Homemade Greek Yogurt
I am completely addicted to this homemade greek yogurt. I never would have thought that I would make my own yogurt. When I first came across the idea, I thought it was interesting but not something that I would actually do. The second time I saw a recipe for homemade greek yogurt, though, I thought, I can do that. And you know what? I totally did. And I’ve made this at least once a week every week in the six weeks since then.
Why am I so addicted to this yogurt? There are a few reasons. For one, it tastes amazing. Even my favorite store brand can’t compete with this thick, creamy yogurt. Homemade yogurt is much less sour than store-bought, and while it’s hard for me to eat store-bought without some sort of sweetener, I can eat this plain.
Second, homemade yogurt is much more cost-effective than the stuff you buy in the store. Greek yogurt isn’t cheap, and it’s been nice to save a few dollars each week on our grocery bill. Plus, I feel good knowing I’m saving on the packaging waste that comes with buying yogurt at the store. I try my best to recycle those yogurt containers, but it’s best not to use them in the first place.
It’s so easy to make your own yogurt! All that you’ll need to get started is some milk, a tablespoon of yogurt, and a few kitchen tools that you probably already have: a medium saucepan, an instant-read thermometer, a large glass or ceramic bowl, a fine-mesh sieve, and another large bowl. The active time that you’ll have to invest is really small, especially once you’ve done this a few times and have the process down. The first time I kept checking the temperature of the milk every minute or two, but now I know about how long it will take to heat and cool, so I can wait a while before I start checking.
I’ve included step-by-step photos and directions below, so you can see how easy the process is. I usually get the yogurt started in the evening after dinner, let it incubate in my warmed oven overnight, and then strain it the next day. This works for me because then I don’t tie up my oven all day. Because, you know, I love to bake, right?
Your homemade yogurt will keep for about a week in an airtight container in the fridge, but it never lasts that long around here. I eat this daily, and Julia is always asking for some of “Mommy’s homemade yogurt.” There are so many ways to enjoy this yogurt. It’s delicious left unsweetened and topped with some berries or granola. Sometimes I mix in a tiny bit of honey or vanilla extract (vanilla yogurt!). This yogurt is so incredibly rich and creamy with just a hint of tartness, I feel like I’m eating dessert when I eat it. If you have any interest in making homemade versions of things that you typically buy in the store, I encourage you to give this a try. But be warned, once you start making your own yogurt, it will be very hard to stop. 🙂
So… let’s make yogurt!
Heating the Milk
Pour 8 cups (2 quarts) milk into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 180 degrees F. At this temperature, the milk will be steaming and starting to froth, but not yet boiling. I usually use 2% milk, but you can also use whole, 1%, or skim.
Pour the milk into a glass or ceramic bowl and let it cool until it is between 110 and 115 degrees F. This is the temperature range needed to activate the yogurt cultures. (Side note- I really need a new instant-read thermometer! This one is not in any way instant, and it makes me crazy waiting for it to register the temperature.
Then whisk in 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt.
Cover the bowl with a lid or some plastic wrap and wrap it in a few heavy dish towels.
Turn the oven on to any temperature, and allow it to preheat for one minute. Shut the oven off, turn on the oven light, and place the towel-wrapped bowl inside. Close the oven door and let the yogurt hang out in the warm oven for 8 to 12 hours. During this incubation time, you want the oven to stay warm (about 110 degrees), so you may want to check every few hours and repeat the one-minute warming cycle if needed. (I usually don’t worry about this because I let my yogurt incubate overnight, and it works just fine.) My yogurt usually takes about 12 hours.
You will know the yogurt is done when it looks like yogurt, with some liquid on top. This liquid is called whey and needs to be drained off before you will have thick Greek-style yogurt.
Straining the Yogurt
To do this, place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with some cheesecloth or a double layer of paper towels. Scoop the yogurt into the paper-towel lined sieve and cover it with some plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for about 8 hours until the whey has drained off. (You can either discard the whey or use it in place of water when baking bread. It will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.)
Scoop the yogurt into a bowl and then stir/whisk until smooth.
Scoop the yogurt into a storage container, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Homemade yogurt will keep for about a week. Look at that, you made yogurt!
Homemade Greek Yogurt
- 8 cups milk (equal to half a gallon or two quarts), 2% milk recommended but whole, 1%, or fat-free will also work
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt, must contain live active cultures, or homemade yogurt from a previous batch
- Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 180 degrees F. At this temperature, the milk will be steaming and starting to froth, but not yet boiling.
- Pour the milk into a bowl and let it cool until it is between 110 and 115 degrees F. This is the temperature range needed to activate the yogurt cultures. Then whisk in the plain yogurt. Cover the bowl with a lid or some plastic wrap and wrap it in a few heavy dish towels.
- Turn the oven on to any temperature, and allow it to preheat for one minute. Shut the oven off, turn on the oven light, and place the towel-wrapped bowl inside. Close the oven door and let the yogurt hang out in the warm oven for 8 to 12 hours. During this incubation time, you want the oven to stay warm (about 110 degrees), so you may want to check every few hours and repeat the one-minute warming cycle if needed. (I usually don't worry about this because I let my yogurt incubate overnight, and it works just fine.)
- You will know the yogurt is done when it looks like yogurt, with some liquid on top. This liquid is called whey and needs to be drained off before you will have thick Greek-style yogurt. To do this, place a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Line the sieve with some cheesecloth or a double layer of paper towels. Scoop the yogurt into the paper-towel lined sieve and cover it with some plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for about 8 hours until the whey has drained off. (You can either discard the whey or use it in place of water when baking bread. It will keep in a sealed jar in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.)
- Scoop the yogurt into a storage container, cover, and store in the refrigerator. Homemade yogurt will keep for about a week.
Recipes using Greek Yogurt:
- Greek Yogurt Pancakes
- Greek Yogurt Dip
- Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Bars
- Homemade Ranch Dressing
- Cocoa-Almond Protein Smoothie with Greek Yogurt
I love Greek yogurt and decided today to try making my own. I just tucked my yogurt into the oven for the night. Thank you for the clear instructions! I can’t wait to see how it turns out.
I too wanted a Thermapen but just couldn’t justify spending that much money. So I got this model made by the same company for a MUCH lower price. I love it!
I didn’t realize the URL would post like that. I thought it would just be a link. Sorry!
I also bought that same thermometer. So far, it works great! I hope you have yogurt success in the morning!
Oh my gosh, the yogurt turned out amazing. Super rich, thick, and creamy. I used 1% milk but plan on trying skim next time to see how we like that. My husband used some on his baked potato tonight and said it tastes just like sour cream. Thanks again!
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Isn’t it fun to make yogurt?
Hi I came across this recipe and wonder how your yoghurt tastes so different when all you use is store bought yoghurt and milk? Pardon my ignorance but i can’t tell the difference between natural, greek, plain etc yoghurt. I just use it in cooking, the only one I eat is Activia because of the yummy fruit pieces!
If you generally don’t eat yogurt all by itself, then homemade yogurt is probably not for you. I wouldn’t make this solely for cooking purposes.
This is wonderful! But is it okay if I half the ingredients? I only have 1 carton of milk right now :(. Thanks!
That should work just fine. Have fun!
How much does it make from using 8 cups milk? The photo doesn’t look like it made much…?
It makes 3-4 cups of yogurt. The volume is reduced because you drain off the liquid whey.
question… if you don’t drain off the liquid whey and instead just stir the whey into the yogurt will you end up with regular yogurt instead of greek?
Yes, you will!
Pingback: Basic Food Prep Part 2 of 3 – Cheat’s Homemade Greek Yoghurt | The Little Kitchen Studio
How cool is this?! 😀 Wow homemade yogurt and who knew it was so simple too? Love this ^_^
Thank you, Tammy! It’s pretty easy and fun to make!
These days I am eating store-bought. But it is too expensive and not so much thick.
So I am thinking Homemade Yogurt.
I think Your tip is really good for me. It seems difficult for me, I’ll give it a try.
I am very excited about that.
I hope you enjoy this yogurt! You’re right, store bought is so expensive!
the first ever I made this it was amazing!!!! Loved it I used raw milk that I had removed the cream from and used a TBSP of chobani plain 0% the second time I used 2% store bought,with the same yogurt and it didn’t set what do you suppose I did wrong???
Homemade yogurt, while easy, can be temperamental. I’ve made this many times and I think maybe once it didn’t work. It’s a bummer when that happens. 🙁 Since each of the steps is very temperature-sensitive, it was likely something with the temperature not being right. I’m sorry it didn’t work for you this time!
Thank you for the recipe! One question, what size sieve did you use? I had to use two 8″ sieves to be able to fit all the quantity that came out of the oven. Thanks!
My sieve is 8 inches as well. I just slowly spoon the yogurt in, waiting for the liquid to drain through as needed before adding more. Thanks for letting me know that you tried the recipe! 🙂
Can you use the batch you made to “start” the next batch or do you need commercial yogurt each time?
Yes, you should be able to use your homemade yogurt to start the next batch. 🙂
Question: does the brand of yogurt you use as a starter effect what kind of cultures you get?
It shouldn’t, so long as it contains live, active cultures. (It should say on the container that it does.)
I tried this out and it came put great. I put my yogurt in the ceramic bowl with a lid then put that in my crock pot and wrapped my crock pot in towels. I rent and my oven is not all that good at retaining heat! My husband said it looked like I had a science experiment going, but he also said with blueberry preserves it tastes just like his favorite Fage. This will be going in my weekly rotation!
I’m so glad you are enjoying this yogurt, Kelly! Putting it in the crockpot is a great idea! I haven’t tried that yet. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment! 🙂
I have been meaning to make homemade yogurt for at least a year and a half now but still haven’t. I need to try it! I honestly can’t believe I haven’t yet, we go through so much yogurt here!
Hi.thanks for the recipe. I have a question for you.
there is only sour taste yoghurt in my country.So, can I use it for make greek yoghurt?? (I am worried about if it is sour taste )
Thank you for asking! The yogurt is added to add active cultures to start the yogurt making process. Since you add such a small amount, I don’t think it will effect the flavor. Let me know how it goes!
i have a question, i am making this yogurt now and was wondering if the yogurt i am putting in has live active cultures. all it says on the container is active cultures. Would that be the same. Im afraid it won’t turn out and i am so excited to try this. I never liked yogurt until i tried this at a bed and breakfast my husband an i stayed at and i just love this.
Yes, so long as your container says it has active cultures that should be the same! Good luck to you! Let me know how your yogurt turns out. 🙂