Yogurt is a staple around our house. Not only is it a great breakfast food, but it has lots of good probiotics that help maintain a healthy gut. I used to buy it from the store all the time, but I found it difficult to find a brand without added fillers to thicken the yogurt that would fit in my budget. I’ve found that making it myself is cheaper than buying organic, whole milk yogurt.
So here’s an easy way to make your own yogurt in the crockpot!
Plain Crockpot Yogurt
1. Heat the milk.
I like to use a gallon of whole pasteurized milk. I would use raw milk, but it just doesn’t fit in the budget right now. However, you don’t want to use milk that has been ultra-pasteurized. I’ve found that the ultra-pasteurized milk does not curdle correctly so you end up with just regular milk that smells like yogurt. I think the ultra-pasteurization has taken the nutrients out so the yogurt has nowhere to grow. You can use whatever fat content you like for the milk, but remember, the lower the fat content the thinner the yogurt will be. I’ve sometimes added extra cream to the whole milk to make it extra thick.
Pour the gallon of milk into your crockpot, cover, and turn on high. You want to heat the milk to 180 degrees fahrenheit. This scalds the milk, making it possible for the bacteria (probiotics) in the yogurt to grow. My crockpot has a thermometer attached to it, so I can set the temperature and it will automatically beep when it hits 180 degrees (so nice!). If yours doesn’t have a thermometer, just turn it on high for 2.5-3 hours and take the temperature. Turn it off once it reaches 180 degrees.
2. Cool the Milk
After you’ve turned it off wait for it to cool down to 110 degrees fahrenheit. Again, I use the crockpot thermometer by waiting for 2 hours and turning on the crockpot just to check the temperature. Use your thermometer to check the temperature periodically until it reaches 110 degrees. I would leave the lid off for cooling, but keep the crock in the crockpot.
3. Add the Yogurt
Once the milk is cooled, take the ¼ cup of yogurt and stir it into the milk. I like to use this yogurt from Trader Joe’s. It’s got cream on the top and no fillers, just lots of live cultures. That is really what you want to look for in the yogurt you use for your starter, the live cultures. They are what make up the probiotics and grow in the milk to produce more yogurt. If you don’t have Trader Joe’s near you, here is another option. Once you’ve made this recipe once, save ¼ cup of your yogurt to use for future times. Then, you won’t have to buy yogurt from the store at all!
4. Cover and Wait
After stirring the yogurt into the milk, cover the crockpot and then cover the whole pot with a towel or blanket. Let it sit overnight (12 hours). At this point, you just want to give the bacteria time to grow in the milk. The blanket keeps it nice and cozy throughout the night and into the morning.
5. Remove and Store
Check your yogurt in the morning. If it is not quite thick enough, it may need to sit for a few more hours. Remember that it will thicken up a little more as it gets cold in the fridge. A lot depends on how cool your kitchen is at night. If it’s extremely cold, you may want to move your crockpot to another, warmer place in your house for the night.
Once it reaches your desired consistency, spoon into glass jars and store in the fridge. Store it in small glass jars for an easy grab-n-go snack. Yogurt usually lasts for 1-2 weeks in the refrigerator. We usually go through all of ours before it can go bad. Because it’s plain, it will smell sour. As long as it’s not moldy, you’re good!
Grab a bowl and enjoy! Remember that this recipe is for plain yogurt, which can be sour if you’re not used to it. Try serving it with homemade granola or fresh berries. You can also mix in a tablespoon of raw honey and a squeeze of lemon juice for a nice treat.
My usual schedule for making yogurt:
4:00PM Turn on milk in crockpot
6:30PM Turn off crockpot to cool
9:00PM Add yogurt and stir (right before bedtime!)
9:00PM-9:00AM Let sit (grow that bacteria while you sleep)
9:00AM Check if ready (let sit longer if needed)
Plain Crockpot Yogurt
1 Gallon Whole Milk
1/4 Cup Plain Whole Milk Yogurt
Glass Jars (for storage)
- Heat the milk to 180 degrees fahrenheit in your crock pot, measuring the temperature as you go.
- Turn off your crockpot and let milk cool to 110 degrees fahrenheit.
- Add yogurt to milk and stir gently.
- Cover with lid and towel/blanket, let sit over night (12 hours).
- Check yogurt thickness, let sit longer if it is not thick enough.
- Serve with berries or homemade granola.
- This recipe is for plain yogurt, so it is sour if you’re not used to it. Serve it with honey and lemon juice or with berries and homemade granola.
- You can use a lower fat content milk if desired, the yogurt may just be thinner than with whole milk.
- You don’t have to leave it overnight. If it would work better for you, put it together early in the morning and let it sit all day.
We love our homemade yogurt, and so does our wallet! Have you ever made yogurt at home? What’s your staple breakfast item?