How to Make Yogurt in a Crockpot

How to Make Yogurt in a Crockpot

By Erin Huffstetler | 05/29/2014 | 7 Comments
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Have you done anything to impress yourself this week? If not, you clearly need to make a batch of yogurt. There’s nothing hard about making yogurt, but when you’re used to buying it, it just seems like magic when you make it yourself.

I’ve tried lots of methods for making yogurt (in the oven, in a thermos, in an actual yogurt maker), but I’m partial to making yogurt in a crockpot because it uses equipment that most people already own (you do have a crockpot, right?), and because it delivers reliable results.

Ready to give yogurt-making a try? Here’s my proven method.

How to Make Yogurt in a Crockpot

Prep Time:

5 mins

What You’ll Need:

A crockpot
A meat thermometer
A large cooler
A couple bath towels
A gallon of milk
1/2 cup of plain yogurt

Put Milk in Crockpot

Pour a gallon of milk into your crockpot. You’ll need a 5-quart (or bigger) crockpot for this. If you have a smaller crockpot, or just want a smaller batch of yogurt, you can cut the recipe to meet your needs.

Position a meat thermometer in the crockpot, so you can keep up with the temperature of the milk. I stuck mine through a piece of ribbon to keep it from falling in, and tied the other end of the ribbon to my crockpot handle.

Once you have that situated, stick the lid on your crockpot, and set it to high.

Bring the Milk Up to 180 Degrees

Heat the milk to 180 degrees. This will take about three hours. Do not stir the milk or remove the lid during this process.

Allow the Temperature to Cool to 110 Degrees

Turn the crockpot off, and wait for the temperature to drop to 110 degrees (this should take about 90 minutes). While you’re waiting, pull a container of plain yogurt from the fridge, and allow it to come to room temperature.

Skim Off the Skin

Then, skim off the skin that has formed on the surface of the milk.

Whisk the Starter and Milk Together

Remove one cup of milk from the crockpot, and gently stir it into half a cup of plain yogurt. This will give you the beneficial bacteria that is required to make yogurt.

Add the Starter to the Crockpot

Add your starter to the crockpot …

Mix in the Starter

and gently stir it in.

Place Crockpot in Cooler

Then, remove the insert from your crockpot, and carefully slide it into a large cooler. Wrap the insert with towels to lock in the heat. (bonus points if you use a curb shopped Coke cooler).

Leave in the Cooler Overnight

Stick the lid on your cooler, and leave it undisturbed until morning (8-12 hours).

Skim Off the Whey

Retrieve your crockpot from the cooler in the morning, and skim off any excess whey (liquid) from the surface.

Homemade Yogurt

Enjoy your yogurt plain, or flavor it with vanilla, honey, jam, fresh fruit or your favorite mix in.

A Couple Notes About Yogurt-Making

  • If you save a half-cup of yogurt from this batch, you can use it to start your next batch. Just know that the bacteria will loose its oomph over time. I’d recommend using store-bought yogurt every few batches
  • Homemade yogurt will be slightly thinner than store-bought. Commercially-produced yogurt includes artificial thickeners
  • Hooked on Greek Yogurt? You can make your own by straining more of the whey out of your yogurt.

Does Making Your Own Yogurt Save Money

Yep, it sure does. I can make two 32-ounce tubs of yogurt for the price of one store-bought tub.

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How to Make Yogurt in a Crockpot

How to Make Yogurt in a Crockpot

Save money by making your own yogurt in the crockpot. Here’s an easy recipe that works every time.


  • Author: Erin Huffstetler, myfrugalhome.com
  • Method: Crockpot

Ingredients:

  • A gallon of milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt

Instructions:

Pour one gallon of milk into a large crockpot (you’ll need one that’s at least 5-quart). If you have a smaller crockpot, just halve the recipe.

Stick a meat thermometer in the crockpot, so you can keep up with the temperature during the cooking process. Tip: Insert your thermometer through a piece of ribbon. Then, tie the ribbon to one of the crockpot handles, to keep it from falling in.

Cover, and set your crockpot on high. Cook until you reach 180 degrees. This should take around three hours. Don’t remove the lid or stir the milk.

Turn the crockpot off, and allow the temp to drop to 110 degrees (this will take around 90 minutes). While you wait, take the plain yogurt out of the fridge, and allow it to come to room temperature.

Use a slotted spoon to skim off the skin that has formed on the milk.

Then, remove a cup of milk from the crockpot, and stir it into the plain yogurt. This is your starter. It contains all the beneficial bacteria that you need to make yogurt.

Add your starter to the crockpot, and gently stir it in.

Now, remove the insert from your crockpot, and place it in a large cooler. Cover the crock with towels to hold in the heat.

Put the lid on the cooler, and leave it untouched for 8-12 hours.

Remove the insert from the cooler, and skim off the excess whey (that’s the liquid on the top of your yogurt).

Enjoy your yogurt plain, or flavor it with your favorite mix ins — vanilla, honey, jam, fresh fruit, etc.

Notes

Save 1/2 cup of plain yogurt from this batch to use as the starter for your next batch. You can do this up to three times, before you need to buy more store-bought yogurt to use as your starter (the bacteria loses its efficacy over time).

Homemade yogurt is a bit thinner than store-bought. That’s because it doesn’t contain any artificial thickeners.

Make Greek yogurt by straining more of the whey from your yogurt. Just put your yogurt in cheesecloth, and hang it over a bowl, and gravity will do the work.

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Comments

  1. way to go Erin!!! I LOVE yogurt and eat tons of it – now maybe I can save a bit of money. Thanks,

    Oh yeah, how should you store it, how long will it last in the fridge, any special container to put it in, and if adding fruit or vanilla/cinnamon, when would you add that (to the whole batch)

    keep up the good work – I love stuff like this!!!

    • Hi Sue,
      Glad you found something you can use 🙂 I store my yogurt in glass jars, but you could use pretty much any food storage container. Yogurt has a long shelf life, so it should keep for at least a couple weeks in the fridge. And you definitely want to add your fruit./flavorings at the end of the process. Adding them sooner could interfere with the beneficial bacteria that turn the milk into yogurt. I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Just be warned: making your own dairy products is highly addicting. I make my own sour cream and cheese, too.

  2. Erin,
    I have followed you for years and love what you offer. I have used so many of your recipes-detergent, cleaners etc. and all have proven to be winners. I am going to try your yogurt recipe and would like to know how to make your sour cream.

    Thanks for all you do to live green and frugal!
    Kathy

    • Thanks, Kathy. I’m glad you’ve found my recipes useful. Here’s a link to my sour cream recipe (I suppose technically it’s creme fraiche). It tastes soooo much better than the store-bought stuff, and it’s ridiculously easy to make.

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