How to Make Homemade Yogurt

Categories: Healthy | Ingredients | Kid-Friendly | Mains & Sides | Natural/Organic | Snacks | Techniques | Traditional

[4 Mar 2015 | By | 15 Comment(s) ]
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading ... Loading ...
Pin It

Ready to eat!Yogurt is a staple around our house – vanilla yogurt is one of the picky child’s favorite foods, and I’m a big fan of thick and creamy plain Greek yogurt.

Yogurt is one of those foods that’s quite easy to make at home, but rarely attempted.  You don’t need a yogurt maker (although I think I spent maybe $10 on mine, and it makes it even easier, so I recommend it).  It does take a little time, but if you like to know exactly what goes in your yogurt–and flavor it the way YOU like it–it’s definitely worth it. So… if you’ve been hesitating, here’s homemade yogurt, demystified!

Previously I’ve made plain, but today I decided to make vanilla & honey flavored yogurt.

How to Make Honey-Vanilla Yogurt

Click the pictures below to see larger/as a slideshow… Recipe & tips follow.

4 cups milk
1/3-1/2 c dry milk powder
1/2 c plain yogurt (make sure it has active cultures–it will say so on the package!)
Flavorings/sweeteners (Optional – you can always make plain and add later)

  • For honey-vanilla:  ~2 Tbls honey, 1 Teas vanilla extract (or 1 vanilla bean)
  • Note: I like mine sweet, but not too much, so this is not a super sweet recipe.


-A kitchen thermometer. I like this type because I use it for everything: Probe Thermometer
-A way to keep the yogurt at a consistent temp for several hours:

  • a Yogurt Maker(look for a deal on one, I got mine on sale for like $10).. This makes it easy.  All the yogurt maker really does is keep it at the right temp for the period of time you need it.  Mine is totally bare bones, and works fine.
  • Or use Alton Brown’s trick of putting a heating pad in a wine bucket, which is supposed to work well.
  • Here’s another site with several suggestions on how to do it. Like a cooler with water, the oven, or even a food dehydrator. The important thing is to keep the temperature at around 101-115 degrees F and totally undisturbed for the entire time.


  1. Heat your milk, dry milk (and optional vanilla/vanilla bean) on the stove to almost boiling (at least 18o degrees F)
  2. Stir in your honey or other sweetener (optional)
  3. Remove from heat and place pot in large icewater bath to cool it to around ~110F.  (If you use a whole vanilla bean, be sure to fish it out!  And you can open it and scrape in some seeds for that authentic vanilla bean look, if you like..)
  4. Take about a cup out of the mixture and stir it with your half cup of plain yogurt, then add back to the pot.  Stir gently.
  5. Place the mixture in your yogurt maker (or other options, see above) and let sit undisturbed at the appropriate temp for 6-21 hours.  The longer you let it sit, the more tangy/tart it will be.
  6. Remove from yogurt maker.  It should be looking like yogurt, but may still be a little thin.  That’s ok, it will set up more in the fridge.
  7. Place in the refrigerator for several hours until cool.  If you like a thicker yogurt, like I do, then let it drain through cheesecloth overnight.

That’s it!  It takes a little while for your finished product, but mostly it’s just waiting time.  Enjoy!

If you made plain yogurt, you can fancy it up with sweeteners or topping after it’s done, as well.

Do you have any good yogurt recipes?  Post them in the comments!

EDIT: Check out the comments for more suggestions and tips from the readers.. some good ones!

*I am an Amazon affiliate, so if you actually buy something through those links I get a tiny amount of cash to buy some good vanilla next time!

Tags: , , , ,

Submitted by: Dot | | More by

I'm sorta a crafty nerdy cook, who is layered... like pie.
Pin It Jump to Comments!
Follow Foodwhirl on TwitterTwitter or Facebook Facebook!

15 Comment(s) »

  • Dot
    Dot said:

    Apparently some of my friends are too lazy to post helpful comments here, and instead send them to me via IM:

    Brendan: might i suggest
    dont buy the donvier yogurt maker
    it has teeny tiny 2.5 ounce cups
    which are basically good for absolutely nothing :)

    So, i’m passing this along!

    My Salton has a single 4 cup container that is a good size for me.

  • mausfrau said:

    I use the slow-cooker method to make yogurt overnight. I love to make it with nothin’ but whole milk and plain yogurt… it makes delicious thick plain yogurt. Just stir in some honey or still-frozen berries, and wow. I think I must go purchase some whole milk and do this tomorrow. It’s been MONTHS! I think I’m in yogurt withdrawal!

  • Dot
    Dot said:

    Thanks for sharing about the slow cooker. I meant to mention that method specifically. Does your slow cooker have a temperature gauge, or did you just set it on ‘keep warm’ or something similar?

  • Glenda said:

    Looks like you have the same Salton yogurt maker I do! And, yes, I agree. Having a yogurt maker does make it MUCH easier. Unfortunately this model is no longer made, but you still can find them on eBay.

    When I want to make more than 1 quart at a time, I use my large wide-mouth canning jars and place them in my oven with the light on. I have an oven thermometer and watch the yogurt closely so it stays in that temperature range. I only let it go for about 6 or 7 hours.

    My husband likes it plain so I usually make it without any flavorings and just sweeten for myself.

  • mausfrau said:

    My slow-cooker doesn’t have a temperature gauge; I just set it to low to heat the milk, and then after that it’s unheated. :-) I use this recipe: I’ve tried adding powdered milk, using low-fat milk, etc. etc., but the basic recipe seems to work the best for me.

    Note that there is something in my house that seems to keep bacteria from multiplying, though. Bread won’t rise if I don’t proof the yeast (and sometimes even if I do). The showers seem miraculously mildew-proof. I have no idea why. I think the former owner, who seemed to be kind of a clean freak, just scared the little beasties into submission. :-) In any event, sometimes my yogurt doesn’t work AT ALL, even if I’m using exactly the same method that I used the time before, and I end up with a crock full of slightly solid milk. :-)

  • Dot
    Dot said:

    Thanks for the additional info. I’m sure that will help others who want to try the crockpot method!

    Yes, I noticed when I tried to find my yogurt maker on amazon to link to it, it wasn’t available. Good to know about ebay option.
    The canning jars sound like a great idea too!

  • Lisa said:

    I just put my yogurt in a prewarmed (with hot water) one litre thermos, that seems to work just fine.

  • Dot
    Dot said:

    Excellent idea! thanks for sharing these!

  • elizabeth said:

    I love that in order to make yogurt, one must start with it! :-)

  • Dot
    Dot said:

    I know! too funny. Although technically you don’t need yogurt per se, it’s just the easiest way to get the bacteria needed. You can also use yogurt starter, instead :)

    Freeze-Dried Yogurt Starter

  • Cheryl James said:

    You don’t have to start your yogurt with purchased yogurt. You can purchase a yogurt starter. Yogourmet Freeze-dried starter is what I use, and have been using for years. One packet will make up to 10 batches of yogurt.
    You start your first batch off with the yogourmet, when the yogurt is done remove 6 ounces from batch before proceeding. Store small batch in refrigerator until you are ready to make another batch. When you are ready to make your next batch. Follow the directions above, until you add the store bought yogurt. Add in your own starter and continue as before. When finished again remove 6 ounces and start over.
    I have been making yogurt this way for years.

  • Dot
    Dot (author) said:

    thanks for the tip!

  • Janet said:

    Our family loves honey vanilla yogurt, but I didn’t think I could add those until the yogurt was already made. It doesn’t have any effect on the culturing process to put those in the warm milk before adding the starter? And then can you use this yogurt for a starter if it has the honey and vanilla in it? I always get a small container of plain yogurt for my starter initially, but then save some of the homemade for a starter in subsequent batches. BTW, I have been using the crock pot method for a while now and it is so easy! Heat the milk for a few hours on low, unplug it and let cool for a few hours, remove a couple cups and stir the starter into that, then add it back to the crock pot. Cover and wrap in some bath towels at least eight hours (longer is better!) Then divide into containers and refrigerate.

  • Dot
    Dot (author) said:

    I didn’t have any problem adding these to the yogurt before it was made… I can’t attest to using the honey yogurt as a starter (because I ate it all!) but I haven’t read anything that indicates you can’t.

    Thanks for sharing Janet!

  • Lynda said:

    I use an Euro-Cuisine yogurt maker. I do the first steps as you do then pour into the glass jars it came with. I think it is 7 at 6 oz each. I warm it for 10-12 hours depending on thickness I want. I’m glad to hear I can add honey, it is tart for me. That is strange because my husband likes sweetened things, but loves it tart.

    I haven’t made it in awhile, but we got the 2% milk for it. You can make it with most dairy milks. If you are using almond milk like we drink, the almond milk website says not to make yogurt with it. Tonight we will have yogurt, yay. BTW, I did purchase extra jars.

Foodwhirl designed by Dabbled Studios | Content Copyright Foodwhirl 2010 | Log in | Site Info