Making Yogurt

Sometimes it’s hard to decide what’s going to get discussed on Scratch Living. If we’ve made something from basic ingredients, it should naturally be open for publication. In reality, there are multiple reasons, both valid and ridiculous, that go into determining what gets posted here. This was the case with the yogurt, and the reason why I’m only discussing it now, a week after I made it.

The main reason I didn’t immediately go to the computer and begin detailing the process of making homemade yogurt for the first time (yay!) is that I made it with our instant pot:

instant pot


So, I didn’t initially want to post about this because we used an appliance that not everyone has access to, and in a way trusted the machine to do a bit of the heavy lifting. For some reason, it felt less ‘scratch,’ less authentic than if we had done it all over the stove, stirring the pot continuously as the milk began to boil. However, what I came to realize in the end is that it’s not the methodology that really counts, and if I start going down that rabbit hole, nothing is going to make the grade. We didn’t make the ketchup with fresh tomatoes, we *GASP!* used store-bought flour for homemade lasagna noodles, etc. At some point, we all make compromises, whether it’s for brevity, convenience, or sanity. So, with that overly-wordy preamble out of the way, here’s how we made yogurt with an electric pressure cooker. If you have one, try it; if you don’t, they’re awesome and I highly suggest them (note that this is not a paid endorsement, I just dig the product).

First, we’ll go over the surprisingly-short list of ingredients. You will need (in addition to the aforementioned instant pot):




– 1 Gallon Milk 
Note that the higher the fat content of the milk, the thicker the final product. For this first batch, we used 1%.

– 3 Tbsp Powdered Milk
The powdered milk acts as a thickening agent for the yogurt.

– Flavoring (Optional)
If you want vanilla yogurt, add a bit of vanilla; if you want sweetened yogurt, add your sweetener, etc. We added 3 Tbsp vanilla extract and no sweetener to this batch.

– 1/2 Cup Yogurt
That’s right; yogurt begets yogurt! This acts as a starter, which is a concept we’ll revisit when we hit sourdough bread later this year 😉 Make sure the yogurt you use has active cultures, or it won’t work!

That’s it! Four ingredients, and you’re on your way. Now let’s discuss the extensive, yet non-intensive, method of putting together some homemade yogurt.


(Important Note: This process takes AT LEAST 10 hours, so do not start it late in the day… Trust us on this)

Step 1: Spoon the powdered milk into the instant pot, and then pour the entire gallon of milk over it. It’s an easy way to incorporate the powdered milk without dirtying extra dishes.

Step 2: Put the lid on the instant pot, and plug it in.

Step 3: Press the ‘Yogurt’ button, then the ‘Adjust’ button. The display will now say ‘Boil.’

Now, walk away for an hour. Read the news, learn a new language, it doesn’t matter… you do you. The pot will beep when the ‘Boil’ phase is done.

Step 4: Open up the instant pot, and carefully take out the insert containing your milk/powdered milk combo. Unplug the instant pot for now, while you’re there. Let the insert sit for approximately an hour, or until the temperature hits 110 – 115 degrees. That’s the range where the magic happens.

Step 5: Stir in the yogurt and the flavoring, then place the insert back into the instant pot.

Step 6: Put the lid on the pot, plug it in, and hit the ‘Yogurt’ button.

Now, walk away for 8 hours. Do some laundry, learn to spot weld, it still doesn’t matter… enjoy your life. Again, the pot will beep when the time is up.

High fives are in order: You now have yogurt! pop it into some containers and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to set up.

Optionally, you can pour your yogurt into some cheesecloth and let it strain for a while if you like thicker yogurt. We hung ours up for 30 minutes. The downside is, you’re losing out in the yield department by doing so.


Our Experience:

Our initial batch of vanilla yogurt came out tasty. Even with the straining the batch seemed comparatively thin, but after some research it seems that is because almost all mass-produced yogurt uses at least one form of thickener. We may experiment with some additional thickening agents in the future.

Taste-wise, it’s delightful! It’s not as tangy as standard yogurt, although we’ve read that the tangy flavor notes increase as the yogurt ages. At first we added honey and blueberries, but in later bowls skipped the honey. We thought the lack of sweetener would hurt the yogurt, but it really didn’t.

In the end, the price savings and increased control over ingredients and sugar content have put this on our ‘Make regularly’ list. If you can, you should try it, too!

Have you ever had homemade yogurt? Are you planning on making your own? How do you enjoy your yogurt? Tell us the answers to these questions, as well as any other feedback you may have, in the comments below!








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