Homemade Yogurt

Course: Breakfast, Condiment

Cooking With Co-Op Basics:Yogurt From Scratch

Yields 8-9 Cups

Gluten Free, Vegetarian

Jars with hot water are perfect to keep a closed cooler warm enough to incubate your yogurt for 8 hours or more...

Jars with hot water are perfect to keep a closed cooler warm enough to incubate your yogurt for 8 hours or more...

This recipe was adapted from Yogurt: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner by Janet Fletcher and http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/homemade-yogurt-395111 for my July 2017 Cooking with Co-Op Basics class at Mississippi Market. This class also included making granola from scratch; you can view that recipe here.


  • 1/2 Gallon Milk (any dairy type)* $4.69

  • 4 Tbsp Evaporated Milk (Bob’s Red Mill) $0.75

  • 1 5oz container Brown Cow Plain Yogurt (or 4 Tbsp unused yogurt from your last batch or a larger container you haven’t been using yet) $1.19

  • 4-6 cups ice

Special Equipment:

  • Candy thermometer

  • Yogurt maker or other incubator, such as an insulated cooler

  • Cheesecloth for straining (optional)

  • Mason jars or other container for storage

*Indicates Co-Op Basics Item


  1. Gather and sanitize all your equipment. Make sure everything is very clean without soap residue to avoid damaging the yogurt culture. Make sure you have lids and jars/containers very clean. A dishwasher can also do this.

  2. Heat Your Milk: Pour your milk into a cold pan and turn the burner to medium low. Stir in your evaporated milk. After a few minutes use your thermometer to track your temperature as you stir. Once your milk reaches 195℉, adjust the heat to make sure it stays at this temperature, whisking often, for 10 minutes (this gives you a thicker yogurt).

  3. Meanwhile - prepare a large bowl or your sink with cold water and ice, reserving 2 cups of ice. Boil water to pour into storage containers you will be using.

  4. Remove the milk from the heat and allow it to cool to 110°F to 115°F (this usually takes a bit over an hour). To speed the cooling process, place the pot in the prepared ice bath and stir the milk occasionally. (If the milk temperature drops too low, return it to the heat.)

  5. Using a clean container, take out approximately 1-2 cups of the warm milk and whisk in your yogurt culture. Add to the other milk and whisk softly (cultures do not like being jostled).

  6. Pour or ladle the mixture into the yogurt maker containers (transfer the hot water into other containers to add warmth to your cooler or oven) or another incubator (if using a thermos, first warm the inside with hot tap water) and incubate between 110°F and 115°F for 5 to 10 hours, depending on the desired flavor and consistency—longer incubation periods produces thicker, more tart yogurt. Do not disturb the yogurt during incubation.

  7. Cover the yogurt and refrigerate until cold, 2 to 3 hours. (If you used a thermos to incubate, transfer the finished yogurt to a non-insulated container for chilling so the temperature will drop.) Stir any flavorings into the yogurt just before serving. (For thicker, Greek-style yogurt, after incubation, spoon the yogurt into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl and let it drain, covered in the refrigerator, for at least 1 hour or overnight. Discard the whey that drains out of the yogurt or reserve it for another use.)

  8. Yogurt can be stored in the refrigerator, in covered glass, ceramic, or plastic containers, for up to 2 weeks, but the flavor will be the best during the first week. As yogurt ages, it becomes more tart. If more whey separates out of the yogurt, just stir it back in before serving.

Additional Resources/Troubleshooting:

I found this guide helpful when I accidentially cooked my yogurt by using a slow cooker on warm as my incubator the first time. There are a lot of useful tips here. https://www.kitchenstewardship.com/what-did-i-do-wrong-the-definitive-homemade-yogurt-troubleshooting-guide/