Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

I love yogurt. I don’t sort of  love yogurt, I really love it. When I couldn’t eat dairy when I was pregnant with Logan, I struggled to put on any weight in the first half of my pregnancy, and actually lost weight.

Homemade yogurt is kind of amazing.

The cost efficiency of homemade yogurt

Since I don’t shop as multiple grocery stores as a part of my shopping routine that saves us a ton of money each week, I decided that the fairest way to calculate the prices was to assume you’re buying the products I recommend at their standard prices when I buy them each week at the grocery store. Ideally, yes, you should buy low during the right time of a sale cycle, but the stuff to make yogurt is a staple we buy literally every week.

  • Average price of a gallon of organic milk: $6.50
  • Average price of whole or 4% yogurt: $5.50

So, that means I spend $12 to make a gallon of yogurt each week. Technically, I could use some of my yogurt from the previous week and spend around half because I wouldn’t need to buy the new yogurt, so that does make a big difference. But for the yogurt maker who’s just starting out, expect to spend around $12 a week.

In comparison to buying the 5.3oz servings of greek yogurt from the grocery store, those are usually $1.00 a piece.

A gallon is 128 oz, so you’re making just a little more than 24 of those little prepackaged cups with one batch of yogurt. At $12.00 for 24 commercial cups of yogurt, you’re only paying $0.50 for the equivalent of a prepackaged cup. 

I used to think that buying the expensive organic milk and the expensive yogurt would make the price comparable to store bought, and I was actually very surprised when I did the math.

Oh, and remember how we talked about how you can use your yogurt from the past batch as a starter instead of buying new yogurt every week? If you use your homemade yogurt for starter, you’ll be spending $0.27 per cup. That’s even cheaper than the cheaper varieties commercial yogurts you buy at the store. Woot woot! With how much yogurt we eat in our house, we have saved a ton.

We did the math, and assuming one person eats the homemade yogurt for every day of the year, it would cost us $365. If we bought new starter yogurt every week it costs us $182.50 a year – that’s half the cost! Definitely worth it financially.

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Making Yogurt in the InstantPot: My best tips!

I did not start off as a yogurt making master Jedi. I ruined 5 batches of yogurt before my mother in law came and insisted on showing me her way of making yogurt, despite my protestations. For once, I am glad she didn’t listen to me because I now make yogurt every single week.

Use organic, whole milk and whole yogurt

The right ingredients make a huge difference. I made failed yogurt 5 times in a row before my mother-in-law told me to try organic milk. I don’t know why it works, but it does. The whole milk yogurt also helps the consistency, although that isn’t as important. Just get the highest fat content you can. I can always find the 2% at Kroger, but they don’t always have the whole or 4%. I’ve never seen the whole or 4% yogurt at my Walmart, but yours might carry them.


Choose your settings

This step is super easy. Just pour your milk in the bowl of the InstantPot and hit the Yogurt function button (on mine it’s green). On mine, you have to hit the yellow Adjust button to change the mode to boil, which you can see below. This pasteurizes your milk so you’re ready to do the yogurt making later.

The only tricky thing about this step is you should stay close enough to hear it beep, because it only beeps a few times and it can be easy to miss. When the beeping starts, take off the lid and let the yogurt cool. If you have a thermometer, it should be 100 degrees. I don’t measure it that way, because I’m just not that concerned. I usually take the bowl out of the InstantPot because it cools a lot faster that way, so when I think it should be ready I touch the sides of the bowl. If I can hold the palms of my hands on the bowl comfortably, then it’s good. If not, then it’s not ready.

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

But before you cook: always do this

Please hear my words: always, every time you cook with your InstantPot, check to see if it’s on Sealed or Venting mode. I’ll spare you the story of the ruined rice, the dry chicken or the weird, ‘reminds you of a soup you had once’ yogurt I made because I forgot to check this handy little valve. Even if you know it’s on sealed, check anyway, because the valve can move when you’re moving your lid around.

If you have an InstantPot, check every. single.time. to see if it's on sealed of venting mode. Trust me, it'll save you a lot of time and headache.

Once you’re done cooking and the yogurt is cool it’ll have a weird film on top. I use a fork to scoop this off and toss it out.

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

See, it’s kind of freaky looking, but nothing bad.

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

The last step: making some yogurt!

This the one step you may have to play around with a bit. I have the change my setting when it’s really hot and humid vs when it’s cold in the kitchen. For me, I never have the yogurt mode on for less than 9.5 hours. Anything less than that and it is yogurt soup.

The other thing I do is when the yogurt function kicks off, I turn on the Keep Warm function ( a red button on the bottom right) for at least 2-3 hours. If you leave it on for 10 hours because you go to bed an forget your yogurt is still on the counter, you may wake up in the morning and have yogurt that has the consistency of cottage cheese. It worked in smoothies and tasted fine, but it was a super-weird texture if you aren’t into cottage cheese.

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Troubleshooting homemade yogurt problems: easy fixes!

Yogurt is too sour

You’re cooking your yogurt too long. If it’s sour but the right consistency, try cooking it half an hour to an hour less. If you reduce your Yogurt function time and the consistency is too runny, then use the Keep Warm function for a few hours. I have done mine for up to 6 hours with the yogurt turning out beautifully. Much beyond that and you’re over-culturing it, which will end up with an undesirable consistency.

Yogurt is too thin

Keep your yogurt in the Yogurt function mode longer. 🙂

Yogurt is too thick

You’re over-culturing your yogurt. Shorten your Yogurt mode first, then reduce the amount of time you use the Keep Warm function.

Have questions?

I have made all kinds of amazing yogurt, and my fair share of terrible batches, so if you need help or you have a question just ask! I would love to help your family save money with homemade yogurt.

Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot

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