How to Make Yogurt

Last Updated on June 24, 2019 by Ellen Christian

Yogurt is one of my favorite breakfast foods and yogurt is healthy too. Right? Yogurt definitely can be very healthy because it is loaded with probiotics that help keep your digestive system running smoothly. Unfortunately, if you buy the wrong kind of yogurt, it’s not as healthy.  That is why I have been making my own.  I have also been working to educate my Mom on what “good yogurt” is so I thought I would share some of what I learned with you all.

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How to make yogurt with or without a yogurt maker

Yogurt is a cultured milk product that is created with live active cultures.  What does that mean? There are beneficial bacteria working to culture the milk and turn it into yogurt. These beneficial bacteria help your body work the way it should and keep bad bacteria and yeast under control.

  • Not all yogurt contains live active cultures. If you don’t see it on the label, don’t assume your yogurt has it. No live active cultures = no probiotics to keep you healthy.
  • My preference is yogurt made from non-GMO organic, raw, local milk. There are several companies that make *healthy* yogurt with GMO milk. GMO’s are not healthy. Look for a label that says GMO free.
  • Yogurt can be eaten plain or with added fruit and sweeteners. If you are purchasing yogurt, read the ingredients and avoid artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup & food dyes.

How to make yogurt with or without a yogurt maker

How to Make Yogurt

I make my yogurt now with a YoLife Yogurt Maker which simplifies the process.  Before I got it a few years ago, I made my yogurt using the process below.  It takes a few more steps but results in the same yogurt as my yogurt maker. Since I received 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes by Debra Amrein-Boyes for review, I thought it would be the perfect time to share how to make yogurt. This book contains recipes from cheddar & brie to butter & yogurt. I hope to try a few of the cheese recipes once I buy the starter.

Each yogurt maker has their own directions and you should follow the directions for the specific yogurt maker you have. For the (affiliate) YoLife Yogurt Maker, I simply pour 4 1/4 cups of milk into a bowl and whisk in the starter yogurt. I then pour the yogurt into the individual cups and put the cups in the yogurt maker. I plug it in and wait roughly 10-12 hours (I start it before bed). Then I cover the jars and refrigerate until cool. This morning, I enjoyed mine with homemade applesauce from local apples and organic raisins. Sometimes I enjoy having my Strawberry Rhubarb Sauce over yogurt.

Have you ever made your own yogurt? Which method did you use?

How to Make Yogurt
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  • Heavy bottom stainless steel pot or saucepan
  • Spoon or skimmer
  • Diary thermometer
  • Sink or larger pot filled with cold or ice water
  • Towels or a thermal blanket
  • Optional: yogurt maker
  • 4 1/4 cups of organic, non-GMO raw or whole milk
  • 6 ounces of plain organic, non-GMO yogurt to use as a starter (must have live active cultures)


  1. Clean and sterilize the pot, spoon and thermometer using boiling water or a bleach solution made with 2 tbsp household bleach and 4 quarts cool water. If using bleach, rinse twice to remove any trace of chlorine. (I do not use bleach.)
  2. In a stainless steel pot over medium-low heat, warm milk to 176F stirring or whisking gently. Milk used for yogurt needs to be heated to a higher temperature than it does for cheese making in order to remove any bacteria that would compete with the yogurt bacteria. Rule of thumb: Warm the milk slowly but cool it quickly. This gives the heat time to kill the unwanted bacterial as the milk warms, and little time during the cooling period for new bacteria to gain a foothold.
  3. Turn off heat and cover the pot. Hold for 5 minutes.
  4. Place the pot in a sinkful or larger pot of cold or ice water and whisk or stir milk until the temperature drops to 115F.
  5. Remove pot from cold water. Let it come to room temperature and add the 6 ounces of starter yogurt stirring it into the milk.
  6. Cover the whole pot with a lid and set it on a folded towel or hot pad. Then cover with one or two folded blankets or towels. Incubate for 4 to 6 hours.
  7. Place in the refrigerator and chill overnight. The yogurt will firm up a bit more in the cold.

54 thoughts on “How to Make Yogurt”

  1. I've used different methods over the years.  I was given a yogurt maker for a shower gift, so I used that.  Then we went off-grid for a few years, so I insulated it for culturing time.  Back on grid, I used my (thrift shop) dehydrator, which worked fine, but my husband didn't like the fan's noise.  So I found a EuroPro at the thrift shop for $2 and that's what I use now.
  2. My boys love yogurt but I have never tried making it at home. I have always avoided it because I don't have a yogurt maker. Thank you for the simple directions I think I might give it a try!
  3. I really want to try making yogurt at home sometime.  My dehydrator actually has 4 small containers and instructions for doing it, but I haven't tried it.
  4. I love this Ellen.. I've always wanted to make my own yogurt but never knew where to start; I thought it was a HUGE process.. but you made it look so simple.. soo will pin it so I can try it soon..thanks for sharing, sure looks delicious
  5. Thanks so much for sharing this, you mentioned it last time with Kefir and I always wanted to know how you made your yogurt.
  6. I have really been considering making my own yogurt at home. You have made it look simple and worth attempting! Thanks for sharing.
  7. Brilliant. I really want to make my own yogurt; but didn't want to do it how my mom did growing up. She used the oven. now I am excited to try this other way! 
  8. Pinning this!  I think this is something that I can do.  I think we will learn more and more about the pitfalls of genetically modifying our food supply.
  9. My kids eat yogurt like it's going out of style, I so need to make this for them because it costs me a fortune to by it plus they add ingredients in them that are not needed . 
  10. You always have the most unique recipes and such on your site. I have never thought to try making my own yogurt! Good idea!!
  11. Making yogurt is something that I've always wanted to do.. but haven't. I really appreciate this recipe and you sharing how you do it. Maybe I will venture out and finally give it a try! I bet it tastes wonderful!
  12. My Mom and I were just chatting about trying to make our own yogurt the other day. We'll have to give your recipe a try!
  13. I saw a post last year and read with interest, I've always wanted to try this since we spend so much on buying yogurt. Thanks for the reminder, printing your recipe now - it's time I made some!!
  14. I've been wanting to try to make yogurt on my own. It's nice to know exactly what you put into your recipes unlike most stuff on the shelves at the stores.

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