It’s true! You can make yogurt at home – in your crock pot!! It’s so easy, which is why I love this! This recipe requires minimal effort from you, but it does take 13-17 hours to make. When I make this recipe, I try to choose a day that I’ll be home most of the day. I’ll pour the milk in and turn on the crock pot at 7 AM and take the yogurt out at 9 PM. But you can just as easily start this 5-1/2 hours before bed if you prefer.
- 1/2 cup yogurt starter – any yogurt with live cultures. I started with Stonyfield organic whole milk yogurt. Once you make this once, you can keep a sample from a homemade batch to use as your starter for the next batch.
- 1/2 gallon whole milk. I’ve used both raw and pasteurized. Both work. From my experience, the whole milk makes the yogurt thicker.
- Crock pot
- Whisk and small mixing bowl
- Containers to hold the yogurt when it’s finished
- Pour 1/2 gallon of whole milk into your crock pot and turn it on low. Let it sit for 2 hours and 45 minutes. (If you have a small crock pot, closer to the 2-quart size, you should do 2-1/2 hours from what I have read. Mine is the normal large size.)
- Then turn the crock pot off, and unplug it. Let it sit for 3 hours.
- Then spoon 1-2 cups into a smallish mixing bowl, and add your starter. Whisk them together well.
- Add this mixture back into the crock pot. And just to be safe, whisk it all together. — This is not a big to-do. You just want to make sure the yogurt is mixed with the milk. The idea is just to make sure that the live cultures are mixed into the milk, allowing them to grow and form yogurt.
- Put the lid back on the crock pot. And wrap the crock pot in one or two beach towels. I kid you not. If you have guests come over, they’ll think you’re nuts until you make them a homemade parfait. Go with it.
- Allow the crock pot to sit 8-12 hours while the yogurt cultures.
- When you come back, you will have yogurt! Spoon it into jars or storage containers and refrigerate it before serving.
Store bought yogurt: Stonyfield organic yogurt = $3.99/quart.
Our homemade yogurt: I buy raw milk for $8/gallon from our local farm. This comes out to $2/quart. (4 quarts = 1 gallon) Even buying our expensive raw milk, we are saving 50% just by making our own yogurt!
If you go organic, not raw: I know most of you do not drink raw milk. Just think, with organic milk being around $5.50/gallon, you could pay just $1.38/quart of yogurt just by making your own!
A word of caution: During the cold months, we keep our heat pretty minimal, and I’ve had terrible luck with this recipe during that time. The crock pot just can’t stay warm enough. I’ve found that the house needs to be at least 70 degrees in order for this recipe to work well.
Update: I have added a Q&A for this recipe here because I received many questions! Feel free to send any others my way.