Making your own slow cooker yogurt is super easy and requires minimal hands on time. You will love the wonderfully creamy and delicious results! I don’t know if I would have started making my own if I did not over stock on milk but I am so glad I did! We really love it and my children beg for a batch every week. We go through so much yogurt that I usually make a batch and buy some as well. I now buy extra milk just to make it. You have to commit to about 15 hour process but the hands on time is only 5-10 minutes! The yogurt is a little thinner than store bought yogurt but we love adding fruit and a low sugar granola to thicken it up! You can check out a video on how to make it here.
How to Make Homemade Slow Cooker Yogurt
- Make sure your Slow Cooker is clean
- Heat the milk to 180 degrees on High for about 2 1/2 hours
3. Cool the Milk Down – after it reaches 180 degrees shut your slow cooker off and put the lid back on for another 2 1/2 – 3 hours or until it reaches 110-115 degrees.
4. Add your culture – 2 cups of warm milk with 1/2 cup of store bought yogurt or yogurt from a previous batch
5. Incubate – After you have fully mixed your culture in – wrap your slow cooker in a towel for 8-12 hours
6. Transfer to containers of choice – I like to make one big one and then some individual ones with frozen fruit or honey on the bottom.
Tips for Slow Cooker Yogurt!
- If you do not have a thermometer and want to give this a try, my times have been very exact. Every slow cooker is a little different so the times could vary but it should be close.
- Whole Milk yogurt has the thickest consistency but it works well with 2% milk as well. If you you use 1% or skim you will have a lot of liquid that you strain off and you will not yield as much yogurt
- This will last 10-14 days in the refrigerator (we usually go through ours in a few days).
- If you don’t want to buy yogurt make sure to set aside and label 1/2 cup for your next batch
- The longer you leave the thicker and tangier it will get. We have enjoyed the thickness and taste at 10 hours. I suggest experimenting to see what you like best.
- I like to start the process around 3-4pm and then let it chill overnight or if you are an early bird you can start it around 5-5:30 am and have it incubate during the day and then chill overnight.
- If you want thicker yogurt you have the option of straining it but after a few batches I find this to be a messy cumbersome step with a lot of extra bowls and things to wash after. We like the thinner consistency so I have stopped straining. If I want a thicker yogurt I buy it.
- If you do strain it. The whey can be reserved for a variety of purposes it has a lot of nutritional content (probiotics and protein)! I have used it for smoothies but you can also use it to cook, oatmeal, grains or add to soups.
Uses for Slow Cooker Yogurt
- It is a great base for my healthy ranch dressing
- We love it best with my healthy simple nutty granola or healthy cinnamon walnut granola with freeze dried fruit
- It is great to bake muffins with
- Delicious in fruit smoothies
- Healthy yogurt ice pops
- Make healthy frozen Banana pops.
- 1/2 gallon
64 ounces whole or 2% milk (whole milk is recommended for thickest, creamiest results)
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt at room temperature either from previous batch or store-bought. (**The yogurt must have live cultures in it to work. Check the ingredients to make sure they include l. bulgaricus and s. thermophilus.)
- Make sure your slow cooker and thermometer are clean
- Heat the Milk: Pour the milk into a slow cooker set to HIGH and close the lid. It will take 2 1/2 - 3 hours before the temperature of the milk is up to 180 degrees F. I have made this numerous times and it has been almost exactly 2 1/2 hours for my slow cooker.
- Cool the Milk Down: Once it is at 180 degrees, turn off the slow cooker, close the lid, and let the milk cool to 110 degrees F. This will take another 2 1/2-3 hours. This has taken 2 3/4 of an hour for me every time. I set a timer on my phone so I do not forget.
- Measure your 1/2 cup of yogurt into a large bowl or measuring cup and leave out for it to come to room temperature.
- Add your culture: Once the temperature is between 110 and 115 degrees F, add 2 cups of the warm milk from the slow cooker into the bowl or liquid measuring cup with your room temperature yogurt.
- Stir to combine the yogurt and the milk.
- Pour and stir the mixture back into the slow cooker.
- Incubate: Close the lid and wrap your slow cooker in a large bath towel (you are creating an incubator) and let it sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours or overnight. I have found 10 hours to be perfect for us.
- After 10 hours the milk will have thickened (not as thick as store bought) but it will continue to thicken as it chills. See note for straining.
- Transfer: Mix to fully combine yogurt and transfer your containers of choice (I do one large and a bunch of small jars for easy portions.
- Chill for a few hours (3-4) it will continue to thicken as it chills.
- Enjoy - save 1/2 cup of the yogurt for your next batch!