Just a few years ago, I would have looked at you like you were crazy if you told me you can make yogurt at home. I thought yogurt was one of those things that you could only buy in the store. In little plastic cups. Flavored with all kinds of fun different flavors.
Fast forward to the present time, and I now typically make a gallon of yogurt a week. Homemade slow cooker yogurt.
Why Do I Make My Own Homemade Yogurt?
- It is delicious.
- It is easy.
- It saves us a LOT of money. (This is the main one!)
You can make yogurt at home for the price of milk. A gallon of milk usually costs anywhere between $3.00-$7.00 depending on where you live and what type of milk you buy (conventional, organic, raw, etc.).
So, you can make a gallon of yogurt for the same price as you can purchase a gallon of milk. Do you know how many of those little cups of yogurt it would take to make a gallon of yogurt? WAY more than $7.00 worth, I can tell you that! And that is on the high end for the cost of milk, too.
How to Make Homemade Yogurt in the Slow Cooker
I have tried several different methods
of making yogurt over the past few years. The method that I am going to share with you today is the one that I have settled on (for now at least!). It is a bit of a mix between my two favorite methods.
The reason that I have chosen this slow cooker homemade yogurt method is because it is very laid back and doesn’t require much hands on time at all. If you have never made homemade yogurt before this is a great method to start with. It is not confusing or intimidating at all, and your yogurt will turn out thick, creamy, and perfect every time.
Don’t be intimidated by the long instructions or notes at the bottom. I included as much information as I could think of to help answer any question that you might have. It really is a simple process though.
Check out the notes at the bottom of the recipe for extra tips and tricks.
- 1 gallon whole milk
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (full fat)
- Pour the gallon of milk in a 6 qt. slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on low.
- Allow the milk to heat up to 180 degrees F. In my slow cooker this takes about 5 hrs. Every slow cooker is different though, so use a candy thermometer to check the temperature of your milk until it hits 180.
- Turn the slow cooker off and allow the milk to cool to 110 degrees F. Again, use a candy thermometer to determine when it has hit the correct temperature.
- Once the milk has cooled off to 110 degrees, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F. Remove some of the warm milk into a small glass bowl. Gently whisk the 1/2 cup plain yogurt into the warm milk in the small bowl until there are no lumps left. Gently whisk the yogurt/milk mixture back into the rest of the warm milk.
- Pour the warm yogurt/milk into sterilized glass jars. A funnel helps with this. Put lids on the jars and place them in the oven. Turn the oven off and allow the jars to sit in there for 8-12 hours (or overnight). This is the incubation phase when the yogurt cultures the rest of the milk and turns all of it into yogurt. If your oven has a light in it, leave it on while the jars are in there. This will help to keep the oven the right temperature.
- After the jars have set in the oven for 8-12 hours, remove them and place them in the refrigerator to chill completely before using.
- If a whole gallon of yogurt seems like a lot to you, you can cut the recipe in half. This will affect the heating and cooling times, but the yogurt will still need to incubate for 8-12 hours no matter how much you make.
- I definitely recommend using whole milk for this recipe. It makes the yogurt very thick and creamy. I usually use raw milk, because that’s what we have on hand. Any whole milk will work great though.
- If the milk goes a little past 180 degrees F when you are heating it, that is fine. However, it must get to at least 180 degrees F.
- You can speed the cooling process along by cracking the lid on the slow cooker and/or by removing the ceramic part of the slow cooker from the part that generates the heat. I usually don’t do this, but if you’re wanting it to be done faster it won’t hurt anything to speed it along.
- Don’t worry if your oven doesn’t have a light in it. Mine does not, and it still always turns out great.
- If for some reason your oven is not available, there are other options for incubating your yogurt. You can put the jars in a closed and sealed cooler with a pot of boiling/very hot water. Or if you have a dehydrator with removable trays you can set the jars in the dehydrator with it set on about 115 degrees F. No matter what you choose incubate your yogurt in, it needs to stay in the warm environment for 8-12 hours.
- If you don’t have a slow cooker, you can still make this. Just heat the milk up to 180 degrees F in a pan on the stove instead of in the slow cooker. Then proceed as directed above.
- I do not add any sweetener or flavor to my yogurt when I am making it. If you want to sweeten it and/or flavor it, add honey, maple syrup, or jam (to taste) to the milk/yogurt mixture before putting it in the jars. You could also add any extracts that you would like to use.
- The reason I don’t sweeten my yogurt is because we use it in baking and eating as a buttermilk and sour cream substitute. We also enjoy eating it plain with applesauce or frozen blueberries. It also makes an almost daily appearance in our smoothies, which are sweetened by the fruit that we put in them.
- This yogurt will last for several weeks in the refrigerator.
- Make sure you save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt to make your next batch!
Have you ever made homemade yogurt before? Would you be willing to give it a try?
The cost for the eBook is only $5, but for this week only you can get it for 15% off using the code Creating15. It contains 40 healthy and delicious recipes for your slow cooker. You can read more about the book here, including what I think about it and if it’s for you or not!