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Friday, February 12, 2010

Perfect Crockpot Yogurt- so simple!

Yogurt sounds a little intimidating to make when you're starting out, but with a crockpot, this is so simple!

I've tried a few recipes and had great success with this one. We like our yogurt with a thick, creamy consistency and this recipe makes perfectly thick and creamy yogurt.

For plain yogurt, all you need is:

A Crockpot
Milk (we use whole)
Fresh, good quality yogurt (store bought or homemade)

Amounts for 2 quarts:
1/2 gallon milk
1/2 cup yogurt

Amounts for 4 quarts:
1 gallon milk
1 cup yogurt

Turn crockpot on low.
Add milk.
Wait 2 1/2 hours. (Set a timer!)
When the timer beeps, unplug the crockpot.
Set the timer for 3 hours.
When the timer beeps the second time, stir in yogurt. 
Replace the lid and wrap a towel around the whole crockpot to keep warm. 
Let sit for 8-12 hours.

That's it! Add your flavors next, and refrigerate to chill.

Flavoring yogurt (directions per quart):

Banana- blend 1 ripe banana in a food processor or blender. Add banana and 1 Tbsp. sweetener (honey, maple syrup, sugar). Stir gently to maintain consistency.

Berry- any berry will work, or you can try mixed berry. Chop 1/2 cup berries in a food processor. Add 1 Tbsp. sweetener. Stir gently to maintain consistency.

Maple Syrup- Add 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Stir gently to maintain consistency.

Vanilla- Add 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1 Tbsp. sweetener. Stir gently to maintain consistency.

Dessert yogurt- Use any flavor above and add sliced bananas, chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are my faves), and some chocolate chips. It's a great "treat" with tons of nutrition.

This post is part of Fight Back Fridays.


  1. You may have better luck reducing your yogurt starter to two tablespoons per quart. I used to use the full 1/2 cup, but now I go with 1/4 cup and my yogurt is much thicker. From what I've read, too many bacteria crowd each other and make your yogurt runny. This is especially important if you want to drain your yogurt to make Greek style or yogurt cheese for frozen yogurt.

    I do love making yogurt in the crockpot!

  2. That's interesting, because this yogurt is so thick, and when I used to make it with 2 Tbsp/ quart (not in the crockpot, however) it would sometimes get runny. This is always thick, thick, thick and creamy. Love it. I wonder if it has anything to do with the size of the crockpot...or?? Just trying to think what other factors might make it different. I have heard that about too many bacteria crowding each other, but that hasn't been a problem! So far they are all living happily together :)

  3. not a HUGE yogurt person, but this sounds good. and less expensive...right??? haha. so question, and don't laugh, but why do you have to use yogurt to make yogurt? you know how to make frozen yogurt like the first comment said?! i would LOVE to try that

  4. much less expensive. It costs about the same for 1 quart at the store ($2.49) as it does for 4 quarts of homemade ($2.59 for the milk).
    You use yogurt to make yogurt because yogurt has bacteria in it. When you heat the milk you are providing an environment where the bacteria will grow and multiply. So the yogurt that you add is actually adding that bacteria.
    I don't know how to make frozen yogurt... unless she's actually talking about freezing yogurt?

  5. I saw a similar crock pot yogurt recipe recently and have been meaning to try it. Thanks for the flavoring info!

  6. Is it okay to use vanilla yogurt to start with(it is what I have right now)? I have been wanting to make my own yougurt and this sounds easy easy!

  7. Yarnwrangler, good question! I've never made it with a flavored yogurt, but after searching around online I saw that it can be done! The big thing is to make sure your yogurt has live cultures in it. Also, if you use vanilla, it will slightly flavor your yogurt, but you will still need to add flavor of your own. Let me know how it goes with vanilla starter!

  8. This sounds yummy and easy! I want to give it a try! How long can you store it for? Fridge or frozen?

  9. It lasts in the fridge for a couple weeks...and we go through it in a couple days so that's never an issue! But you can freeze it too.

  10. I love the idea to make more than one quart. I use the Salton yogurt maker and that quart just doesn't last for more than 2 days.
    The recipe I've used calls for 1/2 cup yogurt for 4 cups of milk. So would you not add more starter for more milk? The amount of time I let my yogurt sit for depends on the end thickness. So if I sit it for 4 hours it is perfect, a little less time it is runnier and longer it is thick.

    I always use vanilla yogurt for my starter, and then still add sugar and vanilla for flavor.
    I love how it is so much cheaper to make. I buy the Stonyfield farms yogurt for over $3 a quart and to make a quart with that starter I figured the price would be less than $1.50.

    Also just random yogurt talk...I used to make soy yogurt too for my son who was allergic to milk. here is the post I did about the soy yogurt on my blog and how it turned out.

  11. I forgot to mention, I also use 1/3 cup dry/powdered milk to the yogurt and that could be another factor to consider about thickness.

  12. edeenut,
    Hi! that's interesting your recipe calls for that much yogurt. motherhen68 said that she uses even less, so I guess there are a lot of options! I don't add powdered milk (even though I've heard that does thicken it) because when they dry it, they use a process that oxidizes the cholesterol. It can actually contribute to high cholesterol in your body, so I try to get my yogurt as thick as I can without adding any powdered milk.
    And you are so right about the cost savings-- it is so worth it cost wise!

  13. I have been using a similar recipe for awhile now and have been really pleased with it. But thank you for all the flavoring options - I've sort of been freehanding it and was thinking it would be nice to have specifics - this much vanilla per volume of yogurt, etc. And now you've done it for me! Many thanks

  14. Wow...what a great idea- I'm going to try this!

  15. I use the recipe that came with my yogurt maker. It calls for 4 C milk, 1/4-1/2 C dry milk (I use 1/3), 1/2 C yogurt.
    Then I use my own flavoring, 3 T sugar and 2 T vanilla, works for one quart.

  16. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I have been wanting to try it ever since I read about it. It is by far the only homemade recipe I could say I like. I am a very picky yogurt eater. It will be delicious with some fresh fruit this summer with my homemade granola! I also just wrote about my experience on my blog - giving you credit for the recipe of course! ;-)

  17. I'm glad you had yogurt success! :)

  18. I make this recipe at least once per week. (Found it on Crockpot Lady's blog). My youngest kiddo (16 months) loves it in a cup mixed with a tsp. of homemade jam and thinned with milk to drink from a straw. Homemade granola also goes PERFECTLY with this yogurt!

  19. John, great idea with the yogurt drink. My kids always ask for those from the store. I'm so glad you use this recipe so often!

  20. Hi Chanelle!
    When I tried making this last week it ended up being a bit runny...I'm not sure why. I followed the directions exactly. Also, I'm wondering if your kids eat it with only a TBSP of sweetener per still has a pretty tart, plain yogurt taste. Maybe I just need to make it a few times so we get used to it.

  21. esherman, Hey! My kids will eat it with only a little sweetener. But if you are switching from yoplait or something, you may need to gradually wean them off the sugar so they'll eat it. If you take it away slowly, they don't even seem to notice.
    About the consistency: mine always turns out thick, so I did some research to see what might be causing the problem. An interesting article I found said that you need yogurt to reach certain temperatures. You can use a thermometer to check that you are getting to the right temps at each stage. First, after 2 1/2 hours, your milk should be around 180 degrees. If it is higher, shorten the cook time (the next time you make it) . If it's lower than 180, cook it a little longer. After the next 3 hours, your milk should be around 110. You have a little wiggle room here- anywhere from 100- 110 ought to work. Adjust the cook time accordingly.
    Here's another list of troubleshooting I found on

    "Reasons for yogurt not turning out right, listed in order of 1-5, one being the most common.

    1. The quality and presence of live yogurt cultures is not adequate.

    It is common for people making yogurt for the first time to discover that there are no cultures in the store-bought yogurt they are using for a culture.

    If you are using a plain yogurt for your starter, it can be tricky to tell if it actually contains live cultures. It may list cultures in the ingredients, but if it does not not have the live and active cultures seal, it probably has been heat-treated and will not work.

    It can even say contains live cultures or made with live cultures on the container, but if it doesn't have the seal, it does not contain a suitable amount and quality of live and active cultures.

    Yogurt culture may be too old or not have enough viable culture in it to culture the yogurt quickly. For example a yogurt brand like Dannon which contains 2 strains of culture will take 6-8 hours to culture, while a brand like Stonyfield yogurt (containing 4 strains of cultures) will take 4-6 hours.

    I highly recommend using Stonyfield Yogurt for a culture, it works great for me every time.

    2. The kind of milk used is not sufficient.

    It can be difficult to find regular pasturized milk in some stores, but ultra-pasturized milk will not support the yogurt cultures. Lactaid milk or any other lactose-free milk also will not support the yogurt cultures since they need lactose (milk sugar). Any other kind of milk can be made into yogurt. Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, goat milk, sheep milk, water buffalo milk... (just incase you happen to have a water buffalo in your backyard)

  22. (continued)
    3. The yogurt is too cold during fermentation.

    There are many methods of making yogurt that work well. It is a simple process, however if you live in a very cold climate you might find that some of the methods do not keep the yogurt warm enough during incubation. The yogurt generally needs to be kept at around 100 degrees, but if it is a little colder, it just takes longer for the yogurt to thicken. If it is too cold however, it will never thicken.

    4. The yogurt culture is added too soon after heating the milk.

    The scalded milk needs to cool to at least 110 degrees before adding the culture otherwise you risk killing the cultures.

    5. Unclean utensils and containers have been used.

    The live cultures in yogurt are bacteria and they can be affected by other bacteria that may be on your dishes and utensils. You should disinfect your yogurt pot, containers and utensils in boiling water before you make yogurt. I simple get out the pot I will be using and put everything else into it and fill with water. I bring it to a boil and then dump out the water and everything I need to use is clean. I don't do this with my thermometer though, I just wash it in warm water.

    I'd actually worry more about soap residue on my dishes than bacteria. If you use a dishwasher that leaves residue on your dishes, you want to be sure to get them rinsed clean. Not just for yogurt making, but in general that stuff is bad for you. By the way, sometimes I don't disinfect my yogurt making supplies because I am in a hurry. I've never had a batch of yogurt not turn out. So, I don't really think it is too big of a deal."

    Hope it turns out perfect next time! :)

  23. I was wondering if powdered yogurt culture will work with the crockpot method and if so, how much should I use? thanks so much! mary

  24. I've never used powdered yogurt culture. Sorry I'm not much help with that one!

  25. I was wondering if you would have any recommendations on how to make this dairy free. Both my daughters can't have any dairy products. Any thoughts on how to substitute the yogurt?

  26. I've heard of people using coconut milk. I googled"coconut milk yogurt recipe" and found several different recipes, so that would be worth a shot!