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Last Updated on April 23, 2024 by Kiersten James

Learn how to make yogurt at home without an Instant Pot with this easy to follow recipe. Pictures included!

bowl of homemade yogurt sitting on the counter

When I realized how to make yogurt at home, my mind exploded into thousands of happy little probiotic pieces. It’s SO easy.

It’s also completely mesmerizing to watch regular whole milk turn into a completely different form.

Here’s How to Make Yogurt at Home

Step 1: Gather your supplies and ingredients.

You’ll need pasteurized whole milk, plain yogurt with live active cultures, a large pot, a candy or food thermometer, and one clean 32oz mason jar.

It’s very important that the store bought yogurt container says “live active cultures” somewhere on the label.

Step 2: Fill the jar with milk leaving about 1.5″ of space at the top.

Step 3: Use the pot to heat the jar in a water bath until the milk reaches 180 degrees F.

candy thermometer in a mason jar filled with warm raw milk

Step 4: Remove the jar from the water bath and let the milk cool to 110 degrees F.

Step 5: Add 1/2 cup plain yogurt with live active cultures to the milk jar. Stir to evenly distribute.

Step 6: Leave at room temperature for 12 hours to culture.

There are a few options for this. The goal is to have the environmental temperature be between 65 and 70 degrees.

My house is too cold during the winter to leave it out on the counter.

I get distracted by all of life’s moving parts so leaving something in the oven in a heavily used kitchen is not an option. I’d 100% end up preheating the oven completely forgetting anything was in there.

My best solution has been to leave the surface light on under the microwave and store everything I want to be at room temperature in there.

I don’t use our microwave to cook or reheat anything. BUT in the event someone else does, it’s obvious they would need to take out the contents prior to using.

Step 7: Stir the jar to reincorporate the whey, pop the lid on, and store in the refrigerator for 7 to 10 days.

Can I Use Organic Milk to Make Yogurt?

Not in this case. Organic milk is UHT or “Ultra Pasteurized” meaning it is heated to extremely, extremely high temperatures to prolong shelf life. It bakes weird and doesn’t culture correctly because there’s no good or bad bacteria left after the sterilization process. Regular grocery store whole milk is your best bet.

Do I Need to Sterilize the Jar Before I Make Yogurt?

I don’t. My jars are clean right out of the dishwasher and the water bath process is an additional cleansing process. Of course, do whatever makes you and your family the most comfortable.

Why is there a Clear-Yellowish Liquid at the Top of the Jar?

That’s whey! I mix it back into the yogurt for health reasons and personal preference. If it bothers you, it can be soaked up with a paper towel periodically throughout the culturing process.

Should My Yogurt Be Thin and Lumpy?

It’s totally normal while still at room temperature. Give it a good stir after the 12 hours are up and stick it into the fridge for 2 to 3 hours. It will thicken up and become the creamy texture you’re used to.

How Do I Make More Yogurt?

Once you have your initial batch cultured, you can use 4 tablespoons of your homemade yogurt to one quart of whole milk thereafter.

It is possible for the probiotic strain to lose strength over time.

For this reason, I freeze tablespoons of the original store yogurt in ice cube trays for later use to rejuvenate my home stash.

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