Homemade Crock-Pot Yogurt Recipe

Making crock-pot yogurt is about one of the easiest things you can make in the crock-pot.  I know it seems crazy, but it’s true!

Crock-pot Yogurt with Granola2 Ingredient Yogurt

Slow Cooker DaysCrock-pot Yogurt

It took me a couple of years to become brave enough to make yogurt.  I had heard it was so easy, yet, thinking about leaving the yogurt overnight to culture just seemed strange.  I was afraid to give my kids the yogurt the first time I made it.  Now my kids are growing up thinking it’s totally normal.

2 Ingredient Crock-pot Yogurt

The part of our grocery bill that can be slashed the most is yogurt.  I have bought the individual-sized yogurts for years and that racks up the grocery bill.  Making yogurt in half gallon batches is a total money saver because it basically costs you the price of a half gallon of milk and maybe a small yogurt container (if you need a start)! So in our area for about $1.25-1.50 you could have a half gallon of yogurt, and if you prefer organic, it’s about $3 for the half gallon. You can not beat that price for that quantity!!

Granola and Chocolate Yogurt

Those who know me, know that I LOVE using my slow cooker.  I was sooo excited when I heard you can make yogurt in the crock-pot from A Year of Slow Cooking.   My recipe is just a little different, adding an optional way to thicken the yogurt and using the oven. 

Homemade Crock-Pot Yogurt Recipe

Ingredients

  • -1/2 gallon whole milk
  • -1/2 cup plain yogurt made with live and active cultures (I have made this with flavored yogurt before and it worked but the yogurt had the faint flavor throughout, so it should be plain or vanilla yogurt)
  • -optional 1-2 cups of dried milk for thickening (I used 1 cup and it was thick)*Update 10/7/12 The first time you make this, try it without the dried milk and see if you need to add it. I don't add it anymore, and we get a great thickness.

Instructions

  1. Pour the 1/2 gallon of milk into the slow cooker (I have used what I think is a 3 quart slow cooker, and there wasn't much wiggle room, but it worked. I've also used a 5 quart).
  2. Cook on low for 2 1/2 hours to 180 degrees (I never worry about the temperature, but in case you want to know).
  3. Turn off the slow cooker, and let the warm milk sit for another 3 hours, keeping the lid on the slow cooker (cooling to 110-115 degrees).
  4. Take 2 cups of the milk out and mix it with the yogurt.
  5. If you are thickening your yogurt with dried milk, you can add it at this time to the yogurt mixture.
  6. Combine the yogurt mixture with the milk in the slow cooker and whisk until smooth.
  7. Turn on the light in your oven.
  8. Insert slow cooker into the oven with the lid on. DO NOT turn on your oven. The oven light will provide warmth for your yogurt cultures.
  9. Leave in the oven for 8-12 hours.
  10. Add your favorite toppings.
  11. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
http://practical-stewardship.com/2012/01/14/homemade-crock-pot-yogurt-recipe/

The Verdict: The first time we made this, we were so amazed that the yogurt actually worked!  Update 6/14/13 We have been making this almost weekly for well over a year, and the longer you leave the yogurt in the oven, the more it seems to thicken.  I bought a 4.5 quart crock-pot that ran on the low end, so food didn’t warm up as fast.  We would leave our yogurt in the oven up to fifteen hours to finally achieve the desired thickness.  Experiment!  It’s really fun!

To top we’ve used honey, jams, granola, fruit, walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin butter (but not all at the same time)!  Update 5/20/12  We always keep this on hand.  I like to start it around 3pm so I have enough time for the few quick steps.  It’s really so easy; there’s almost no reason not to give it a shot at least once!

Other recipes you may enjoy:

Yogurt Fruit Dip

Banana Yogurt Bread

Banana Yogurt Bread

GO HERE FOR THE COMPLETE LIST OF RECIPES

For more crock-pot inspiration, visit our Cookin’ with the Crock-pot Pinterest Board.

Cookin' w the crock-pot Screen Shot

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Comments

    • says

      Judee, I always try to keep this yogurt on hand. It’s so easy when you get the hang of it!!! Thanks for visiting.

  1. Andrea says

    This looks great! I’m just wondering if I could substitute a lower fat milk. Any thoughts?

    • says

      Hi Andrea, I haven’t used lower fat milk before, but I have a friend who has done it, and it’s a thinner consistency. I would just be ready to add more powered milk. I used to be all low fat for everything I eat, but now I realize that fat will fill you up more without all of the filler ingredients, so I’d encourage you to try it with whole milk, too. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  2. says

    I can’t wait to try this recipe. My family loves vanilla yogurt, so I may try adding that to your recipe and see how it turns out. Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings, Kristy

  3. says

    This is too funny, I just yesterday I want to make some homemade yogurt. However, I must admit I am disappointed that yogurt is an actual ingredient in this recipe. I’m still pinning it and sharing it, also will try it, thanks for blogging it.

    Followed you here from Jill’s Home Remedies.

    • says

      Joyce, Thanks for visiting! You do need some kind of starter culture, and this is the easiest way I have found so far. Once you make your yogurt, then you can just keep 1/2 cup of it to make the next batch. Hope you enjoy it!

    • says

      Yes, it’s so simple. I have some in my crock-pot right now! My kids ADORE this recipe! I always keep it on hand.

  4. says

    Good afternoon Sonja, What an easy way to make yoghurt. I spend a small fortune on Greek yoghurt so I am certainly going to give this a try. I am new to your blog and found you via Karen from Sew Many Ways. I am going to become a follower but cannot find a link. Sorry I am a relatively new blogger. Have a wonderful Sunday. Best Wishes from England, Daphne

  5. Marion says

    Dear Sonja…Three filled jars are now in my fridge. Your recipe is easy to follow and I guess foolproof since my yogurt turned out fantastic! Thank you. I used non fat organic yogurt and organic whole milk. I did add 1 1/2 cups of dried milk. It tastes very good…..much better then store bought.

    • says

      Hi Marion, I am so happy to hear that the yogurt worked well for you!!! I was amazed the first time I made it that it worked for me, too. Thank you for sharing!

  6. sarah says

    Hi! Just found you via Pinterest! I would love to attempt this but my oven is horribly old and doesn’t have a light…any suggestions? Thanks so much!

    • says

      Hi Sarah, You can wrap your crock-pot with a towel instead of putting it in the oven. I hope that helps! Thanks for visiting!

  7. Katherine says

    Hi! I want to try to do this, as we spend a fortune in Yogurt every month, but is there a worry for food poisoning (like if my oven doesn’t keep it warm enough and it spoils)? Is there anyway to tell if it doesn’t “turn out”, before I eat it? This is the only fear that has kept me from trying to make it. Thank you for your reply!

    • says

      Hi Katherine, I was afraid to eat the yogurt the first time I made it, too. Some people just leave their crock-pots overnight on their counters, out of the oven with a towel wrapped around the crock-pot, so I wouldn’t worry if it doesn’t stay warm enough in your oven. I think the smell will tell you a lot. The yogurt should have a sweet smell. I have left my yogurt until noon in the oven because it wasn’t thick enough at 8am or whenever I checked on it at first. Leaving the yogurt in longer will thicken it. Give it a shot! Tell yourself if it doesn’t work you are really only out 1/2 cup yogurt and a half gallon of milk, and if it works you will save a ton a money over the years. It’s an investment. Wishing you success! Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  8. says

    I make my own yogurt as well, although I use a slightly different method than you (I incubate mine in a warm oven with the temp turned off but the light bulb turned on) I was shocked to learn how EASY it was to make yogurt, and since I eat it every morning this is not only a great budget saver for us, but also an environmental victory since we’re not throwing away all those plastic yogurt tubs that were not recyclable in our area. I like to make mine in 1/2 pint canning jars so they’re already in single-servings, just add honey and some fruit, stir & enjoy! (Visiting from the Simple Lives Thursday Hop)

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~ Wolfe City, Texas

    • says

      Hi Taylor. Yep! That first time you make homemade yogurt, you really can’t believe how amazingly easy it is. Thanks for visiting!

  9. Judith says

    How much vanilla extract does it take to flavor it to a nice vanilla like the store purchased brands? Yogurt is one of my main sources of protein so I use a lot in smoothies. Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Judith, I would put about 1/4 of a t of vanilla in 1/2 cup of yogurt. Then I would add more to taste if needed. Thanks for visiting!

  10. Andrea says

    Do you sweeten your yogurt at all? If yes, at what stage would you add a sweetener? Thank you! Excited to try this.

  11. says

    OK, you’ve convinced me! Someone taught me how to make yogurt several years ago and when I tried it on my own it turned out awefull. I’m going to stop being scared and give this a try. Thanks for the encouragement.

  12. Phyllis says

    Thank you muchly for this awesome recipe! I’m wondering if I could make it with coconut milk? I’m a non-dairy person and have seen coconut milk yogi at the store (it’s fairly expensive), and I wonder if I could use it to propagate lots of yogi for the price of the one carton ?? : 0)

  13. Pearl says

    Has anyone tried keeping it hot with a dehydrator? Temperature would be consistent, wrapped with a blanket or something.

  14. Tracey C. says

    Hi! Sounds so easy! One question, you do take the crockpot out of the cooker/metal container before placing in oven, or do you just plop the whole thing in, cord and all? Sounds silly to ask…but… Thanks!!

    • says

      Hi Tracey, Not a silly question. I put the cord and all in the oven because my 2 quart crock-pot doesn’t detach. If it detached, I would put the crock-pot in the oven without my base/cord. Hope that helps, and thank you for visiting!

  15. Pat Strothman says

    My oven lite doesn’t stay on, I thought about using an electric pad on low in the oven. Think that will work?

    • says

      You can just wrap the crock-pot with a towel without using an oven and leave it on your counter. You can also experiment with turning your oven on with nothing in it and then turn it off and put the yogurt in after a half hour or so-I have not done this, though so I can’t vouch-pursue at own risk. Hope this helps!

    • says

      Hi Kelli, I haven’t done it myself, so I can’t speak from experience. I would google it. Sorry I couldn’t help you more!

  16. Angie says

    I know it’s unheard of, but I do not own a crock pot. I’ve never liked them because I’ve always burned food despite following directions. So, I use pots and a candy thermometer. I don’t lid the pot since I leave the thermometer in there to keep a watch on the temp. It sees to have reduced a bit because of this. Have you ever heard of someone doing his and were they successful? I’ve got $2 hanging in the balance.

    • says

      Hi Angie. Do you mean people making the yogurt in a pot? Yes, I think people have warmed the milk in a pot, but I have never done it since I have an obsessive love with my crock-pot. Hope that helps!

      • Angie says

        It worked! Honestly, I don’t like the taste of plain yogurt until it’s sweetened, but this stuff is fabulous. I’m sold. I added 1 cup dried milk, but I think next time I’ll add 2 cause I like it thick like Greek yogurt. I LOVE the creaminess of this yogurt. Thanks for helping me save more money for my family!

        • says

          Hi Angie. You are welcome, and I am SO glad it worked for you! I love helping people save money, and it blesses me to know that, so thank you! Blessings in the new year!

  17. Cari says

    I have a question. If my oven light is not working (even though I’m married to an electrician!) how should I do the final step in the oven? Turn the temp to super low/warm or have no added warmth at all or am I not able to do this without an oven light?

    • says

      Hi Cari, My oven light JUST broke too, last month, and I made my first batch without the light. I turned on the oven to preheat it with nothing in it. Then I turned the oven off. When the rack in the oven was cool enough, I wrapped a bath towel around the crock and put it in the oven overnight. The yogurt turned out great. I know there are people who just leave there crock outside of the oven with a towel around it, too. Hope this helps!

  18. Alicia says

    I have a yogurt maker, but wanted to try making more at one time – have you ever made it with a full gallon of milk and just doubled the amount of starter yogurt? Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Alicia, No I haven’t, because I don’t know if we would go through that much yogurt before it would go bad. It might be worth a shot if it would work. You would have to measure the temp to get it right and might have to adjust the warming times.

  19. Kara says

    I have made this yogurt 4 times now. The first with whole milk. Send I want to lose some weight I tried it with 2%. Its was ok but very thin. I read that you can add gelatin or powdered milk. But I didn’t think I wanted to mess with that. So more research told me to strain the whey off, apparently this is the difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt. So I strained it. It produced just the perfect consistency!! So yesterday I thought I would try skim. After straining it was the same consistency of the 2%! I haven’t tried any yet because I just finished eating the last of the 2% batch. I like to take frozen strawberries, cut them up and put some in the bottom of a cup, add a little sugar & the yogurt and pop it in the fridge till I’m ready to eat. Then I add a cut up banana & granola. Just about sinful it’s sooo good!!

    • says

      Hi Kara. I am so glad that you like the yogurt! I do want to encourage you to rethink using a lower fat milk to lose weight. More studies are coming out showing the importance of using whole milk for health. The whole fat satiates you, feeling fuller longer and causing you to eat less. The 1990s really swayed us to think that fat makes you fat. Well it’s the wrong kinds of fats that affect us negatively. Make sure to eat the fat in nuts and avocados. Here are a couple of articles about the importance of eating full fat from Runner’s World, Huffington Post, and Dr. Mercola. Blessings!

  20. Julie Wonkka says

    I have been wanting for years to make homemade yogurt, but it just looked to complicated! (having to heat the milk, use 2 thermos’ etc. ) I love your post! BUT, what if I don’t have an oven light? (I know that’s weird, but my oven is the cheapest one on the market I think, so no light) I am wondering if I could just turn on the oven to the barely lowest setting… Do you think that would work?

    • says

      Hi Julie. Well now my oven light has been broken since Christmas, and what I do now is turn on the oven to preheat, and when it is preheated, I turn the oven off and wait until I think the oven heat won’t affect the crock-pot (about 10-15 minutes, depends on oven). It’s also okay to just put a towel around the crock and leave it on your counter overnight, and avoid using the oven. DON’T put the crock-pot in the oven with the oven on. That will be too hot. Last time we made yogurt two weeks ago, I asked my husband just to wrap the crock-pot in a towel and leave it on the counter overnight. He forgot and just left the crock on the counter. In the morning the yogurt was still runny, but smelled sweet, so I knew it hadn’t gone bad. Then I preheated the oven and then turned it off, just so the oven would have a little warmth to it. I put the crock in the oven until noon, and voila! Creamy yogurt!! Hope this helps, Julie!

    • says

      Hi Michelle. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’d google it! It’s on my mental to-do list since I am dairy-free now. I still make this recipe for the two of my kids who aren’t dairy-free, though.

  21. says

    Thanks for the great tutorial! I can’t wait to make this! When you said your oven light was out and you preheated your oven and then let it cool 10-15 minutes before putting your crockpot in the oven and wrapping it with a towel, what temperature did you preheat your oven to? I think the lowest temp on my oven is 175 degrees. Thanks for your help with this. Wasn’t sure how hot to preheat before I let it cool for the 10-15 min. Thanks so much! You’re blog is such a blessing!

    • says

      Hi Brooke, I actually preheat to 350 degrees. That’s why I wait so long before putting the crock in the oven. Hope this helps! Thanks for blessing me, as well!!

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