Let me preface this detailed tutorial with telling you that making yogurt in the Instant Pot is very simple and absolutely worth it. Making your own yogurt saves you money, is healthier than buying store-bought yogurt with added sugar, and the creamy finished product will knock your socks off taste-wise.
Please don’t get overwhelmed with the number of steps here; I have laid them out with such detail in order to make the procedure foolproof. Once you have made a couple of batches, you’ll easily have the hang of it and will see that each step only takes a few minutes. That said, this process takes a total of 9.5 hrs before straining the yogurt, which takes an hour or more depending on your method.
The only Instant Pot that works easily for yogurt is the 7-in-1, or the Instant Pot IP-DUO 60. A silicone whisk is also preferred over a wire one, as the former can add a metallic taste to your yogurt. You will also need an instant-read thermometer, and some way of straining the yogurt (a nut milk bag, a yogurt strainer, or a tea towel laid in a colander).
Also of note: I prefer to make my yogurt batches by the half gallon. It cuts down on heating and cooling times, and I am able to achieve really consistent results in the consistency of my yogurt. I have found that with the whole gallon batches of yogurt I have to hit the boil button 2-3 times to get the milk to the desired temperature to actually break down the proteins, and I have sometimes even then gotten runnier yogurt. Also my yogurt strainer fits a half gallon perfectly.
These are the ingredients that I use for my yogurt batches
You will also need 1/4 cup of yogurt starter. For the first batch you will need it from the store. Anything that contains live cultures noted in the ingredients will work. You can then use some of your existing yogurt for each following batch, for up to 6 or 7 generations.
I prefer to start with Maple Hill Creamery Whole Milk Plain Grass-Fed Yogurt
For the remaining ingredients, you will need:
- 1/2 gallon milk (I always use whole organic, but 2% would work as well)
- 2 Tablespoons dry milk powder
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (Vanilla extract also works, as does a vanilla bean pod if you have one handy, opened up lengthwise with scissors. I like the vanilla paste because it has the actual seeds of the pod in it, it’s easy to add, and lasts a long time.)
1. Begin by taking the lid off of your Instant Pot and hitting the yogurt button once and then the adjust button until the display reads BOIL
Don’t get distracted and walk away here- your Instant Pot is on high. I like to get it started while adding the milk and dry milk powder just to save myself a few moments as I’m always trying to get the yogurt made as early in the day as possible.
2. Measure out 8 cups of milk and pour it into the stainless steel liner of the pot.
3. Add 2 Tablespoons of dry milk powder and whisk to combine.
4. Place lid back on Instant Pot and lock it, and set vent to closed position.
5. Now let the Instant Pot run and heat the milk up for you. Today this took 24 minutes for me from when I closed the lid. When the milk has been heated the instant pot beeps at you and the display changes from “boil” to “yogt.”
6. Remove the stainless steel liner from the Instant Pot and allow the milk to cool. You will be starting with a temp just below 180F, and you need the milk to reach about 116F so that you can safely add the live yogurt culture without killing it.
Removing the stainless steel liner from the Instant Pot allows it to cool more quickly. I keep a whisk next to the liner and stir it up every time I walk by, every few minutes. If you’re in more of a rush you can also fill the sink with an ice bath and cool the yogurt in there more quickly, stirring more often. Just letting the liner sit out it took about 45 minutes to completely cool for me today.
7. Once the milk has cooled for to 116F, you now add 1/4 cup of your yogurt starter and whisk it in well.
8. Now put the liner back into the Instant Pot and close and lock the lid. Press the Yogurt button and then Adjust until the display reads “8:00”.
Your Instant Pot will then clear out to read 0:00 and it will start counting up, minute by minute, until it hits 8 hours.
Once your Instant Pot has reached 8 hrs, it will beep and the display will change to “yogt.”
9. Now take the lid off of the Instant Pot- it will open right up because no pressure will have built in there, the temp didn’t get high enough- and pour the yogurt into your strainer.
Here is the side view- the whey will slowly drip through the strainer and collect on the bottom:
This is where you could alternatively use a tea towel over a colander or a nut milk bag suspended from a cabinet pull to strain your yogurt. In my experience these two methods strain the yogurt quickly- in about an hour you have a very thick product. With my yogurt strainer it takes more time- about 6 hours.
Here is my yogurt after sitting in the refrigerator overnight:
You can see the whey that has collected in the bottom:
I will do another blog post in the future about uses for whey- it is a valuable liquid!
Sometimes my yogurt comes out too thick and I whip some of the whey back into it. This is also when you can add the vanilla of your choice.
You can see how thick this yogurt is- the strainer is turned at almost 90 degrees here. My family loves it super thick and creamy!
My half gallon batches of yogurt almost completely fill the 6-cup glass pyrex that I have designated to hold yogurt.