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How to Make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

How to Make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

I shied away from making yogurt for years because I thought it would be tedious and time-consuming. Then I learned to make yogurt in a slow cooker or a crock pot, and now there is no stopping me.

Making yogurt at home can be a rewarding and cost-effective culinary adventure. If you’ve got a slow cooker, you’re in luck, as it can be a valuable tool in your yogurt-making journey. In this blog post, we’ll guide you through the process of crafting your own creamy and delicious yogurt right in your slow cooker. From the initial preparation to the final tangy results, you’ll discover just how easy and satisfying it is to create homemade yogurt that can rival any store-bought variety.

One fermented food that most folks enjoy is yogurt. Even babies like yogurt. And why buy it at the store, along with high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and tilapia (Yes, one brand out there uses this fish as a thickening agent.) when you can make it at home?

Why Choose a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot for Making Yogurt

There are compelling reasons to harness the power of your crockpot for crafting yogurt. Here are some of the top advantages:

  1. Control Over Ingredients: When you make your yogurt in a crockpot, you have complete knowledge and control over what goes into it. Homemade yogurt is free from those mysterious, unpronounceable ingredients often found in store-bought varieties. You can easily opt for fully organic and natural ingredients if that’s your preference.
  2. Cost-Effective: Making yogurt in your slow cooker is a budget-friendly choice, especially if you typically purchase organic or individual-serving yogurt containers. Say goodbye to expensive yogurt; your homemade version will surpass it in quality and affordability.
  3. Unbeatable Freshness: The taste of homemade yogurt is unparalleled in freshness. It doesn’t get any fresher than yogurt made right in your own kitchen.
  4. Cool and Convenient: Just like with all crockpot dishes, making yogurt allows you to cook without adding extra heat to your home. It’s a bonus during those warm summer days.
  5. Educational and Fun: Crafting yogurt in your crockpot is an engaging activity, especially if you involve kids. It serves as an edible science experiment, teaching them about the growth of beneficial bacteria. It’s an educational journey that’s also delicious.

Making yogurt in your crockpot offers you the satisfaction of creating a wholesome and customizable treat, ensuring you have full control over its ingredients, taste, and quality.

How to make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker or Crock Pot

There are several steps to making yogurt. There is no hard stage. There are, however, more steps and times to keep an eye on than with most slow cooker recipes. Let’s begin with collecting the ingredients.

Collect your supplies

To make yogurt in the slow cooker, you will need the following:

• Gallon of milk

• Slow cooker

• Thick-bottomed stock pot that will hold a gallon of milk

• Candy thermometer

• Yogurt starter or yogurt from a previous batch

• Thick towel or blanket

Optional items:

• Vanilla and sugar

• Mesh strainer or colander

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• Piece of muslin to line the strainer

Quick Link: How to Make Delicious Sicilian Granita

Steps for Making Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

Follow these instructions carefully for making Yogurt in a Slow Cooker appropriately.


• Preheat the crock while heating up the milk. Once it feels hot to the touch, turn it off with the lid on.

• Heat your milk to 180 degrees in a thick-bottomed, stainless steel pot. Pasteurization kills any unwanted bacteria in the milk that would compete with the culture. It also restructures the proteins so that they will “set” rather than form curds. Remove milk from heat and allow to cool to 110 degrees.

• If you are starting with store-bought milk, or if you want to make raw milk yogurt, just heat it to 110 degrees instead of 180 degrees.

• Pour your pre-heated milk into the slow cooker.

• Remove a cup of the warm milk from the cooker and place it in a mixing bowl. Stir the starter into that cup of milk and then return it to the crock. Dannon yogurt as a starter has never failed me. For a full slow cooker, use about a cup of starter yogurt. If using a commercial starter, follow the package directions. Stir the contents of the cooker until well-mixed.

• If you want sweetened, vanilla yogurt, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla per quart of milk and sugar to taste.

• Place the lid on the crock and wrap the whole thing with a thick towel or blanket. Let it set for 10-12 hours. Generally, I start mine after supper and let it set overnight.

• If you want a thick Greek-style yogurt, strain out the whey. Line a colander with a piece of muslin and set it over a bowl. Pour the yogurt into the muslin and let it drip until it stops. This will cut the quantity of yogurt in half. The liquid that drains out is whey that you will want to save for fermenting other foods. Scrape the yogurt into jars, and refrigerate.

There are other ways of making yogurt but I think this is the easiest. What about you? Made yogurt lately? Tell us about it in the comments.

Useful Tips For Making Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

  • I highly recommend investing in a small instant-read thermometer for making homemade yogurt. Temperature control is key in this process. A simple $10 thermometer will serve you well. Your goal is to scald the milk, which typically occurs at around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. In your first attempt, use the thermometer to check if the “warm” setting on your slow cooker is sufficient, or if perhaps an hour and 45 minutes on the low setting is appropriate.
  • Once you’ve determined the right time and temperature for scalding the milk, you may not need the thermometer for subsequent batches. After scalding, the waiting period allows the milk to cool down to around 115-110 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range is warm enough to nurture the yogurt culture without killing it.
  • You don’t have to purchase commercial plain yogurt every time you want to make a new batch. Simply save half a cup of your homemade yogurt to use as the starter for the next batch. It’s a cost-effective and sustainable approach.
  • For those who prefer a thicker, Greek yogurt-like consistency, I highly recommend straining your yogurt. Line a large colander with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth, place it over a bowl, and pour your yogurt from the slow cooker into it. Cover it with a clean dish towel and let it sit for a few hours until it reaches your desired thickness. Keep in mind that the yogurt will also thicken further when refrigerated. Feel free to experiment until you find the perfect texture to suit your taste. This is the beauty of cooking from scratch; you can create a product tailored to your preferences.

Is there a way to thicken homemade yogurt?

You have several methods at your disposal to achieve thicker yogurt:

  1. Opt for Whole Milk: Using whole milk, rather than 2% or skim, can significantly contribute to a thicker yogurt. The higher milk fat content results in a creamier consistency.
  2. Cool it in the Fridge: Refrigeration is another way to thicken your yogurt naturally. As it chills, the yogurt will naturally become thicker.
  3. Strain Your Yogurt: Straining your yogurt is an effective technique for creating a Greek-style thickness. By removing some of the whey, you’re left with a denser texture.
  4. Cheesecloth Straining: To strain your yogurt using cheesecloth, set up a large colander over a bowl. Line the colander with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth, then pour the yogurt from the slow cooker into it. Cover it with a clean dish towel and allow it to sit for a few hours until it reaches your preferred consistency. Note that refrigeration will also contribute to further thickening.
  5. Stainless Steel Yogurt Strainer: Another approach to straining involves a stainless steel yogurt strainer. These can be found on platforms like Etsy for around $25. Insert the tube into your yogurt after the incubation period and let it rest for approximately 2 hours. The whey collects in the middle, which you can easily ladle out. This method works wonderfully and is particularly convenient if you make yogurt regularly. It’s compatible with 6 and 8-quart Instant Pots as well.

Experiment with these techniques to find the thickness that suits your taste. That’s one of the joys of cooking from scratch; you can fine-tune your product to your exact preferences.

Final Words

Making yogurt in a slow cooker is a fantastic way to enjoy the creaminess and freshness of homemade yogurt without the hassle of complicated equipment. It’s a versatile and cost-effective approach to a kitchen staple that can be enjoyed in countless ways. Whether you prefer it plain, with fruit and honey, or as a base for savory dishes, your slow cooker yogurt will be a testament to your culinary skills and a source of culinary satisfaction.


Do I need any special equipment other than a slow cooker?

While a slow cooker is the main appliance you’ll use, you’ll also need a reliable kitchen thermometer to monitor the temperature during the yogurt-making process. Having glass containers or jars with lids for storing the yogurt is also helpful.

What type of milk should I use for making yogurt in a slow cooker?

You can use any type of milk, such as whole, 2%, or skim. However, whole milk tends to yield the creamiest yogurt. You can also experiment with alternative milk options like almond, soy, or coconut milk.

Can I use yogurt from the store as a starter for my homemade yogurt?

Yes, you can use store-bought yogurt with live active cultures as a starter for your homemade yogurt. Look for plain yogurt with no added flavors or sweeteners.

How long does the yogurt-making process take from start to finish?

The process typically takes about 8-10 hours, but most of this time is hands-off. You’ll need to plan ahead to ensure you have enough time to let the yogurt incubate in the slow cooker. Once you start the process, you can go about your day and return to creamy homemade yogurt.

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