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How to Make Yogurt at Home - Easy Step-by-step Guide

Updated on February 8, 2015

How to Make Yogurt

If you have never made your own homemade yogurt, you are in for a special treat. When you learn how to make natural probiotic yogurt at home, you’ll never want store bought again! Making yogurt is very easy and the flavor is delicious. Natural homemade yogurt is rich in good probiotic bacteria and can help improve the immune system as well as aid digestion. Probiotic foods and probiotic supplements have been shown to be effective in helping people to lose belly fat.

You can purchase a yogurt maker, or use one of the methods below to keep the milk mixture warm. The yogurt makers are handy because they provide a convenient way to maintain the right temperature for the yogurt to develop; however, yogurt can easily be made without the use of a special yogurt maker.

How to Make Yogurt

How to make Yogurt

How to Make Yogurt
How to Make Yogurt | Source

Natural Probiotic Yogurt


1 quart of milk *

1/3 cup non-fat dry milk

2 T freeze-dried bacteria culture or plain (unflavored) yogurt with active-live cultures

* You can use any kind of milk you like, including no-fat (skim), 1%, 2%, whole milk, soy milk, organic, raw, powdered dry milk, goat’s milk, diluted evaporated milk, pasteurized, homogenized, and more. The only kind of milk that doesn’t work is ultra-high pasteurized or UHP milk because it is processed at such high temperatures that the proteins and bacteria necessary to turn the milk into yogurt are broken down. Experiment with different types of milk for different flavors and texture.


Remove starter from refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature while you prepare the milk, this will ensure that it is not too cold when you add it to the warm milk mixture.

Heat the milk to 185° F either very carefully on the burner, or by using a double boiler. If you do not have a double boiler, you can create one by placing a bowl or small pan on top of another pan that will hold the water. Be sure to watch the milk carefully so that it does not scorch and stir occasionally. If you place the pan directly on a burner, you will want to slowly stir continuously.

Remove the milk from the heat and cool to 110° F. You can lower the temperature quickly and evenly by placing the pan in a cool water bath and stirring occasionally. Do not allow the milk to cool too much, so watch carefully and proceed with the next step when it reaches 110° F.

Stir in the non-fat dry milk. This will not only enhance the nutritional quality of the yogurt, but it will also help it to thicken. Stir in the yogurt culture or freeze dried bacteria culture.

Probiotic Yogurt

Your first batch of homemade yogurt will require either freeze dried bacteria culture or a purchased yogurt starter, such as a plain (unflavored) yogurt with live-active bacteria. Once you have made your own yogurt, you will be able to use a little of your previous batch to inoculate the next batch.

Pour the milk mixture into either one large container, or several smaller ones. These containers should be thoroughly cleaned and rinsed prior to filling. Cover with lids or plastic wrap.

Allow the bacteria in the yogurt to incubate. The probiotic yogurt needs to be kept at about 100° F and not disturbed in order to encourage the growth of good bacteria. Use a thermometer to be sure that the yogurt maintains the proper temperature. One method of incubating the yogurt is to place it in an oven with the pilot light on. Let the yogurt sit for approximately seven to eight hours; it will develop a custard-like texture. The longer you let it sit, the thicker and tangier the yogurt will be.

You can also preheat your oven to 100° F, then turn it off and keep the light on to maintain the temperature. You can turn the oven back on as needed to maintain the necessary temperature, but be very careful to not let it get too hot because it will destroy the bacteria culture and the yogurt won’t set properly.

Some other methods of incubating the yogurt include:

  • Place a pan of water on a burner set to low to create a warm water bath.
  • Use a slow cooker or crock pot set on low
  • Set the yogurt on a warming tray
  • Place the yogurt mixture in a thermos container

Store in the refrigerator and chill before serving. Cooling the yogurt in the freezer prior to putting it in the refrigerator will result in a yogurt with a smoother texture. Use within one to two weeks. If using as a starter for another batch of homemade yogurt, use within five to seven days. If you wait much longer, the bacteria may not have enough growing power to produce another batch of yogurt. A thin yellow liquid will form on the top of the yogurt as it sits, this is the whey and is normal; simply pour it off or stir it in before using the yogurt.

Use Probiotic Yogurt to Lose Belly Fat

Research has shown that the best way to lose belly fat is with a diet that includes low-fat dairy. Dairy products have been shown to help people lose belly fat and inhibit the accumulation of further fat deposits.

Yogurt can be used as an ingredient in a number of healthy dishes. Make a delicious sauce to serve with grilled salmon or to brush over baked salmon. There are many uses for homemade yogurt including healthy snacks, smoothies, sauces or in place of sour cream for meat, potato and vegetable dishes.

How to Make Yogurt

Homemade yogurt tends to be thinner than the commercially prepared yogurts. This is because most commercial brands include thickening agents such as starch, gum, pectin or gelatin. Without these additional thickeners, your yogurt will naturally be somewhat thinner in consistency. For a thicker consistency, place cheesecloth in a colander and place the colander in a large bowl; pour the yogurt into the colander and put a plate on top. Set in the refrigerator and let the whey drain out of the yogurt. If you let the yogurt drain for a couple of hours, you will end up with Greek yogurt and if you leave it overnight, the yogurt will be very thick, almost like cream cheese. Adjust the thickness by how long you leave the yogurt to drain. If it becomes too thick, you can also stir some whey back in to lighten it up some.

How to Make Yogurt


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    5 years ago

    Alternative method. As mentioned above using a thermos is a good way, but I make up to 3 gallons at a time.

    If I'm making a gallon I use a smaller cooler (big enough for 4 qt containers and a hot water bottle), if I'm making gallons I use a larger one (like you would take to the beach). I have plastic qt container like you would get soup in from a take out restaurant.

    Like posted, I heat, cool add yogurt, mix and pakage in my qt containers. Then I place all the containers in a cooler and add a couple bottles of HOT water. This will keep the temp at the proper levels for up to 12 hrs.

    If you want to thicken the yogurt you can place a couple clean paper towels on top of the yogurt when you put it in the fridge and discard the next day.

    Use your yogurt as a healthy drink. I make some from whole milk for yogurt and cheese (AMAZING), then I make a gallon from 1% to drink.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    6 years ago

    Ruth, there is no problem with adding the sweetner before culturing. I have made this yogurt hundreds of times and have never had a problem. I typically make both sweetened (for the kids) and plain for myself and cooking. Also, if you make the plain yogurt, you can strain it through cheesecloth (after culturing and cooling) for a wonderful Greek style yogurt.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    I thought I read that you should never put sweetener in the yogurt before its finished with the culture process?

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Thanks Dardia, I think you're going to love making your own yogurt! Have fun and thanks for reading our hub.

  • Dardia profile image

    Darlene Yager 

    7 years ago from Michigan

    I'm going to have to bookmark this one, so I can come back and attempt to make my own yogurt. Thanks for the info, great hub!

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Hi mquee, it is really easy. I have my kids making it themselves now :) Once you've done it a couple times it's a breeze.

  • mquee profile image


    7 years ago from Columbia, SC

    I like yogurt and will give homemade yogurt a try. Thanks for the detailed instruction, you make it sound fairly easy. Thanks for sharing.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    yep, it's a pretty easy process and is much better than the stuff you buy in the store :) Thanks for reading.

  • Wealthmadehealthy profile image


    7 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

    WOW I never knew I could make my own yogurt. Thanks for enlightening me. What a treat. Great hub!!

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    AshleyGreen, that's exactly what I do too...well, assuming we didn't eat all of our homemade yogurt :) It's a great way to get a good probiotic yogurt and it's so easy and delicious! Thanks for stopping in.

  • AshleyGreen profile image


    7 years ago from Going for a stroll

    Well hello, I have been doing this on and off for years too :) The only difference is that I do it by taking a teaspoon of live yoghurt from my last batch (you can start it with a tsp of live supermarket yoghurt as long as it's live), and inoculate the new milk with that at hand temperature. :) It's not really scary dealing with bacteria, there's bacteria everywhere anyway, even on our fruits and veg - good bacteria are everywhere. Once good bugs are established, the bad ones don't get a look in. So if you're worried, start it off by adding some live plain (sour or greek) yoghurt, which raises the pH and doesn't give the bad bugs a chance. once you've made 1 batch you can continue to do this if you prefer, it's probably the original way yoghurt was made - by pouring some new milk on top of the old yoghurt without tipping out all the old yoghurt.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    frogyfish, making yogurt is extremely easy and it is so much better than buying it from the store. My kids love making it and it's certainly a lot cheaper than buying it. Give it a try to let us know what you think! thanks for reading and commenting.

  • frogyfish profile image


    7 years ago from Central United States of America

    I have wondered about doing this before, and you make it sound not only easy but delicious. Will have to try it sometime! Thank you - enjoyed watching you make it too!

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Hi Lita, you know how good homemade yogurt is! Thanks for your comments!

  • Lita C. Malicdem profile image

    Lita C. Malicdem 

    7 years ago from Philippines

    I make my own yogurt and yes, with the same ingredients and procedures you describe here. I serve it cool with small bits of dried fruits stirred in before eaten. However, I prepare only a consumable amount, say for 2 days, because it would taste differently if left for days.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    agusfanan, if you haven't tried making your own yogurt you are in for a treat! It really is very easy to make and it's delicious. Hope you enjoy it!

  • agusfanani profile image


    7 years ago from Indonesia

    Yogurt is my favorite and now I want to make it myself.

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Hi De Geek, yea, I love yogurt as well. It's nice that it's so easy to make!

  • De Greek profile image

    De Greek 

    7 years ago from UK

    Good stuff:-)

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    Darlene, thank you so much for your kind comments! We love making our own yogurt, not only is it cheaper, but you get to control what goes into it. During blueberry season, we make a compote that is delicious to eat with the yogurt. No matter what is in season, or even plain, it's great!

  • Darlene Sabella profile image

    Darlene Sabella 

    7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

    Now this hub is fantastic, I LOVE IT! The prices at the store are rising daily and how cool is this to make your own. I emailed this to my daughter and my friends as well as twitted it...rate way up and thank you for this awesome darski

  • Lamme profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago

    VictorG, it's really just as simple as I've explained it here. I've never had a problem, just be sure every thing is meticulously clean ... you want to grow good bacteria - not bad :) Give it a try and you'll be hooked!

  • VictorG profile image


    7 years ago from USA

    I have thought about making my own yogurt before, but it is something I kind of steered away from, because it seems like there is some potential for messing it up. Seems kind of scary to be dealing with bacteria, but now that I understand the general process, it doesn't seem that bad now!


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