Our family goes through a lot of yogurt. Early on in the pandemic we were going through 64 ounces of Straus Yogurt a week, which was expensive and hard to keep stocked when we felt unsafe going to the grocery store.
Enter the Instant Pot.
I knew that theoretically one could make yogurt in the instant pot. Now I know it’s incredibly easy! It’s much cheaper and less wasteful than buying gallons of premium yogurt from Berkeley Bowl. So here’s what I do to make a half gallon of yogurt most weeks:
Instant Pot Yogurt
Total Time: 11.5 Hours
- ½ gallon whole milk (I use Clover Organic)
- 2 tb yogurt (store bought or homemade with an heirloom culture) see note
Instant Pot, whisk, instant-read thermometer, glass jars or another container that can hold two quarts of yogurt.
Start this either first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night.
- Put the milk in the instant pot. If you’re pouring from a 1 gallon jug, I pour to about 2mm below the 2 qt line so the resulting yogurt will fit nicely in two glass quart mason jars.
- Close and lock the lid.
- Set the instant pot to Yogurt: Pasteurize. The instant pot will warm and then hold the milk at 180°F for 3 minutes. This is how my “Duo Evo Plus” looks, yours may be different:
- When the instant pot beeps that it’s finished, pull out the inner pot and set it out to cool at room temperature. 1
- Wait for the milk to reach 115° - 110° F. If it goes below 110°, reheat it on a very low stove burner. During this time a small skin may form on the milk. I usually skim it off with a fork and throw it in the compost.
- Pour a small amount of the pasteurized milk into a bowl and mix with the 2 tb yogurt.
- Pour the milk-yogurt mixture back in the pot.
- Put the liner pot back in the Instant Pot and seal the lid.
- Set the Instant Pot to Yogurt, Ferment mode at “high” for 11 hours.
- Go to bed or work.
- When the instant pot beeps to signal it’s done, open the lid carefully, as a lot of condensation will have collected on the inside of the lid.
- Vigorously stir the yogurt with a whisk until the curds are well incorporated and it has a smooth creamy texture.
- Pour in to jars and refrigerate for 12-24 hours before eating. It should thicken to batter-like consistency, but it will never completely hold its shape.
Store-bought yogurt works as a starter for this recipe, but it will only last a few generations. The cultures used in mass-market yogurt are carefully balanced to meet specific nutrition targets, but are not typically self-sustaining. If you want to keep making yogurt again and again, you can either get some heirloom yogurt from a friend to use as starter, or buy some online. I got some from a neighbor on our local Buy Nothing group.
This process can be sped up by putting the pot in a bath of ice water, but the temperature will drop very quickly. If you do this, watch the temperature closely so it doesn’t get too cold. ↩