Crockpot Yogurt

Thanks to my lovely midwife who shared her recipe, I’ve been whipping up yogurt left and right. Who would have guessed making yogurt could be so simple!

INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES
8 cups of milk
1/2 cup yogurt with live cultures
Crockpot
Bath towel
Cheesecloth
Strainer

DIRECTIONS

  • Pour 8 cups of milk (or 16 cups which is 1 gallon if you’re doubling the recipe) into a large crockpot. Set to LOW for 2 1/2 hours.
  • Turn crockpot off and let sit with lid on for 3 hours.
  • Add 1/2 cup yogurt (or 1 cup for a double recipe), place lid back on, and wrap a bath towel around the crockpot. You’re goal is to make a dark, insulated environment for the live cultures to exponentially grow.
  • Let crockpot sit covered (with lid and towel), not heating for 8-12 hours. I usually try to start the yogurt process by 3pm in the afternoon so this 8-12 hour step happens overnight.
  • In the morning, your milk will look like the top photo above – YOGURT!
  • Line a strainer with a cheesecloth and strain yogurt to desired consistency. Without straining your yogurt will be a drinkable consistency – perfect for smoothies. But, if you’re wanting to spoon eat it or make it more like “normal” you’ll want to strain it for 15-30 minutes. 
 
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Comments

  1. HandH says

    Quick question about the steps. After you add the yougurt, you say to place the lid on and wrap a towel around the crockpot but your next step says to let the crockpot sit uncovered for 8 to 12 hours. Can you clarify?

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      Totally a typo – thanks for catching it! I updated it so it should make more sense now :)

  2. Hannah Barnhorn says

    Quick question about the steps. After you add the yougurt, you say to place the lid on and wrap a towel around the crockpot but your next step says to let the crockpot sit uncovered for 8 to 12 hours. Can you clarify?

  3. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Totally a typo – thanks for catching it! I updated it so it should make more sense now :)

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      I’ve used 2% and whole – both work. I’ve also used plain and vanilla yogurt with success. My next project – figure out how to flavor it a bit … perhaps with vanilla beans or fruit. Good luck trying it out :)

  4. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I've used 2% and whole – both work. I've also used plain and vanilla yogurt with success. My next project – figure out how to flavor it a bit … perhaps with vanilla beans or fruit. Good luck trying it out :)

  5. Jamie says

    I’m trying this recipe out today. Let me know if you figure out how to flavor the yogurt during the process. It can easily be flavored afterwards, I assume, but pureeing fruit and adding it in.

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      Yes … up until now we’ve been flavoring after. Jem likes honey and I like fancy maple syrup :) I think I’m going to add some vanilla beans into my next batch. Probably during the same step as when you add the 1/2 c of live culture yogurt.

      • says

        how did the vanilla beans turn out? I just got a bunch of whole beans and want to try to flavor it a litle. I have been adding a bit of cooked fruit and honey to ours and it’s yum!

        • ThatMamaGretchen says

          The vanilla beans weren’t as strong as I had hoped. I went light on my first few batches as I didn’t want it to be overwhelming. Then I switched to fruit like you and haven’t gone back to adjust my vanilla amounts. Thanks for the reminder :) I need to do that soon!

  6. Jamie says

    I'm trying this recipe out today. Let me know if you figure out how to flavor the yogurt during the process. It can easily be flavored afterwards, I assume, but pureeing fruit and adding it in.

  7. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Yes … up until now we've been flavoring after. Jem likes honey and I like fancy maple syrup :) I think I'm going to add some vanilla beans into my next batch. Probably during the same step as when you add the 1/2 c of live culture yogurt.

  8. Kaylene says

    L.O.V.E this recipe! I tried it last night and it’s perfect! I used Greek yogurt as a starter and it barely needed to be strained :)

  9. Kaylene says

    L.O.V.E this recipe! I tried it last night and it's perfect! I used Greek yogurt as a starter and it barely needed to be strained :)

  10. Anonymous says

    Are you using just regular milk? Not non homoginized, vat pasteurized.? Saw sOme other recipes that said it has to be non homoginized, and I can't even find it!

  11. says

    how did the vanilla beans turn out? I just got a bunch of whole beans and want to try to flavor it a litle. I have been adding a bit of cooked fruit and honey to ours and it's yum!

  12. ThatMamaGretchen says

    The vanilla beans weren't as strong as I had hoped. I went light on my first few batches as I didn't want it to be overwhelming. Then I switched to fruit like you and haven't gone back to adjust my vanilla amounts. Thanks for the reminder :) I need to do that soon!

  13. says

    So I am trying this as we speak, and I have a couple of questions….

    Even at low heat, the whole milk in the crockpot is caramelizing, that is, the ring where the surface of the milk touches the crockpot is turning brown and crusty.

    Is the caramelizing normal? Do you see it when you try this method?

    As the milk cools, there is a lot of skin forming on the surface.

    What should I do with the skin? Skim it off? Just mix it back into the milk when I out the yogurt in?

    Thank you

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      I haven’t experience the carmelizing issue … not sure what to tell you about that. My only guess is that perhaps your crockpot cooks hotter than most :( With the top layer, I do mix it back into the yogurt, it usually thickens up throughout the process and becomes more yogurt consistency so you can’t even tell when it mixes back in. Best of luck figuring out the heat issues! Keep me posted!

      • says

        Thank you, I have suspected that it does cook hotter than most. I’ve often seen recipes that call for 6 hours be clearly finished in 4.

        It may be I need to stir it more often.

        So after about 9 hours, I examined the yogurt, and it looks great. The brown ring is only at the surface and is a very thin ring on the crockpot where the yogurt touches the wall. It’s actually much thicker than a drinkable mix, and incredibly mild in taste. So far so good, in fact, pretty darn good. All from 99 cents of half gallon of whole milk on sale!

  14. says

    So I am trying this as we speak, and I have a couple of questions….Even at low heat, the whole milk in the crockpot is caramelizing, that is, the ring where the surface of the milk touches the crockpot is turning brown and crusty.Is the caramelizing normal? Do you see it when you try this method?As the milk cools, there is a lot of skin forming on the surface. What should I do with the skin? Skim it off? Just mix it back into the milk when I out the yogurt in?Thank you

  15. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I haven't experience the carmelizing issue … not sure what to tell you about that. My only guess is that perhaps your crockpot cooks hotter than most :( With the top layer, I do mix it back into the yogurt, it usually thickens up throughout the process and becomes more yogurt consistency so you can't even tell when it mixes back in. Best of luck figuring out the heat issues! Keep me posted!

  16. shannon says

    have you tried (or know anyone who has) to make this using whole, raw milk? i’m thinking about trying, but would hate to waste such a commodity!

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      I haven’t tried it with raw … I’m sure it will be delicious though, and probably quite thick. Let me know how it goes!

    • suzyhomemaker says

      I have used raw milk and it has turned out fine. I do use a thermometer though. You can see my comment above.

    • Patti Sawyer says

      All I use is unskimmed raw milk and it works great. A bit thicker and creamier than pastuerized, lower-fat stuff.

  17. shannon says

    have you tried (or know anyone who has) to make this using whole, raw milk? i'm thinking about trying, but would hate to waste such a commodity!

  18. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I haven't tried it with raw … I'm sure it will be delicious though, and probably quite thick. Let me know how it goes!

  19. says

    I make it with raw, unskimmed milk and it is perfect. A bit creamier texture and slightly stronger flavor when plain. I also usually strain it and reserve the whey for smoothies.

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      I haven’t tried! I would that so. It will probably turn out thinner as well, so it might take some extra straining or be a better drinking yogurt option.

  20. ThatMamaGretchen says

    I haven't tried! I would that so. It will probably turn out thinner as well, so it might take some extra straining or be a better drinking yogurt option.

  21. Katie says

    I’m new to making yogurt so was hoping this was as easy as it sounded. I followed the directions exactly, and woke up this morning with high hopes, only to find a crockpot full of milk and a few fist sized chunks. What did I do wrong? I have nothing to go on here, since this is my first time doing it this way… and every other way I have tried hasn’t worked either. Anyone have tips on what I can do to make yogurt instead of warm milk? :(

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      Uh … I’m sorry you’re having trouble! I’d let it sit for longer and see what happens. Like another 8 hours even. It will still be milky, but that’s when you use the cheese cloth to strain it. Hope that helps! Feel free to email me if not (thatmamagretchen@gmail.com). I just made a batch today and didn’t have any hiccups!

    • suzyhomemaker says

      I make this all the time pretty much the same way as gretchen except I use a candy thermometer. I don’t trust my crockpot enough to get the temp right. I make sure it heats up to 180, then cools to about 115. Then I add the yogurt. I think if I timed it, it would be just about the same though. It could be that if the milk was not cool enough, and it just killed the bacteria in the yogurt that you added to it. I think I have read that it cannot go above 120?

  22. Katie says

    I'm new to making yogurt so was hoping this was as easy as it sounded. I followed the directions exactly, and woke up this morning with high hopes, only to find a crockpot full of milk and a few fist sized chunks. What did I do wrong? I have nothing to go on here, since this is my first time doing it this way… and every other way I have tried hasn't worked either. Anyone have tips on what I can do to make yogurt instead of warm milk? :(

  23. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Uh … I'm sorry you're having trouble! I'd let it sit for longer and see what happens. Like another 8 hours even. It will still be milky, but that's when you use the cheese cloth to strain it. Hope that helps! Feel free to email me if not (thatmamagretchen@gmail.com). I just made a batch today and didn't have any hiccups!

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  25. suzyhomemaker says

    I make this all the time pretty much the same way as gretchen except I use a candy thermometer. I don't trust my crockpot enough to get the temp right. I make sure it heats up to 180, then cools to about 115. Then I add the yogurt. I think if I timed it, it would be just about the same though. It could be that if the milk was not cool enough, and it just killed the bacteria in the yogurt that you added to it. I think I have read that it cannot go above 120?

  26. suzyhomemaker says

    I have used raw milk and it has turned out fine. I do use a thermometer though. You can see my comment above.

  27. Damar says

    Forget straining ! I just put the finished yogurt into a saved yogurt container, and refrigerate for a few hours. As it chills, it separates into a “yogurt mass”, and a thin liquid. Pour off the “whey” (liquid), and you’re done. You can drink the liquid, or just discard it, if you prefer. Also: I add about a tablespoon of dehydrated cane sugar to the milk, which seems to produce a thicker, more robust culture. I never use processed sugar, nor that stuff that calls itself “raw sugar”.

  28. Damar says

    Forget straining ! I just put the finished yogurt into a saved yogurt container, and refrigerate for a few hours. As it chills, it separates into a "yogurt mass", and a thin liquid. Pour off the "whey" (liquid), and you're done. You can drink the liquid, or just discard it, if you prefer. Also: I add about a tablespoon of dehydrated cane sugar to the milk, which seems to produce a thicker, more robust culture. I never use processed sugar, nor that stuff that calls itself "raw sugar".

  29. Courtney Phillips says

    ooh! i really want to try this! but i really want to make sure i’ve got this- i can use yogurt with live cultures, like what i buy at the store? just regular greek yogurt from the store can be used as a starter?

    also, does the yogurt need to be room temp when i add it?

    and do you think this would work with goat milk?
    thank you!

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      Yep – store bought yogurt has live cultures, it isn’t anything special or rare. Yogurt doesn’t have to be room temp, at least I’ve never taken that step.

      Goats milk … hmmm, I don’t really know, haven’t
      experimented with that before. I would guess so. Let me know if you try it and it turns out!

  30. lightheartedfun says

    Hi. I would like to try to make coffee yogurt. I bought instant coffee thinking regular coffee would add to much liquid. The question is when can or should I add the granules? I was almost thinking to add them from the start…let the milk dissolve the granules while it warms up. What do you think? Thanks!

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      I have no idea – haven’t tried coffee flavor! I think your thought of putting it in at the beginning could work. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

      • lightheartedfun says

        It worked great! The only disadvantage is the whey is coffee-flavored which can make its reuse a bit tricky. I might try cultured buttermilk as my starter next time. And, I might add pectin and non-fat dry milk to make it creamier and perhaps have less whey. Thanks again! I’m a happy coffee-yogurt camper!

  31. says

    Hi. I would like to try to make coffee yogurt. I bought instant coffee thinking regular coffee would add to much liquid. The question is when can or should I add the granules? I was almost thinking to add them from the start…let the milk dissolve the granules while it warms up. What do you think? Thanks!

  32. says

    I have no idea – haven't tried coffee flavor! I think your thought of putting it in at the beginning could work. Give it a go and let me know how it turns out!

  33. says

    It worked great! The only disadvantage is the whey is coffee-flavored which can make its reuse a bit tricky. I might try cultured buttermilk as my starter next time. And, I might add pectin and non-fat dry milk to make it creamier and perhaps have less whey. Thanks again! I'm a happy coffee-yogurt camper!

  34. Barb Scott says

    I’m coming a little bit late to this party. I had no idea you could make yogurt in a crockpot until I found your site a couple of weeks ago. I’m just making my third batch! I’m wondering if it’s necessary to wrap the entire crockpot or could you just remove the crock with its lid and wrap that up with the towels. It would be a little less cumbersome I think. Absolutely loving my homemade yogurt. So much cheaper and BETTER than the store bought. I have it every morning with berries and some high fibre cereal that I also make.

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      Yay! I’m so happy you love it! And yes, I totally think you could just wrap the base and not the entire crockpot. It’s just to provide and extra layer of insulation :)

      • Barb Scott says

        Thanks for your quick reply. I think I will try wrapping just the crock next time. It would be a little easier to do and require fewer towels. I`ll let you know if it works. :-)

  35. Barb Scott says

    I'm coming a little bit late to this party. I had no idea you could make yogurt in a crockpot until I found your site a couple of weeks ago. I'm just making my third batch! I'm wondering if it's necessary to wrap the entire crockpot or could you just remove the crock with its lid and wrap that up with the towels. It would be a little less cumbersome I think. Absolutely loving my homemade yogurt. So much cheaper and BETTER than the store bought. I have it every morning with berries and some high fibre cereal that I also make.

  36. ThatMamaGretchen says

    Yay! I'm so happy you love it! And yes, I totally think you could just wrap the base and not the entire crockpot. It's just to provide and extra layer of insulation :)

  37. Barb Scott says

    Thanks for your quick reply. I think I will try wrapping just the crock next time. It would be a little easier to do and require fewer towels. I`ll let you know if it works. :-)

  38. Loretta says

    Katie asked this about a year ago. but it may help others. it has happened to me a couple of times. She said she woke up one morning and only had milk. I asked a friend about that and she said turn on crockpot for about 30 more minutes. Turn it back off. Then cover and let it sit. It should firm up pretty quickly (within an hour or two). It worked for me!

  39. Louisa Jo says

    This worked really quite well. I had a pot of sour milk the next morning, that when strained, gave me some nice soft yogurt and some kefir settling at the bottom of the whey. Came to you via http://inhabitat.com/diy-make-your-own-yogurt-in-a-crock-pot/ who references your recipe.

    Question is, what consistency should you get? I used supermarket 2% milk, Dannon plain yogurt, and got a gloopy consistency to both the milk solids…and get this….the whey. The whey is pretty thick, and not what I was expecting. I like the idea of using it as a buttermilk substitute, but it would have to warm up quite a bit for bread baking.

  40. heartswideopen says

    Hi Gretchen, Thank you for your recipe. I tried and LOVED it, but I was just curious as to how much you generally yield when you make this recipe. For 8 cups of milk, I got about 2 cups of strained Greek yogurt. I used 2% milk. Do you generally get about 2 cups? Thanks!

    • ThatMamaGretchen says

      That sounds about right! Sometimes I leave it a little thinner and use it as a smoothie base, but for Greek yogurt, 2 cups would make sense for starting with 8 cups of milk :) Glad you enjoyed it!

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