Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot (and Yogurt Cheese)


To make yogurt, you need milk and yogurt starter, which you can buy from a cheesemaking supply house, or you can simply use store-bought plain yogurt as a starter. I’ve looked into several different recipes for making yogurt at home, but I’m in love with this yogurt in a crock pot method. (The optional dry milk idea comes from another recipe.) It’s so easy and the result is so good. And I love the idea of being able to keep a pot of yogurt going from one batch to the next. Wanna try it?

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How to make Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot:

1/2 gallon milk
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup dry milk (optional)

Pour the milk into the crock pot and turn on high. (Note: You can use any type of milk.) A half-gallon of milk is two quarts, so I used a quart jar to measure. You can also add 1/2 cup of dry milk for a thicker yogurt. If you choose to add the dry milk, add it in this step.
Heat the milk in the crock pot until it’s almost boiling. (The temperature should be 180-degrees.) This process will take two to three hours, depending on your crock pot. For me, it takes two hours. Turn off the crock pot and let cool to 116-degrees. (You can also use the fingertip method of testing the milk for readiness when you can hold your finger in the milk for 10 seconds. However, the yogurt will not firm up if the milk is too hot, so your best bet is to use a thermometer.) Stir in the plain yogurt.
Put the lid back on and, leaving the crock inside the heating element, place a towel over the top to further insulate the pot. If your house is warm, a dish towel will do. If your house is cold, wrap the pot completely in a bath towel or even place inside your oven (not turned on) while setting. Yogurt won’t set if it’s too cool. Keep the covered crock pot in a draft-free area and leave it alone for six hours.
Like magic, it will start turning into yogurt. After six hours, check the pot periodically. It may take up to twelve hours to set to the consistency of thick cream.
Store in the refrigerator. Reserve one cup to start your next batch.

Homemade strawberry yogurt (mixed with strawberry jam). Mmmmmm!
Use a tablespoon or two of jam per cup of yogurt and you can have any flavor you like. Add cut-up fruit, granola, whatever you like, but homemade jams (or butters) do the job perfectly. Just one more reason to make jam. Yogurt!

Thank you to CindyP for finding this method of making homemade yogurt in a crock pot. See her original recipe here.

You can also use your fresh, homemade yogurt to make cheese.

How to make Yogurt Cheese:

Place however much yogurt you want in butter muslin. (At least a cup or two.) Tie the corners of the butter muslin and hang to drain for 12-24 hours, or until the cheese has reached the consistency you like. This is very similar to a soft cheese like chevre in that you control the consistency by how long you let it drain. FYI, the easiest place to hang it is right on the faucet of your kitchen sink. Set the yogurt to drain at night after you’re finished in the kitchen and cheese will be ready for you when you wake up. When the yogurt has drained to your satisfaction, remove it from the bag and place in a bowl. Add salt, minced onions, herbs, etc, to taste. Anything you like. The world is your yogurt cheese!

(What is butter muslin? It’s like cheesecloth, with a tighter weave and is best for draining cheese. You can buy it from cheesemaking supply companies. However. I will say that I have used ordinary cheesecloth, available at most grocery or hardware stores, and it is serviceable if you use a double thickness. I just want to put that out there for those of you who may not know whether you want to get into this or not and you want an easy solution to try it out. You can get away with the more readily available cheesecloth if you fold it over to double-wrap it.)

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on October 28, 2009  

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49 Responses | RSS feed for comments on this post

  1. 10-28

    Excellent post! Just voted for you again and WOW your in second place. Don’t be bashful about making another post asking for everyone to help out one more time by mentioning to any blogger friends to vote also to get you over this second place hurdle into first. I believe everyone will be more than happy to do so. Have a Wonderful Day!

  2. 10-28

    I think I could make this! Thanks,Suzanne and CindyP! Making your own yogurt would save a lot of $!Off to vote for you Suzanne! :clover:

  3. 10-28

    LOL, never occurred to me that I could make my own yogurt. I’ll have to try. The yogurt cheese sounds interesting!

  4. 10-28

    This was something else I was just amazed at how simple it was! And it is sooo good!!! I’ll have to try the powdered milk next batch!

    Already voted from both computers today! Was up to 6048 just a bit ago! :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy: :shimmy:

  5. 10-28

    You know, I’ve been thinking that making my own cheese might be beyond me but somehow making my own yogurt really appeals. Love the step by step pictures–thanks!

  6. 10-28

    suzanne just checked the votes. I have been voting everyday and later today I will be at a different computer so I will vote again later. You are so close. I am pulling for ya!

  7. 10-28

    Just finished voting….now I’m going to write out the yogurt recipe. That yogurt cheese sounds really good too. It’s amazing the different things I’ve tried since finding your Blog Suzanne! Yesterday I made your biscuits from the mix I made previously to go along with my clam/corn chowder. Yummy!

  8. 10-28

    We make our own yogurt here too. I usually use an electric roaster pan with a thermometer stuck in water in it to keep track of the temp. I put the yogurt/milk mixture (after doing the heating to 180 degrees and cooling to 116 degrees already) into glass jars and place them in the water in the roaster pan and cover it. I set the thermometer to alert me if it gets to hot or I check it to make sure it is not too cold. That way when it is done I can just stick the jars into the refrigerator. I will go to vote now, blessings.P.S. Our Mrs. Duck has started laying eggs, almost one a day now, yummy….

  9. 10-28

    I will definitely be trying this with our goat milk! Thank you Suzanne and Cindy P.

    I voted from both computers this morning!

  10. 10-28

    Fresh yogurt is so much better than the stuff you buy!

  11. 10-28

    How long will the yogurt keep? I’m the only one in the house that eats it and it normally takes me about a week to eat a 32 oz container. I’m really interested in making my own.

  12. 10-28

    I have one of those yogurt makers that makes about a 2 quart jar. I also have a yogurt cheese drainer thing that I got off of Amazon. I think my blog has posts showing both of them. What can I say, I love me some gadgets!

  13. 10-28

    It should stay good in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

  14. 10-28

    I haven’t tried this with goat milk yet. What I read about making yogurt with goat milk said to mix 1 drop of rennet in 4 tablespoons of cool, unchlorinated water then take a tablespoon of the diluted rennet and put it in the goat milk before making the yogurt with it. It will help the goat milk yogurt thicken better.

  15. 10-28

    :shimmy: :woof: :dancingmonster: :sheepjump:

    Woo-Hoo, you’re in 2nd place. You’ll be in first place in record time. Way to go!!!!

  16. 10-28

    This is why I LOVE your blog so much! I have an OLD Salton yogurt maker I used in the 70’s (yes, I’m and old Hippie) but it only makes 5 small containers. This is much easier! Come over to GrannyMountain to see how candycorn is made…

  17. 10-28

    I just voted for you again! Woo Hoo!!!

  18. 10-28

    Thank you so much for the goat milk info, Suzanne.

  19. 10-28

    You’re welcome! I’m glad you checked back. I was worried about you not having it turn out right with goat milk. I should have put that in the post!

  20. 10-28

    Wow! How cool is this! Just last night I was searching around for a simple way to make home made yogurt. I checked your recipes and was planning to check the forum this morning. Perfect timing! Serendipity! I’ve heard of this method before and tried it once but the yogurt didn’t thicken. I think I had a problem with the temperature…too cold most likely. I’ll put it in the oven or microwave with the door closed and see what happens. I’ll add the powdered milk too since I’ll have it on hand because I’m going to make your dough enhancer later this week. Thanks for all your recipes. Every single one I’ve made has been a huge success! :hungry:

  21. 10-28

    Hooray, you’re closing in on first place!!

  22. 10-28

    I read about making yoghurt so many times, but this time I will try it out for sure. Because I know, everything you post, will really turn out well and delicious!
    Do you know, what the purpose of the dry milk is in it?
    And what is the consistency of the yoghurt? Is it a little more runny than the store bought? I don’t mean the ones with gelatine, I mean compared with the ‘real’ ones, that don’t use gelatine.
    Do you let it drop a little in a cheesecloth? I might try this, if it’s too runny.
    Yeah, my project for the weekend ;-)

  23. 10-28

    This is the best way to make yogurt, VERY simple. I’ve been making it for ages this way. With a crock pot that has a removable crock, it’s extra easy for me, I pop it right into my oven which is the kind that has a pilot lite and it keeps it at a perfect temp.

    I like mine plain usually, but for my dad who is borderline dabetic and not fond of plain yogurt, I add a little splenda and vanilla. Sometimes as a desert topping, I do that or a little honey and vanilla too, then grate some nutmeg on top too! (a little sugar is ok for him and honey is at least more complex) Yummy and healthy!

  24. 10-28

    Have you tried making Kefir? It’s a lot like yogurt, but with more bite (yogurt is fermented with only a couple of bacterial strains, while kefir is fermented with both bacteria and yeast). Kefir fermented at room temperature. I like it on my cereal in the morning.

  25. 10-28

    I’ve never tried that. Thanks for the idea!

  26. 10-28

    I’ve been making yogurt like this for a while and we all love it. It sure saves money! The cheese you make from it is technically cream cheese I think. When I drain mine, I just use flour-sack cloth, works perfectly. The key is to keep the whey as it drains off. It can be used to soak oatmeal overnight to gain more nutritional value from them. Whey can also be added to many dishes and even to the wet ingredients of bread dough to make just about anything easier to digest and just plain healthier. A tbsp of whey is also a great remedy for a tummy ache. Whey in a mason jar can keep in the fridge for a long time.

  27. 10-28

    I’ve been voting every day :)

    Just wanted to come say, thanks so much for the newsletter. Thanks for the laughs today, loved it! I will definitely be sharing it :)

  28. 10-28

    I am absolutely going to try this. We run through yogurt like you wouldn’t believe around here, and this would save so much money.

  29. 10-28

    You can also use a coffee filter to make the yogurt cheese if you wish – works very well and most of us have them around.

  30. 10-28

    I have one of those 2 litre yogurt makers like the ones from the 70s but I bought mine new aboout 5 years ago from a cheese making company. I love it! It makes yogurt identical to that in the stores. Sometimes mine is even thicker.

    You will get richer and thicker yogurt of you add powdered milk to the milk you would ordinarily use, so the milk is concentrated. It makes a much better yogurt than just milk alone. For my two litres I usually add about 1 cup of powdered milk, dissolved in the milk before I heat it.

    I add sweetener to mine when I make it so I don’t have to use sugar.

    I have never tried the cheese thing. I think I will do that in the coming weeks. Thanks for the instructions!

  31. 10-29

    YES! YES! YES!!!!!!
    SHE IS IN THE LEAD!!!!!!

    FROM OHIO :woof: :sheepjump: :fairy: :snuggle: :cowsleep: :sheep: :duck: :fairy: :chef: :french: :grinch: :hole: :hungry2: :mummy: :reindeer:

  32. 11-1

    This is my favourite way to make yogurt. Yogurt cheese is delicious with a drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of toasted pecans. Really decadent.

  33. 11-1

    I love yogurt in the crockpot! I let it set a shorter time, though–I like smooth creamy yogurt and I’ve found it separates into whey if it is left too long. I heat to 180 deg, then put in the fridge to cool to 120 and add yogurt. Then I only let it set for about 2-4 hours, depending on the temp of the house. I check it every hour or so. I also do like mine sweetened and we use almost exclusively vanilla on homemade granola, so I add 1/2 c. sugar per 1/2 gal yogurt and 1t vanilla before I heat the yogurt. I use whole (raw) milk and yobaby yogurt as a starter. It doesn’t have to be plain! Flavored will also work, but does impart a slight hint of its flavor to the whole thing, so flavors like vanilla and peach work best.

    Super method!!!

  34. 11-9

    Made the yogurt on Friday – YUMMY! My crockpot must be getting old or something because it took 5 hours for the milk to reach 180 degrees!!!! Next time maybe I’ll heat the milk in a pot first and get it closer to the temp.

  35. 11-14

    My crock pot has a “warm” setting, would this be helpful while the yogurt is thickening for the 6hrs? I’m Really looking forward to trying this recipe!!!

  36. 11-14

    That sounds like it might be perfect! I’d try that if I had it.

  37. 1-4

    I have had so much fun making yogurt, and this recipe is so easy, Suzanne. Of course, I love all of the recipes that I have tried from you!
    Ulrike, I LOVE kefir! And it is so good for you, just don’t tell the kids! Lol! I make it everyday and also kefir cheese. My animals love it and so do the chickens. :chicken: I got kefir grains from the lady that does “Pockets of the Future” blog.

  38. 2-28

    I have made homemade yogurt many times, and for the final step where you keep it warm for 6-8 hours, wrap the crockpot liner in a bath towel and set it on a heating pad on low setting. Works perfectly every time.

  39. 3-24

    I grew up on my mom’s homemade yogurt. As a treat when we were sick, my mom would stir in a couple tablespoons of orange juice concentrate. Ooooh, it is wonderful! And orange yogurt is not a flavor you come across very often. Thanks for posting this. This recipe is a perfect example why your blog has become a staple in my life!

  40. 3-30

    Made this twice in the past week ..putting half in a bowl and using half for cheese. I came out perfect and we’ve had a blast with it and trying different flavors with the cheese. First one was chives, garlic and cayenne pepper. This one I have in the fridge now has parmesan and pepper mixed into it (and some salt). Thank you so much for sharing these ideas and lessons. It is such fun and will save us money so we can afford to eat more yogurt again (cheaper to make it than to buy the tubs). What sort of things have you used the yogurt cheese for?

  41. 1-12

    I made yogurt cheese last night (woohoo) though I haven’t tried it or added anything to it yet , I’m gonna let my blueberry jam thaw first then add some of that to it , then I’m gonna try and make some bagels to go with it :). (I can’t wait to see how it tastes :) ).

  42. 1-25

    I have a Salton yogurt maker that I used when the girls were growing up, kept a batch going all the time! This method is even easier, can’t wait to make it. You are a genius Suzanne!

  43. 2-8

    Thanks for a great way to make yogurt. I had a Salton maker years ago and kept yogurt ‘cooking’ almost constantly! I do like the new way with only one quart jars, much easier! Well, I just made my 1st batch in years…..its delish! I put the jars next to the woodstove, it took about 8 hours to ferment and thicken. Next time I am trying the crockpot method! Thanks again for the great idea! Nancy :sheep:

  44. 3-1

    Finally, FINALLY, got around to trying this yesterday. OH, my – I did make a serious mess of the kitchen, using waaaaaaaay more stuff than was necessary to make yogurt! But, next time it will not be so complicated. Or messy!

    The result is cooling now in the refrigerator. Made with a half gallon whole milk, a good quality organic yogurt, and will make about half of it (some, anyway) into yogurt “cheese” later.

    It’s already soooo yummy! This is going to be something we really enjoy around here. Great flavor. Looks like the texture wil be outstanding as well. Will be super duper wonderful with homemade granola, maybe some jam, maybe just a few drops of honey. Oh my… :snoopy:

  45. 4-16

    Stumbled upon your site by Googling “Homemade Hamburger Helper’ My kid loves that stuff- has had it @ friends houses. I have reluctatnly purchased it but cringed when thinking about all the EXTRA’s they add… Cannot wait to try your versions!
    Another great tool for straining things is a box of the cheapest knee hi’s you can find. I launder them in a lingerie bag, put them in a ziplock bag & keep them in a kitchen drawer. they make great yogurt cheese hangers!

  46. 12-3

    This looks very doable. I’m concerned, though, because I use yogurt aplenty when I’m using it, but weeks will go by in between times when I do use it. Can the cup of starter for the next batch be frozen and still work, or will I need to buy a cup of store-bought yogurt each time? Also, do you have advice for starting yogurt from bacterial cultures? And would it be done with thermophilic or mesophilic, or is there maybe a third option specifically for yogurt? I have both, as I make cheese.

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