Dishing Up the Dirt

Instant Pot Whole Milk Yogurt & Greek Yogurt

If you’ve been following me on instagram over the past few months then you already know that I’ve been trying my best to reduce our daily waste. Over the past year I’ve kept looking in our trash and recycling bins and wondered where in the hell all this stuff that is overflowing the bins is coming from. I’ve always considered us “mindful” consumers, but hot damn, we are a major part of the problem with our use of unnecessary packaged items. And while I know it’s pretty much impossible to avoid all packaging, I’m working on the areas where I can avoid it. In this case homemade yogurt has been a fun swap from the plastic tubs that I purchase at the store weekly. And before I scare you off and you think homemade yogurt seems too time consuming and fussy, I’ll preface this by saying it’s only a total of 15 minutes of hands on time (even though the yogurt has to “incubate” for 8 hours) most of the magic happens while you’re at work. Second, this recipe is for folks with an instant pot only (every model except the LUX)  If you don’t have one you can google recipes with an oven method like this one from the New York Times.Not only is homemade yogurt less wasteful with zero packaging, but it’s creamier, more delicious and way CHEAPER!!!! So while you eat your morning cup of granola and yogurt you can pat yourself on the back that you’re saving a few bucks with each batch of yogurt you make. I’ll raise a cup of coffee to that! Here’s a few notes before we get started:

First: A rule of thumb is to use 1 tablespoon of yogurt starter for every 1/4 gallon of milk. My recipe calls for a 1/2 gallon of milk so you’ll need 2 tablespoons of starter. Feel free to scale up and use an entire gallon of milk, though for your first batch I’d suggest a 1/2 gallon just to be safe. A yogurt starter can be from any jar of store bought yogurt that says “active cultures” on the carton. Make sure your yogurt is plain (no sweeteners) and full fat for the best results (though I’ve heard low fat and even Greek yogurt will work fine as a starter as long as it has active cultures). Once you get going with making your own yogurt you can start saving a portion of each batch to use as your starter for your next round. Just freeze a few tablespoons in an ice cube tray after each fresh batch is made. Make sure you defrost your “starter” before you use it for the next batch.

Second: Make sure you sanitize your instant pot insert. Pour boiling water in there with some vinegar and give it a solid rinse a few times. You don’t want your yogurt to have a trace essence of meat, curry, or spicy chili. Trust me!

Third: The only other “equipment” you’ll need is a meat or candy thermometer.

Fourth: Don’t stress!! This is an easy method even though there’s quite a few steps involved. If I can do this, trust me, you can too! Now that homemade yogurt is in our lives, I almost can’t remember what life was like before this silky, smooth delicious treat! Also- if you want to sweeten your yogurt wait until it’s already done and then you can stir in sugar, honey, vanilla or lemon. Just taste test as you add your sweeteners.

 

 

Instant Pot Whole Milk Yogurt & Greek Yogurt

Prep Time: 5 minutes    Cook Time: 8 hours    Serves: 6 1/2 cups of yogurt

  • 1/2 gallon of whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons prepared plain yogurt with cultures

Preparation

  1. Pour the milk into the Instant Pot’s insert. Lock the lid. (It does not matter if the steam vent is open or closed) Press the “Yogurt” button, then press “Adjust” so the digital readout says “Boil.” The instant pot will automatically bring the milk to 180F. Once it reaches that temperature it will beep and the readout will say "Yogt". This will take about 30 minutes but could take close to an hour.
  2. Once the Instant Pot "beeps" that the boil cycle is complete, carefully remove the lid and test the temperature. It should be around 180F. Let the insert  sit in instant pot for an extra 5 minutes and then remove it (this extra 5 minutes will result in a thicker yogurt).
  3. Allow the milk to cool to 105-115 degrees. This will take about an hour on the countertop or about 5 minutes if you place your inner pot into an ice bath.
  4. Once the milk is cooled there will be a film of coagulated milk on the surface; carefully lift this off with a spoon and discard.
  5. Put the yogurt starter in a medium bowl and add about 1/2 cup of the warm milk. Whisk until smooth, then add that into the insert of milk and whisk really well to combine.
  6. Place the inner pot back into the instant pot (be sure to dry off well if you had in ice bath), put the lid on and press the yogurt button again.  If the readout does not say “8:00,” add time using the +/- button until it does.
  7. The Instant Pot will incubate your yogurt for 8 hours before switching itself off (the display will read “Yogt” once the 8-hour programming is complete). Also- when incubating the yogurt the readout counts up so when it says 1:45 that means it's been incubating for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
  8. Once your yogurt is set after the 8 hours, gently lift the insert from the cooker. Set the insert on a rack or dish towel on the counter and bring it to room temperature (this should take about 2 hours) before letting it completely set it in the refrigerator.
  9. After it's been in the fridge to completely cool and set you can remove it and divide the yogurt between glass jars.
  10. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the yogurt into the freezer for future use.
GREEK YOGURT
  1. To make Greek Yogurt strain the yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth overnight in the fridge (be sure to place over a large mixing bowl while draining.) Scoop the yogurt from the top into jars and save they whey to add to smoothies, oatmeal or baked goods. It's full of protien and probiotics.

Notes

*Store the yogurt in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks


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29 thoughts on “Instant Pot Whole Milk Yogurt & Greek Yogurt

  1. Katie says:

    Your first couple of sentences are spot on!! I’ve been so DISGUSTED at the diapers landing in the trash can at our house lately that I’ve decided to make all cloth diapers (and believe me, I don’t have the time with 6 kids). I love that the Bulgarian yogurt at our health food store is sold in glass jars and I also love homemade yogurt. I just heard that China is starting to ban their plastic bag use because their biggest landfill filled up 10 years before schedule. We are killing ourselves with plastic! BTW, I’m not a hippy in anyway, I’m a normal military wife who is seeing this problem with fresh eyes …. Scary!!

    Love your recipes ❤️

  2. Chinazor says:

    Since I started making my yogurts, I cant even remember what the store-bought tasted like.
    Now I can make them with my Instant Pot too?

    Thanks for the Greek yogurt prep method. I always thought there was more to it than its thickness.

    1. Andrea says:

      I know!! The Greek Yogurt is SO easy to make!!

      1. Chinazor says:

        I am bored…I want to cook my worries away. Please point me to other instant pot recipe ideas you trust.

  3. Jane Lustgarten says:

    Sounds great, but how about those who are allergic to lactose?? Give us a recipe to make yogurt, what milk
    to use, etc. I’d love to have home made yugurt in my diet.
    Thank you. Jane Lustgarten

    1. Andrea says:

      Hi Jane, I’m not an expert on lactose free alternatives. This recipe is for dairy milk only. I’m sure there are other great recipes online for a dairy free alternative. I hope you find a great one!

  4. Kim says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I have to give it a try soon! Have you ever added fresh or frozen fruit during the process? If so, in which step would you add it?

    1. Andrea says:

      All add-ins should be added once the yogurt is complete. So stir in any sweeteners, fruits or sugar at the end.

  5. Michele says:

    So freezing doesn’t kill the active cultures in the starter?

    1. Andrea says:

      Nope! But make sure you completely thaw the starter before you use it for the next batch

      1. Holly says:

        Also, for my third question…I know you said you can freeze the yogurt for your starter, can you freeze the yogurt to also eat later, will it still taste good? How long will this last in the fridge?

        1. Andrea says:

          The yogurt will last in your fridge for about 3 weeks. You can freeze the yogurt to eat later but the consistency will change and (in my opinion) not be as desirable. It won’t be “bad” it just won’t be as smooth and creamy.

  6. Holly says:

    Can you use milk other than whole milk to make a low or nonfat version? Also, to clarify for making the Greek version, you are just straining out liquids to make it thicker? Thanks!

    1. Andrea says:

      I’d recommend whole milk for a creamier and less runny yogurt. You can certainly use a low fat milk (I’d definitely not use skim) but the consistency will be thin and not set as well.and yes, to make Greek Yogurt you’re essentially just straining the yogurt to thicken it. So easy!!

  7. Christine Pashley says:

    Best instant yogurt recipe yet! I’ve tried several. Much thicker. Less yogurt starter needed. I have noticed the key is to make sure your yogurt cools to below 115 before moving on to the incubating phase. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    1. Andrea says:

      Yeeehaw!! So happy you loved it as much as we do!!

  8. Elle says:

    We have a 3 quart instant pot. Is this recipe for the larger instant pot? Would you suggest cutting the recipe in half for the 3-quart pot?

    1. Andrea says:

      This recipe will work for your 3 quart pot.

  9. Matthew Williams says:

    Weird…I followed this exactly and my yogurt is very very watery. Any suggestions?

    1. Andrea says:

      I’m not quite sure what could have gone wrong. A few things that may make the yogurt runny is if you add too much of the starter. In the case of starter, more is definietly not better. So for 1/2 a gallon you only need 2 tablespoons. Another thing that may have happened is if you added the starter too early before the milk had a chance to cool to the correct range (too warm milk can kill the bacteria.) Other than that I’m not sure what could have gone wrong. We haven’t had this issue before. I’d try straining the yogurt in a bowl with cheesecloth to get it thicker for now. I hope that’s helpful!

  10. Lorrie says:

    Also tired of the waste…used to make my own years ago when we lived in Africa, in a bowl overnight in a warm oven. I’ve had my pot for a year but hadn’t made yogurt yet. Perfect for those times when a gallon of milk is on special for less than a quart! I used 1% milk, followed the recipe, letting it do the 8 hours overnight. In the morning I strained it for about an hour to get it to be Greek Yogurt consistency, and it is fantastic! Thanks for the inspiration to get started ‘home brewing’ again.

  11. Ohioren says:

    So making yogurt is not rocket science after all?

  12. Sea says:

    Thank for your recipe. This is so delicious

    1. Andrea says:

      So happy you love it as much as we do!

  13. Amar Kumar says:

    Hey Andrea,

    In my opinion – Greek yogurt has double the protein of regular yogurt. Your recipe sounds delicious and healthy – Its great for your breakfast to add some extra mile to your meal.

    Hence, its very simple to prepare in your home and it doesn’t matter that you are professional in cooking. Thanks for sharing.

    With best wishes,

    Amar Kumar

  14. Amalia says:

    I have followed a couple different instant pot yogurt Recipes, and this one is not significantly different than the others, yet it produced a more firm and more pleasing yogurt. It’s worth the steps that seem a little fiddly!

    1. Andrea says:

      So happy you enjoyed the results of this method!

  15. Akiko says:

    I’m going to make this next week! Do you think I’d be okay cutting the recipe in half?

  16. Chrysa says:

    My first batch is chilling right now. It didn’t thicken very much. I wonder if I need a different starter? I hope it sets a bit more in the fridge. Either way, it tastes good, the kids like it, and i can use it in cooking.

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