Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Yogurt

Slow cooker yogurt is an easy, healthy and inexpensive way to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker. Prepare it in five minutes, go to bed, and wake up to a freshly made breakfast!

I have a few more yogurt recipes that you will enjoy.  4 Ingredient Healthy Strawberry Frozen Yogurt (5 minute recipe!), Homemade Fruit on the Bottom Yogurt Cups and 5 Easy Healthy Yogurt Bowl Ideas are all winners.

Homemade Yogurt Image

How to Make Slow Cooker Yogurt

Yogurt can be expensive and often times it has a long list of artificial colors, flavors, and who knows what else. So here is a super easy recipe to make your own slow cooker yogurt. It is plain yogurt, but you can add honey, jams, fresh fruit, and just about anything else you like. I also use it in place of sour cream in most recipes. This is a great way to to get organic yogurt on the cheap. You can buy a carton of organic milk and turn it into yogurt for about half the price of organic yogurt.

The recipe is so easy that it practically makes itself. You just have to commit a little time to the process! You essentially just use your slow cooker to scald the milk and then the heavy warm crock radiates heat all night long to help culture your new batch of yogurt. The hands-on time is about 5 minutes, though the waiting time is about 15 hours. I like to start this in the afternoon so that it’s ready to sit for its long 8-12 hour warm resting period overnight. We then wake up to fresh yogurt and I’ll serve it with fresh fruit and some homemade granola.

I really recommend straining this yogurt through 3-4 layers of cheese cloth for a few hours too. This helps it to thicken up to a more “Greek yogurt” consistency which my kids prefer (and it’s easier to eat). I explained more of how I do that in the tips and tricks section. Before you know it, you’ll know how to make homemade yogurt with your eyes closed.

Slow cooker yogurt is an easy, healthy and inexpensive way to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker.

Tips and Tricks for making Slow Cooker Yogurt

  • I’d highly recommend getting a little instant-read thermometer to make homemade yogurt – it’s all about the temperature! I use this $10 thermometer all the time.
  • The goal is to scald the milk which takes place around 180 degrees. So you could check it with a thermometer the first time to see if the “warm” setting is warm enough or if maybe an hour and 45 minutes would work on low. Once you figure it out, I don’t think you would have to use the thermometer every time.
  • After the milk is scalded, the waiting time is meant to bring the milk down to around 115-110 degrees so that it’s still warm but won’t kill your yogurt culture!
  • You don’t have to buy commercial plain yogurt every time. Just save 1/2 cup of your own yogurt for the starter for the next batch.
  • I really recommend straining this yogurt through 3-4 layers of cheese cloth for a few hours, too. This helps it to thicken up to a more “Greek yogurt” consistency which my kids prefer (and it’s easier to eat). I simply set a large colander in a bowl, line it with cheese cloth, and then pour my yogurt in from the slow cooker. I cover it with a clean dish towel and let it sit for a few hours until it’s the consistency that I like. Do note that the yogurt will also thicken some when refrigerated. Play around with it until you figure out how thick or how thin you prefer your yogurt and make notes. That’s the perk of cooking from scratch – you get a product that is truly customized to your preferences.

How long does homemade yogurt last?

Homemade yogurt is generally good for eating for up to 2 weeks when properly stored in the refrigerator.

Do I have to buy store bought yogurt every time in order to make homemade yogurt?

You don’t have to buy commercial plain yogurt every time. Just save 1/2 cup of your own yogurt for the starter for the next batch.

Slow cooker yogurt is an easy, healthy and inexpensive way to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker.

How can I make homemade yogurt thicker:

There’s a few ways to make your yogurt thicker!

  1. Use whole milk instead of 2% or skim. The higher milk fat lends to a thicker yogurt.
  2. Stick it in the fridge. Your yogurt with thicken up some as it gets cold.
  3. Strain your yogurt. By removing some of the whey, you are left with a thicker Greek style yogurt.
  4. I strain my yogurt 2 ways, one is by straining the yogurt through 3-4 layers of cheese cloth for a few hours, too. Simply set a large colander in a bowl, line it with cheese cloth, and then pour yogurt in from the slow cooker. Cover it with a clean dish towel and let it sit for a few hours until it’s the consistency that you like. Do note that the yogurt will also thicken some when refrigerated. Play around with it until you figure out how thick or how thin you prefer your yogurt and make notes. That’s the perk of cooking from scratch – you get a product that is truly customized to your preferences.
  5. The second way I strain my yogurt is new to me, but I’m loving it. I just got a stainless steel yogurt strainer (you can find it on Etsy for $25) and it’s awesome. I just stick the tube in my yogurt after the incubation time and let it rest about 2 hours. Then the middle fills with the whey and you ladle it out. I normally do this a in three spots down the middle of the slow cooker (over the course of the morning or so) before placing it in the fridge and it works so great. The tube I just rinse off or you can stick it in the dishwasher. It’s a cool thing that if you make yogurt a lot, it’s great to have (it works in the 6 and 8 quart Instant Pots too!).

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Homemade Yogurt Image

Slow Cooker Yogurt


  • Author: Melissa Griffiths-Bless this Mess
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 12 hrs
  • Total Time: 12 hrs 5min
  • Yield: Makes 8 Cups 1x

Description

Slow cooker yogurt is an easy, healthy and inexpensive way to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker. Prepare in five minutes, go to bed, and wake up to a freshly made breakfast!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon (8 cups) whole milk (you’ll get a thinner product with a lower fat content milk)
  • 1/2 cup commercial plain yogurt that says “Live and Active Cultures” on the tub (I have great success with Mountain High yogurt for my culture)

Instructions

  1. In a large crock pot, add the milk. Add the lid.Turn it on low for around 2 1/2 hours*.
  2. After that time has passed, unplug the crock pot and let it sit for 3 hours. I always set a timer for these or I don’t remember.
  3. After the 3 hours has passed, stir in the 1/2 cup of yogurt. Replace the lid of the crock pot and cover with 2 big towels or a blanket. Let rest for 8 to 12 hours (overnight works well). In the morning you’ll have yogurt!
  4. Place it in a 1/2 gallon mason jar and refrigerate for a few hours before serving. It will thicken up in the fridge. Keep a 1/2 cup of this yogurt for your next batch and say goodbye to buying yogurt!
  5. You can also let the yogurt strain in cheese cloth in the fridge for a few hours and you’ll get a thicker Greek yogurt!

Notes

  • *The goal is to scald the milk which takes place around 180 degrees. So you could check it with a thermometer the first time to see if the “warm” setting is warm enough or if maybe an hour and 45 minutes would work on low. Once you figure it out, I don’t think you would have to use the thermometer every time.
  • After the milk is scalded the waiting time is menat to bring the milk down to around 115-110 degrees so that it’s still warm but won’t kill your yogurt culture!
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American
Nutrition Information: YIELD: 16 SERVING SIZE: 1/2 Cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 79.1 Fat: 4.2g Cholesterol: 13.2mg Sodium: 56mg Carbohydrates: 6.2g Sugars: 6.5g Protein: 4.1g Vitamin A: 58.2µg Vitamin C: 0mg

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I bet you didn’t know you could make slow cooker yogurt that easily! And aren’t those two older pictures awesome? Did I really post a picture of a sideways bottle?!Crock Pot Yogurt - how to make yogurt in the crock pot!

Yogurt recipes that are worth a try:

This recipe was originally published in July 2011 and has been updated September 2017. The recipe, pictures, and text have all been updated and improved for reader enjoyment and accuracy.
Slow cooker yogurt is an easy, healthy and inexpensive way to make homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker.

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About Melissa

I have a lot going on, and I’d much rather spend my time enjoying my messes than fretting about what I’m going to make for dinner. Over the past few years, I’ve nailed down a few strategies that helped me keep my kitchen running like a well-oiled machine, so I started Bless This Mess to help other mess-loving parents solve the nightly dinner delimma—no stress, no drama, just really great food your whole family will love. Read more...

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I’m on a keto diet and am excited to try this. Can I use half whole milk and half heavy Whipping cream to decrease the carbs and increase the fat content with the same results?

Having read your process/recipe I am now wondering about something for which you probably have the answer. Is kefir essentially yogurt that has had the whey blended in to make it more liquid and drinkable? If not, then what is the main difference between kefir and yogurt? And thank you so much – it will be your information that I will be using tomorrow to give it a whirl!

do you know the times if I want to use a whole gallon of milk?

First time making this- I’m in the UK so used my canning thermometer (in C) and semi-skimmed milk with a full fat Yeo Valley as a starter. I was shocked by how much whey drained off but, after chilling, it’s proper Greek consistency! Definitely a convert… it won’t necessarily be cheaper, but my single use plastic consumption will be reduced!

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CAN YOU USE ACIDOPHILUS PILLS INSTEAD OF A STARTER YOGURT?

I am excited to try this recipe next weekend, but we need to order a thermometer first. I have one question: when straining the yogurt, should I leave it on the kitchen counter or put it in the fridge? Thanks!

After wanting to try yogurt-making for years, I made this yesterday and was so excited to get up this morning to see if it worked. It did! Thank you so much for this recipe! You explained everything in such a clear way that really helps for someone trying this for the first time. I’m definitely going to keep making this! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

What did I make? Cheese? Or just sour milk? I must have gotten cocky because on my third try —after two great, creamy, white yogurts— I didn’t use my timer (actually accidental—there was a lot going on) and the milk got a film at the scalding and cooling point. After the 12 hour rest it looked yellow and separated with a lot of whey.

Any idea what went wrong or what I have now?

I still put it into jars and left it on the counter for now, and am hoping for the best tomorrow!

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AH! I was making this and when I unplugged the pot and put towels over it at 110*, I woke up 12 hours later and checked the temp only to find it had gone up to 174*!!!!!

What the heck would cause that? Too much warmth from the Mexican blanket and towel I used?

How long should I let the milk scald in my crockpot? It finally hit 180*F at the 2.75 hour mark. Should I let it sit longer, or should I remove it from heat to let it start to cool back down to a safe temp for the yogurt?

The first time I tried this, I made the loveliest, small curd cottage cheese/tangy ricotta. Trying again this time, following the temp instructions EXACTLY. Now I know how to make TWO dairy products on my own. 😉

You’re not heating the milk high enough in the first step to get the protein to firm up. You need to get it to 200, then cool to the 115 or so to add your culture. You’ll get the right thickness doing it that way. Works every time.

Bless This Mess - About Me

I’m Melissa, and I want to help you feed your family wholesome food.

As a hobby farmer and mom of five, I’m all about keeping it simple in the kitchen. I want healthy meals that feed my family well, and then I want to get back to my (messy) life. Let’s work together to find something yummy for your dinner table.