Making yogurt at home doesn't sound like an easy task at first. We initially saw it as detailed, hands-on, and precise—a process that required special equipment, specialized (and expensive) live-culture bacteria, and loads of yogurt knowledge.
But, lo and behold, we discovered you can actually make yogurt in your slow cooker by using only two common ingredients: yogurt and milk.
Yes, you will need yogurt for this recipe, but that's one thing that makes it so easy (along with only having to check up on it every few yours). Plus, you only need to buy it once because you can use your homemade yogurt for future batches and keep it going for as long as you want.
- 1 liter of milk (about 4.2 cups)
- ¼ cup Greek yogurt
We prefer whole-fat for both ingredients because the consistency is much creamier that way, but you can adjust to your preference.
The key to success with this particular recipe seems to be the ratio (1 liter of milk to ¼ cup of yogurt), so make sure to be precise. And, as we mentioned previously, although you do start this process off with purchasing yogurt, if you're planning to make yogurt regularly, you can always use a bit of yogurt from the old batch as the live-culture starter for the new.
Pour the liter of milk into your slow cooker (aka Crockpot), turn to low, and let sit for 2½ hours. This gets the milk to 180°F.
To save time, you can also use a thermometer to heat the milk on the stove to 180°F—but this requires more pot-watching and the possibility of scalding milk. (We'll stick to the slow cooker, thanks.)
Once 2½ hours have passed, turn off the slow cooker and let the milk sit for 3 hours to cool to about 110°F. This part does not have to be super precise, but you can feel free to monitor the yogurt with a thermometer. We didn't use one and our yogurt still turned out wonderfully!
Once your milk has cooled, whisk ¼ cup yogurt into the pot to provide the live-culture bacteria.
Place the lid back on and wrap the entire slow cooker in a big towel or set it in a warm place for 8-12 hours. Yes, it's okay to leave it out—the fermentation of the milk and yogurt mixture encourages the growth of bacteria. This, in turn, leads to production of lactic acid and more yogurt.
It's important to note, however, that this method produces regular yogurt and not Greek yogurt, even though we started with the latter in the recipe. Greek yogurt requires a lot of straining to produce its thick texture, but if you're up for it, you can use a cheesecloth and colander to turn it into Greek yogurt.
Once time has passed, remove the towel from your slow cooker and pour the yogurt into containers (like mason jars). Refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using the yogurt in recipes or for consumption.
Enjoy your yogurt with granola, honey, or fruit. We use ours in smoothies and even as a replacement for sour cream and mayonnaise. We love a spoonful on top of tomato soup, too.
In the end, we've fallen in love with the ease and convenience of making yogurt in the slow cooker and haven't purchased store-bought yogurt since. This simple recipe has not only saved us the normal effort of making yogurt, but the effort of running to the store when we're in a pinch, as well.
We definitely encourage you to try making this at home—it's so easy, there's no reason you shouldn't give it a try. We wish you luck on your yogurt-making journey!
Have you tried making yogurt this way or any other way? If so, share your tricks and advice in the comments below.