Yogurt is one of the most versatile foods that we eat regularly. It’s good by itself with some fruit, good with a little honey as dessert, good to eat with Indian curries, and good in a smoothie with berries! There are so many options for how to eat yogurt. And, yogurt also has a broad variety of probiotics in it that really help our guts process our food.
It’s for these reasons, and because we just love it, that we make our own yogurt in the Instant Pot and eat it all the time! This post will show you just how to do it. Let’s get started!
Why Should You Eat Yogurt?
Our tummies work hard to process all the food that we put inside them. And the mainstream American diet does not help you gut at all. If you want to read more about that, check out the Weston A. Price foundation’s website, there are numerous articles there for you. But the short story is that you need probiotics to help your gut process the food that you eat.
While store-bought yogurt does have probiotics in it, it is often sweetened with sugar and thickened with cornstarch. That’s not what your body needs to function properly. So, learning to make your own yogurt at home is very useful, and you can make it however your family prefers to eat it, avoiding all the sugars and fillers from the grocery carton. And, if you follow my recipe for GAPS-legal yogurt, you will have the most probiotics possible and it is even better for your stomach than just plain yogurt.
We personally make yogurt and eat it daily because it helps meet our needs for the diet we are on, the GAPS diet. You can read more about our experience with the GAPS diet here.
Before I got an Instant Pot, I always made yogurt in my crock pot, you can see that recipe here.
How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot
1 gallon whole milk (preferably free-range and organic)
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (no fillers or sweeteners)
strainer and cheesecloth (optional)
Heat the Milk
The first step to make yogurt is heating up the milk. Unless you are able to buy and comfortable consuming raw milk and want to use that, all pasteurized milk will need to be heated up in order to make it into yogurt. The heat gets rid of any unwanted bacterias and purifies the milk so that the yogurt cultures can multiply and grow.
So pour your milk into your Instant Pot, put on the lid, and press “Yogurt” until it is on the high setting and the screen says “boil.” This function will slowly bring the temperature of the milk up to 180 degrees fahrenheit, the temperature that kills off the bad bacterias and purifies the milk.
This can take some time on this setting. So, if you are in a rush, you can use the “Saute” button on the lowest setting instead. If you use the “Saute” button, be sure to watch it and measure the temperature of the milk as the Instant Pot will not be measuring it for you. Using the “Saute” button is not ideal because the milk fat will most likely stick to the bottom of the bowl at the higher temperature than if you use the “Yogurt” setting. But it is possible in a pinch. I have used the “Saute” button for a few minutes and then switched to the “Yogurt” button after.
Let the Milk Cool
Once your milk reaches the 180 degree fahrenheit mark, turn off the Instant Pot. Now you need to let your milk cool down to 110-115 degrees fahrenheit. Depending on how much time you have, you can either let the milk cool down in the Instant Pot or you can take out the pot and let it cool. This may take several hours, it will depend on the temperature in your kitchen.
Use your thermometer to measure the temperature during the cool-down.
Once the milk reaches 110-115 degrees fahrenheit, it’s time to put the yogurt in the milk.
Mix in the Yogurt Starter
Now you can buy a yogurt starter online or in some health food stores. I have personally never used a yogurt starter, I’ve always used yogurt from the store as my starter. You just have to find a yogurt that does not have sweetener or fillers. The ingredients should just be milk and yogurt cultures (some companies spell out the names of each live bacteria in the yogurt, so don’t be turned away by a longer ingredient list). The brand that I used to get in California as my start was Nancy’s yogurt.
Put the two tablespoons of yogurt into the milk and stir.
Place the pot of milk with the yogurt stirred in back into the Instant Pot. Then press the “Yogurt” button again so that it is on the medium setting. Increase the time to 24 hours and let sit.
Let the Yogurt “Cook”
If you don’t want to wait for 24 hours, you can make yogurt on this setting in 8 hours. However, I recommend waiting for 24 hours. This setting on the Instant Pot keeps the milk warm while so that the yogurt can multiply and grow, eating all the sugars from the milk and creating those lovely probiotics for your gut. Not only is the yogurt MUCH healthier after that long, due to the extra probiotics and less milk sugars, but it will also get a lot thicker and delicious if you wait that long. It’s worth it!
After the 24 hours, turn off the Instant Pot and spoon the yogurt into the glass jars. Store in the fridge for around 2 weeks (if you don’t eat it all before then!). Be sure to save some of this batch as a starter for the next time you make yogurt.
Store in Jars or Strain If Needed
If after 24 hours your yogurt is not thick enough for you, then you can strain it out by layering cheesecloth over a metal strainer. If you prefer greek style yogurt, then you should do this. Simply fold the cheesecloth so that there are two layers on top of your metal strainer. Pour in the yogurt and let it strain for a few hours. Strain it until you like the consistency, then spoon it into jars and store in the fridge.
This yogurt is not sweetened naturally, it will be sour. If you prefer to eat it sweet, then I would suggest stirring a teaspoon of honey into each serving and eating it that way. Yogurt is excellent to serve as a breakfast side, along with curries, or mixed into a smoothie. However you may choose to eat it, it is beneficial for your gut and, therefore, your health.
Let me know when you try this recipe and add yogurt into your diet in the comment below!