You Can Make Yogurt in Your Crock Pot!

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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.

Supplies:

  • 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

Directions:

  • 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.

The cost-analysis:

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.

Enjoy!

Update: I have added a Q&A for this recipe here because I received many questions! Feel free to send any others my way.

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Comments

  1. Wow..this is so neat!!!! Do you know if you can make flavored yogurt this way too?? Thanks for sharing!!
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  2. Do you know how long this will keep in the fridge?

    • I almost always do raw milk, which lasts longer than store bought milk anyway, so if you are using pasteurized milk, it’s hard for me to say. I’ve never had our yogurt go bad before we get to eating it. It has been in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. But if I think we may not finish the yogurt, I go ahead and pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Then I use the yogurt cubes in smoothies.

  3. Shannon says:

    At what point should I add the vanilla to flavor it? Should I use extract? Or, would it be better to just throw a vanilla bean in and fish it out later?

    • I have never added vanilla to this. I’ve just made plain, non-flavored yogurt. But my guess is that you would add this after your yogurt is complete, since the vanilla has to do solely with flavoring. The crock pot process is not about flavoring but about heating the milk so that when the culture is added, it can grow.
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  4. Anyone know if this is possible with soy yogurt starter and soy milk? I’m trying to give up dairy but love making my own food from scratch whenever possible. Also, I bought some soy yogurt yesterday and it is expen$$$$$$ive! Thanks! :)

  5. crystal says:

    can you double this recipe?I dont use organic milk will regular milk be ok too?

  6. Cassie Johnson says:

    So you are just cooking it the 2 hours 45 mins, then the rest of the time the crock pot is off? I have used a yogurt maker but haven’t been happy with it, cant wait to try this!

  7. Tiffany says:

    would this work if I changed the whole milk and the yogurt starter for soy stuff? my daughter is allergic to dairy and she loves yogurt?

    Thanks

  8. Melissa Johnson says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe, I just made my first batch of yogurt last night and it was so simple!! The result – totally delicious. It is so much better than store bought. I used Greek yogurt and just strained it in a paper towel lined colander when it was done. It was nice and thick and tangy!!

  9. In colder weather, couldn’t you turn the crockpot down to keep warm and eliminate one of the towels?
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  10. I make yogurt once a week. I didn’t want to wait for the crock pot so here is what I do. I heat one gallon whole organic milk and one vanilla bean scrapped and a couple of grates of nutmeg on the stove to 180 degrees, let cool to 120 degrees, add cultures (1/2 cup regular plain Greek yogurt) whisk,, put into crock from crock pot, lid on, put into oven ( not on) leave for 9 hours Or overnight. Strain through cheese cloth add vanilla bean syrup. I use an immersion blender to blend so it is really creamy. Put into 4 oz jars and chill. It is so delicious .

    • That sounds yummy! So you add vanilla to the milk AND afterwards to the yogurt as well? I am glad to know how to make this sans crock pot. I just love how the crock pot does the work for me!

  11. Katherine says:

    Could I make this with breast milk?

    • I know you can make cheese with it, so I’d assume so. I’m not sure if the recipe would stay the same though.
      Also you would need a starter – at first you could do a store bought plain yogurt for the starter and later you could use your homemade yogurt as a starter.

  12. Michelle Tebbe says:

    Thanks for a GREAT (and very informative) way to make yogurt. We, too, keep our house pretty cool in the winter, so that’s good to know about making yogurt in the winter. I’m trying it on top of my warm freezer (we always let our bread rise there and it does WONDERFULLY…but when I accidentally put chocolate chips on top of the freezer, they melted together! ;o).

    Anyway, I appreciate your website too…going to look around a bit more!
    Blessings,
    Michelle Tebbe

  13. Sara K. says:

    I just made this recipe for the first time, and my yogurt turned out pretty thin. Any suggestions to thicken it up next time?

    • Did you let it sit closer to 8 hours than 12? Let it sit longer.
      Or if you want it the thickness of Greek yogurt, strain the whey. I talk about this in the Q&A post linked here.

  14. Cheramie says:

    Can you double this recipe? We eat a lot of yogurt, I have a large crock pot.

    • I have not tried it, but I think you should be able to. I’d add more starter though and make sure you let the yogurt sit 12 hours, rather than 8, to allow for the most growth. Let us know what happens!

  15. how much yogurt does this recipe yield? (1/2 gall milk)

    • If you use a half gal, you’ll get a half gal. It just transforms the milk to yogurt.

      • Great thanks! Also are there dangers in making your own yogurt? I was planning on making it for myself but more for my 21 month old who pretty much lives on yogurt. But my significant other made some remarks (as men tend to do..) as I was preparing the crock pot so now I feel paranoid I will harm my child messing this up.. How do I know the yogurt is ok?
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        • I’m not sure what danger could be caused by it. I’ve never heard of any. All it is is milk culturing into yogurt. So if it doesn’t turn out like yogurt but more like milky, then it didn’t come out right. That’s happened to me. But we’ve still used milky yogurt in smoothies and to make cream cheese and such. Not sure how it could be harmful.
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          • Okay thanks I appreciate it. I guess I am thinking that in addition to “good bacteria” there could be harmful produced as well? I’ve been researching it for a while and haven’t seen anything about it being harmful but I wanted to ask you, since you seem like quite an expert :)

        • I would go read the Q&A post I linked to at the bottom of this one and the comments there. A lot of trouble shooting from others.
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          • After reading your directions, I am going to give it a try. I have not made my own yogurt for many years but when I did, we had gas heat (and cooking of course) so I just put the mixture into the oven over night (turned off) and the heat from the pilot light kept it warm enough to culture. I would think, however, that even a heating pad (set low) placed under the “wrapped crock pot” would be adequate to culture the milk … ya think?

  16. I’ve made this several times now. LOVE! So easy and delicious. We use raw milk. Since it is winter after my crockpot has sat the three hours and I’ve added the starter I wrap the crockpot in tinfoil(shiny side inwards) and then a beach towel…wait about 14 hours and ….thick, creamy yogurt!:)

  17. Thank you! I made this once before following a friend’s instructions, and although they were basically the same I had issues. This time I followed your directions and read all the FAQ as well as the comments. The yogurt turned out AMAZING! My kids and husband haven’t tasted it yet but I am sure they will love it. I am not a fan of plain yogurt but I like this, even without flavoring it! Yum!

  18. I can’t wait to try this, it sounds great!!!!

  19. Savannah says:

    My friend Katie told me about your recipe bc I had tried making yogurt on the stove and it just seemed to sour the milk. So I gave this a try and it was also a big fail. Whoever said not to cry over spilled milk never tried making yogurt. So this time I followed the direction using raw milk. After the 2:45min the milk looked like jello, was pretty sure at that point it was wrong. I continued to add the starter after the 3 hrs and let it sit for 12 hrs. The consistency was more like a ricotta or very fine cottage cheese. I drained the whey and bottled it. It’s taste ok certainly not yogurt. Why did they milk get thick and is this ok to eat?
    Sav

    • Hey! Did she send you my text? I’ve never had the jello issue… I am honestly not sure what to tell you about that. If it was pure milk in the crockpot, heating it should not have turned it into jello. Did you add the yogurt to it before? I’m at a loss if not.
      The only time I have ever had similar issues with a funky lumpy and soupy texture is when the crockpot did not keep the yogurt warm enough. Some more recent additions: In the winter, I set my crockpot in front of the vent where the heated air comes out just for extra warmth. Year round, I do two beach towels wrapped around the crockpot for extra insulation.
      Since I am not sure what you mean by jello, I’m not sure what to tell you about eating it. But when I’ve had the lumpy/soupy issue, I have used a coffee filter and a strainer to strain the whey out. I use whey anyway to soak oats and also for fermenting veggies. Then the yogurt thickens to become Greek yogurt – or cream cheese if you leave it longer.
      Hope this helps! Maybe another reader will be able to help on the jello issue…

      • savannah says:

        Thanks, she did send me your text. I know it separated in the curd and whey and I only put the yogurt in after the 2:45. I only strained the whey after the 12hrs should I had strained it before. I thought it might have been too hot thats why it looked like that. It’s not a creamy texture at all. I used the raw milk on the stove too and it didn’t work either. Maybe the raw milk is the issue. I don’t know. Feel so upset coz I wasted all the milk and not sure if it will work if I try again. I hate to waste more. Maybe regular milk will work better.

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