Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

Posted on Apr 7, 2013 in Blog, Fermentation, Recipes | 131 comments

Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

Making homemade yogurt is fun, very economical (i.e. cheap!), and you don’t need a yogurt-maker to do it. While there are several different ways to make yogurt without having to purchase a yogurt-maker, this article will focus on the method that I’m currently most excited about: making yogurt using your crock pot or slow cooker. If you don’t have a crock pot, you can accomplish the same thing with this recipe that uses mason jars and a beverage cooler (think 4th of July).

Before I get into the recipe, let me share a bit of the basics about homemade yogurt:

First of all, yogurt is a fermented food. Hooray! This means that it contains live probiotic bacteria that are great for your digestion and general health. There are two main types of yogurt cultures: mesophilic and thermophilic. Mesophilic, or “medium-loving,” turn milk into yogurt at room temperature (70-78°F) and don’t require you to preheat the milk. Thermophilic cultures are “heat-loving” which means that they prefer a warmer environment (110°F). This is a thermophilic recipe for culturing yogurt in a warm environment. The resulting yogurt is similar in taste and texture to plain store-bought yogurt.

Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

Crock pot, thermometer, organic milk, and plain yogurt


To make this type of yogurt, live cultures are added to heated milk. The mixture is then kept at a nice and toasty temperature (110°F) for anywhere from 6 to 12 hours (see Considerations below) while the bacteria culture the milk, turning it into yogurt. Sound simple? It is.

Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

All bundled up, nice & toasty!

If you are interested in learning more about different yogurt cultures and how to make them at home, Cultures for Health has some great informative articles. They also sell various yogurt starters – both mesophilic and thermophilic.
Click her to Make Yogurt at Home

Homemade Yogurt in a Crock Pot

Fresh & delicious!

Once you’ve gotten through Steps 1 through 5 in the recipe below, you are free to go about your day and can expect to come home to yummy, freshly cultured yogurt! Many people get their yogurt started in the evening and allow it to culture overnight. However you choose to organize your yogurt-making time, have fun and make sure to have some granola and berries on hand!

Homemade Yogurt with a Crock Pot
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4-8
 
Ingredients
  • 1 quart of organic milk
  • 1 tablespoon plain yogurt with live-active cultures
Instructions
  1. Pour the milk into your crock pot and turn the heat on medium or high. You want to heat the milk very slowly until it reaches 180°F (30 mins to 1 hour).
  2. Turn off the slow cooker, unplug, and allow the milk to cool to 120°F (about 30 mins).
  3. While waiting for the milk to cool, measure out your plain yogurt starter and allow it to come to room temperature.
  4. Once milk is 120°F, add the yogurt and stir gently until it is fully incorporated.
  5. Cover with lid and then wrap the slow cooker with several towels.
  6. Set it where it will be undisturbed for 6 to 8 hours. Yogurt likes a quiet, still environment to ferment.
  7. Place the cultured yogurt into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before eating to ensure that it's fully set.
  8. Enjoy!


Tips & Considerations: Click her to Make Yogurt at Home

  • The more fat in the milk, the thicker and creamier the yogurt (that’s why I use whole milk). I don’t recommend skim milk.
  • The longer you culture the yogurt, the less lactose will remain. If you are lactose-sensitive, culture your yogurt for at least 8 hours and up to 12.
  • The longer you culture the yogurt, the tangier it will be. If you like mellow yogurt, end the fermentation process and refrigerate after 6 hours. If you like a hearty tang, start with 8 hours and adjust the recipe from there.
  • Less is more when adding the live yogurt culture to your warm milk. Stick with 1 tablespoon–adding more will not yield a thicker yogurt, it’ll just crowd the bacteria.

Get Started!

Need a slow cooker? Check out these great options from Amazon.com: Slow Cookers from Amazon

I use a Proctor Silex 4-Quart Slow Cooker which is on sale right now for only $25!

Prefer the cooler method? All you need is some pint or quart-sized mason jars and an insulated cooler!

 

This recipe has been shared at Thank Your Body.

131 Comments

  1. Would you get the same results with Raw milk?

    • You can certainly use raw milk with this recipe and if you follow it as if you were using pasteurized milk, you’ll likely get similar results. However, if you do this, your yogurt will not be raw. For a raw milk yogurt recipe, check out: http://nourishedkitchen.com/raw-milk-yogurt/

      • I bought raw yogurt from the Mennonites and they would put it in canning jars and seal it so that it would last for me. I can no longer get it from them. I want to try to make my own for health conditions. I can still get raw milk, but we buy it in 3-4 gallons at a time and then freeze it due to we have to travel a distance to get it. I bought the culture for yogurt. I want to do it in my crock pot because I can make over a gallon at a time and need to have enough to last for awhile since don’t have access to fresh raw milk on a weekly bases. I checked the link you provided for making raw milk in crock pot and its only for one quart. Will it work if you put the milk and culture directly into crock pot without leaving it in the 1 quart jar with water around it, and heat it to 110 degrees. Then let ferment in the crock pot? Appreciate our help. Marla

        • Marla, I’ve found that raw milk yogurt is much trickier to make than yogurt from pasteurized milk. It tends to be runnier due to the lower temperatures used. I’ve heard that some folks get around this by adding powdered milk as a thickener. If you are willing to brave the process, though, I don’t see why you couldn’t add the milk directly to the crock pot. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

  2. If one was using raw milk, because they believe raw milk is best, would this then not be a raw milk product? Why does it need to be heated to 180? Just wanting to know – not being combative or anything.

    • Correct. If you heat raw milk to 180° as this recipe calls for, you will no longer have a raw milk product. Heating the milk to 180° helps to neutralize enzymes in the milk that can inhibit the yogurt culturing process. For this reason, raw milk yogurt (which is not heated beyond 110°) tends to be much thinner and a bit finnicky. But don’t let that discourage you if you’re interested in it. There are several great recipes online including this one: http://nourishedkitchen.com/raw-milk-yogurt/

  3. Everyone has a crock pot and this looks fairly easy. Thanks!

  4. We’ve been working up to this! Can you double the recipe? I have lots of fresh milk, a larger crock pot and friends waiting on yogurt!

  5. would any milk alternatives work here? I use a lot of coconut milk…would that be a safe alternative?

    • I’ve never tried to culture non-dairy milks, but it can be done (especially with soy and coconut milks). Check out this recipe at Cultures for Health: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/make-coconut-milk-yogurt-recipe

    • I have been experimenting with differnt milks for a while and have found soy, rice and coconut milks give differnt textures ans slightly differnt flavors. My 9 year old likes the non fat and up to 2% best so far. I will eat them all just because it is new and knowing I can pronounce everything in the yougurt is a fantastic feeling!

  6. do you ever strain your yogurt? If so, at what point and which method do you use. My milk is in the crock pot at 125 right now! can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    • Sometimes I will strain yogurt to collect fresh whey for fermenting things like ketchup (http://www.creativesimplelife.com/simple-lacto-fermented-ketchup/) or other condiments. I pour it into some cheesecloth and tie it up, hanging it over a dish in the sink. For greek yogurt consistency strain for 30 minutes to an hour. If you want to make yogurt cheese, strain it for 6 hours or more and use it as you would cream cheese.

  7. What is the best way to add flavors? Is there something that can thicken it a bit? My kids like a more custard consistency.

    • Add flavors in after the fermentation process. You can chop or puree fresh or frozen fruits and add those in. I sometimes like to drizzle some honey on top too! For a thicker yogurt, you can strain it using cheesecloth for 30 minutes to an hour. Keep the whey that drains off for recipes like this one: http://www.creativesimplelife.com/simple-lacto-fermented-ketchup/

  8. Exciting. I can’t wait to get home now.

  9. Would a nutmilk bag work for straining, over using cheesecloth?

    • It probably would. Haven’t tried it yet, but you should! Let me know how it goes :)

      • Personally, I stick two paper towels in a metal strainer over a bowl and it works perfectly fine!

        • I put a coffee filter in a strainer that’s in a bowl….add the yougurt and put it in the fridge over night…super thick creamy yougurt!

  10. I am milk intolerant and wonder if cashew milk would be a good alternative to make yogurt cheese out of. It tends to take on the flavor of whatever your making when you cook with cashew milk. I love how rich and creamy it is.

  11. What about Goats Milk from the store? I can’t have regular milk.

    • You can replace the cow’s milk in this recipe for goat milk and proceed in the same way! Have fun!

  12. I cannot wait to try this! One question I was curious about is how much yogurt to expect from a quart of milk? Also, if I strain out the whey, how long will it last in the fridge? And can you recommend a fermented salad recipe (something between coleslaw & kimchee)? Or any other vegetables?

  13. I love making things at home and this seems relatively easy, but why is making it at home better than buying the yogurt at the store? Since I have to go to the store to buy the milk and starter anyway? Is it healthier? More cost efficient? Just curious?

    • Yogurt made at home is much more cost efficient (you can make gallon of it for the price of one single-serving plain yogurt). Also, it’s fresher so the culture may be slightly more active. Also, it’s fun :)

  14. I love vanilla yogurt. If I want to make this vanilla flavored, how much do you recommend to add? Add after fermentation, right?

    • I’d start by adding 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup and a 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract to each 1-cup serving. Start with that and adjust to taste!

  15. How long would you estimate this recipe would last in the refrigerator?

    • About 2-3 weeks in the fridge. Same as opened store-bought yogurt.

  16. I have made this, 1 quart milk warmed, 2 tbs. of culture mix well. place jar, no lid, into oven with the lite on and leave till morning. Also you can put jelitine for firmer yogurt. Cool in fridge.

  17. Will that make any difference in the yogurt … trying to cut back on fat and calories.

    • More fat in the milk used = thicker yogurt. 2% should be fine, though!

  18. What a wonderful way to start my Sunday morning :) and seriously thank you for the printable recipe – making it so easy to do this recipe :)

    • Making things from scratch is my favorite Sunday activity! Thanks for your comment!

  19. Most if not all crock pot liners do contain some lead which can leach into the food you cook in them. I have an old Rival crock pot that I have saved because after contacting the company, they informed me that my older model, which they no longer make, does not contain any lead, but all the newer models do have the minimum level of lead allowed by the government.

  20. I have raw milk but the farm is 75 miles so I freeze it. Can I make yogurt from the thawed milk?

  21. This is fantastic! Love making my own stuff! I’m so glad I found Creative Simple Life! Doesn’t everyone love this kind of life?!

    • No. Not those of us who are working and/or disabled. We would like to but sometimes circumstances prohibit. Better food makes a healthier person!

      • Linda,
        Even if you are working or disabled, it is a lot healthier for the waistline and heart to make homemade foods. My DH is blind and works full time and still finds time to do these sorts of projects. An amazing guy, I know.

  22. Quick question, my friend said she uses a half gallon and a half cup of yogurt. Does that sound right? 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup and 1 Tsp Vanilla? Just want to make sure the amounts are right because they’re different than above.

    • You probably don’t need to use that much yogurt started since too many bacteria can actually crowd each other out. For a half gallon I’d stick with 2 Tablespoons of yogurt. As for the maple syrup and vanilla, that’s just based on taste, and I’d add it at the end! Good luck!

  23. Any need to sterilize the crockpot before making the yogurt?

    • As long as it’s been washed I wouldn’t worry about it too much. It certainly couldn’t hurt, though.

  24. Question… What should the consistency be like? Mine was pretty watery. I let it sit for about 8 hours and it chilled sufficiently. I used a tablespoon of organic plain greek yogurt because that is what I had on hand.

    • Yogurt is always an experiment and I’m sorry that your didn’t turn out well this time. It should be thick and creamy. What type of milk did you use? Did you wrap the crock pot in towels? Did you heat the milk up to 180° before cooling it? Next time, try using whole milk and wrapping the whole crock pot in extra towels. You can also experiment with turning it on at the Warm setting a few times for 10 minutes each throughout the culturing process to maintain the warm temperature that yogurt requires to culture.

      • I used raw milk and heated to the temps but only wrapped in 1 towel. I will try more towels or the warm setting tip. Thank you and look forward to giving it another go!

        • Make sure the yogurt you add is “live and active” too :)

      • I’m on my 3rd go around. First time was perfect, 2nd time I realized the yogurt I used did NOT have active live cultures, and this time the yogurt was soupy. I’ll see how it turns our after refrigeration and straining.

        I did follow the recipe exactly but used a different yogurt for the 3rd batch. I do like the idea of putting on the warm setting. I’m assuming that a warmer setting allows the cultures to be more active and thicken?

        Thanks for the recipe. I’m really having fun with this!

        • It’s possible that your warm setting is too warm. If so, it can actually “cook” the bacteria and render them useless for making yogurt. Ideally, the yogurt needs to stay between 110° and 120°F in order to culture. Good luck!

      • I have a friend who had the same thing happen and she’s pretty sure it’s because she used 2% yogurt instead of whole milk yogurt. Don’t know if that helps!

      • I have read that if you use Greek yogurt, your homemade yogurt will not turn out. The Greek has already had the whey drained off & you need this in the yogurt making process – also if any of your yogurt starter has pectin in it, also does not work in the homemade yogurt.

        • As long as the Greek yogurt has live cultures, it will work. It just won’t give you thick Greek yogurt. You’ll get regular, unstrained yogurt. And I’ve not heard that about pectin. Makes sense. Thanks for letting us know!

        • I use greek all the time although it is not necessary to make greek from greek. From what I have learned you can use any plain yougurt to make greek. It is in the fermenting and straining process. I cook mine for 12 hours and strain over night for another8-12.

  25. Thanks for the recipe! Mine is still chilling, but I think I may have a consistency problem like Miss Kathy. I used whole milk, but I’m not certain I let it cool off enough before adding the culture (no thermometer, you see).

    But my question is this: what do you recommend people do with watery yogurt? Can we use it as milk? Just make yogurt sauces like for Indian dishes? Will it even be safe after sitting out for 8 hours? Just curious. Still hoping mine will thicken up by the morning!

    Thanks again!

    • Sounds like you may have killed the bacteria. You can always test for temperature with your finger–if it burns, then it’s too hot. I’d probably use watery yogurt like milk OR add it into soups, cereals, and other dishes. If it smells funny, though, or looks off in any way, don’t eat it! As always, use your judgment when deciding if something is safe to eat.

    • Do you have a muffin tin? Oil it well and spoon the too-watery yogurt into it and freeze it. Then pop out the “pucks” of yogurt and use them for smoothies.

  26. Two questions, my first batch seemed a little thin so with my second I thought I would turn the crock-pot back on when it started to cool. I forgot, went out to rum an errand and came home to a bubbling custard with a greenish liquid around the edges. I strained the liquid and placed both in the fridge. So, is the liquid the whey and what do I do with the rest of the mess. Oh, need to add that I put some vanilla bean into the pot to try for vanilla yogurt,

    • Sounds like you burned your milk. I’d probably toss it–green doesn’t sound good.

  27. I made yogurt years ago, when I lived with my parents, but don’t have a thermometer at the moment to make it again. Is there a specific type of thermometer you need for this?

    • I use a meat/poultry thermometer, but another kind could work as well. Make sure it has a range at least from 100° to 190°.

  28. Thank you so much for this recipe! I’ve tried many different methods of “non-yogurt-maker” yogurt over the years, some less successful than others. This recipe has been my best yet!

    I have some helpful hints for people: If you eat ALOT of yogurt (like me) and want to double, triple or quadruple this recipe, bear in mind that it will take MUCH longer for the milk to reach 180, like, a couple hours! So plan for the extra time if you’re making a large batch before work, bed, etc.

    If you live in a a very cold climate/house, your crock pot may cool down too quickly even if well wrapped in towels. If you’re unsure if that’s the problem, and your yogurt is coming out very watery, try making a batch during a day when you can be home to check on it periodically during the 8-12 hour fermentation period. Test the temperature every couple hours(making sure the thermometer is clean each time), and if the temperature is falling below that ideal 110 degrees, you can turn the crock pot back on for a few minutes (or as needed) to get the temp back up (between 110 and 120), then re-wrap in thick towels (I find that an old, thick bath towel works best).
    Another thing I never realized before this article: less is more when adding yogurt starter! I’d always added a cup or more to my sadly-thin yogurts, not realizing that the good bacteria crowds out before thickening the yogurt. Follow the directions!

    One more troubleshooting tip for failed batches: like any fermented food (kombucha, kim chee etc) cleanliness is imperative, as well as avoiding any contamination from cleaning products like soaps or bleach. Wash hands, crock pot insert and lid, thermometer, and stirring spoon and rinse well. If you’re concerned about bacterial contamination, white vinegar (instead of bleach) makes an effective, safe disinfectant (rinse before contact with milk).

  29. Is it ok to use fat free natural yoghurt as a starter?

    • Yes, but it will result in a thinner yogurt. I recommend using whole milk or full-fat yogurt.

      • Can you use Greek yogurt to start it?

        • Yes, as long as it contains live cultures. Keep in mind that the resulting yogurt will not be as thick as store-bought Greek yogurt, since that product is strained to achieve its texture.

          • In making my homemade yogurt, I use .5 gal milk and 1/2 cup of Greek Gods plain Greek yogurt for starter. My yogurt was thick and creamy prior to straining. I ended up with a quart of whey. :)

      • Ah! I think that’s what happened to mine. I used nonfat greek yogurt and it was really thin. I think it will be fine after straining, though. I didn’t realize that the fat content in the starter was so important.

  30. Thank you so much for such an interesting and helpful site. I can’t wait to get started on mine!

  31. There is also a big difference in the texture of your yogurt depending if you use Ultra Pasturized vs regular pasturized. The milk will be clearly labled. Ultra Pasturized will produce a much thinner yogurt than regular pasturized milk.

  32. In my excitement, I misread and used 1/2 gallon milk and 1 Tbsp yogurt. The result was extremely thin. Could I just start over with this same milk? Warm it and add another Tbsp and then cool it slowly?
    Thanks for the recipe! I can’t wait to get it right!

    • While I, myself, might reheat and start over I recommend using your judgment. If your milk starts to smell, look, or taste funny, you’d do best to simply start over. Good luck. I hope this helps!

  33. Would it work to double the recipe AND use whole milk instead? Also, the temperatures would stay the same, correct?

    Thanks!

    • Yes AND I always prefer whole milk for making yogurt. Temps stay the same! Have fun!

  34. My crock pots only have low or high, not medium as you wrote. How much faster does it heat up using high as opposed to low? I can’t wait to try this as I have seen amazing healing in my body eating fermented sauerkraut daily!

    • I’d stick with the ‘Low’ setting to avoid burning your milk. It should still heat up within an hour more or less.

      • I actually started making it before I heard back from you. I was confused because your recipe says to use medium or high and in the photo you have at the top, the switch is at high. I made a double batch and even on high, it took 2 1/2 hours to come to 180. I am now letting it cool. How can I tell if I burned the milk or not?

        • I’m also wondering how long we can expect this yogurt to last in the fridge? Thanks a ton! It was the perfect texture when I woke up this morning!

          • Mine has always lasted as long as store-bought yogurt. Two weeks or more!

  35. I just saw this on someones website and wondered what you thought of it…”we recommend you ferment your yogurt for 24 hours to eliminate all lactose in the yogurt. Any residual lactose could be used as food for bacteria already found in your GI-tract and result in fermentation in your intestines.”

    • The longer that you ferment yogurt for, the less lactose it contains so by all means give it a try. One caveat: yogurt gets more tangy & sour with longer fermentation times, so I’d start with 12 hours and work your way up based on your taste.

  36. Thank you! The best yogurt I’ve ever made. The key tip that made this yogurt, is allowing fermentation for only six hours. I never knew that longer fermentation equals tangier yogurt. I prefer less tangy – brilliant!

  37. I just started mine and I got too excited and heated my milk up in the microwave first, then I seen the part about heating the milk up slowly. Do you think it will still work?

    • I bet it still will. Just make sure it is cool enough before you add the starter culture! Let us know how it goes!

      • Our family has used a yogurt maker in the past. A few ways I streamlined the process:
        -Yes you can microwave the yogurt. Just give it plenty of time to cool off so you don’t cook the starter to death.
        -Powdered milk works, too. With seven people in our family we eat a lot of yogurt and sometimes I’d not have enough milk in the fridge to make a batch. I keep powdered on hand so I can always make a batch. It tastes fine.
        -We always use skim milk except for the baby’s yogurt.Straining fat free yogurt and heating it up beforehand helps keep it thicker. It’s true.

  38. It turned out great. I can’t believe how easy this was. I’m on a low fix income and it is hard to afford to eat right. I learn how to make hummus for just pennies and now I can make yogurt for pennies. I stained mine a little extra and turned it into the thick, rich Greek yogurt that I love. Thank you so much.

  39. Thanks for this easy to follow recipe! I have made yogurt a few times, but it never seemed quite right, and a lot of recipes look to complicated for me. I’m going to try this out now and share it with my readers!

  40. Heating the milk just below boiling, or stop at first sigh of boil, destroys enzymes that kill the Yogurt Bacteria…Let it cool down to between 120 and 98 degrees. Mix a small amount of the milk with you’re Tablespoon or so of Yogurt. Mix well so you don’t get chunky yogurt …(the new growth bacteria taste better. The Bitter taste is caused by “Dead” Bacteria.) To thicken try adding a cup of powdered milk, before heating..I leave it in the refrigerator overnight, before adding the culture, to help it hydrate well… I like mixing some type of Pie Filling to the finished, refrigerated Yogurt..Enjoy

  41. I can only find plain whole-milk yogurt in 1-quart containers at my stores! Since I need only 1 Tbsp, this isn’t particularly cost-effective for making my own yogurt. LOL

    Can I freeze the store yogurt in 1 Tbsp ice cubes and thaw them one at a time in anticipation of making my yogurt?

    • I think this should work as long as you use the frozen yogurt cubes within a few months. Where do you live? Do you have a local health food store?

      • I’m in metro Detroit, but if I have to drive a distance to buy yogurt for starter, it’ll cancel out the cost savings. :D

        I’ve done a couple of batches from frozen cubes of yogurt, and it worked fine–until today. Today it didn’t thicken.

        Not sure what I did differently. It’s possible I let it cool too much (just below 120) before adding the starter and that the starter was a tad too cool yet. The house is definitely cooler today than it was the other times I made yogurt, so perhaps the whole thing cooled down too quickly. Bummer!

        • Do you live near a VGs? I know they sell plain 6 oz cups of plain Dannon All Natural.

        • Depending on where in metro Detroit you live, you may b relatively close to Calders Dairy on Southfield Road in Ecorse. They have natural milk. It’s been pasteurized but not homogenized.

  42. Thank you for this recipe!! I’ve got my milk cooling in the crock pot now :) I’m so glad you included specific measurements too – I initially started with a different recipe but didn’t like how non-specific it was. Thanks a million!!!

  43. Thanks so much for this recipe. We are big yogurt eaters, so I am very anxious to try this recipe! :-)

    Quick question: Once you make your first successful batch of yogurt, can you just save enough from the batch you made as a starter so you dont have to purchase more storebought yogurt? Would it still contain the live active cultures? Does freezingthe yogurt cause it to lose those live active cultures?

    • Yes! You can save yogurt from each batch to make your next as long as you are not using raw milk. You can freeze the yogurt for a time, but at some point it will begin to lose potency.

  44. Oh wow!!! Just tasting my first batch of homemade yogurt, and wow… It is delicious!!! So glad I tried it!!!

    Thanks again for the recipe and the quick response :-)

  45. Can I use dried milk to thicken my very thin yogurt? Saw the post that someone said to use I cup per recipe.

  46. it’s a bit “late” but I wanted to share a few things from my experience trying crock pot yogurt.

    I used a half gallon of milk, and my Crock Pot brand “Smart-Pot” (220 Watts) took at least 1.5 hours, probably closer to 2 hrs, to get it up to 180. That’s according to my candy thermometer, at least… I get inconsistent results between my digital meat thermometer and the analog candy one, and based on prior experiencing making yogurt (heating in the microwave, resting in the oven) I’ve decided to trust the candy thermometer more.

    I also gave the crock a short boost (~15 minutes) on low once I’d added the starter, before wrapping it, because our house gets down to about 60 overnight and I didn’t want the mixture to cool off too much.

    Based on recipes I’ve seen elsewhere, I typically set aside about a quarter cup of the milk to mix with the starter yogurt. Not sure if that’s important, but it works out for me because I freeze my starter and this helps thaw it out. (I sit the measuring cup with milk + thawing starter in a bowl of warm water.) This time around my starter (about 2 tablespoons’ worth) had been frozen for many (6? more?) months.

    I add about half a packet of dry milk once I’ve heated, to help it get a bit thicker. Maybe next time I’ll try adding it to the milk before heating, like Earl suggested above.

    Finally, I read somewhere that an easy way to strain the yogurt for Greek-style is to put it in a mason jar, use a cheesecloth under the ring band instead of a flat lid, and turn it over. This didn’t work for me at all–a tiny bit of liquid drained out leaving a layer of thick yogurt which blocked the rest of the whey from draining. I had to empty the whole jar into a cloth-lined strainer to provide enough surface area.

  47. Once the yogurt has incubated, do you refrigerate in the crock pot or spoon into a container? When do you add fruit or flavorings?

    • You can keep it on the crock pot or put it into a container- it’s your preference. At this point you can add fruit and flavorings, too!

  48. Hi there, thanks for this post!! Looking forward to trying this as we consume a lot of yogurt. I had made an overnight oatmeal recipe and added some yogurt to the milk. It made, as you can guess, some yogurt. Not very appetising in appearance but tasted good. Anyhow thanks again I will keep you posted!! :)

  49. Suggestion: I add 1/2 to 1 cup of powdered skim milk. This adds protein and makes it lovely and thick…no straining needed. Turns out perfect every time. Also wanted to comment that you can just keep back the last bit of your first batch of yogurt to use for the next batch, therefore you never need to buy yogurt again.

  50. Just finished whipping this up in my crockpot. So now we wait and see. Really excited to know I can use my crockpot in this application and can avoid purchasing a yogurt maker. Thanks for an easy recipe and for sharing with everyone!

  51. I’ve now made 6 batches with 3 failures. One was entire my fault for not buying yogurt with live cultures. Duh. The other two I determined that the yogurt got too cold (winter, the house gets cold) despite being wrapped in 2 thick towels.

    The last two batches worked out perfectly. What I now do is every hour or so turn the crock pot on warm for 10 min and then turn it off. It keeps the batch warm without getting the temp over 120 degrees. Easy for me as I work from home.

    I also keep the batch in the crock pot for 7 hours as I like a tangier flavor. The boss and kids love it. Thanks again.

  52. I know you said you shouldn’t you skim milk, but whole or 2% causes me congestion problems. Could I use fat free half and half as it is thicker and creamier than fat free milk. Also, if you use a Greek yogurt for the starter, will this make it thicker. Thanks for all the inputs.

    • I say experiment with whatever works. Good luck!

  53. oh crud. i skipped a step. i didn’t let it cool. what’s gonna happen??? darn it!

    • If you add the yogurt culture while the milk is still hot, the heat will kill the live bacteria and prevent the milk from turning into yogurt. You could try waiting for it to cool and then adding more yogurt culture. Good luck!

  54. Today was my first attempt to make the yogurt in the crockpot.

    In my excitement to see the milk reach 180 degrees (and not having the recipe in front of me)… I added the yogurt / milk starter to the crockpot when it was 180 degrees instead of 110.

    Any chance of saving this batch?

    Thank you!!

    Tina

    • Yes, just let it cool to 110 and add fresh starter. Good luck!

  55. I bought a yogurt maker and my first batch of yogurt is fermenting. The idea of being able to heat the milk in the slow cooker and continue the fermenting in it appeals to me much better, however. I wanted to make sure of your directions about using 4 cups of milk in a 4 quart slow cooker. I read somewhere else to use 2 qts of milk in a 2 qt cooker. I have a 3 qt cooker that I hope to be able to use. In your opinion, will that be suitable for 1 qt of milk? Could I ferment 2 qts of milk in my 3 qt cooker?

    Also, do you wrap the towels completely around the cooker–enclosing the bottom of the cooker as well?

    Thank you so much for your very helpful post.

    • I think you could make as much or as little yogurt as you’d like in your slow cooker. I like to wrap the towels completely around, sometimes I’ll even use a second towel. And yes, I enclose the bottom too!

  56. I have tried your recipe twice and failed both times. I’ve followed your directions exactly. Both times after the 6-8 hours all I have is warm milk and a couple curds. I’m tired of wasting money but I don’t know what’s going wrong!
    The house is warm. I live is southern CA.

    • That is definitely disappointing! I’m sorry to hear that the recipe isn’t working for you. Are you using a thermometer to measure the temperature–both for heating up the milk and to check the temp before you add the starter? Also, what kind of yogurt are you using to inoculate the milk? Does it contain live cultures? You could try using a starter culture from Cultures for Health if you are still having trouble with the recipe. Here’s one you could try: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/traditional-flavored-yogurt-starter.html

  57. I love yogurt. I have a six quart slow cooker
    so I’m going to go for broke and start with a gallon
    Of milk. My oven is gas with electronic ignition,
    so if I turn on the oven light, will that maintain the
    proper temperature? And, do you wrap the whole slow
    Cooker or just the ceramic insert?

    • I’d check the oven’s temp with an oven thermometer to see. Ideally, you want it to maintain a temp of 110°F. And you could probably put just the insert into the oven.

  58. Just ate my first bowl of my first batch made last night at it is delicious!

    Thank you for this very easy recipe, definitely a keeper :)

  59. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Third time is a charm. I tried two other ways to make my yogurt and they failed miserably. This worked perfectly.

  60. This sounds so interesting! I have never made yogurt, but take store-bought to work everyday for breakfast and would love to make my own. My question is that once the yogurt has fermented and is ready to eat, do you save out a starter for the next batch like you do with sourdough? I would rather not buy store yogurt each time i want to make my own yogurt.

    • Yes! You can save a bit from the previous batch to culture the next batch!

  61. Couldn’t find lactose-free yogurt in stores so decided to try making it. Made it with 2 qts. lactose-free whole milk and 2 T. Dannon all-natural plain. Creamy and delicious. Now I’m straining some to see what it’s like “Greek-style.” Thanks for this excellent recipe/tutorial.

  62. hi i just made this last night. mine did come out pretty watery or thin however you want to put it. it still tastes really good but was hoping for a thicker consistency. Any tips or tricks I might of missed?

    • Just to preface: i did use a 6 quart crock pot and after the milk cooled down to 120 degrees then mixed in my starter. i did wrap in big beach towel undisturbed for 6.5 hours. Thanks in advanced!

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