We’ve tackled the yogurt button on the Instant Pot. And guess what? It’s actually not so bad! Just two ingredients, a bit of time, and a thermometer are all you’ll need to make the tastiest and most economical yogurt you’ve ever had. Here’s the skinny on how to make yogurt in an Instant Pot.
Of all the buttons on the Instant Pot, “Yogurt” seemed the most formidable. Unlike many of the others, it doesn’t seem intuitive. So, with some research and experimentation I bring to you a step-by-step guide to making your own yogurt.
Before we get into the details, I’ll just outline how the process works. You warm up milk in the Instant Pot, then cool it to a certain temperature. Next, you add a little bit of yogurt as “starter,” and heat again – this time for about 8 hours.
That’s it! And if you want Greek yogurt, you strain it using cheese cloth for a couple hours.
I know that sounds like it takes forever, but really it’s hands off for all but a few small steps. And it’s so worth it! I love how it tastes because it’s not as sour as so many I’ve purchased. Though, if you do like it sour you can cook it for 10 hours instead of 8 and it’ll get more tangy. So great to be able to customize your own yogurt!
How to make yogurt in an Instant Pot
Step 1: Heat milk to 180* F
Pour a gallon of milk into your very clean Instant Pot. Push the “Yogurt” button and press the “Adjust” button until the screen says “boil.” Now close the lid (vent open or closed – it doesn’t matter) and walk away. This will heat the milk to a boil and then beep when it’s done. It takes about an hour.
A note on milk: I used 2%, but I have read lots of recipes and it seems you can use anything from 1% to whole and have success!
Once the boiling is finished, use a thermometer to make sure the milk has reached 180* F. Mix the pot just a little to make sure the milk is even in temperature so you don’t get a false reading. If the milk isn’t quite to 180* F, you can use the Saute function on low to bring the milk to temperature. Just make sure to stir regularly so it doesn’t scald, and then turn it off as soon as it reaches temperature.
Step 2: Cool milk to 110* F
After reaching temperature, it’s time to cool the milk down again (does it feel like we’re running in circles?). We need it to get down to 110* F or a little under. This can be done by simply taking the pot insert out and setting it on a cooling rack on the counter. This takes an hour or so.
NOTE: If you want to cool the milk more quickly, you can instead set the pot insert into a sink full of cold water. Stir the pot and swish the cold water in the sink around until the milk gets to temperature. This took me maybe 15 minutes, but it’ll depend on how cold the sink water is and if you make a whole batch or half.
Step 3: Add starter and heat again
At 110* F or less, you can add your yogurt starter: any plain yogurt with live and active cultures works. I used Fage Total Greek yogurt (made with whole milk) but I my dad uses Chobani plain 0% and that also works well. You only need 3 tablespoons! Whisk well.
NOTE: Metal whisks are rumored to leave a faint metal taste, so use a silicone one if you have one!
Finally, place the insert pot back into the cooker and press “Yogurt” again. This time, adjust it until the screen reads 8:00. This means it will keep the yogurt at the perfect temperature for 8 hours so that the cultures can work their magic. You can also select 10:00 hours if you prefer a tangier yogurt.
Optional: How to make Greek Yogurt
I like to make it so that this process happens overnight, but as long as it doesn’t finish in the middle of the night you’ll be okay.
To strain the yogurt, you’ll need cheese cloth or something like it. Place the cheese cloth in double layer inside a large colander/strainer and set the colander in the sink. If you want to save the whey (the liquid that drains out), you’ll need to find a way to have it drip into a bowl. I placed a small bowl upside-down in a larger bowl for the colander to rest on. You can use the whey in some baking recipes.
The straining time is up to you. I let mine drip for a little under two hours, but it could have gone longer. The longer you wait, the thicker it will be. Some people choose to strain for 3-4 hours if they like it really thick.
Now, you can also add vanilla or sweetener. I made half of my batch into unsweetened vanilla yogurt by adding a tablespoon of vanilla extract and scraping the insides of half a vanilla bean. You could definitely use just the extract if you don’t have vanilla beans.
Oh – and don’t forget to reserve some plain yogurt to be the starter for your next batch! You can freeze it in ice cube trays and be all set for next time!
I loved the experience of making my own yogurt! It is delicious and so much cheaper than buying. I got a ton and it only cost the amount of a gallon of milk and a single serving of Greek yogurt (and next time I won’t even need that!).
How to Make Yogurt in an Instant Pot
- 1 gallon milk
- 3 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
- Pour 1 gallon of milk (1%, 2%, or whole) into the Instant Pot. Push “Yogurt” then “Adjust” until the screen reads “boil.” Place the lid on and walk away. It will heat the milk until boiling, and it takes about an hour.
- Once the boil cycle is finished and the pot beeps, give the milk a quick stir and then use a thermometer to read the temperature. You need the milk to have reached 180* F. If it has not, use the “Saute” function on low to heat the milk a bit more.
- Once 180* F has been reached, remove the pot insert and set it on the counter to cool to 110* F. This takes about an hour. A quicker option is to set the pot in a sink full of cold water and stir. This takes about 15 minutes.
- After reaching 110* or a little lower, add 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt. NOTE: make SURE the yogurt you use as starter contains live and active cultures! Whisk to mix the yogurt into the milk.
- Place the pot insert back into the Instant Pot and close the lid. Press the “Yogurt” button again and then “Adjust” until the screen reads “8:00.” This means the pot will incubate the yogurt for 8 hours, or you can choose “10:00” for a tangier yogurt.
- Once the incubation period completes, either refrigerate the yogurt as is, or make it into Greek yogurt.
- To make Greek yogurt: strain the yogurt using cheese cloth covering a large colander or strainer. Allow the yogurt to drip in the sink or over a bowl for 1-4 hours, depending on desired thickness. The longer the strain, the thicker the yogurt.
- Store yogurt in the fridge and it will be good for at least one week. Don’t forget to reserve 3 tablespoons of yogurt to be your starter for next time! Freeze this in ice cube trays and you’re all set.