Making homemade yogurt is something I have done for years in my crock pot. That was, until 2015 when I picked up an Instant Pot on Amazon. To make yogurt in your Instant Pot you will need the pot that has the yogurt function (not all do) – I’m not sure if the most recent pot has it though I am almost certain it does.
Yogurt in your Instant Pot is relatively easy to do – it’s not something that can be ready in a matter of minutes though, but more like 10 hours from start to finish. I find it easiest to start around 8 pm at night … and finish up first thing in the morning.
Somehow it’s easier for me to ‘wait’ while I’m sleeping than to hover around the Instant Pot all day and worry that my kids are going to disrupt the yogurt process by pushing a random button (it has happened!)
We make our yogurt with raw milk and it results in deliciously thick yogurt that doesn’t easily fall off the spoon. Raw milk is legal in our state of Arizona (if you aren’t sure if it is in yours, you can check the Real Milk site). We use our raw milk for everything from making our own cheese, to homemade yogurt, drinking, and the whey for making our own sourdough or ciabatta bread.
Whey can also be used to rinse your hair after a shower or, on your garden, too.
In order to make yogurt, you must change the protein structure of the milk – this is done (and can only be done) by heating the milk. The Instant Pot first brings the milk to a low boil at 180 degrees F before you allow it to cool to 115 degrees F and add your culture (1/2 C. of yogurt from your previous batch, or 1/2 C. of plain, organic yogurt with active cultures).
Once you add your 1/2 C. culture, give it a stir and push the yogurt function, which takes 8 full hours. At the completion of that 8 hours, I usually remove my stainless steel insert, and place in my fridge until I get a chance to strain. You can use any of these frugal alternatives to cheesecloth; once strained, keep in canning jars in your fridge. This recipe makes 5 pints of yogurt (and lots of whey!)
Keep your whey — you can make your own ciabatta bread with the whey the next day (stay tuned – we’ll show you how!)
One of the biggest questions I have had when it comes to making yogurt with raw milk is why we opt to ruin the probiotics in the yogurt by using the boil function on the Instant Pot. I agree – raw milk is precious (we consume about 8 gallons a week for our family of 7!) However… I feel that it still offers a huge benefit compared to varieties you would purchase in store – which often times have added (synthetic) vitamin D, vitamin A, carrageenan, and even titanium dioxide (whitening pigment) – which is usually disclosed under ‘added colors’ and sometimes not even listed on the label. Making yogurt with pasteurized milk is possible, just remember that pasteurized milk often has been heated to the point that destroys all of the wonderful vitamins and minerals in the milk, which are added back in through synthetic forms.
Although you are heating up the raw milk to make yogurt, if you opt against the Instant Pot and do it an alternative way (stovetop or even crock pot), you can successfully make yogurt by heating up the milk to 110 degrees. That temp is low enough to still produce your end result (yogurt) without sacrificing the probiotics in the milk. However… the milk will be more of a drinkable yogurt than a spoonable variety.
If you are worried about sacrificing probiotics, I would encourage you to incorporate kefir into your diet – as that is an incredible way to get the maximum benefit from raw milk. If your local farm doesn’t offer kefir grains, you can find them at Cultures for Health.
Making Homemade Yogurt in your Instant Pot
First, make sure you are going to be home for some of these steps … you can pop in and out all day but some of these times are crucial.
- 1 gallon raw whole milk
- 1/2 C. plain whole milk yogurt with live active cultures
1. Sanitize your Instant Pot
This is the easiest step – all you need to do is pour a cup of water in your Instant Pot and close the lid, and hit steam for 1 minute. Do a quick release at the end and then dump the water. Now you are ready.
2. Scald your milk
Pour the ENTIRE gallon of raw milk into your Instant Pot. Place the lid on, hit the YOGURT Button. Then hit the adjust button until it says BOIL – leave it to beep and then wait for the milk to boil on it’s own – it takes about one hour.
Once it comes to a boil you do have to be there to open the lid, and remove the Instant Pot. Turn OFF the Instant Pot, and unplug it. Place the inner stainless steel pot on the counter (it will cool faster).
3. Let the milk cool + add your culture
Once you remove your instant pot and sit it on the counter, wait for the temp to cool to 115 – use a thermometer for this. It took my milk just over 90 minutes – I sped up the process by stirring it frequently too. Make sure your thermometer is sanitized and just wait patiently.
Once the yogurt reaches 115, you will need to add 1/2 C of your yogurt starter culture – mix it in well. If you don’t have any of your own yogurt from a previous batch, then I would suggest a plain, full fat organic yogurt variety (it can be greek, too).
4. Make your yogurt
Once you add the starter, take the Instant Pot and set it back in the cooker. Put the lid on and push YOGURT. It will display 8 hours. Don’t touch anything at all – once it starts it will switch to “0:00” which means it’s going to start counting UP to the 8 hour mark. Do not let your kids take off that lid at any time (if they are like mine they wanted to keep opening!)
Once the 8 hours is up .. the Instant Pot will beep, then you can remove the pot. We love our yogurt thick so we put the entire stainless steel insert (as is) in the refrigerator on the top shelf for a few hours. When we get time that afternoon we strain it and keep the whey.
Our homemade yogurt is SO thick – we can flip the spoon over and it will just stay… it won’t fall off easily if at all. That’s a wonderful thing!
After it strains, we jar up into 5 pint-size jars, and put in the fridge.