Step-by-step how to make homemade yogurt

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Homemade yogurt is easy to make with just milk and yogurt.

  • Author: Judy Barbe
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 9 hours
  • Total Time: 9 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 gallon 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: slow cooker


  • 1 gallon milk, I use whole milk or 2% (reduced fat)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, with live and active cultures


  1. Heat milk. In a slow cooker or heavy pan, heat milk to 180° F. and hold at that temperature for 10—15 minutes.

    This helps create a thicker yogurt. If heating on stove, stirring prevents milk from boiling over. In a slow cooker, don’t stir it because that keeps the milk from heating up. Expect that heating the milk may take a couple of hours or more. A thermometer is the only way to be accurate.

  2. Cool milk. Cool the 180° F milk to 110°-118°F. I put ice and water in the sink then put the pan of warm milk in sink. Pull off the protein skin as it develops. Stir ocasionally to cool the milk. Watch the temperature because it drops quickly. If it cools too much you’ll need to reheat to 110° F because you need an ideal temperature for the starter bacteria to flourish.
  3. Make starter. In a separate bowl, make the starter culture by mixing 1/2 cup plain yogurt with 1 cup of the 110-118° F. milk. Stir milk/yogurt mixture into the warm milk.
  4. Incubate. Heat oven to 100° F. Turn off oven. Place pan or slow cooker (with lid on) of yogurt in oven with the oven light on. Let sit for 6—12 hours. It should be thick and look “cultured” — that it’s set and firm (like baked custard). The longer it sits, the thicker the yogurt.
  5. Refrigerate. Place pan or slow cooker in fridge to cool. It thickens as it cools but remains on the runny side. Store in refrigerator up to a month.
  6. To thicken. Pour off excess liquid. Spoon yogurt into a strainer lined with a coffee filters or paper towels. The longer you strain, the thicker the yogurt becomes. If straining for 60 minutes or less, you can do it in the sink. Longer straining should be done in the fridge.


Save some yogurt to use as the starter for the next batch of yogurt.

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