How To Make Homemade Yogurt

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt with toppings

(picture by

I was surprised how easy it was to make homemade yogurt. Studio 5 (a local TV station in Utah) contacted me and asked me to do a review on a homemade yogurt maker for the show. I had never made yogurt from scratch before, but it had been on my list of to-dos for a long time. So it was the perfect opportunity to learn.

My first attempt FAILED miserably. I learned what major mistake I had made and all the other batches turned out after that.

Benefits of making your own yogurt

You can control the ingredients.

You can make it with the type of milk that you want: organic, raw, whole – you get the picture. You can sweeten it with what you want – honey, jam (I like Crofters all-fruit jam), or fruit.

It’s cheaper.

Depending on what start you get, you don’t have to buy another start, making the cost of yogurt only the cost of the milk you are buying.

Different strains of probiotics.

Cultures for Healthy carries a ton of different varieties of yogurt. Each variety has different strains of probiotics. Each strain of probiotics brings something different to the table to strengthen your immune system and build up the healthy gut flora in your digestive tract.

Some of the strains they carry aren’t available in grocery stores and can only be found in Europe.


How To Make Your Own Yogurt

You will need:

  • Thermometer
  • Milk (preferably organic)
  • Pan
  • Yogurt start (I got mine from Culture’s for Health, or you can use plain yogurt)
  • Something to keep it warm with (dehydrator, warming pad, yogurt maker, oven, or crock pot)

O.k. like I said, it is easy peasy once you have read the trouble-shooting tips below and avoid those pit falls.

Horizon Organic Whole Milk

(I didn’t use this brand of milk, but it is one that is widely available, I used a local milk from Real Foods Market)

  1. First, buy good-quality milk. I have used both non homogenized whole milk, and organic whole milk to make it. It is pricey, but you are saving money making your own yogurt. Here is a quick read on the difference between organic and regular milk.
  2. Heat up the milk to 180 degrees if using the traditional start. Each start will vary the temperature, so read the instructions to see what temp you need to heat your milk to.
  3. Once the milk has reached that temperature, take it off the burner. Whisk in the yogurt cultures that comes with the yogurt start,  ( I have even read of people using plain yogurt for the start-I haven’t tried that way yet).

Yogurt Starters

(these are the starts that I used, from Cultures for Health)

4.Let it cool to 110 degrees, again check your instructions on the start you are using.

5.Pour in a quart mason jar, mini mason jars for individual servings, or your yogurt maker container.

(this is yogurt maker Studio 5 gave me to demo from Cultures for Health, I really liked it, because it was simple and easy to use.  You don’t need to plug the maker in which is nice.  I did however, think my dehydrator worked just as well, if you don’t want to buy another kitchen appliance).

Let the yogurt sit at 110 degrees and work its magic. I have made mine at night after dinner and let it sit overnight. I have also made it in the morning and let it sit until dinner – either way works.

I have a post of 5 ways to keep your yogurt warm with out a yogurt maker that I will post next.

Trouble Shooting

Don’t feel bad if you ruin the first batch, I did. Here are some common reasons that it doesn’t turn out:

  • You got impatient – you didn’t let it sit long enough and thicken into yogurt
  • Your house is drafty – if the yogurt doesn’t stay at 110 degrees (or whatever temp the start you are using says) it won’t thicken and will have the consistency of slightly thick milk
  • You used ultra-pasteurized milk – ultra-pasteurized milk has killed all of the bacteria in milk making it hard for the culture to get started
  • You use your yogurt maker improperly – this is what I did. My yogurt maker had a Styrofoam insert that went around the container. I mistook it for extra packaging and threw it away. My yogurt didn’t thicken at all. Read the instructions before you wing it, like I did.




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9 Responses to How To Make Homemade Yogurt

  1. Alisha says:

    How do you know how much milk to use with each start?
    My packet says makes2 quarts of yogurt, does that mean 2 quarts of milk? Or do I need 4 quarts of milk to make 2 quarts yogurt? Due to the thickening process.

  2. Selah says:

    I’ve made yogurt several times with a plain yogurt starter. My one watch out is not to add the yogurt when the milk temp is 180– you need to to fall below 120 or you will kill the live cultures and it won’t work. I assume it would be the same with a starter, but I don’t know since I’ve never used one!

    Also, I make it in my home made sous vide cooker– I know that’s a unique kitchen appliance, but if you happen to have one try it out! Set your temp, put in the mason jars in the water and leave it over night. It’s super easy and works every time!

  3. melissa says:

    Do you have any tips for using goats milk to make yogurt? I have mastered cow’s milk, but goats milk barely thickens. I have never used a starter, just plain organic yogurt.

  4. Veronica says:

    Hi Desiree,
    Just discovered your blog – loving it! I’ve been very successful at making my yoghurt this year, and using my trusty cooler. I line it with a beach towel and stick the pot with boiled water in which my quart mason jars with milk heated in. I close the cooler lid quickly. In the mean time, I let my milk in the quart jars drop in temperature to 110 degrees, stir in my starter, then pop my jars into the cooler with the pot of heated water. I’ve left the yoghurt in the cooler overnight and it’s done in the morning. I’ve also made yoghurt in the afternoon and left it in the cooler ’till morning with the same results. No need to buy special equipment, and have not had any failures yet! Super easy!

    • admin says:

      Hi Veronica! LOVE it. Thanks for sharing, I like the idea of using a cooler. Cheap and good at keeping a consistent temperature.

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