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
- 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.