Hi, I'm Alex Pretzlav

I write apps for humans, love to cook, and tinker with electronics. I live in Oakland, CA.

My Everyday Yogurt Recipe

17 January 2024

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:

two quart-size glass jars filled with white fluid

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Close and lock the lid.
  3. 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:
    the lit up LCD display of an instant pot, the Yogurt button is illuminated, and the display shows "0:03 Pasteurize"
  4. When the instant pot beeps that it’s finished, pull out the inner pot and set it out to cool at room temperature. 1
  5. 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.
  6. Pour a small amount of the pasteurized milk into a bowl and mix with the 2 tb yogurt.
  7. Pour the milk-yogurt mixture back in the pot.
  8. Put the liner pot back in the Instant Pot and seal the lid.
  9. Set the Instant Pot to Yogurt, Ferment mode at “high” for 11 hours.
  10. Go to bed or work.
  11. 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.
  12. Vigorously stir the yogurt with a whisk until the curds are well incorporated and it has a smooth creamy texture.
    top down view of a stainless steel pot filled with white yogurt, a whisk is partially submerged in it
  13. 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.

On Culture

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.

  1. 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.