Tuesday, August 28, 2018

How to Make Homemade Yogurt using an Instant Pot

Creamy and thick yogurt can be made at home with the help of a pressure cooker. It's actually pretty easy to make. And although it takes quite a bit of time, the majority of the work is done by the pressure cooker allowing you to go about your day as usual.

My first experience with homemade yogurt happened when my sister brought me some. I graciously accepted, but inside I was cringing. "Homemade yogurt?" I thought, "That can't be good." 

Later that day I decided to try it. She had brought a bit of freezer jam and granola to stir into it and I could. not. believe. how good it was! I was hooked and honestly it was one of the reasons that I bought an instant pot. I just had to make my own yogurt!

homemade yogurt using and instant pot
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Yogurt is one of the first things I made in my instant pot. I've now made it several times and worked out all the kinks, so it's time to share it with you. Following is a very detailed step-by-step with pictures of the process. If you'd rather just print off the recipe and instructions scroll down to the bottom of the page.

How to Make Homemade Yogurt using an Instant Pot

Supplies Needed to Make Homemade Yogurt:

Instant Pot with a yogurt function  Thermometer Nut Milk Bags

Ingredients for Homemade Yogurt: 

  • 1 gallon of milk (2% or Whole)
  • 1/4 c. yogurt with live active cultures
  • 1/2 - 1 c. sweetener, optional and adjusted to your liking (you can use sugar, honey or other sweeteners) 2 t. Mexican vanilla, optional (regular is fine too)

How to Make Homemade Yogurt

Yogurt is a long, but mostly hands-off process. There is one step that you need to stick around for (yes, I learned this the hard way - and I'll make sure you don't make the same mistake), but mostly you can go about your day and get other things accomplished while the pressure cooker does the work.

I like to start the process first thing in the morning. During the first few hours, you need to be home. But once the yogurt begins the incubation process, feel free to head to the grocery store or your kids football game, whatever you need to do. 

Step 1 - Pour the milk in the instant pot.

I have always used 2% milk. But whole milk will also work.

Step 2 - Add lid and press the yogurt button until it says boil. 

I flip the valve to seal, but I don't think it really matters. This step will take about an hour.

When it's done, it will display yogt on the screen.

Step 3 - Warm the milk to 185 degrees.

Remove the lid from the instant pot. Place your thermometer in the milk. Press the saute function and warm the milk to 185 degrees.

~TIP~  DO NOT WALK AWAY. This step will only take 4-5 minutes and if you're not there the milk will boil over and make a huge mess. Ask me how I know!!  I happened to capture it on my insta stories so you can see for yourself!  By the way do you follow me on Instagram?

I'm a big fan of using what you have when you can. This is my thermometer set up. I use a meat thermometer, set in the grooves of a noodle server. Works great.

~TIP~ Make what you have work.

Step 4 - Cool milk to 110 degrees.

This step will take at least another hour. I remove the pot and let it sit on the counter. You can see below, that it's almost ready.

Step 5 - Mix in the yogurt starter

Yogurt starter is yogurt. To begin with, you buy a small container of yogurt. Be sure to check that in contains "live & active cultures" or "active cultures". Once you have made yogurt you can save 1/4 c. of that yogurt for your next batch.

I buy greek yogurt, either plain or vanilla flavored.

Stir 1/4 cup of yogurt into the milk.

Step 6 - Incubate yogurt for 8 hours

Place the pot back into the pressure cooker, lock the lid in place and press yogurt until the screen says 8:00.
Go about your business for the next 8 hours.

Step 7 - Chill yogurt 6 hours or overnight

At this point the milk has become thick and creamy, but there will be spots of liquid. This is normal.

Remove the pot from the pressure cooker and place in the fridge. I generally chill it overnight because by that point it's the end of the day.

Step 8 - Drain the liquid from the yogurt. Drain anywhere from 1/2 hour to overnight to create the consistency you like.

I bought some nut milk bags to help with this process. You could also use a double layer of cheesecloth and a strainer, but the nut bags are so easy and are large enough to drain it all at the same time. Plus they're reusable. I felt it was worth it to purchase them.

Basically I set the bag inside a large bowl. Then I scoop the yogurt into the bag.

~TIP~ I find that often the bottom of the pot has a layer of yogurt that has curdled a bit. Because of this I don't scrape out all of the yogurt from the pot. I leave that little layer so that my yogurt is not lumpy.

I hang the bag from the handles of a cupboard and place the bowl beneath to catch the drips. I like to let it hang for 3-4 hours. I feel that creates a thick creamy texture without getting "too greek" which I don't care for.

The liquid that is strained from the yogurt is called whey.

~TIP~ Did you know that whey can be used in a variety of ways. Check out these posts for ideas on how to use whey.

18 Ways to Use Whey
16 Uses for Whey
36 Ways to Use Whey

Step 9 - Add sweetener and flavoring to the yogurt

Sweetener and flavoring are not necessary. If you like to use yogurt in baking, then you don't need to add any sweetener.

If you are eating it plain or with fruit you may want to add some sweetener. Begin with 1/2 c. and continue to add to your liking.

I have found that I like the yogurt with a full cup of sugar added. But then again, I have a big sweet tooth.
Flavoring is also optional. I love a couple teaspoons of a good Mexican vanilla added to the yogurt. You could also add vanilla bean, or regular vanilla. 

Once you've mixed in your sugar/flavorings, store the yogurt in whatever containers you have available. I always have mason jars, so that's my go to. 

My favorite way to eat this yogurt is to stir in a bit of raspberry or strawberry freezer jam and sprinkle it with granola.

I also like to use this yogurt to make strawberry stuffed french toast!

Don't forget to PIN IT!

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt

Servings: 18
Author: Rachel Nielsen
Creamy and thick yogurt can be made at home with the help of a pressure cooker. It's actually pretty easy to make.


  • 1 gallon of milk (2% or whole)
  • 1/4 c. yogurt with live active cultures
  • 1/2 - 1 c. sugar
  • 2 t. Mexican vanilla


  1. Pour milk into instant pot.
  2. Add lid and press yogurt button until it says boil. This process will take about an hour and the screen will display yogt when finished.
  3. Insert the thermometer and use the saute function to bring the temperature of the milk to 185 degrees. This takes only 4-5 minutes.
  4. Remove inner pot from the pressure cooker and let cool until temperature reaches 110 degrees. (This takes at least an hour, depending on the temperature of the room.)
  5. Mix in the yogurt.
  6. Place the pot back into the instant pot, lock the lid in place and press the yogurt function button until it reads 8:00. The milk/yogurt mixture will now incubate for 8 hours.
  7. Once the time is up, place the yogurt into the fridge for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  8. Strain the yogurt by placing it into a nut milk bag and hanging it above a bowl to catch the whey. Let the yogurt strain at least 1/2 hour or up to 12 hours. The amount of time you strain the yogurt determines how thick it becomes. I prefer between 3-4 hours for perfectly thick and creamy yogurt without it becoming greek yogurt.
  9. Put the yogurt in a bowl and mix in the sugar and vanilla.
  10. Store in airtight containers in the fridge.
  11. Keep 1/4 c. yogurt to make your next batch!


When increasing the temperature to 185, it doesn't take very long in comparison to all the other steps. Be sure to stick around so your milk doesn't overflow. I find that often the bottom of the pot has a layer of yogurt that has curdled a bit. Because of this I don't scrape out all of the yogurt from the pot. I leave that little layer so that my yogurt is not lumpy. If you would like to use the yogurt for baking, no sweetener or flavorings are needed. Sugar can be replaced with honey, maple syrup, sweetened condensed milk, agave, or other sweeteners. When adding the sweetener, begin with 1/2 c. Taste and add more, a tablespoon at a time, to reach the sweetness you like.

Nutrition Facts



Fat (grams)


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Fiber (grams)


Net carbs


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Cholesterol (grams)


Nutrition information is automatically calculated and not guaranteed to be correct.

homemade yogurt, how to make homemade yogurt


  1. Thanks for sharing this! Can't wait to get moved in to our new place so I can grab the instant pot from storage. What was I thinking when I packed it???

  2. Lucky that I happened on this recipe first... other yogurt recipes seemed a bit more complicated... incubating now!!!

    1. I'm glad you found it easy to follow. Hope your yogurt turned out delicious!