Instant Pot

Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt

April 10, 2019
2 Ratings
Photo by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Prep time 9 hours 5 minutes
  • Makes about 9 cups
Author Notes

When you open the pot after 8 hours of incubation, the yogurt will appear very firm and the whey—a pale yellow liquid—will be separate from the milk solids. Just give the mixture a stir before you pour into the strainer.

Homemade Yogurt from INSTANT POT MIRACLE © 2017 Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Reproduced with permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved. —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: 10 Surprising Things You Can Make in Your Instant Pot. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 gallon milk (whole, 2%, 1%, or skim*)
  • 3 tablespoons powdered milk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt with active cultures
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (optional)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar or honey (optional)
  • Cheesecloth
  1. To sterilize the Instant Pot, pour the water into the pot. Secure the lid on the pot. Close the pressure-release valve. Select steamand adjust cooking time to 5 minutes. When cooking time is complete, use a quick-release to depressurize. Press CANCEL. Remove the lid and pour water out of the pot. Dry and cool pot.
  2. Pour the milk into the completely cooled pot. Stir in powdered milk if using. Secure the lid on the pot. Open the pressure-release valve. Select YOGURT and adjust until display reads “Boil.”
  3. When boil and cool-down cycles are complete (about 1 hour), check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. If it is not 185°F, select SAUTE and adjust to NORMAL to warm it to 185°F. Press CANCEL. Remove inner pot and place on a cooling rack to cool. (Or speed the cooling process by setting the inner pot into a sink full of cool water.) Cool milk to 110°F, whisking occasionally. Return inner pot to Instant Pot.
  4. Whisk in yogurt and, if desired, vanilla and sugar. Secure the lid on the pot. Open the pressure-release valve. Select YOGURT and adjust incubation time to 8 hours, making sure display says NORMAL. (If a more tart flavor is desired, you can adjust the time up to 10 hours.)
  5. When incubation time is complete, cool yogurt in the pot in the refrigerator, covered and undisturbed, for at least 6 hours or overnight.
  6. In a large bowl place a colander lined with a double layer of cheesecloth. Transfer yogurt to the cheesecloth-lined strainer and strain in the refrigerator for about 1 to 2 hours for regular yogurt or at least 8 hours or overnight for Greek-style yogurt. Store in tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator.
  7. *NOTE: Milk that is higher in fat will produce thicker, creamier yogurt than 1% or skim milk—but you can also thicken yogurt by straining it for a longer period of time. The powdered milk is optional, but it, too, helps thicken the yogurt—as well as adding protein.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Sarah Greenblatt
    Sarah Greenblatt
  • Athena PN
    Athena PN
  • AntoniaJames
  • judy

6 Reviews

Sarah G. April 4, 2022
What does open the pressure release valve mean? Mine has two settings. Neither is called "open."
Athena P. November 12, 2020
Highly recommend the Bulgarian yogurt starter from We’ve made our own Instant Pot yogurt every 2-3 days for 2+ yrs now all from that original, European-style mild starter. Oddly enough, our best local milk option is CostCo. If your yogurt fails, do persevere with a different milk; we had poor results with one local milk & are guessing that it was ‘pasteurized’ at a slightly higher temp making it less suited for yogurt or cheese. (If you’re in NW Oregon, avoid Alpenrose milk.)
judy November 8, 2020
I'd just like to add an incubation option that uses minimal grid energy and minimal me energy. After my yogurt has cooled down I gently introduce the the starter ("nice to meet you...") and gently incorporate. Next I pour the mixture into mason jars and cap them. I use half gallon or quart size depending on the size of the batch I'm making. Place the jars in an empty plastic cooler, fill the cooler with HOT tap water to the level of the yogurt and close the lid. In 6-8 hrs your yogurt is done. The longer it sits the tarter it gets. I like mine at about 8 hrs. I forgot a batch one time and it went 12 hours. It was a bit robust but still quite edible. It was an excuse to add a bit of sweetener which I never do :) Energy is saved by heating the water via the tap and passive incubation Once done the yogurt is a bit warm but can be put into the fridge without making the fridge work (NRG) overtime to cool it. The water left over in the cooler can be recycled for plants or poured into a bucket to mop a floor or whatever.
BTW I got a great half gallon size strainer by Hartigo. Maybe Food 52 could make a deal for a nice gray one......... I make my own yogurt for quality control, to decrease waste and it's fun!
AntoniaJames February 11, 2020
I always use the Instant Pot for yogurt - but only the controlled temperature function once I've heated and cooled the milk, added the starter, etc. I go through a lot of yogurt, as Greek yogurt is a superb source of protein, which I need because I work out / cycle a lot. My primary reason for making yogurt myself is not so much the cost (mine costs 65% of comparable quality from the stores), but because it cuts down on the amount of plastic I consume. Yes, plastic can be recycled, but the cost of producing the plastic and then the cost of transporting, sorting, etc., and then of recycling, are unnecessary. I buy my milk from a local dairy that delivers excellent milk to my doorstep in glass bottles. (They milk on Monday morning what they deliver to me on Tuesday. Bonus: the cows graze near many of the places here in Boulder County where I cycle when out on longer rides.) Buying milk in returnable glass bottles reduces one's plastic use for yogurt to zero.

My method is not just simple and efficient, it produces Greek yogurt that's better than even the most expensive brands one can buy:

Put 7 cups of milk in a 2 quart Pyrex pitcher and microwave to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. In my microwave, it takes 18 minutes. Meanwhile, create an ice bath. I use the small side of my double sink and put lots of ice in it. When the milk reaches 180 degrees, I remove it and cool it in the ice bath, until it reaches 108 degrees. That takes less than 10 minutes, mostly hands off, of course, though I do test after about 5 minutes and then frequently after that, as the milk tends to cool quite quickly.

Meanwhile, I set up the IP and put it on "Yogurt" setting, which on my Ultra means medium temperature for 11 hours.

When the milk has cooled to 108 degrees, I remove the skin on the top and pour the milk into the Instant Pot. I whisk in 1/2 cup of non-fat dry milk powder - very important for the best texture, in my experience - and 2-3 tablespoons of starter, from my current batch. I put a tea towel and then a metal lid on top, press "start" and let it run for 9 - 11 hours. Then I strain the yogurt through a thin flour sack towel or butter muslin, until it's thick, the way I like it.

I save the whey and use it in pancakes, waffles and certain baked goods, in certain soups and dals, etc.

Hope this helps. ;o)
MonicaAnn December 22, 2019
I have a 6 qt. Crock Pot Express multi-cooker and use it for yogurt. I use a 1 cup starter (after I've made my own) and always temper it by putting it in a glass bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, ladling a little of the warm milk and mixing them so the residual heat doesn't kill the starter cultures. After stirring the starter into the milk, I also stir in 1 cup heavy whipping cream. When the yogurt is finished it's the consistency of Greek style yogurt with no straining necessary.
MonicaAnn December 22, 2019
Meant to mention I use whole milk. The first starter I used (or if I need a new one bc husband ate the one I was saving) is a regular cup of plain low fat yogurt, brand doesn't matter as long as it has live active cultures and isn't sweetened.

Truthfully, tho, making it in a multi-cooker this way saves no time or work than making it on the stove top and incubating as I normally would. Definitely not the only or main reason to buy one.