5 Ingredients or Fewer

Homemade Fruit Yogurt

October  1, 2012
4 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 11 hours 10 minutes
  • Cook time 25 minutes
  • Makes about 6 cups
Author Notes

As I mentioned last time, our pediatrician told us we shouldn't give Clara cow's milk until she's at least one. But apparently stuff made from cow's milk–if you culture it, for example, or turn it into cheese–is fine. Go figure. I don't know the science behind this, nor can I say really care. I come from a long line of dairy freaks, so this was straight-up good news.

Cottage cheese, a particular favorite in my family (did I mention that I have a husband who can't stand cheese? It was the one serious concern I had before I married him.), made it into Clara's breakfast routine early on. Soon we were ready to try yogurt.

I'd been buying organic cottage cheese without guilt, but once I started checking out yogurt labels, I found I wasn't thrilled at the prospect of feeding Clara one of the commercial "baby-friendly" varieties. (Have you seen how much sugar there is in that stuff?) So I pulled my yogurt maker out of the closet. Last year, I wrote about how easy it is to make your own yogurt, and I have one of these to make it even simpler. You just heat up some milk, add starter, pour it into cute little pots and leave the yogurt to gestate overnight.

I confess I felt a small thrill of self-satisfaction knowing I'd actually made yogurt for my child. I mean, how lucky was she? That thrill died when I tried to get her to eat it. When I tasted the yogurt, I'd found it pleasantly tangy and rich–better than store-bought for sure. Clara did not appear to agree. After the first dab hit her tongue, she screwed up her little nose and pressed her lips together like a vise. Our first yogurt tasting was a total failure. As was our second. When she rejected it a third time, I realized it was time to face facts. My kid wasn't going to eat this yogurt as-is.

Rooting around in the fridge, I found some stewed blackberries I'd made the week before from some squashed berries that had fallen victim to some of the heavier produce in my farmers market bag. I strained some of the berries and their juice into the yogurt and tasted it. Tasty, but maybe even more tart than before. I needed something liquid and sweet, and I wasn't supposed to add honey. I spied a bottle of maple syrup and dribbled a little bit into the yogurt. I stirred and tasted again. Then I thought, "If my child doesn't appreciate this damned yogurt, then she's no child of mine."

This story has a happy ending (if it didn't, would I really be telling it?): Clara now loves yogurt. She still makes wonderful funny faces at the tartness, but now she opens her mouth for more before she's swallowed the last bite. I've made raspberry, peach, and blueberry yogurt, always cooking the fruit down with just a sprinkle of raw sugar to coax out the juices, and then sweetening the yogurt itself with a little maple syrup. If I run out of my own plain yogurt, I buy a plain, organic whole-milk variety and mix in the fruit and maple syrup. And I plan to freeze plenty of fruit purees now (more on freezing another week). That way, I can feed Clara homemade fruit yogurt all winter.

I haven't measured how many grams of sugar are in a serving of my homemade yogurt, and I don't plan to. If it's the same as the store-bought kind I initially rejected, well, I figure ignorance is bliss. —Merrill Stubbs

What You'll Need
  • Yogurt
  • 9 cups (40 ounces) organic whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt starter or 1/2 cup yogurt with active live cultures
  • Fruit puree (recipe below)
  • Maple syrup to taste
  • Fruit Puree
  • 2 cups ripe fruit (berries, chopped peaches or pears, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar
  1. Yogurt
  2. Heat the milk gently in a large, heavy saucepan until it starts to steam. Remove the pan from the heat and let the milk cool to room temperature.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the starter or yogurt and about a 1/4 cup of the lukewarm milk until smooth. Whisk this into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  4. Transfer the milk to a measuring cup or bowl with a spout and pour carefully into seven 7-ounce yogurt jars (make sure these are clean and dry). Arrange the jars, without their lids, in the base of the yogurt maker and cover the base with the clear plastic lid. Plug in the yogurt maker and set the timer for 7 to 8 hours, depending on how firm you like your yogurt.
  5. When the yogurt is set, screw the lids onto the jars and refrigerate them for at least 3 hours.
  6. Once the yogurt is chilled, stir a few spoonfuls of the fruit puree and a bit of maple syrup (taste as you go) into each pot of yogurt.
  1. Fruit Puree
  2. Combine the fruit and sugar in a small heavy saucepan and add 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover and lower the heat until just simmering. Cook for about 5 minutes, until the fruit starts to soften and release its juices. Mash the fruit and strain it through a fine mesh sieve. Set aside to cool and then cover and refrigerate.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Horto
  • deannanana
  • Mio Cuore
    Mio Cuore
  • Merrill Stubbs
    Merrill Stubbs
  • Jasser Abu-Giemi
    Jasser Abu-Giemi

17 Reviews

Rahul P. July 21, 2017
Wow, Mam yogurt looks so healthy, will definitely try making at home. also can you make a recipe on Greek yogurt like
( https://awesomedairy.com/product-category/dahi/yoghurt/ ) this coz most of the people say it's healthy
Rahul P. July 21, 2017
harley September 10, 2015
ok so i dust made a cupcake and i made it with yogurt and fruit and i cooked it and it turned out good and i was vary happy that it turned out good
harley September 9, 2015
I need to try it and see if it works and i hope that it works and i need to get barries and than i will will try it love you all
Horto August 21, 2014
i used to make yogurt when in art school, from the whole earth catalogue, Remember Yogurt! it was called. don't know why i did but it turned out just fine. now i make it with a science which is easy, heat to 180, cool to 116, add culture, after a day chill.

ustabahippie July 27, 2014
I use my crock pot, set it on low, wrap in a towel and when it's warmed up, turn it off. Perfect, lovely yogurt. If someone would gift me a yogurt maker, I'd use it!
deannanana July 23, 2014
No one needs to buy a yogurt jar, and the lack of alternatives in this recipe is silly. All you need is to keep the milk/cultures mixture warm for several hours. I've had consistent success by heating the milk to about 100 degrees F, mixing in a tablespoon of cultured yogurt (from the previous batch, after the first time you make it), and pouring the mixture into a thermos. Wrap the thermos is a towel (to further insulate it), and 8 hours later you have yogurt.

I'm pretty sure more people have thermoses than yogurt makers!
Merrill S. July 24, 2014
I'm sorry to hear you find this recipe silly. I happen to love my yogurt jars, and I know a fair number of others who do as well. By all means use a thermos, a larger jar, a crock or whatever you like!
Cole February 10, 2015
I don't think it is silly, either! If users are on Food52, they are probably familiar with the Internet and finding their own substitutions for items and ingredients they cannot find or do not have. Thank you for the recipe, Merrill. I love my yogurt making accoutrement as well. :)
Phuck H. December 4, 2018
9 cup organic milk is not 40 ounces. There are 8 ounces in a cup 9 times 8 is 72. Therefore 9 cups organic milk is 72 ounces. And if you make yogurt with 9 cups organic milk plus 1/2 cup yogurt and 2 cups of fruit and then fill 7 - 7 ounces yogurt jars what do you do with the remaining 25.5 ounces?
rainey September 14, 2013
My method is to put my yogurt in wide mouth canning jars, put them into an insulated lunch bag and put that in the microwave overnight. The microwave is turned off, of course, it's just a big insulated box. Same idea as the beer cooler Irene suggested.

I use 2% milk and add non-fat milk powder. If I want it flavored I steep a vanilla bean in the milk while it's heating and cooling and I add condensed milk or dulce de leche. Then fruit or whatever else can be added when it's consumed.

I wouldn't say you can't make yogurt from milk that has cooled to room temperature ('cause I've never tried to) but I inoculate my milk at between 110º and 125º and then use the insulation to attempt to let it cool as slowly as possible. I make mine overnight and in the morning my jars are still vaguely warm when they go in the fridge. The yogurt is also thick and silky.

Making your own yogurt is soooo simple it shouldn't be that goooood!
Irene September 8, 2013
Hi Angela,I always place the warm milk and cultures in a Rubbermaid insulated container( the ones that are normally used to keep liquids cold in the summer)and next morning...voila... yogurt made!
Mio C. August 29, 2013
This look nice will try it, normally i add canned fruit..... I follow same step but instead of yogurt maker i put it in a tight recipient (tupperware), cover it with a cloth and put it in a dark and warm place..... its came out the same...
Ecuacan October 8, 2012
Agave nectar is also.a great sweetener. It won't spike your blood sugar and it tastes good!
funcooking October 3, 2012
I also make homemade yogurt, but since I packed away my yogurt maker I looked for a way to do it without one. I came across a reciped from my kindle book 'Essential Ayurveda' which I use all the time. It's exactly the same procedure, but I just make a quart. When it's ready to pour into containers I use a tall glass container with a snap on lid. I pour it into that, put the lid on and set in the oven with only the light on, and in the morning I have perfect yogurt.
Angela November 27, 2012
I don't have a yogurt maker either. But my oven also doesn't have a light. I wonder if it would work if I just set my oven to "warm" overnight?
Jasser A. January 2, 2023
do you have a heated blanket? that could work