cooled the milk. It was tedious having to keep checking to see if the temperature was up to where it needed to be but not past that and then down to where it needed to be but not below that. What is needed is a thermometer that can be set, so that when a given temperature is reached, it rings an alarm. Better yet would be a yogurt maker that is like a bread maker, just dump in the ingredients and turn it on and get up in the morning or come home after work to perfect yogurt. Does such a thermometer exist? Does such a yogurt maker exist? Are they affordable? P.S. Why do you say “Mail” when you mean “Email”. I gave my mailing address and got a “enter valid email address” error message.
Hey Brian, I’m not sure if there is a yogurt maker like that, but I know there are a bunch of digital thermometers that let you set a temp and then alarm when it is reached. here’s the one I use.
Awesome! Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m so excited to try it It’ll save me buying a yogurt maker. Looks delicious too. So excited!
I’ve used your method twice now and had excellent results both times. Thanks for sharing your technique. My most recent batch – only a few minutes out of the crockpot – I used an entire gallon of milk so I’d have a bigger supply of yogurt. My favorite way to eat it is to dice up a couple strawberries, drizzle them with honey, microwave that for about 15 seconds and then pop that in the freezer for about 5 minutes to chill. Stir that into a dish of yogurt … Good stuff!
Loved it! I was looking for a more descriptively precise way to do yogurt in a crockpot and this was perfect! I used regular milk and only had 2 tablespoons of regular yogurt, and was praying it’d work and it did! Thanks for the temperature information. It was the most helpful part!
Thank You!! I was just looking at yogurt makers (not a good name because they don’t “make” it) and I think now I will just use my crock-pot. It seems to do just as well and I already have 3 of them! Plus I have 10 in my family (8 kids) and I need to make bigger batches than the little jars the machines come with.
Used your recipe! I loved the cheesecloth idea – so often my homemade yogurt was runny…but this recipe was perfect!! I had thick and creamy homeamade yogurt!!
I just finished making this and even doing the “Greek” style using unbleached muslin clothe ($1.99/y at hobby lobby) and it is soooo gooood!!!
I thought I over heated the milk then I thought I may have killed the culture when it got up to 125-128 degrees at the end (and maybe I did) but the taste and texture is amazing!
Thank you for sharing this technique ,3
I am going to try this but having lived in Turkey for two years, I learned that yogurt making was for the Turks one of the easiest ways to make food. They use yogurt for everything and have different forms of it, for example Kaymak is the skin on the top of the yogurt and is enjoyed on its own.
They key, I am told and have seen, is that they use raw milk. Fresh, unpasteurized and unhomogenized milk. They add the yeast or Maya, in Turkish and they either churn it a little (like five minutes) or they put it in a small container that looks like a drum (often on a swing) and shake it, or rather, thrust it against the back wall of the drum in short, forceful bursts. This act of shaking is enough to activate the yeast. That is supposedly all…then they leave it overnight for yogurt to eat in the morning. In fact, I have heard stories that the shepherds often made their own yogurts in the fields by placing the drums on the behind their saddles and letting the motion of the horse do the shaking.
My point is, use the right milk (raw or un-pasteurized like the recipe above) and it shouldn’t be that hard to make!
You’re right Sarah. THe problem is finding raw milk in the states is actually pretty hard… depending on the area you live in. A lot of places actually have laws against selling raw milk which is one of the more ridiculous agricultural restrictions in the states.
Anyway, it’s tough to find here which makes yogurt and cheese making a bit tougher…
I, for one, am extremely leary of using raw milk for anything as my digestive system can’t handle it. Not my grandmother’s fresh cow’s milk, nor fresh, raw apple cider, not unpasteurized beers. I get very, very ill and very, very quickly!
Store bought milk is just fine for me.
First off, allow me to say, I have just discovered your blog today, and I must say, well done! I will be back, over and over again. You have wonderful ideas, and your presentation is wonderful. I have copied several of your recipes to try this week.
I enjoyed reading your post about making yogurt. I make a big pot of greek yogurt every week, and have had no failures due to the type of milk I use. I have used everything from nonfat dry milk to nonfat milk to 2% to whole milk (all pasteurized and homogenized). My husband loves my yogurt, and tells me it is the best he has tasted. I use the best commercial greek yogurt available in our area as a starter, and sanitize all of my equipment with boiling water, but once you have made yogurt and found the method which works best for you, it becomes very easy to do, and to incorporate into your routine. If you fortify your milk with a bit of extra nonfat dry milk, your yogurt will be thicker – mine is nearly as thick as the commercial greek yogurt, without the necessity to strain. It has that wonderful gentle “near sour cream” flavor we all know from good commercial greek yogurt.
I do use a yogurt maker – the little Salton machine that looks like R2D2 – sadly, they no longer make it, but it is simple and reliable – it heats the chamber with a light bulb, and someday when it fails, I will be out of a dependable device. It was a wedding gift, and I thank the giver in my mind every week as I make yogurt.
Regarding pasteurized milk vs. raw milk, I appreciate your sentiment. All of us would prefer to have our foods as un-processed as possible. Freedom to source our foods as we prefer them is also important, within reason.
Please don’t take what follows as a rant in any way – it is so difficult in writing to convey information and to make it clear that the tone and the intention is friendly. What I need to say is crucial to understanding why some of our modern food “traditions” are as they are.
It has been said that those who have forgotten the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the pursuit of absolutely and totally non-processed food.
Although it has been largely forgotten in this century, there is a very real reason not to drink raw milk.
Undulant fever. My father’s cousin died of undulant fever many years ago, when the consumption of raw milk was far more common than it is today. It is a miserable way to die, when the amount of heat necessary to kill the organisms has so little effect on the quality of the milk, while making it far safer to drink.
Sometimes the restrictions we see in the law are to protect us from our own innocence of the past.
I sometimes worry, it seems to me there are real problems when history is forgotten.
We begin to think we don’t need to pasteurize milk because none of us have ever heard of undulant fever or any other illnesses which may be contracted from raw milk; or we imagine that all the illnesses we vaccinate against have disappeared, because the vaccines have done their job for so many years; or when, because salt has been iodized for so many years that none of us can recall ever seeing anyone with a goiter, we decide the miniscule amount of iodine in our salt is some sort of poison foisted on us by an evil food industry, and insist on non-iodized salt. Even ancient dietary restrictions, such as the kosher tradition, had solid reasons behind them, if you explore history.
In an ideal world, there would be no communicable diseases which could be conveyed in the milk we drink, and all farms would automatically be run in the most sanitary way possible.
The world is more complex than that, and some of the complexities add to the wonderful, astonishing whimsical and delightful world we live in, and others add elements of danger. Where we are able, when the impact is small, we owe to ourselves to do those small things we can to assuage the danger. Pasteurize our milk. Vaccinate ourselves against illnesses we are able to avoid. Ingest some iodized salt. Treat our water so we don’t become ill from drinking it. And so on. Thank goodness these small measures are possible – they are part of what makes us a civilization.
Thanks for the comment Vickie. I hadn’t heard a lot of that before.
And thanks for reading, obviously. :)
Good point to remember as I begin this adventure of making my own. Thanks for saying it.
My sister nearly died a couple of years ago from the effects of cryptosporosis, which she picked up from eating raw dairy. Not for me, thank you.
History is definitely best not forgotten. For example, Man has thousands of years of raw milk usage and the human race is still around. So far as pasteruization not hurting the quality, I disagree. Milk contains enzymnes which help to digest it. Most people who are lactose intolerant can drink raw milk with no problem. But so far as safety is concerned, there was little problem with raw milk until people starting moving their livestock ito the cities, into dirty buildings, instead of grassy areas. Once doctors instituted a campaign of education for cleanliness, the rate of illness dropped like a rock. It is cleanliness that makes milk safe, not heat treatment. I suggest you take a look at http://www.realmilk.com for the true history of pastuerization of mik.
I neither want nor need government protecting me from myself. Government is just *other people*, whose opinions I may not agree wi th.
I have to agree with you, Joy. Our family has not just been drinking/using raw dairy for a few years…we’ve been doing it for generations and NEVER had a sick person from it. In fact, the store bought dairy makes several family members very sick including my mom and myself. But the raw dairy doesn’t. One young man would instantly have a severe asthma attack if he drank/ate dairy from the store. He stayed away from dairy all through his childhood years. Then through an aunt, he found out that the raw dairy doesn’t bother him. He’s been delighted to finally have dairy in his life. I have other stories, too. Today’s animal husbandry knowledge is far superior to even just 20 years ago. Animals kept clean and healthy CAN’T make you sick. The animal also has to be milked in a clean and healthy environment. Almost every single family-owned dairy drinks and uses their own raw milk. They aren’t getting sick and the gov has a hard time explaining that. We have two friends who own two of the last family owned dairies in our whole state – they’ve been drinking their own raw milk for over 100 years. Both dairies have FOUR generations living on the farm together. As for the gov food being “safer” than raw/farm food, how many recalls can you remember in just the last year from gov regulated farm food? BUNCHES. And lots of people sick…and dead. Just because the gov says that’s the “safest” way to eat something doesn’t mean that it should be eaten. You can nuke manure and it’s “safe” to eat but you still shouldn’t eat it…watch the words that the gov uses. They use “safe”…not “nutritious” or “nutrient dense”, etc. There’s a reason for this…In Europe, you can buy RAW milk in vending machines. Why aren’t they dying by the droves? Undulant fever is from brucellosis in cattle. Last I checked, there’s been very few cases of brucellosis in our nation in recent years. Our state used to be a hot one. The cattle owners got on top of it, started vaccinating and testing. Those who tested positive were sent to slaughter. Yes, you were eating them. Now our state hasn’t had a positive in ages. You can’t get undulant fever from an animal that doesn’t have brucellosis. We had dairy goats for decades. Sometimes we exported them to other countries and they would have to be tested for all sorts of things – TB, brucellosis, CAE, Johnes, and more. Not a single one of the scores of goats we tested every tested positive for anything. No, we weren’t scared to drink our own raw milk because we knew our animals were HEALTHY. Paturization started due to booze distilleries in the cities. They wanted to use their lefover mash for something so they got the bright idea to bring in dairy cows and feed that junk to them. The cows had to live in horrible conditions. Well, between the diet and the living envionment, the cows were sick. The milk would have pus in it from the mastitis going on, too. So, people in the cities buying the milk were getting sick, as well. What was the answer? Instead of cleaning up their act and getting those cows out on sun-sanitized pastures and stop feeding them this unnatural diet of fermented grains/mash, they solve it by COOKING the milk to kill the bacteria so it could be fed to the humans with all the crap still in it but it was now “safe” to ingest. The gov took this and ran with it, demonizing all raw dairy when the truth of the matter was, it was not the cows/milk, it was the humans at fault. By the way, if you are buying your dairy in a regular store, you don’t even want to know what the conditions are like in the “dairy” where your milk is coming from. And yes, I wouldn’t drink that “milk” without it being cooked, either. It’s not safe. The cows stand in manure, etc. up to their udders. They swish their tails because of the flies and slap manure up on their udders (goats don’t have this problem, by the way, due to a very short tail). What are they doing to solve this problem of “modern” dairy conditions? They are “docking” the tails of the cows – cutting off about half of the bottom of the tail – so they can’t slap manure on their udder with their tail anymore. They also can’t swish away the flies anymore, either. Is this humane? No. But we don’t care as long as we can get “safe” milk in the stores. Our family is a generational farming family – we do both commercial and homesteading in 2 different states. My husband and I have also owned and operated a grain elevator and feedstore. We have been nationally known breeders of Great Pryenees dogs and several dairy goat breeds. We have been internationally know horse breeders. We live in a very rural area with lots of small family farms in our community. We also own the trash pickup service and cover a lot of miles every week – and know a lot of rural people who have/had animals they use to feed their families including cows, goats, sheep, etc. that they milk and drink the milk raw. We have been here for over 30 years and there’s never been a person made sick by drinking/using their raw dairy at home. Our nation needs to back up and get some perspective on what is really going on in our world of agriculture because we are not heading toward a very good destination….our family has also been very involved for almost 10 years in working to stop the INTERnational animal ID scheme and we’ve learned why our gov seems to be so intent on forcing us to not grow our own food but only eat what THEY approve…the USDA is an incorporated profit-making business in partnership with certain mega-agri corporations such as Monsanto, Tyson, Swift, Con-Agra, Cargill, etc. Follow the money…it’s not about keeping you healthy, it’s about *milking* you of every dollar they can get before you sicken from their “safe” foods and die…
If they would keep their barns clean everyday, pickup the manure every hour and wash their cow, there would not have to be Undulain Fever. It is dirty cows and dirty stalls that make people sick. Pasturized was implemented to make milk safe because of the war. It was ro make milk a larger consumption than previous process. They wanted to make large company farms, were no one had to be careful of how they cleaned their farms or stalls, they wanted factory farms for the war effort, now it stays. I never got sick till they changed how they cared for their animals and milk was mass produced. Then I started getting sick every year. My parents were farmers and they cared for their animals, they washed their cow, they cleaned their stall. I know because I helped. Factory farms were for the mass of milk they wanted to produce, and that is what they got.
I often say the same. I’ve lived overseas where sometimes VERY intense vaccination or other campaigns strive to create healthier societies, they don’t often succeed. One sees goiters, the effects of polio, etc. Thanks for speaking up.
Putting aside the merits of raw milk in general, for this recipe it won’t matter. By bringing the temperature up to 180 degrees, you are pastuerizing it yourself. Note the part in the recipe about killing bad bacteria. The warm environment you use to culture the good yogurt bacteria also allows bacteria that could give you food poisoning to florish. By heating it first, you kill any bad bacteria hanging around in the milk. Of course, bacteria can also come from your hands and equipment and hide under food residue. Always thoroughly wash everything or, better yet, sanitize it (beer brewing websites offer a lot of good products for this) and throw out any batch that smells or tastes off–it’s likely contaminated and isn’t worth a chance of food poisoning.
Geesh! I had a hard time starting my yogurt. My slow cooker took 3 hours to reach 180 degrees! The top edge began to get scorched, so I removed the milk from the crockpot, washed the pot, and returned the milk to the crockpot once it had cooled down sufficiently. I not sure if my yogurt will turn out correctly, or not correctly. I hope so.
Disreguard the prior rant, it all worked out.
I make yogurt in our oven using the light in the oven for heat. Unfortunately our light went out and I can’t find a replacement bulb so this is PERFECT!
Nick…I think I might need a little more hand-holding. To reduce the temp, do you just turn the setting from hi to lo. I know that is probably a ‘duh’ question, but this is my first time making yogurt….haha…plus, I’m using some hard-earned milk from my cow. She’s not the greatest to milk, but she makes good stuff. Also, for those looking for milk, try the postings on realmilk.com or craigslist. I often see ads on craigslist. It sounds like the milk is going to get pasteurized in the process anyway since you’ve got to get to 180ish degrees (pasteurization: 145F for 30min or 165F for 15 seconds).
Hey Lin, when you are ready to reduce the temp, actually turn the crockpot OFF. If you leave it on low, it’ll keep going up, but slower…
Should do the trick!
We cannot always afford raw milk and we go with conventional homogenized, pasteurized milk. It always comes out just fine. Others can argue about the benefits of using raw but we do what we can, when we can, and enjoy the taste (and health benefits) of eating plenty of homemade yogurt. I’ve never had a problem (with conventional milk) making soft cheeses, either. The only time I had a failure was with organic milk, ultra-pasteurized. I didn’t know it was a no-no but I soon found out why! Happy yogurt making…
I found this while trying to double-check my crockpot yogurt recipe times online; apparently it’s been too long since I’ve made it.
I also like making yogurt in my crockpot but I don’t pay attention to the temperature at all. I’ve never had a problem with it and it has turned out perfectly nearly always.
Put 8-10 cups milk (I use whole, raw milk) in the crockpot. Heat on the low setting for 2 1/2 hours, then turn the crockpot OFF and unplug it. At this point, set your timer for 3 hours to cool, then add your culture to the milk and mix well. Using three large towels, I wrap the crockpot completely…the first towel folded in half with the crock sitting on top and the sides pulled up around it; the second towel folded in half ON TOP of the crock lid and the sides draped down; the last towel is open completely with the crock placed in the center of it, pulling the different edges and corners of the towel up and over. I then wrap a large rubberband around the top just to make sure it’s secure and leave it overnight, about 8-10 hours. (I find that a little extra time makes it even better, maybe ever 11 or 12 hours.) Best after it’s had time to refrigerate and really thicken. The liquid thats around the yogurt (the whey) is used in smoothies or for cooking.
I have a 7 qt crockpot…can I double the milk and yogurt starter to make a double size recipe? Help…
Should work fine Linda. The quantity shouldn’t matter as long as you keep the ratio the same. You might need to let it ferment for a bit longer… maybe an extra 30 min-60min, but should work fine. Good luck!
Will this work, do you think, using non-fat milk? I’ve been buying non-fat, plain yogurt at the store so, it seems as though it would work. Just wondering if there is a particular reason so many seem to be using whole milk.
I have used non fat milk and non fat yogurt as a starter. It does work, it just does not get as thick, but if you want to use this and thicken it up, you can use powered instant milk to thicken it up. Just add this when you add your starter. Also, for everybody here, if you are using the 1/2 gallon recipe, save 1/2 cup of your home made yogurt as your next batch starter and put it in a freezer safe container and take it out about 1 hour before you need to add it to your next batch. If you are using the 1 gallon recipe, save 1 cup and do the same thing…
How long will this homemade yogart be good once prepared, flavored, fruited & stored in the refrigerator? Personally I like the greek/thick better than regular, does it gather liquids on it while in cold storage? I have to try this since my grandchildren & I eat a full 32oz carton for breakfast when they stay over & it’s regularly now! Thanks for all the recipes, advice, tried & true expiramentations….
Yogurt will keep for quite a while once it is made… after all, it’s just bacteria so it’s hard for other bacteria to get in there… it would keep for a few weeks without a problem although mine has never lasted that long.
Once you chill the yogurt it will thicken a bit and possibly gather some liquid on the surface which you can pour off. You can strain your yogurt at that point to make it super thick if you want.
Thanks for reading!
Just a few questions –
Why does the milk need to be heated to 180 first?
To be completely honest, I’m not sure why non-homogenized milk doesn’t work, but I just didn’t get as good of results with it. It worked, but my yogurt wasn’t very thick.
It needs to heat kill any bad bacteria and it also changes the structure of the milk slightly which makes it more adaptable to bacteria.
I live in Arizona and I actually tried to make some “solar” yogurt the other day. I put about 8oz of regular store bought mile with a tablespoon of yogurt in a glass jar and just stuck it in the car and left it all day. seemed to work pretty well, though I wasn’t brave enough to try more than a dab of the yogurt that came out. lol.
I’ll have to get over to Whole Foods to see if I can find some non-homogenized yogurt to try the crock pot method.
Thanks for the great post Nick. I made some yogurt last week and was very pleased with how it came out! As a side note i’ve been doing a lot of sous-vide cooking with my crockpot and so I used the ‘Dorkfood DSV temperature controller’ with my crock to precisely control the temp when making my yogurt. Granted, i’ve never made yogurt any other way, but It made keeping the milk at 110 super easy. I read in “On Food and Cooking” by McGee that the fermentation temperature will alter the consistency of the yogurt. Do you have any experience with this? I’m going to try to play around with the temperatures for the next batch.
I love to add instant chocolate pudding to the yogurt. It thickens the yogurt and it’s chocolate, yum! You can also use coffee filters instead of cheese cloth.
Just tried your recipe a few days ago! The yogurt came out amazing! I made a gallon tho so, I think next time I’ll put it on high just till it gets close to 175. With my Crockpot on low, it took over 3 hours to get a gallon of milk to that temperature! (Might also be from the Crockpot going on a warming cycle for a half hour.) Anyway Thanks so much for sharing this!
I actually read this a while ago and started making yogurt using your technique, but never took the time to leave a comment. I just wanted to thank you for an amazing post! My yogurt is soooo delicious! It easily cuts my yogurt costs in half!
Can’t wait to try it! One question…at what point do I strain it to make Greek yogurt? Do I refrigerate it first or can I strain it right out of the crockpot? Thanks!
I sometimes heat the milk in batches in a 2 cup glass measure for 7 min at med high in the microwave before adding it to the crockpot at the beginning to speed up the heating process. It does wonders – for those who don’t mind using the microwave.
Hello; What brand of crock pot are you using? I tried 2 different pot and could only get the temp. of the milk to 170 F After 2.5 hours on high. Thanks, Ken
Hey Ken, I use this crockpot from Cuisinart. I’m not in love with it because it’s really big and bulky, but I like that it’s programmable and also gets plenty hot for this recipe.
Thanks Nick; I put a heavy towell over the crock pot during the heating process, this really made it alot easier to reach the 180 deg. mark. The yogurt turned out really well, nice and thick.
I use 2 1/2 cups of powdered milk, a heaping spoonful of greek yogurt as starter and enough water to fill a one qt. bowl. I put the tupperware bowl lid on and set it in the sun on my porch or well house roof. Then I cover it in a dark colored fleece blanket. I leave it out there all day and have perfect yogurt. Of course this only works in warm weather. I’ve also made it by putting the bowl inside a larger bowl with a heating pad and covering it with a blanket.
I’m sure powdered milk is not as healthy as raw milk but the nice thing is you don’t have to bring it up to the high temperature first. Very easy.
Hmm it appears like your site ate my first
comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying
your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any points for rookie blog writers? I’d genuinely appreciate it.
I have just started to experiment making yoghurt and since my Sous Vide equipment is perfect to keep a steady temperature over long hours it must be perfect for yoghurt making.
Picture of my setup:
Thanks for this article as a great inspiration..
Bringing the milk to boiling won’t really mess it up; it just makes whole milk ricotta when it starts to separate from the whey, so it needn’t be thrown away. Just drain and use.
Anyhow, wrt the yogurt, I was really hoping I’d find a way to make true raw milk yogurt in a crock pot. I guess I’ll just have to experiment. I use raw goat milk, so necessarily it has to be Greek yogurt, as goat milk yogurt is runnier than cow milk yogurt. In the meantime, I’ll heat it to 180 and cool it down. That will make it thicker than usual.
If I’d rather have it in containers, can I put glass containers in the crock pot with the milk mixture in them? Will a water bath be needed in the crockpot?
Hmm, I THINK that would work Wendy… don’t see why it wouldn’t, but you would definitely want to have a water bath in there I think.
Your recipe has been a success every time! I tried making yogurt once before finding your recipe and it didn’t work. With your directions it couldn’t be easier and 100% successful. I do heat the milk in a pot with thermometer to speed up the process & do turn the crockpot on every 2-1/2 hours for 8-10 minutes and I think it helps greatly by making the milk/bacteria process fully. Happy to find another way to use my crock pot.
I’m trying this for the first time today and it took forever for the milk to get to 180 so I am several hours behind where I thought I’d be. I have the crock pot wrapped in a towel in the oven with the light on right now. It’ll be 8 hours at midnight. Could I just leave it in there overnight and chill it tomorrow morning? Would going over the 8-12 hr mark before refrigerating be harmful?
Hey Nell, sorry it took me a few days to reply. I don’t see how it would be harmful to wait a few extra hours to refrigerate. Hopefully it worked out for you!
I made my first attempt last night and it took forever to heat in crockpot to 180. At 3 hrs it was still only 130. I finially got it up to 180 and I turned it off, then added my culture and wrapped it in towels overnight. When I got up this morning, it was still milk consistance. So, since it was still warm, and I had heard you could use a heating pad to culture milk, I thought what the heck, I will sit it on until I return from work. But in hindsight, I think I added the culture too soon and I must have killed my culture.
I bet I will go home to the same milky mixture. Now I am not sure if I can even use it in baking (i.e. pancakes, bread etc.) Probably too risky?? What do you think?
Hmm… I think I would toss it probably Susan. If it’s been at the wrong temp for a long time it could harbor bad bacteria…
I just used my crockpot to get it up to temp because it was easiest for me. You could also just heat it on the stove. Just make sure to use a thermometer. Then cool it and add your culture at the right temp and insulate it in a container with a few towels so it stays nice and warm. Should work!
Tried your process but made minor mistake. Forgot to turn off the crock pot while trying to keep temp constant. My yogurt went up to 60 C. This however did not kill the process it only made it more efficient. The yogurt was done in only 2 hrs.
Thanks for sharing.
I have been blessed with a source of raw goat milk kefir, and I can drink 1/2 gallon/day. I never drank this growing up and the commercial variety only a few times in my life.
I was raised on a farm and it was my job to milk the cow. So I grew up on raw milk and we were never sick from it.
I used to have a yogurt maker with the light bulb in the center, but it is gone. What I’m trying to make now is natto and it uses the same temp. I have failed numerous times with a crockpot and finding a starter is difficult.
Hi! I made your crockpot yogurt and it turned out wonderful. The first batch was a failure because I accidently left the crockpot on warm all night. Not only did the yogurt not form, I broke the crockpot! I’m going to keep making yogurt this way because the taste is far superior to the store bought stuff. I used raw milk as that is the only non pasteurized milk I could find. Worked out just fine. I had my yogurt with a bit of honey and pomegranate seeds, heaven!
Thanks for your recipe.
It worked!! The crockpot was taking over two hours to heat the milk so I eventually decided to just heat it up on the stove. Back in the crock to cool, added the yogurt, wrapped the whole thing in towels and put it in my oven (oven was off). Used whole milk and yogurt looks nice and thick – chilling in the fridge now. Thank you for these directions!!
I use this recipe all the time. I have not had any problems with failure when I use pasteurized milk, but other than that, this method works wonderfully. I think the resultant yogurt tastes so much like sour cream that I use it as a lower fat substitute and nobody knows the difference!
Currently it sounds like Movable Type is the preferred blogging platform out there right now.
(from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?
Heya, I use wordpress for this site with a bunch of customizations. I think it’s personal preference but most of the people I know use and love wordpress. :)
Hi! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me.
Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it
and checking back frequently!
any ideas how to go with this recipe in a fat free way, i am following a strict diet these days but i could not stop myself from trying out this version….
My recipe for yogurt:
Go down to your local Goodwill/Salvation Army store and pick up 1/2 Gallon thermos jug with a wide screw top lid. Make sure the inside is “straight” that it can hold a 1qt canning jar.
1qt wide-mouth canning jars, with lids, plastic/metal, just so long as they’re tight.
Thermometer: candy, whatever.
2qt stainless steel saucepan.
Whisk, measuring cup
1. Buy/get some active culture yogurt. If you like, you can freeze the excess in a ice cube tray, plop into a zip lock bag, then into a plastic storage container and freeze for up to 1 yr. They can be your back-up cultures.
2. Clean you saucepan with SOS pads (or drizzle a little dish washing liquid onto a OOOO steel wool pad), and buff clean. Rinse thoroughly with hot, then COLD water, do not dry saucepan. (Rinsing with cold water really does make clean up easier if there’s any milk skin sticking to the pan.)
3. Pour in 3 3/4 c whole milk ( 2% is okay, I avoid skim). Heat until 180-190°F. Try to avoid letting the milk come to a boil. Turn off heat, let cool to 100-110°, Do not leave the kitchen, milk can boil over in a flash, and makes a nasty clean-up.
4. While milk is cooling, wash, rinse and scald your canning jar and lid. Drop 1 TBsp yogurt in the bottom cover loosely, and let come to room temp. Fill Thermos jug with hot water, screw on lid and let that warm up.
5. When milk is cool, spill a little into the jar, whisk, then add remainder. Screw on lid. Over the sink, add COLD water to water in Thermos until it drops to a little above body temp. Water should feel slightly warm, but not hot. “Baby bottle warm.” Test it on your wrist.
6. Plop canning jar into Thermos, keep water level below the jar lid, screw on Thermos lid, and set it out of the way. Wait 4 hrs. If your kitchen is cold, wrap the Thermos in towels, sides, bottom and top. If you like, check water temp after 3 hrs, add warm water if necessary. To check yogurt, tip jar, if it’s solid, it’s done. Refrigerate.
7. Use a bit of this yogurt as starter for the next batch.
8. For Greek yogurt, line a sieve or colander with cheesecloth or coffee filters. Dump in yogurt and let drain until it’s as thick as you like. If you bake, keep the whey, good in bread, and other baked goods.
( 4hrs is standard, it may take longer if your starter is old, or losing its punch. Keep the water warm, and wait an hour or two longer. Use fresh starter next time.)
I have been making yoghurt for years now and all I do is set the milk out of the fridge the night before or in the morning depending on when I’ll make it. I have a couple of glass bowls that I use only for yoghurt. In the morning or evening I add a ladle full of leftover yoghurt to the bowl, add a litre and a half of milk, cover the bowl, gently move it to the kitchen counter (out of the way) and in summer it is ready in 12 hours or less; in winter it takes a bit longer depending on the heat of the kitchen. The bowl cover is glass. I make two bowls a day and it disappears like magic at breakfast every morning. Been doing this for 10 years at least. When the yoghurt has had its day. I buy starter and start a new batch. Usually I need to do this two or three times a year. As long as you have a warm room, you can do this and don’t worry if it takes 24 hours. It will do its thing finally. I live in Fukushima, Japan (heard of that place? LOL) where summers are hot and humid and winters cold…
I bought a yogurt maker over twenty years ago, and didn’t have any problem with it turning out good yogurt. I guess it also helps that I’m a dairy farmer, so there is easy access to fresh, low temp pasteurized (have a two gallon pasteurizer), non-homogenized whole milk! The only problem I have is getting a good, live culture. I haven’t tried the powdered version culture. I would like to use my crock pot, since the lids to my yogurt cups cracked, and I don’t think they can be used anymore.
Have you tried using fresh yogurt from Indian subcontinent spice shops or cafe? I found a Persian formula yogurt from an Indian shop which made perfect yogurt for 3 months until my yogurt got contaminated.
I have successfully made yogurt using a crockpot. I added a temperature controller (available from ebay for ~$17) by cutting a power extension lead and wiring the temperature controller in. Pictures and diagrams can be supplied if you write to me at [email protected]
I used a couple of inches of water in the crockpot. My sealed metal container (plastic works too) with yogurt mixture sits in the water on top of a small saucer. The temperature sensor from the temperature controller is ~half-immersed in the water. I set the temperature range to 43C (~108F) with 1 deg tolerance. The crockpot turns on at 42C and turns off at 43C. Actual temperature varies between ~41.5C to ~43.5C.
Perfect yogurt every time as long you are careful with the culture.
This is a great blog i must say, I generally i don’t post
remarks on other sorts of blogs but would like to say that this post definitely
compelled me to do so!
My first attempt and it turned out delicious! I used raw milk in addition to store-bought cultures and a dollop or two of store-bought yogurt. I estimate it cost me half the amount of money it would have to purchase the same amount of yogurt from the store. Thank you VERY much for making a somewhat intimidating process so easy to follow.
I just wanted to throw in a tip for anyone who wants to try before buying a thermometer. I got these directions about 15-20 years ago and my yogurt never failed.
Heat the milk in a heavy pot or Dutch oven, cast iron is best if you have one. I had a LaCreuset at the time, a large one. Heat the milk until it is too hot to stick your finger in, gently steaming. Be very very careful not to let it boil! I cooled it in the same pot JUST till it reached a temp where I could stick my finger in without getting scalded (washed hands every time FYI) At that point, I poured the milk into a large heavy glass casserole bowl with lid, mixed the starter in and swaddled the whole thing in two full sized thick winter blankets. It was really thickly wrapped. Waited requisite hours and voila! Yogurt! If all else fails, and you want to make it without a thermometer, try the finger test. Worked great for me. I have an instant read now, but it doesn’t make any better yogurt.
This sounds like a very good recipe and I can’t wait to try it but why is the calorie count so high? What is the serving size? I tried to figure it out and couldn’t come up with 390.
I forgot to turn off the crockpot when I put the yogurt in. What can I do?
Hmm.. you’ll have to see what it looks like Darlene! Might have killed the good yogurt bacteria though in which case you’ll have to start over. Good luck!
Hi Nick: thank you for your reply. Yes, I had to throw it out. First time for me. I was in too much of a hurry to get out the door and just forgot the last step.