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A Simple Method to Make Your Own Yogurt

How to Make Homemade Yogurt the Easy Way

  • Author: My Homemade Roots
  • Total Time: 9-11 hours


It’s easy and frugal to make a delicious batch of homemade yogurt. This recipe gives simple instructions for making 1/2 gallon of homemade yogurt (without a yogurt maker or Instant Pot).


Units Scale
  • 1/2 gallon (2 quarts) milk
  • 6 tablespoons plain yogurt with live, active cultures or a premade yogurt starter *see notes below


  1. Pour milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, and slowly bring the temperature to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring constantly to prevent the milk from scorching and sticking to the bottom of the pan. Note: It’s best to use a candy or instant-read thermometer to measure the temperature accurately. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, however, you can simply heat the milk to just below the boiling point, when tiny bubbles start to form around the edge of the pot. You can also use a slow cooker to bring the yogurt up to temperature. This eliminates the need to stir constantly.
  2. When the temperature reaches 180 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pot from heat. Quickly cool the milk to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Note: An easy way to do this is to (carefully) pour the hot milk into a metal mixing bowl that is nestled into a sink or large bowl full of ice. If you are not using a thermometer, cool the milk so that a drop placed on the wrist will be slightly uncomfortably warm to the touch (but be very careful not to burn yourself!)
  3. When the milk cools to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, stir in the starter yogurt or starter culture. Be sure that the yogurt is completely blended into the milk. Do this quickly without allowing the milk to cool. Divide milk evenly between 2 quart or 4 pint-size canning jars. Wipe the rim, and apply the lid and ring loosely to the jar.
  4. Place the jars in a warm spot (approximately 110 degrees Fahrenheit) to incubate for 8-10 hours. * See notes below And remember, the longer the yogurt ferments, the tangier and more firmly set it will become. So use your own judgment as to when it is done, based on the taste and the set of the yogurt.
  5. If you prefer a thicker, Greek-style yogurt, strain the finished yogurt in a sieve lined with cheesecloth, or flour sack towel. Allow it to strain for several hours until most of the whey has strained off. The whey can be saved to add extra nutrition to smoothies, soups, and baked goods.


For a yogurt starter, you can use plain store-bought yogurt that contains live, active cultures. You can also use a store-bought starter. I like this Bulgarian culture, or you can find a variety of yogurt cultures on Amazon or at Cultures for Health. I recommend purchasing an heirloom starter so that you can keep it going from batch to batch.

When it comes to incubating the yogurt, one low-tech way to do this is to place the jars in a cooler, surrounded by canning jars of very hot water. Then close the lid and I don’t start checking the the set of the yogurt for at least 8 hours. If the yogurt is not set at this time, refill the jars with hot water, if necessary, and allow to incubate for a few more hours.

Another way to incubate yogurt is to use a food dehydrator that has a precise temperature setting, like this one by Cosori.

  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Inactive Time: 8-10
  • Cook Time: 0 hours