Crock Pot or Slow Cooker Yogurt

5 from 29 reviews

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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D. P.
D. P.

Hello and thank you for your recipe. I have heated up my milk on the stovetop and it scorches unless constantly stirred, I have tried using double boiler, but it doesn’t get up to temp and have used microwave. without scorching, but I want to limit microwaving my food. Does the milk scorch on the bottom of the crock pot or does it need to be stirred? I guess I could use an instant pot to heat the milk to 180, but I don’t want to buy another appliance. Thank you so much for your helpful info. 🙂

Morgane
Morgane

Can plant based milks be used? Thank you.

D. P.
D. P.

I am researching a different way to make plant based milk. One of my next attempts will be in the crock pot. Reply back if you are interested in how to make easy, unstrained oat milk yogurt. I am on cloud 9. I thought yogurt was only going to be an expensive treat for me now and then. It’s simple, cheap, and I was always told it couldn’t be done. My GI symptoms are gone now.

D. P.
D. P.

oops. I meant “a different way to make plant based yogurt”….

Kaitlyn
Kaitlyn

This recipe works great! I leave my crock pot in the oven with the light on overnight and find that keeps the perfect temperature without needing to do any wrapping.

I’ve been experimenting with adding cream and find that whipping cream (33%) doesnt seem work, probably because of the added stabilizers. My current “recipe” is 2 litres of 18% cream and approx 3 litres of homo milk (3.25%). Makes nice thick, creamy yogurt that only needs to strain for a couple hours.

Another tip, use a hand mixer before packaging away. I find the yogurt always comes out kind of lumpy, but if you give it a quick mix after straining, it stays extra smooth.

Carol
Carol

Hi, Melissa, I’ve made kefir many times. Adding cream made the kefir creamier and thicker. Would substituting some of the milk for cream do the same for yogurt. We already drink whole milk. I was thinking that adding a bit more fat would do the same as it did to the kefir.

Corrina Morgan
Corrina Morgan

Hi, i have now tried this twice, i have followed the instructions exactly, and it hasn’t worked AT ALL. What am i doing wrong?? After 12h it is just the consistency of milk, it hasn’t thickened or turned into yogurt. It’s very frustrating, other recipes on line are very similar as i have read a few. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks

Rachel Callaway Ene
Rachel Callaway Ene

I wonder if I could stick a big costco isulated fabric cooler bag around it instead of a blanket. Hmmmm….

Jenna Burns
Jenna Burns

Simple and easy, this took the nervousness out of making yogurt. My kids love it so much that I make two gallons a week. My friend’s also have me make theirs. I strain ours for about 9 hours., So thick and creamy!

Joanne Hamilton
Joanne Hamilton

Trying to reduce my plastic consumption and I friend recommended I try making yogurt in an instant pot. I don’t have one so I looked to see if I could do it in a slow cooker. I am so happy I found this recipe! I used Lactose Free milk as my husband is lactose intolerant and it turned out perfectly.

Katharine Lemos
Katharine Lemos

If you use ultra processed milk you don’t need to scald it. Ultra processed has already been scalded. You can start with cold milk.

Xochitl Wood
Xochitl Wood

You didn’t say whether I’m supposed to put the lid on while cooking, or not. I hope I was right in using the lid. Thanks for your recipe!

Marygael Meister
Marygael Meister

Why do you wrap the crock pot? Why wouldn’t I use the lid and keep in a warm draft free area?

Darlene Norris
Darlene Norris

I heat the milk to 180, then cool to luke warm, then add 1 cup to the culture; and put milk in crockpot that was turned on to warm; then add the culture mixture to the crockpot, then stir and turn off the crockpot and wrap a towel around for about 8 hours. It always turns out great. Today I forgot to turn off the crockpot and remembered after 3 hours. Any tips as to what I should do would be appreciated??

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.