This simple, super creamy homemade Greek yogurt requires just milk, a starter yogurt, thermometer, and large pot. No need for special yogurt-making tools. There is minimal active cooking time and no straining necessary! Ditch the store-bought sugar-packed yogurt and easily make your own!
Yogurt is a go to snack for everyone in my house. Everyone has yogurt at least once a day, so we spend a pretty penny buying yogurt.
It's no secret that store bought yogurt, especially those that are flavored are jam-packed with sugars, sweeteners, and extra ingredients that homemade yogurt doesn't have. So years back when trying to remove all that added sugar from my family's diet, yogurt was one of the things I looked at replacing.
But I simply couldn't live without that delicious and creamy snack. So I experimented with making it homemade instead.
Not only did I find that it was extremely cheap, but it contained no added sugar or other ingredients. Homemade Greek yogurt contains only milk and plain yogurt.
The two significant benefits of switching to this homemade Greek yogurt are that it's:
- Budget friendly
Making yogurt at home is not only budget-friendly but it's super-tight budget-friendly. If you are a big yogurt lover and want to cut down on the grocery bill, this is where it's at.
Before switching from store-bought to homemade Greek yogurt, we were spending $80 a month just on yogurt.
For three people. A month's worth of homemade Greek yogurt costs us only $6.
The third benefit to making yogurt at home is that it's a pride booster. It's so neat to know that you made something that seems incredibly difficult, completely from scratch. Whenever I tell people that I make yogurt at home, they are totally intrigued!
One of the best features of this easy homemade Greek yogurt does is that it does not use special yogurt making tools. And it does not need to be strained because I use Greek yogurt as a starter.
I only use a dutch oven (or heavy pot with a lid), digital thermometer and a bath towel.
Items you probably already have.
This is a perfect, no-fuss homemade yogurt recipe.
Dutch oven: used to heat the milk and incubate the yogurt (any heavy pot with a lid will do).
Skimmer spoon: to remove the milk layer that may form while the milk is heating (you can also use a slotted spoon or strainer if you don't have a skimmer).
Whisk: to stir the heated milk and yogurt starter.
Digital thermometer: to measure the milk temperature during heating and cooling.
Large heavy bath towel: to wrap the dutch oven in while it is incubating. This helps to keep it warm. Any large heavy towel or blanket will do.
To make homemade Greek yogurt you need:
Plain Greek yogurt: used as a starter yogurt. It's mixed into the warm milk. Choose a yogurt brand that you love, but always make sure to choose plain.
Whole milk: for lower fat yogurts, use 2% or 1% milk (I have not tried this so I cannot speak to the outcome).
First, heat the milk in a large dutch oven or heavy pot over medium heat until it reaches 200° Fahrenheit.
Stir it frequently and if a film begins to form on top, remove and discard it using the skimmer or slotted spoon.
Once the milk reaches 200° F, turn off the heat and let it cool to 135°, checking every 5 minutes with a digital thermometer.
Cooling the milk takes about 20 minutes, but will be dependent on how warm your kitchen is. If the milk cools below 135 degrees, you can warm it back up until it reaches this temperature.
While it's cooling, continue to skim away the milk layer from the top.
Once the warm milk reaches 135° F, transfer about 2 cups to a measuring cup, add the plain yogurt, and whisk until it's smooth.
Pour it back into the pot of warm milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated, being careful not to scrape the bottom.
Sometimes the milk will burn and if you scrape the bottom, the small chunks that come off will not incorporate into the yogurt— leaving you with clumps in the final product.
Once you've mixed it thoroughly, cover with a lid and wrap in a large bath towel to incubate.
Put the wrapped pot in the oven with the light on, and incubate untouched for 10-12 hours.
The 6 tablespoon of yogurt is called a "starter yogurt". You should choose a plain yogurt that you like, because your final product will taste similar to it.
I choose a Greek yogurt because this gives me a very creamy yogurt and I don't have to strain out any whey to thicken it.
If you're using traditional yogurt rather than Greek, follow the recipe steps as they are. However, once the yogurt is done incubating strain it through a cheesecloth to produce a Greek yogurt.
Or, you can choose not to strain the yogurt. The final product will be a traditional, creamy yogurt instead.
Plan to also save some of the yogurt to use as the starter for your next batch.
Homemade Greek yogurt takes about 11-13 hours in total, including active and inactive time. Incubation time depends on how thick and creamy you prefer your yogurt.
I always plan to let it incubate for 12 hours overnight, with my incubation time starting around 6 or 7 pm. My cook time starts an hour before this. This way I know that I will be awake at 6 or 7 am when it's finished.
Essentially, you want to reserve an hour for the heating and cooling process, plus 12 hours for incubation.
Most importantly, make sure you are awake when it will be done!
Yogurt needs to be incubated in a warm place to keep it resting at about 115-135 degrees F. The easiest place to do this is in your oven with the light turned on.
I turn on my oven light while heating the milk to ensure it's nice and warm when I am ready to incubate.
When heating the milk, it should just about reach its boiling point but not boil.
Make sure to let the milk cool to 135 degrees F slowly. I've found the best way to do this is turn the heat off, but keep the pot on the burner.
This recipe makes two 32 ounce containers of yogurt. It keeps in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. But if you don't go through yogurt quickly, you can half the recipe and follow the same instructions to yield one 32 ounce container.
Our favorite way to serve homemade Greek yogurt is to drizzle it with honey or add fresh, mashed fruit. You can also add a little white or brown sugar,
You can, of course, eat it unsweetened and it is still incredibly delicious.
Our second favorite way to eat homemade Greek yogurt is on top of almond milk pancakes, oat milk pancakes or cottage cheese waffles. Yogurt and fruit replace the classic butter and syrup for a fantastically delicious and healthy alternative.
Ways to Use Greek Yogurt
There are also many ways you can use this creamy homemade Greek yogurt, aside from eating it as a snack or on top of your breakfast.
- in recipes as a leavening agent or thickener (I use it to make Instant Pot mashed sweet potatoes)
- homemade ice pops
- do-it-yourself face masks
Homemade Greek Yogurt
- Bath towel
- 8 cups whole milk
- 1 container plain Greek yogurt (5 oz)
- In a large dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid, heat the milk over medium heat, stirring often until it reaches 200°F. (helpful hint: if milk begins to form a film on top, simply remove it using a slotted spoon and discard)
- Turn off heat and let cool to 135°F. While cooling, continue to remove milk layer from the top.
- When the warm milk reaches 135°F, transfer about 2 cups to a measuring cup and add the yogurt. Whisk until smooth.
- Pour the milk & yogurt mixture into the pot of warm milk and whisk vigorously until incorporated, being careful not to scrape the bottom. Cover and wrap in a large bath towel to incubate.
- Put the wrapped pot in the oven with the light on. Allow to incubate untouched for 10-12 hours.
If you enjoyed this recipe, make sure to give it a star rating and let me know what you thought in the comments! And follow me on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for more delicious recipes!
I followed the recipe and my yogurt came out so liquidy… I was so excited for it to come out creamy…. What could have happened?
How did you save so much money with this? I’ve been considering making it ourselves because the one we usually get is constantly out of stock but when I did the quick math it looks like it would only save maybe $2.59 a gallon. We do only get organic dairy. Is that the difference or am I missing something?
We stopped buying individual containers, which can be a dollar or more a piece. We also go through a couple quarts of yogurt a week (now homemade) so it ends up being a big savings! I'd say we went from buying 20 individual containers, so $20 a week, to using a gallon of milk per week to make it homemade. A gallon of milk by me is about $3. So I roughly spend $3-5 on yogurt a week now. 🙂
Hi I live in south africa in a rural farming area. I have made homemade yogurt before on the same basis as your I just used milk straight from our dairy (raw milk). For the incubation period, I just put my pot in my wonderbag. .My question is can I freely eat the yogurt for weightloss or am I restricted to a sertain amount per day. Looking forward to hearing from you
Hi Liana, I am not a dietician so I can't really speak to the benefits of eating yogurt for weight loss. But from my understanding, you should eat yogurt in moderation, as with most dairy products it tends to contain a good portion of fat.
What can I do to make the yogurt fat free or reduced fat free?
Hi Mickey. You can use skim milk or reduced fat milk. Once the yogurt is done incubating, use a cheesecloth to strain out extra liquid if you'd like it to be thicker. Line a strainer with cheesecloth and put that over a large bowl. Pour the yogurt into the lined strainer and allow extra liquid to drain into the bowl. You can strain as much or as little liquid as you'd like. This liquid is whey and can be used for extra protein in other recipes, like smoothies.
My milk has cooled to 135F, it feels very hot to touch. I usually add the culture when it feels warm, close to body temperature. Adding the culture at this temperature won't kill the bacteria in the yoghurt?
Hi Hoy, It should not as this is how I always make it. However, if you are concerned and don't want to take any chances, you can wait til it's a little cooler.
Did you used the yogurt straight out of the fridge or room temperature yogurt to mix with milk?
You can use yogurt straight out of the fridge.
Sarah Louise Pointing
Hi, can I double check the degrees is in Celsius? Thanks!
Sarah- it is in Fahrenheit. So sorry for the confusion! I've updated the recipe to make this clear.
I made some yogurt, but with a lemon as a yogurt starter. Turns out good. Thanks for the tips about the oven with the lights on.
A lemon is not a yogurt starter. Yogurt contains a particular
strain of microbes, which the lemons do not provide.
The lemon contains some acid (citric acid), but that will
only make your milk sour. And sour milk is not yogurt.
I have a yummy honey greek yogurt I'd like to use as a starter. You mention using plain because the final product will take on the flavor of the original starter. I want that flavor so is it ok to use the honey greek yogurt for a starter?
That's the creamiest looking yogurt I've ever seen, can't wait to give this a try!
Thanks a bunch for this greek yogurt recipe! love it!
What a delicious combination of flavors and everything we love, a must try soon!
I love greek yogurt. I use it on my shawarma, grilled meat and sandwiches.
This yogurt looks creamy; I love the simplicity of this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing.
I have been dying to try to make my own yogurt. You've made this sound so easy, I can't wait to try!
My oven doesn't have the option to turn the light on, what do you suggest as an alternative incubation method?
You could try a few different things.
1. Set the yogurt on top of a heating pad that's turned on to low, still wrapping it in a towel too.
2. Fill a pot larger than the one the yogurt is in with water that is 125 degrees. Set the yogurt pot inside it and wrap both with a towel.
You could even incubate it outside on a warm sunny day. You'd wrap the yogurt in a heavy towel and put it in direct sunlight.
My son wants strawberry yogurt. How/when could I incorporate flavors to this recipe? Thanks
Excited to try this! Your “serving and storing” section only mentions serving, though... how much does this make? How long does it last? Thanks!
Hi Aves, I am so glad you are going to try it. This is the only way we ever make and eat yogurt! I've updated my post to answer your questions, and to make it a bit more easy to follow. This recipe makes two large 32 ounce containers, so 8 cups of yogurt total. If you want less yogurt, you can cut the recipe in half and follow the instructions as they're written. It will last for 3-4 weeks in the fridge- longer if you keep it off the door and tucked in the back.
I used to make yogurt in a yogurt maker years ago. I like this recipe more. It's really simple and creamy without any straining. Awesome and healthy!