How to Make Homemade Yogurt in a Crockpot


The following is a guest post by Stacie who writes Motherhood on a Dime.

Several years ago, my family was eating yogurt like crazy! We were spending quite a bit of money on special baby and toddler yogurts, when I ran across a recipe to make my own in a crockpot. Always one to try new things…especially if it’s going to save me money, I knew I needed to give it a try! Since then, we have made many batches of yogurt (and saved some $$ in the process)!

Homemade Yogurt Supplies

  • Milk
  • Plain yogurt
  • Slow cooker
  • Whisk
  • Bowl
  • Measuring cup
  • Blanket or towels

{Step 1} In a slow cooker, pour in 1/2 gallon milk, cover, and set on low. After 2.5 hours, shut it off. With the lid on, let the warm milk set for three more hours.

{Step 2} After three hours, whisk one container (or one cup) plain yogurt into one cup of the heated milk. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker.


{Step 3} Wrap the slow cooker in a blanket or a couple of towels. Allow to set overnight (8-10 hours). When you check the mixture, it should be thickened!!


{Step 4} Stir the yogurt and refrigerate!

Here are a few other thoughts:

This yogurt is not as thick as what you find in the store. I have heard of people adding gelatin to thicken it, but I prefer not to do that. I have found whole milk thickens the best, but I’ve used 2% as well.

Often, I can find organic milk marked down at my store. It makes for pretty inexpensive organic yogurt!

I recommend storing the yogurt plain in the refrigerator, because it doesn’t thicken up well after adding fruit. We add fruit and honey right before we eat it!

I save one cup from each batch as a start for the next batch.

I generally try to start the process at 4:00 P.M. Then, it’s ready to cover and set overnight by around 9:30 P.M.

It really is that simple (I figure if I can do it, anyone can)! Happy yogurt-making!!

A wife, mom to three, and lover of frugal living, Stacie blogs about bargains and balance over at Motherhood on a Dime. When she’s not posting there, she shares crafts, cooking, and other enrichment projects for little ones at The Amazing Mess.

If you have a great idea for saving that would work well in a post,
please submit a guest post here. I’d love to share it!

by Savings Lifestyle: Andrea on July 27, 2011

38 Comments

  • Leilani - July 27, 2011 @ 4:25 pm
    1

    We LOVE homemade yougurt. I don’t think we can ever go back to store bought. To thicken ours up, we strain it in a strainer lined with coffee filters. Makes the consistency more like Greek yogurt but that’s how we like it!

    • Stacie - July 27, 2011 @ 10:16 pm
      1.1

      That’s a great idea! I’ll have to give it a try!

  • Tyedye - July 27, 2011 @ 6:27 pm
    2

    You can thicken it up naturally by straining it through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth letting it drip into a bowl in the fridge until it’s your preferred thickness.

  • June - July 28, 2011 @ 12:46 pm
    3

    How much does it make? And what is the purpose for adding plain yogurt?

    • Katie - August 12, 2011 @ 4:43 pm
      3.1

      Adding the plain yogurt is what puts the bacterial cultures in that make it yogurt. You can either use a cup of store-bought or previously made yogurt, or a yogurt culture.

    • Cyncha - November 10, 2011 @ 2:50 pm
      3.2

      Adding the yogurt introduces the specific cultures, typically Bifidus strains, etc, to the milk. These beneficial cultures proliferate with the warmth, and wha-la…yogurt!

  • Kathy - July 28, 2011 @ 12:48 pm
    4

    I do a low-carb diet…. because of the sugar/carb content, any suggestions on how to make homemade yogurt without using a store-bought “starter” ? Also, milk has carbs/sugar but heavy whipping cream does not… could the cream be substituted for the milk?

    • Jennifer - July 30, 2011 @ 8:44 pm
      4.1

      Many studies have found that the actual carbs in yogurt are less than they seem. The bacteria that makes it into yogurt feed on the milk sugars which naturally lowers the carbs. But using whole milk would make the carb count even lower. I’ve never used cream, but regularly eat yogurt (and home brewed kefir) as part of my low carb diet.

      • Jennifer - July 30, 2011 @ 8:45 pm

        Oh, and store bought yogurt is necessary because it contains the bacteria and cultures you are trying to grow. I recommend a variety that has as many cultures as possible. I like to use Stonyfield.

    • Bubbles - July 18, 2012 @ 4:27 pm
      4.2

      You should use a PLAIN yogurt starter from the store, that does not have sugar, sweetener, flavors, etc.

      I think you could use whole milk and add some cream if you want to decrease the ratio of carbohydrate to fat, but I don’t think you should use just cream (besides, that would be a half gallon of cream which would be very expensive).

  • austin minnesota - August 18, 2011 @ 11:36 pm
    5

    At the stage when you cover the crockpot with blankets, do you still have the crockpot turned on overnight, or have you turned it off at this point?

    • Aimee - August 30, 2011 @ 3:26 pm
      5.1

      I was wondering the same thing!

      • Meeegan - September 16, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

        You unplug it and turn it off. Wouldn’t want a fire. The blanket keeps it “warm” overnight so the cultures still work!

  • Jennifer - September 26, 2011 @ 5:49 pm
    6

    OK – here goes. I tried this a few weeks ago – following another instructions. They were a tad bit different then yours – it didn’t work. So I’m going to try yours. I REALLY want to make my own yogurt. LOL 2% last time, whole milk this time… gonna dive in. Ü Wish me luck.

  • brandi - November 03, 2011 @ 9:06 pm
    7

    Do you know if this works with lactose free milk like Lactaid?

  • Bonny - January 05, 2012 @ 10:23 am
    8

    Great recipe. Straightforward and super-simple. The yogurt I made overnight is now chilling in the fridge over a colander lined with a few coffee filters to thicken it even further. It came out beautifully, thanks for posting!

    • Savings Lifestyle: Andrea - January 05, 2012 @ 1:49 pm
      8.1

      Bonny, thanks for sharing! I know Stacie (of Motherhood on a Dime) will be thrilled to see you were successful!

  • Kellie - January 19, 2012 @ 10:18 pm
    9

    Mine didn’t work at all. :( When I turned the crock pot off and let it sit for three hours it was completely cold, so no real reason to wrap in blankets (I did anyways). Is that the problem? Is it still supposed to be warm after the three hours?

  • steph - April 14, 2012 @ 11:19 am
    10

    Your crock pot may feel pretty cool after the 3 hours of sitting without heat. The milk most likely is not “cold” its warm enough! I thought the same thing the first time. I just wrapped up the crock pot anyway and to my surprise!, there was yogurt in my crock pot the next morning. Just try not to lift the lid until done. As long as you follow the directions it should turn out fine. Don’t quit if you thinks its not going like its suppose to. You’ve already started the process so you might as well finish it. And you may be surprised when you’re finished!

  • Arlene - April 19, 2012 @ 8:47 pm
    11

    Just came across your post – I’ve been making my own yogurt for about 5 or 6 months now, at least once a week, using this recipe I discovered elsewhere. My family does not care for plain yogurt, so I add 1 cup of sugar to the mixture when adding the cup of yogurt. We tried honey and maple syrup too, but we prefer the sugar. I know – BAD – but still probably not as much sugar as the store bought. I then strain it for 2 hrs. the next morning (in the fridge) with a colander lined with cheesecloth. When strained, I then add 1 Tbsp. vanilla and pour it into 8 1-cup plastic Ziploc containers. We could never go back to store-bought. It tastes so fake now (the flavored kind). I have also made it plain (without sugar) and add a little strawberry jam just before eating it. I have also used the whey in smoothies. I find it interesting you start yours at 4 PM – that is exactly the plan I use!

  • Lynn - May 18, 2012 @ 4:52 pm
    12

    Sometimes it helps to check the temps with a good thermometer the first time or two to make sure the milk doesn’t get too hot or too cool, especially since all crockpots are a little different. You don’t want the milk to get higher than around 180F when heating it because it can break down the milk. You don’t want the milk cooling down below around 105F when you add the yogurt because 105 to 110F is the optimal temps for the yogurt to grow.. You don’t really need more than a couple of tablespoons of the yogurt because they like a lot of room to grow. I found it actually gets thicker when I use less. If the yogurt isn’t thick enough when you check on it, then you might try letting it sit longer. Sometimes it just takes more time for it to thicken. You can also add dry milk to the warm milk. It can help the yogurt to become thicker because it gives the yogurt more milk sugar to digest (and can give you a little more protein.) I put my removable crock into one of those insulated bags you use for groceries to help keep the heat in. I actually double up 2 of them and seal them closed. I strain my yogurt since I love greek yogurt and I save the whey for making bread.
    By the way, if your yogurt doesn’t turn out, you can turn it into ricotta cheese. Just put the crock back into the crockpot, turn it on high, heat until the curd (the white stuff) separates from the whey. After that, strain it until its as dry as you like your ricotta to be. No waste!
    I learned about that from another website. I hope you don’t mind me sharing it:
    http://girlsguidetobutter.com/2010/02/crock-pot-yogurt/

  • tara - May 22, 2012 @ 5:57 pm
    13

    I didn’t have enough milk and didn’t want to drive all the way back to the store (40 minutes) so what I did was use a cup of coconut milk with a little bit of dry milk to thick it a little. Tasted a little different, but none the less good :)

  • Anna - July 05, 2012 @ 10:10 am
    14

    I just tried making this and accidentally added the yogurt too early–instead of letting it sit for 3 hours, I jumped ahead to adding the yogurt and covering it with a towel :( Is there any way for me to save it/fix my mistake??! Thanks!

  • Chris - September 02, 2012 @ 8:08 am
    15

    Question???

    if you want to make a half-size batch, do you simply cut ALL the ingredients in half – or should you still use a full container of plain yougurt even tho you are only using half the amount of milk?

    • Stacie - September 06, 2012 @ 2:33 pm
      15.1

      Hi, Chris,
      I’ve only made it with a full 1/2 gallon, but I don’t think you would need to use the whole container. If I was trying it, I would just use 1/2 of the container! Hope it works for you!

    • Lynn - September 06, 2012 @ 3:09 pm
      15.2

      Chris,

      you really don’t need more than about a tablespoon no matter how much you make. It gives the yogurt culture more room to grow which is part of what makes it thicken up on its own.

  • Chris - September 10, 2012 @ 5:52 am
    16

    My batch of yogurt looks pretty good. It will be finishing up until I get home – about 4 hours from now. I think I can call this a success:)

  • Chris - September 11, 2012 @ 12:39 pm
    17

    Success ~ I like the way my first bacth of yogurt turned out!

    Has anyone even made theirs with reconstituted dry milk mixed with regular? That would pare down the cost a little. I’m guessing using totally reconstituted milk would not work, but what about a 50-50 mix?

    • owe2di4 - October 11, 2012 @ 10:33 pm
      17.1

      I don’t like powdered milk but for yogurt I use 100 percent powdered milk and it is the one time that you can’t tell it is instant. I find the consistancy is better too. Give it a try and save a couple bucks. I have never tried it in a crock pot but am anxious to.

  • Chris - September 25, 2012 @ 11:56 am
    18

    HELP! .. .. .. continuing the topic of yogurt made in the crockpot ~

    My first couple of batches came out great – the next couple never thickened. I used the directions detailed above each time.

    Is there anything in particular that I should be mindful of when making yogurt in my crockpot with plain yogurt as a starter?

  • Karen - September 28, 2012 @ 9:02 pm
    19

    I would use fresh yogurt for the starter rather than saving some for the next batch. I used to make my own all the time. The starter can get “weak” if you use it for too many batches. The organic is the best for starter, just my opinion.

  • Lynn - October 12, 2012 @ 5:52 pm
    20

    I agree with Karen, the starter can weaken over time. You can always divide the store bought yogurt into tablespoonfuls and freeze them. The easiest way is in an ice tray, then pop them out once frozen and bag them. Then, when you go to make a new batch of yogurt, use one or two of the frozen yogurt cubes as your starter.

    • Karen - October 12, 2012 @ 9:59 pm
      20.1

      Freezing the yogurt doesn’t kill the cultures? Do you take it out of the freezer to let it reach room temp before you add it? I will reuse starter a few times, but it does lose its effectiveness.

      • Lynn D - April 21, 2013 @ 3:56 pm

        No, it won’t kill the yogurt culture, it kind of puts it to sleep. I let it thaw before putting it in a cup of warm milk, mix it and then pour into the crock just as you would normally. I freeze my yeast for bread and baked goods and just keep a small jar with a cup or so in it. It helps keep the yeast fresh and makes it last longer.

  • Nicki - April 20, 2013 @ 5:31 pm
    21

    Thanks for the easy instructions. I just put my first milk in the slow cooker. Can’t wait for the results!

  • Denise - March 12, 2014 @ 8:49 am
    22

    To thicken it I add milk powder.

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