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
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- After it's been in the fridge to completely cool and set you can remove it and divide the yogurt between glass jars.
- Set aside 2 tablespoons of the yogurt into the freezer for future use.
- 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