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Edited on 10/5/09 to add: Since posting this I have also discovered that you can make raw yogurt on your counter top, without the use of a crock pot or yogurt maker. All you need is a starter and the super clear directions that come with it. Not only is it easier since you simply leave it on your counter top, but you also retain the benefits of the raw enzymes! You can find culture starters here.

I have tried other methods for making yogurt, but this is by far the easiest. I originally got this idea from Stephanie and use her basic recipe. Making your own yogurt is a frugal way to get some good probiotics into your family.

Here is the cost savings breakdown for us:

  • Before: we would buy organic plain yogurt from Trader Joe’s: $3/quart
  • Now: I make it out of our grass-fed raw milk from the farmer: $1.75/quart
  • Savings = $1.25/quart x 2/week = savings of $2.50/week = savings of $130/year

Trader Joe’s is the cheapest organic yogurt you can find. The health food store sells it for $4.50/quart. For me, it is definitely worth the savings to do the five minutes of total work involved in making yogurt in the crock pot.

Crock Pot Yogurt

Recipe notes: This recipe uses a 2 quart crock. In using a 4 or 4 1/2 quart crock I found the yogurt to have a bit of a "springy" texture. I was able to alleviate this by heating the milk an additional 15 minutes for a total of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

  • Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk.
  • Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Once 2 hours and 30 minutes have elapsed turn your crock pot off and unplug it. Let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. To that add 1/2 cup of yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well.
  • Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and whisk thoroughly.
  • Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.
  • Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.
  • In the morning stir yogurt (if desired) and store in glass quart jars or a container of your choice.
  • For optimum texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.
 

250 Responses to Make Yogurt In Your Crock Pot

  1. [...] week, my first attempt at yogurt FAILED. I tried this recipe and it didn’t thicken at all. I figured maybe it needed more time but I could see little [...]

  2. [...]  Have you seen how much one of these things runs? Here is the RECIPE And here is the POST I found it with I also googled the process because I accidently froze my 1/2 [...]

  3. surabhi says:

    Yoghurt is an integral part of Indian good and many of us eat it with lunch and dinner, either as ‘curd’ or as a ‘lassi’. We Indians rarely buy yoghurt from outside and our way of making it is very simple. With your permission I would like to share a recipe:

    Assumption: Milk is already boiled once and is now at room temperature. You could have boiled the milk previously and then kept in the fridge or whatever.

    Ingredients:
    2 cups of milk
    1 tablespoon yoghurt for use as a culture.(could be ready made for the first time and then use home made yoghurt as culture from next time)
    Method:
    1. Take a glass or ceramic or stainless steal bowl.
    2. Put 2 tablespoonful curd (yoghurt) in it) and beat with a spoon in single direction for atleast 5 mins(Little more will also do).
    3. Heat milk till it is tepid hot(little more than lukewarm).
    4. Mix this tepid milk with beaten yoghurt and mix well again for 5 mins.
    5. Cover it with a lead and leave UNDISTURBED outside for about 6 – 10 hours. Depending upon the room temperature you maintain it will be done within anywhere from 6-10 hours or little more.
    6. YOU ARE DONE!. Refrigerate it if you like it chilled (I like it that way). Stays good till it is over!.

    If you want to set your yoghurt in individual small bows, you can pour the mixture for setting in separate small bowls also.

    There are nth variations possible with respect to the flavour. But first please do let me know if this works for you.

    [Reply]

  4. Shannon says:

    Laura – So glad you love it, and it is way cheaper! I have kept the yogurt in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks so far. Yogurt should keep for quite some time because of the good bacteria in it. Most that you buy at the grocery store have expiration dates a month away. I do use 1/2 cup from the previous batch for a while. Eventually it seems as though it isn’t as effective and the yogurt texture isn’t as good so I buy another starter batch from Trader Joe’s. I would say keep using the homemade yogurt as starter for as long as you’re comfortable.

    [Reply]

  5. Shannon says:

    Keira Eddy – Hmmm… perhaps try adding 15 minutes to the cooking time of the milk. If it is sort of a ‘snotty’ texture then that should help.

    [Reply]

  6. Shannon says:

    Sharon – No, I mean warm. What size is your crock pot? If it is the larger oval ones then it may require less warming time. You are looking to get the milk to 180 degrees, but with a larger surface area that will happen faster.

    [Reply]

  7. Shannon says:

    Amy – Try adding 15 minutes to your cook time. What size is your crock pot?

    [Reply]

  8. Shannon says:

    Elizabeth – I use it in smoothies, drain it to make a Greek yogurt or flavor it with fruit, honey or stevia.

    [Reply]

  9. Shannon says:

    Laura V. – It’s hard to say as I am not sure what the carrying case is like. If it insulates it well and can keep the heat in then it should work.

    [Reply]

  10. Shannon says:

    ~M – I’ve never tried using coconut milk so I am not entirely sure. I think if you googled coconut milk yogurt you could find some recipes. I think that the difference between cow’s milk and coconut milk would be in the amount of sugar the lactic acid has to feed off of. So the fermenting process might not work the same.

    [Reply]

  11. Shannon says:

    Julie – I buy plain yogurt as a starter. Then I save 1/2 cup of the homemade yogurt to use as a starter for the next batch. If I start getting some weird results – bad texture, too runny, etc. – I buy some more plain and start over.

    [Reply]

  12. Laurie says:

    Shannon- I don’t know if it’s too late, and you’ve given up on homemade yogurt, but here’s what I did when I had the same results.

    Just take that gooey, snotty-textured milk and heat it past 110 degrees again. Let cool below 110 again, stir in 1/4 cup or so of yogurt with active cultures. Cover tightly and put in microwave with a cup of steaming hot water (to keep the microwave warm).

    This is basically starting over, and it worked for me this morning. About 7 hours later, it’s yogurt.

    [Reply]

  13. tiffany says:

    Can you please share how you made it Greek Style? I have made this recipe twice but would love to know how to thicken it up.

    [Reply]

  14. Shannon says:

    Tiffany – Once the yogurt is done refrigerate it for at least 8 hours and then dump it into a cheesecloth, flour sack or paper towel lined sieve that is placed on top of a bowl. You will end up with a thick yogurt on top after a few hours as well as whey in the bowl below. Don’t dump out the whey. It is really nutritious. Use that to soak grains and beans, or use it in baking or cooking instead of water.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Jennifer – You could use skim milk, but I would recommend buying whole milk. Look for unhomogenized if you can find it and raw would be best. Heating the milk initially brings the temperature up to about 180 degrees. Then when you turn it off and let it sit it is cooling down to about 110 degrees. The reason for wrapping the crock pot in towels is to keep the temperature at around 110 degrees. This is the temperature the milk needs to be at for the yogurt to culture. So the towels act as an insulator so to speak.

    [Reply]

  15. Shannon says:

    Caitlin – You add them after the yogurt is done setting and cooling in the refrigerator.

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  16. ~M says:

    Oops, I didn’t see that you’d answered part of my question above.

    But would you use the unsweetened or unsweetened variety?

    And would you try it first with TJs yogurt to make it low-dairy and, if that works, try the coconut milk yogurt? What are your thoughts?

    [Reply]

  17. Shannon says:

    Ruth – Perhaps your yogurt didn’t get heated up enough or didn’t stay warm enough. I have had this as well and adjusted the heating time by about 15 minutes. If you have a thermometer that is the most accurate way of checking the temperature.

    [Reply]

  18. Shannon says:

    Mike_A – UHT milk is basically dead milk. It is not a natural or whole food and as such we try to avoid it.

    [Reply]

  19. Shannon says:

    Mike – I understand what you are saying, that heating the milk up to 180 degrees pasteurizes it. That’s true. But UHT and pasteurized are different things. This is why I am experimenting with raw yogurt. UHT milk is what it is because of shelf life and not nutrition or flavor. In any event it is a matter of good, better, best I suppose. Best equaling raw, better equaling pasteurized and good equaling UHT. No need to get snarky :) .

    [Reply]

  20. Rml says:

    I didn’t see the reply but I tried it with the SoDelicious Coconut milk yesterday and it didn’t work. Should I be using some other kind of coconut milk? What about using almond milk or rice milk?

    [Reply]

  21. Tami says:

    I’m not an expert, as I’m exploring this webpage for a reason. ;) However, I would think that the little cheese balls are from the cream of the raw milk. Maybe not, but that would be my first guess. Maybe try taking the cream off the top next time, making butter/buttermilk with it or something, and using the rest of the milk for the yogurt. Worth trying to see if it changes.

    I’ll be trying this recipe soon and I’ll try it with the cream and without the cream, to see what happens. :)

    [Reply]

  22. Shannon says:

    Cori – Yes, I would guess it has to do with the cream, assuming you used unhomogenized milk.

    [Reply]

  23. D says:

    My daughter and I use the same recipe and she gets “balls” in hers, too. We figured out that the only difference in preparation is that I use a whisk and she just stirs. Try it!

    [Reply]

  24. Tami says:

    I read from another website that you are to put a cup of yogurt to the side for your next starter batch. So yes, save some of your yogurt for your next batch. :)

    [Reply]

  25. Shannon says:

    Cori – Yes, that is what I do. I do find that eventually I have to buy some new yogurt from the grocery store because for some reason the yogurt doesn’t work forever as a starter. Not sure why.

    [Reply]

  26. Shannon says:

    Mary – You need the milk to be up to 180 degrees, so you could check it with a thermometer. The purpose of heating the milk is to kill off any bacteria in the milk (good or bad) so that you can add new bacteria with the culture. You may want to check your milk after the initial heating as some slow cookers take a bit longer.

    [Reply]

  27. Shannon says:

    Doug – Thanks for sharing your experience. The tricky thing with this recipe, though it is a simple one if it can work, is that all crocks are different and like you said the air temperature can effect the whole process.

    [Reply]

  28. Shannon says:

    Teresa – I think this would be a gamble as the heating and cooling times are based on a certain volume. If you’re going to do this I would heat it up for half the time, check the temperature (you’re looking for 180 degrees) and continue to heat as needed until you reach the desired temp. Then do the same thing with the cooling (you’re looking for 110 degrees). Let us know how it goes!

    [Reply]

  29. Shannon says:

    Tracy – If you do double it I would check the temperature after the allotted cooking time. You’re looking for 180 degrees. Continue to heat until you reach that point and then do the same for cooling (you want 110 degrees).

    [Reply]

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