Making a simple instant pot yogurt is one of the easiest ways to add budget friendly probiotics into your family’s diet. Just follow these step by step instructions to end up with an entire gallon of thick and creamy Greek yogurt with only 10 minutes of active prep time!
I have 7 kids who are HUGE yogurt fans. When I was buying yogurt at the grocery store, we were eating about $15 worth of yogurt a week. And that was with me putting limits on how much everyone could eat! (If you’re from a big family, you know what I’m talking about)
That all changed when I started making my own homemade yogurt! It’s basically two ingredients and a few simple steps. And the best part for my big family: it’s ridiculously cheap to make it yourself!
You’ve got to try my kids’ favorite peanut butter yogurt dip for fruit!
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why you’ll love this recipe
Homemade yogurt is super thick and creamy with a tangy flavor. It can be sweetened with honey for a perfectly sweet but healthy snack.
My favorite way to enjoy yogurt is to sweeten it with maple syrup, top it with frozen berries and chunky homemade granola. So, so good.
healthier than store-bought
Store-bought yogurt usually contains artificial thickeners, and additives. It’s also made with a lot of sugar that you can avoid by making it yourself.
This recipe calls for only 2 ingredients, so you know exactly what you’re eating.
simple and easy to make
You might not believe me when you glance over the recipe since there are a lot of steps, but I promise, once you’ve made instant pot yogurt once or twice, you won’t need to refer back to the recipe again. It’s that simple to make!
Did you know you can make yogurt without heating the milk? Read more about the cold start method in this post.
much cheaper than store-bought
You can make a big batch of homemade yogurt in the instant pot for a fraction of the cost of quality store-bought yogurt! Here’s the cost breakdown for you:
To make a half gallon of yogurt, you’ll be paying about $3 for the milk plus $1 for the starter.
That’s less than half the cost of the leading brand of store-bought Greek yogurt!
only 2 simple ingredients
To make plain yogurt in the instant pot, you literally need milk and a starter. It doesn’t get much more simple than that!
can be made in a big batch
If you’re like my family and eat yogurt daily, you’ll be happy to know it takes just as much time to make a large batch of yogurt as it does to make a small amount.
If you’re unsure about whether or not you could eat a half gallon of yogurt before it goes bad, you might be surprised by how much more you’ll eat when you see how cheap it is to make! Plus, homemade yogurt has a 2 week shelf life in the fridge.
What you need to make simple instant pot yogurt
- milk – while you can use any cow’s or even goat’s milk to make yogurt, whole milk will give you the thickest and creamiest result. Using low fat milk does work, just not as well. Scroll down to read about using raw milk for instant pot yogurt.
- starter – yogurt starter contains the live cultures that will multiply and turn the milk into yogurt. I use a 1/2 cup of plain (or vanilla) Greek yogurt as my starter. Make sure the yogurt you use contains “live and active cultures”. Chobani and Fage are good choices.
- instant pot – for this recipe, make sure your instant pot has a yogurt function button.
- thermometer – it’s important to use a thermometer when you heat up the milk to make sure it isn’t overheated, killing the bacteria needed to make yogurt.
- whisk – to mix the starter into the milk.
- colander – for a thicker yogurt that is the consistency of Greek yogurt, it needs to be strained.
- coffee filters – I’ve tried a variety of methods for straining yogurt, and I’ve had the best success lining a colander with coffee filters. You can use cheesecloth if you’d rather.
How To Make Simple Instant Pot Yogurt
Prep – Make sure your instant pot smells clean and free of any smells from the last thing you made in it. Mine can smell like onions sometimes, so I always double check to make sure I won’t be making onion flavored yogurt! Pour milk into the inner pot of your instant pot and hook a thermometer onto the edge of the pot.
Heat the Milk – Press the “Sauté” button and let the milk heat until it reaches 180 degrees. Heating the milk kills bacteria that will keep it milk from turning into yogurt.
Cool – Remove the inner pot of the instant pot and let it sit on the counter until the milk has cooled down to room temperature or about 110 degrees. (this step can take a few hours)
Add the Starter – Set the inner pot back into the instant pot and pour in your yogurt culture. Lightly whisk the milk and starter together.
Use the Yogurt Setting – Remove the rubber gasket from the instant pot lid (to keep any other flavors from affecting the yogurt) and set the lid onto the instant pot. (you could just cover it with plastic wrap instead) No need to make sure it locks.
Press the yogurt button on the instant pot. Using the arrow buttons, set the time to 9 hours.
When the 9 hours are up and the instant pot beeps, remove the inner lining of the instant pot.
Strain the Yogurt – Set a large colander/strainer over a large bowl. Line the colander with coffee filters or cheesecloth. Pour all of the yogurt into the colander and let most of the excess liquid (whey) strain out so that your yogurt is nice and thick.
This process can take awhile so it’s best to set the colander and bowl in the fridge. Let the yogurt strain for 12-24 hours until the consistency isn’t runny anymore and it’s looking almost as thick as sour cream or cream cheese.
Flavor the Yogurt (optional) – When the consistency is right. Put the yogurt in a bowl and stir in honey and vanilla extract to taste.
Tips For Success
To Serve – Enjoy homemade yogurt the same way you would use store-bought. In smoothies, baked goods, parfaits or just by itself. Add honey and vanilla for a delicious, healthy snack.
To Store – Homemade yogurt can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Substitutions – Any cow’s or even goat’s milk can be used to make instant pot yogurt. I recommend whole fat milk for the creamiest results.
Starter Options – After you make your first pot of yogurt, save 1/2 cup of yogurt to use as the starter for your next batch! Over time, the cultures in the yogurt will weaken, so you’ll have to use store-bought starter when that happens.
Variations – Make different flavored yogurts by stirring in jam or fruit.
FAQ About simple Instant Pot Yogurt
is it worth it to make yogurt in an instant pot?
Definitely! Homemade yogurt is so simple to make using only 2 ingredients. Not to mention it ends up being only a fraction of the cost of store-bought yogurt!
what can you use as a starter for instant pot yogurt?
There are several different kinds of starter you can use to make instant pot yogurt:
- 1/2 cup of store-bought yogurt that contains live and active cultures is the most common starter for making homemade yogurt.
- 1/2 cup of homemade yogurt can be saved from your batch of yogurt to use as a starter next time you want to make yogurt. After awhile the probiotic strains will get weaker and weaker and you will need to buy a fresh starter again.
- premium probiotic powder can also be used as a starter. Make sure it contains these live and active cultures: Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streprococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis or Lactobacillus acidophilus. A quality probiotic powder will require refrigeration.
- leftover whey that was strained form your last batch of homemade yogurt. Don’t throw that yellow liquid away! It’s full of probiotics and can even be used to make another batch of yogurt!
what can you do with leftover whey liquid?
Whey is the yellowish liquid you’re left with after straining homemade yogurt. You might be frustrated with how much whey you get compared to yogurt, but don’t be! Whey is high in vitamin B, calcium and probiotics.
Here are some ways to use whey (pun intended):
- in place of water or milk in baked goods
- in place of buttermilk
- in baked oatmeal recipes
- pancakes and waffles
- in sourdough bread
- as starter for making yogurt
- to make certain cheeses
- in overnight oats recipes
- soak chicken feed in whey
- freeze for later
what kind of milk can you use to make instant pot yogurt
Any kind of cow’s or goat’s milk can be used to make instant pot yogurt. While you can use either whole, 2% or skim milk, whole milk will give you the best results.
The higher the fat content in the milk you use to make yogurt, the sweeter and more consistent texture you will get.
why do you heat the milk before making yogurt?
Heating the milk to 180 degrees F kills any bad bacteria that might be present in the milk. This way only the good bacteria is cultured during the yogurt making process.
Taking this extra step also gives you a creamier, less runny yogurt.
can you use raw milk to make instant pot yogurt?
Raw cow’s or even goat’s milk can be used to make instant pot yogurt. Store-bought milk has undergone a process called pasteurization that is essentially heating it to a temperature of 180 degrees to slow the growth of bacteria and extend it’s shelf life.
While pasteurization does make milk safer to drink, it’s been proven to make it harder to digest.
To maintain all the benefits of using raw milk, it isn’t necessary to heat the milk to 180 degrees like it is with pasteurized milk. Raw milk just needs to be heated to 110 degrees before adding the starter.
why did my instant pot yogurt fail?
There are a few different reasons why your yogurt might not have turned out:
- The milk was not heated high enough. Pasteurized milk needs to be heated to 180 degrees F and raw milk to 110 degrees.
- The milk was cooled down too quickly. Even thought it might be tempting to cut down on the time it takes to make yogurt by cooling the heated milk down in the fridge, doing this will give you a runnier result.
- Not using enough starter.
- The yogurt you used as a starter, did not contain all of the active cultures needed to make yogurt. Make sure your starter contains: Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Streprococcus thermophilus, Bifidobacterium lactis or Lactobacillus acidophilus.
why is my instant pot yogurt so sour?
Yogurt that has been cultured too long on the yogurt setting will taste extra sour since the bacteria in the yogurt starter turns the milk sugars (or lactose) into lactic acid.
The longer you leave the milk at room temperature in the instant pot, the less lactose will be left in it, making your yogurt less sweet and more sour.
More Instant Pot Recipes On The Blog:
If you enjoyed this recipe, I think you’ll like these other instant pot recipes on the blog as well!
I hope you love this simple instant pot yogurt recipe! If you make it, I’d love for you to come back and leave a comment and rating so that I know how you like it!
Pin these steps to try later. Tag @athomeontheprairie on Instagram to share what you’ve made with us!
I make homemade Greek yogurt as well! I love it!! (And yep… we do a gallon of milk at a time as well. )
My insta pot doesn’t have the yogurt feature on it, so I just heat mine on the stove top, cool it, add the culture, and the out a lid on the pot and place it in the oven with the light on overnight. The light keeps the oven at just the right temp. ❤️
Your yogurt definitely looks more smooth than mine. I’m curious what makes that difference. We use raw milk from our cow so I’m wondering if that has something to do with it. ♀️ But it’s still so delicious. I’m excited to see more of your adventures. ❤️
Thats so interesting! I’ve never heard of that method but its a great idea!
Beautifully done blog Elizabeth!
You can also use that whey to start other fermented veggies or fruit recipes.
Health is so important these days when childhood chronic illnesses are at an all time high in history. Fermented foods are one of the necessary things for promoting a strong healthy functioning immune system in a cost effective way.
Also another added plus is fermented foods with all their wonderful probiotics, help keep the digestive system working great which in turn helps with weight loss and wt management so for us moms having babies its a great side effect!
Thanks so much Cath!! And yes to the probiotics! Since we’ve been making a lot of fermented foods this Winter we have not been sick! (Knock on wood)
I haven’t tried using whey for fermenting but thats great to know!
I needed this recipe. My girls love yogurt and this is something that I can totally do myself. Great post!
I love yogurt. Will be trying this. Looks great and you made it look so easy.
I have a goal to make this!! This looks so easy!
I’m just a fan girl here! So happy that your blog is up!!!
Rosy, I cannot wait to see your blog when its up!! Thank you! ❤❤❤❤
Just tried this for the first time and it turned out amazing! I’ve had my instant pot four or five years now and I’ve never made yogurt. I was wondering, can I keep using the homemade yogurt to make more yogurt? What if I don’t want to make it every week?
I’m so glad you gave it a try! And yes! I’ve been meaning to update this post to say you definitely can reuse the homemade Greek yogurt to make more. I usually just make sure to save a 1/2 cup or so each time I make some so that my kids to eat it all haha!
Okay I think you just convinced me to purchase an instant pot! This makes it look so simple! I make homemade yogurt often, but have never tried making greek yogurt.
You won’t regret it! I find new uses for my instant pot every week!
Can you share where to get the cultures? My mom and I have always wanted to make our own yogurt and never realized how easy it was. Thank you for sharing your recipe, can’t wait to try it!
I’m so glad you’re going to give it a try! All you need for the starter is a 1/2 cup of premade yogurt with live and active cultures. Chobani, Fage or the Greek yogurt at Aldi work well!
I’ve tried a few recipes for Greek yogurt and I have to say this is the easiest to follow. It turned out so yummy! We added a little honey and vanilla and topped it with some homemade granola. I have a feeling I’ll be making yogurt all summer long.
Do you know if it’s possible to use non-dairy milk in this recipe? Like almond milk or something
I have never tried using a non-dairy milk, but I have heard of others trying that! Maybe not in the instant pot though?
How much yogurt does a gallon of milk yield after straining? My kids kept taking it out of the strainer, so I have no idea how much yogurt we actually made! It was amazing!!!! I know I poured off at least a half gallon of whey.
That’s so good to hear you all liked it! It depends on how much your strain the yogurt. I like to get it really thick so we end up with about 1/3 gallon of yogurt.
Can we use raw milk instead of whole milk?
I’ve just updated the post to include instructions about using raw milk.
I’ve never made yogurt before! We’re a family of 6 and yogurt is gone within 2 days! This recipe was simple and easy to follow and I love how you explained every step! It was delicious! Thank you!
That is so good to hear Chelsea! I’m so glad you liked it!