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Easy Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe (Step-by-Step)

Start making your own homemade yogurt with this easy Instant Pot yogurt recipe. Set it and forget it, and even turn that delicious yogurt into Greek yogurt.

A white bowl filled with yogurt and freeze dried strawberries.

Don’t have an Instant Pot? There are many multicookers on the market, such as the Foodi, Insignia, or Cuisinart, and most include a yogurt setting. This setting is intended to replace the need for a yogurt maker by keeping your milk and thermophilic starter at the ideal temperature for populating the yogurt-creating bacteria.

Keeping a jar of homemade yogurt on hand comes in so handy for quick and easy snacks or meals, and making Instant Pot yogurt is surprisingly easy. Use this recipe for the best results, and enjoy the health benefits and cost savings of making yogurt at home. 

Why We Make Instant Pot Yogurt

If you own dairy animals, you know it’s critical to make dairy practical. Having multiple ways to preserve our milk and recipes that use up a lot of milk allows us to use our raw milk without any going to waste. 

Making multi-cooker yogurt is one of our favorite ways to make use of milk, along with homemade butter, cultured cheese, freeze-dried ice cream, and holiday eggnog. For those times of excess, we even freeze-dry milk for later use.

Making your own yogurt tastes way better than store bought yogurt, and you also get to choose exactly what goes into your yogurt with none of the unnecessary additives and sweeteners found in many store bought yogurts. 

A hand putting the lid onto an Instant Pot.

What Is an Instant Pot

An Instant Pot is a multicooker, or an electric kitchen appliance that supplies many functions in one pot. Most multicookers contain a stainless steel insert that is easy to clean. Many multicookers also include function buttons that boil, simmer, bake, stew, fry, steam, and even make yogurt.

The multicooker that we use is the Instant Pot. There are many other options, but this one is easier to use than pressure cookers and crock pots.

A woman taking a bite of yogurt with freeze dried strawberries on top.

Health Benefits of Yogurt

The fermentation of milk creates yogurt. Live bacteria, also known as yogurt cultures, are put into the milk, and the cultures ferment the milk until it becomes what we know as yogurt. There are many health benefits to eating homemade yogurt and one of the easiest ways to make it is in the Instant Pot.

Rich in Nutrients

Yogurt is high in nutrients, including a good source of calcium and vitamin B12. Calcium is good for bone repair and growth and also promotes healthy teeth. Vitamin B12  is needed to form red blood cells and helps develop brain and nerve cells. 

Yogurt includes important minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. These minerals are known to help regulate blood pressure and metabolism.

High in Protein

Yogurt is high in protein. Protein increases metabolism, reduces muscle loss, and builds and maintains lean muscle. Homemade yogurt contains about 8.5 grams of protein in just one cup. 

Digestive Health

Because yogurt contains live culture, it will significantly benefit your gut and digestive health. 

Live cultures, also known as good bacteria or probiotics, will help your body digest food and boost your immune system naturally by keeping harmful bacteria in check that could otherwise lead to illness. It’s a great way to start off with a healthy breakfast.

Ways to Use Yogurt

Instant Pot yogurt is delicious all on its own as a quick snack or at breakfast paired with baked oatmeal. However, there are so many more uses. Try some of these ideas to get started:

  • Sour Cream Substitute – Use yogurt in recipes in place of sour cream.
  • Dessert Topping – Sweeten yogurt with maple syrup and drizzle over freshly baked fruit cobbler.
  • Smoothies – Yogurt is a great way to add protein to homemade smoothies. Add a scoop of this DIY greens powder for even more nutrition.
  • Baking – Use yogurt in baked goods for moist muffins and cakes.
  • Yogurt Parfaits – A delicious breakfast or dessert! Layer yogurt with freshly picked berries from your garden and granola.
In the Homestead Kitchen magazine cover for the milk edition.

In the Homestead Kitchen

This recipe was featured in issue No. 9 of In the Homestead Kitchen Magazine. If you’d like access to more recipes like this, you can subscribe here.

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As a bonus, this affordable subscription also offers access to an entire library of Homesteading Family’s in-depth instructional videos to guide and support you as you learn basic to advanced homesteading skills. 

Subscribe today, and together we will change our culture as we fill our pantries and feed our families.

Supplies Needed

  • Instant Pot (or other multicooker) – Any Instant Pot model (except the LUX) will work for making yogurt. There are many different types of multicookers. Just be sure it has a yogurt setting and consult the manual for how your model works when making yogurt.
  • Dairy Thermometer – A thermometer will ensure that you get your milk to the right temperature when pasteurizing your raw milk.
  • Cold Water – A sink full of cold water will help speed up the process of cooling your milk to add your cultures.
  • Whisk – Use a whisk to mix in cultures when your milk has cooled.
Instant Pot yogurt ingredients on a kitchen counter.

Ingredients Needed

  • Milk – If you raise goats for milk, goat’s milk will work for this recipe as well. Just like making cheese with store-bought milk, you can use store-bought *ultra-pasteurized milk to make yogurt too. Any fat content such as whole, 2% and skim will work. Homesteading Hack – The higher the fat content, the tastier and creamier your yogurt will be.
  • Cultures (Yogurt w/ Live Cultures) – For this Instant Pot yogurt we’re using a thermophilic culture. A thermophilic bacteria is a bacteria that thrives at a higher temperature. The culture can be purchased in almost any grocery store. Look for unflavored plain yogurt labeled with “live and active cultures.” You will only need a few cultures (a.k.a. store-bought yogurt) to make your plain yogurt, so I recommend paying for a better quality culture rather than quantity. Look for cultures with only a few ingredients, hopefully just milk and cultures. Homesteading Hack – Remember to save 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt to make your next batch.
  • Extra Flavorings – Adding extra flavors to your yogurt is always a great way to add spice or sweetness to plain yogurt. Here are some different flavorings we use to bring variety to our Instant Pot yogurt. These measurements are for 1⁄2 cup of yogurt per serving.
    • Vanilla Cinnamon – 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla, 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon, honey to taste
    • Maple Pecan – 2 Tablespoons chopped pecans, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
    • Pumpkin Pie – 1⁄4 cup pumpkin puree (or mashed up home-canned pumpkin), 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
    • Apple Pie – 1⁄4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • Key Lime – zest of 1⁄2 of one lime, 2 teaspoons lime juice, honey to taste
    • Mocha – 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved with 1 teaspoon of water, 1⁄2 Tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
Milk in an Instant Pot warming up to pasteurize.

How to Make Instant Pot Yogurt

A Note About Pasteurization: First and foremost, no matter where your milk comes from, it must be pasteurized before you can culture it into a technical yogurt. While we love drinking raw milk and making raw milk cheese, when we start with raw milk, we have to pasteurize it before we turn it into yogurt. 

If you don’t pasteurize your milk before using it, you will make clabber, not yogurt, which we also like to make and is a delicious product. 

Pasteurizing our milk in our kitchen allows us to use our raw milk and control which bacteria cultures and enzymes we add to our dairy products. This allows us to make batch after batch of probiotic-rich yogurt with a predictable flavor. You get the good bacteria and the flavor and texture we all expect from yogurt! Win-Win! We also use the Instant Pot to pasteurize our milk. 

If you are using pasteurized milk, then skip to step #4.

  1. To pasteurize your milk, first, pour 3 1⁄2 cups of milk straight into the stainless-steel insert of the Instant Pot, lock the lid on and set it on the vent (not sealing). 
  2. Select the yogurt setting and adjust until it says boil, then let the pot start, and it will heat the milk. 
  3. Leave the pot alone until it beeps and the setting changes from boil to yogurt. Take the lid off and, using your dairy thermometer, make sure the milk is at 161°F (71° C). 
  4. Finally, quickly set the pot into a cold sink of water and cool the milk to between 110°F and 115°F [43°C to 46°C]. If you’re using pasteurized milk, you would heat your milk up to between 110°F and 115°F [43°C to 46°C] at this time.
  5. Now, it is time to add your cultures to the warm milk. For 3 1⁄2 cups of milk, you need a 1⁄2 cup of yogurt starter culture. Once your pasteurized milk reaches 115°F, remove the Instant Pot insert from the sink of cold water and thoroughly whisk in the starter culture. Do not beat the culture in, but leave clumps that can actually help the bacteria culture your milk. Just whisk it thoroughly enough to distribute the starter throughout the pot.
  6. Next is the incubation period of making your yogurt. Leave the culture to do its work. 
  7. Put the lid on the multi-cooker, turn the vent to sealing, and hit the yogurt button. This will automatically take you to the 8-hour function. During this step, you can set it and forget it until your Instant Pot beeps.
  8. After about 8 hours (or overnight), it’ll be time to check the yogurt. It should be nice and thick! If it’s not sour or tangy enough to your liking, add more time on the next batch, up to 12, even 24 hours. Homesteading Hack: If you want to make a thicker Greek-style yogurt, this is the time to strain out the whey. Whey is the extra liquid remaining after you have cultured the milk. 
    1. Line a colander with clean, fine mesh cheesecloth to strain the yogurt after culturing. You can use a coffee filter if you don’t have a cheesecloth. 
    2. Press yogurt into the cheesecloth and set your cheesecloth or filter over a pot to save the whey. Let it drain for between 4 and 10 hours at room temperature until desired consistency is reached. 
    3. When the yogurt reaches your desired thickness and tanginess, transfer it to a bowl and mix to redistribute moisture throughout the yogurt. This step will create Greek yogurt.
  9. Before you do anything else, measure 1⁄2 cup of your freshly made yogurt and put it in the refrigerator as your starter culture for your next batch. Make sure you use a very clean jar, label it with the date, and then use it within seven to ten days.
  10. Now you can decide if you want to add extra flavorings to your homemade yogurt. See post above for extra flavoring ideas.  
  11. Finally, transfer the rest of the yogurt into a clean jar or individual serving jars and label them with a date. 
  12. Now, you can enjoy eating homemade Instant Pot yogurt whenever you crave it.

Did you make this recipe? If so, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. Then snap a photo of your Instant Pot yogurt and tag us on social media @homesteadingfamily so we can see!

Warm milk being stirred in an Instant Pot to make yogurt.

Troubleshooting Instant Pot Yogurt Issues

My yogurt didn’t set up (or is very runny)

The first question to ask yourself is how long did you allow your yogurt to incubate? If it’s only been a couple of hours, let it go a minimum of 4 hours and start checking every hour.

If it’s still not setting up, it could be that you used too much starter. I know what you’re thinking, if a little is good, a lot is great! But too much starter can crowd the yogurt with too much bacteria.

Next, are you certain you didn’t add the culture before the milk cooled down to the proper temperature? Adding the culture when the milk is too hot will destroy the cultures and they won’t be able to turn your milk into yogurt.

My yogurt is gritty.

Sometimes, if you over culture your yogurt, it will turn gritty and sometimes chunky. You can try to mix in a bit of cream to see if that improves the texture, or try adding in some fruit and other add-ins to masque the texture.

If it’s unedible, simply save 1/2 cup and try again. Next time make sure to check the yogurt consistency after about four hours, then every hour until the desired consistency is reached.

Milk in the insert pot of the Instant Pot.

FAQ for Instant Pot Yogurt

Can I use any pressure cooker to make yogurt?

No. Although you’re using the Instant Pot, an electric pressure cooker, you’re not actually doing any pressure cooking at all. The Instant Pot is simply keeping the yogurt warm, at the perfect temperature to incubate the yogurt and allow the cultures to multiply.

How much time does it take to make homemade yogurt?

When using the Instant Pot, it can take anywhere from 4-12 hours, depending on how long (and how sour) you want your yogurt to go.

The process can be sped up by placing the pot of hot milk into a sink of cold water to quickly cool the milk back down to the proper temperature.

How do I know when my yogurt is ready?

At first glance it can be difficult to know when your yogurt is ready. A simple poke test can give you a good indication. Sometimes the yogurt will begin to pull away from the sides of the Instant Pot and you’ll see a layer of whey.

You can also give the pot a good shake and the yogurt should wiggle like soft-set jello.

Ultimately, if you’re not sure if the yogurt is to your desired thickness, you can grab a spoon and take a scoop. If it’s still runny, simply put the lid back on and allow it to continue culturing.

How long does homemade yogurt last in the fridge?

For the best flavor and texture, you’ll want to use your yogurt in about a week to a week and a half. Yogurt will continue to get tangier the longer it sits. It also tends to get thinner.

Depending on what you’ll be using it for, it can last upwards of two weeks. But for fresh eating, I recommend trying to eat it within a week.

What’s the texture of homemade yogurt?

If you’re making homemade yogurt for the first time, the texture may surprise you. Store-bought yogurts contain stabilizers and emulsifiers to help give it that thick and creamy texture. Homemade yogurt tends to be a bit thinner, and can sometimes be quite lumpy.

For a smooth and creamy yogurt, give it a good whisk before storing it in the refrigerator. Then, whisk it again just before serving.

You can also strain the excess whey to get a nice thick Greek yogurt.

Can I freeze yogurt?

Yes! If you’ve ever started making homemade ferments or cultures and decide you want to take a vacation, there can sometimes be a moment of panic because all your hard work will go to waste.

Homemade yogurt can be stored in the freezer for up to a month. So take 1/2 cup of your homemade yogurt and freeze it, that way when you’re ready to start making homemade yogurt again, you’re all ready to go.

The texture of yogurt will change once it’s been frozen, so it’s not an ideal method of preservation if you plan on eating the yogurt. Did you know, you can also freeze-dry yogurt to make delicious treats?

A woman taking a bite of yogurt with freeze dried strawberries on top.
A white bowl filled with yogurt and freeze dried strawberries.

Instant Pot Yogurt

Start making your own homemade yogurt with this easy Instant Pot yogurt recipe. Set it and forget it, and even turn that delicious yogurt into Greek yogurt.
4.11 from 37 votes
Print Pin
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Incubation Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 9 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 147kcal
Author: Carolyn Thomas

Equipment

  • Instant Pot or other pressure cooker with "yogurt" setting
  • Dairy Thermometer

Ingredients

  • 3.5 cups milk raw or pasteurized
  • 1/2 cup cultures yogurt with live cultures
  • extra flavorings optional

Instructions

  • * If you are using pasteurized milk, then skip to step #5.
  • To pasteurize your milk, first, pour 3 1⁄2 cups of milk straight into the stainless-steel insert of the Instant Pot, lock the lid on and set it on the vent (not sealing).
  • Select the yogurt setting and adjust until it says boil, then let the pot start, and it will heat the milk. 
  • Leave the pot alone until it beeps and the setting changes from boil to yogurt. Take the lid off and, using your dairy thermometer, make sure the milk is at 161°F (71° C).
  • Finally, quickly set the pot into a cold sink of water and cool the milk to between 110°F and 115°F [43°C to 46°C]. If you're using pasteurized milk, you would heat your milk up to between 110°F and 115°F [43°C to 46°C] at this time.
  • Now, it is time to add your cultures to the warm milk. For 3 1⁄2 cups of milk, you need a 1⁄2 cup of yogurt starter culture. Once your pasteurized milk reaches 115°F, remove the Instant Pot insert from the sink of cold water and thoroughly whisk in the starter culture. Do not beat the culture in, but leave clumps that can actually help the bacteria culture your milk. Just whisk it thoroughly enough to distribute the starter throughout the pot.
  • Next is the incubation period of making your yogurt. Leave the culture to do its work.
  • Put the lid on the multi-cooker, turn the vent to sealing, and hit the yogurt button. This will automatically take you to the 8-hour function. During this step, you can set it and forget it until your Instant Pot beeps.
  • After about 8 hours (or overnight), it’ll be time to check the yogurt. It should be nice and thick! If it’s not sour or tangy enough to your liking, add more time on the next batch, up to 12, even 24 hours.
  • Before you do anything else, measure 1⁄2 cup of your freshly made yogurt and put it in the refrigerator as your starter culture for your next batch. Make sure you use a very clean jar, label it with the date, and then use it within seven to ten days.
  • * If you want to make Greek yogurt, now would be the time to do that (see instructions below), or you can enjoy your yogurt as is, or continue on to add extra flavors.
  • Now you can decide if you want to add extra flavorings to your homemade yogurt. See post above for extra flavoring ideas. 
  • Finally, transfer the rest of the yogurt into a clean jar or individual serving jars and label them with a date.

To Make Greek Yogurt

  • Line a colander with clean, fine mesh cheesecloth to strain the yogurt after culturing. You can use a coffee filter if you don’t have a cheesecloth.
  • Press yogurt into the cheesecloth and set your cheesecloth or filter over a pot to save the whey. Let it drain for between 4 and 10 hours at room temperature until desired consistency is reached.
  • When the yogurt reaches your desired thickness and tanginess, transfer it to a bowl and mix to redistribute moisture throughout the yogurt. This step will create Greek yogurt.

Notes

  • Extra Flavorings – Adding extra flavors to your yogurt is always a great way to add spice or sweetness to plain yogurt. Here are some different flavorings we use to bring variety to our Instant Pot yogurt. These measurements are for 1⁄2 cup of yogurt per serving.
    • Vanilla Cinnamon – 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla, 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon, honey to taste
    • Maple Pecan – 2 Tablespoons chopped pecans, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
    • Pumpkin Pie – 1⁄4 cup pumpkin puree, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
    • Apple Pie – 1⁄4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
    • Key Lime – zest of 1⁄2 of one lime, 2 teaspoons lime juice, honey to taste
    • Mocha – 1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved with 1 teaspoon of water, 1⁄2 Tablespoon cocoa powder, 1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 30mg | Sodium: 95mg | Potassium: 368mg | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 300mg | Iron: 0.01mg
Tried this recipe?We want to see! Tag @homesteadingfamily on Instagram.
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