Any seasonal fruit is yummy with this yogurt, but I particularly like peaches which flavor very well with the vanilla I’ve added to my yogurt. Unless you like plain yogurt, I think some type of sweetener is needed. I only ever add honey or real maple syrup – and prefer the syrup with the peaches. My kids will only eat it if I sprinkle some brown sugar on top so I do that for them.
My favorite healthy granola to add comes from this recipe on Pinch of Yum. This yogurt mixture makes a wonderful breakfast or afternoon snack.
The other mix I love is fresh strawberries, a dollop of strawberry jam, and a swirl of honey – topped with granola.
Mix it all up and take a bite.
That image above makes me drool every time. Homemade yogurt doesn’t have as much of the tang found in store bought yogurts and this method I’m about to share makes it so thick and creamy.
First, let’s talk about the food and supplies you will need.
- Instant Pot
- The newest Instant Pot model is currently priced at $132.45 on Amazon. It may seem pricey but it is definitely not just for yogurt. It can replace the need for a rice cooker or a general pressure cooker and even a slow cooker crock pot. It saute’s, steams and keeps food warm. My pressure-cooking-loving sister has 5! and rarely uses her oven or stove any more. She pointed out to me that the best unsweetened yogurts are super expensive and for the cost of a gallon of milk (assuming you are using your own yogurt as a starter) you can have up to 3 quarts of yogurt and at least a quart of buttermilk. So that is less than $4 for all of that! She has seen sugar free yogurt at natural grocers for $8 a quart. This pot can definitely save you money over time! I am just getting warmed up to it’s possibilities but excited to try more. Christmas gifts anyone?
- 1 Gallon of Milk
- We like to use 2% for a creamier yogurt. You could up the cream with whole milk or try a low fat with 1%. The recipe/instructions that follow are for a gallon of milk. Adjust if necessary for a smaller yield.
- Yogurt Starter
- We won’t go into a science lesson (because I don’t like science) but to make yogurt you need a starter – which is simply 1/4 cup of plain yogurt. You can preserve some from your last batch or purchase a small container of plain yogurt. Make sure it has live active cultures.
- Vanilla (optional)
- Adding vanilla adds a great flavor to this yogurt. The amount you add depends on how potent you like it. I add 1 Tablespoons, my sister adds 1-2 teaspoons. We also like to scrape 1 vanilla bean and add it to the yogurt, for more flavor and beautiful vanilla specks in our yogurt.
- When all cooked, you need to strain the whey from the yogurt. Our favorite product for that is these Nut Milk Bags, bought HERE. They work wonderful! You can also use cheesecloth, I’ve heard.
- Powdered Milk
- This helps to thicken up the milk and is optional. Only a small amount of 3 Tablespoons is needed.
Pour the entire gallon of milk into the pot, which is off at this point.
Add 3 Tablespoons of powdered milk.
Stir with a whisk until powdered milk is incorporated and dissolved. We recommend using a whisk that is rubber coated (like THIS one) or stirring and handling the yogurt with something that is not metal. Because the pot is metal, if you were to use a metal whisk it is possible to get a hint of the metal on metal taste that can transfer to foods. Some people notice this more than others.
Now you can close the lid so it is locked in place. I keep the pressure vent switched to sealed, but I don’t think it matters with yogurt because you are not pressure cooking it. (If none of this makes sense because you haven’t used an electric pressure cooker – I highly suggest reading the manual or watching youtube videos showing how these function).
Plug the cooker in and press the yogurt button.
Quickly after that, press adjust once, and the screen will display boil. Scalding the milk is the first process of making yogurt. You need to get it to a certain temp, but you simply don’t need to worry about that because the cooker will stop the boil setting when it is finished. This boil process takes approximately 1 hour for a gallon of milk. You could essentially boil on the stove till you hit about 180 degrees Fahrenheit, but then you would dirty another pan and you would have to watch it to not scald the bottom. Pushing a button is so much easier.
When it is finished boiling, the cooker will beep at you a few times and then display “yogt”. It is important to be aware of this beep and unplug the machine right after.
Now you need to cool the yogurt to around 110 degrees Fahrenheit. I speed this up by removing the inside pot and letting it cool on the counter. I whisk every once in awhile to release heat if I’m in a hurry.
This cool down process takes about 1 hour as well. If you have a digital thermometer, like THIS one I have, you can just clip it to the pot and easily see when the correct temperature is reached.
At 110 degrees you are ready to add the starter.
Dump in the 1/4 cup yogurt.
Mix VERY thoroughly.
All that was the hardest part (which it shouldn’t have been that hard). Now put the pot back inside the cooker, seal the lid, plug it back in, and press yogurt.
It will say “8:00” which means 8 hours. If it doesn’t say “8:00”, press adjust until it does. Don’t touch a thing more and it will promptly beep at you signifying it has started the incubation process. The display will say “0:00” which means it is going to count UP until it reaches 8 hours.
Now you just forget it for the rest of the day/night and let the pressure cooker do its thing. When 8 hours is up, it will beep again. (By this time it was night and I had to flip on nasty overhead lighting for my pictures. Sorry.)
You could at this point, stir your yogurt and put it in jars to set overnight. But I don’t recommend that quite yet. Straining the whey yields a much less runny product, and I am certain you will like it better. My sister and I fill our nut milk bags with the yogurt and place a bowl underneath to catch the whey. I then hang it on cupboard handles to strain.
It’s a bit funny, but it works.
How long you let this strain will impact your final results. I find I really really like it thick, similar to a greek yogurt – so I let mine hang there for up to an hour. My sister does hers for 1/2 an hour, and yields slightly more yogurt than I do. You may want to experiment with your batches.
This next step, I found to be quite important. Rather than emptying the yogurt from the bags to the jars to set, it is best to empty the strained yogurt back into the already dirty instant pot and stir it once more. This gets rid of any lumpy yogurt and gives it a consistent consistency. This is also the point where I slice open a vanilla bean and scrape the seeds to mix into my yogurt.
Then it is time to place the yogurt and whey in jars or containers to set in the fridge overnight.
Lets talk about yield, real quick.
When I strain my yogurt in the nut milk bags for an hour, I end up getting about 2 Quart size jars full.
This batch was slightly less (I think I left it longer than an hour and someone drank a bit of my milk beforehand). My sister’s 1/2 hours strain gets her about 2 1/2 – 3 jars. However, I want to be sure you don’t think all that whey is a total waste. DON’T THROW IT OUT! The whey mixed with a scoop or 2 of yogurt can be used as a substitute for buttermilk. My kids love my buttermilk bran muffins I make with it. I’ve been searching other recipes that use buttermilk which I’m excited to try.
Here are a couple of things you can do with your yogurt, besides just eating it up.
- Use it in place of sour cream (best if you don’t add vanilla).
- Try mixing 1 cup of yogurt with 1 cup of milk and honey to taste. Throw it in the ice cream maker and you have healthy and delicious frozen yogurt.
If you need to justify the purchase of the Instant Pot, let me help. Spending that much money just to make yogurt seems difficult to fathom.
Here are some incredible pressure cooking sites that use the electronic pressure cookers. You can glance at the recipes and methods they use to get a feel for all the amazing things it can do.
When you are sold and ready to buy, click the link below!
Instant Pot Resources:
http://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/ (Her steel cut oat recipe, HERE, is to-die-for amazing! Have you ever tried to boil steel cut oats? I had a hard time ever getting them to feel fully cooked until I tried the pressure cooker).
And for more TIDBITS favorite recipes, check out our NEW COOKBOOK titled Master the Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook.
Please feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer them! I would also love to hear if you have any comments, such as – do you love/hate homemade yogurt? What mix-in’s do you use? Have you ever tried the Instant Pot? Or anything you could add!
Finally, here is a printable recipe, with very general directions. Use the recipe card for quick reference once you’ve gotten a feel for how the pressure cooker works.
- 1 Gallon 2% Milk
- 3 Tablespoons Powdered Milk (optional)
- ¼ Cup yogurt with active cultures
- 1-2 Tablespoons Vanilla (optional)
- 1 Vanilla Bean (optional)
- ½ cup sweetener (optional)
- Nut Milk Bags
- Instant Pot
- Pour milk in pot.
- Add powdered milk if using and stir.
- Lock lid in place, plug in cooker.
- Press yogurt.
- Press adjust until display reads "boil".
- When boil cycle is finished (about an hour), check the temperature and use the saute function to warm to 185 degrees F. Unplug cooker, remove pot and place on cooling rack. Cool milk to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Mix in yogurt starter.
- Lock lid in place and turn on cooker.
- Press "yogurt" and then "adjust" until the screen says "8:00". The milk will now incubate for 8 hours.
- When pressure cooker beeps at the end of 8 hours, place in refrigerator and chill yogurt for 6 hours or overnight.
- Strain yogurt using a Nut Milk Bag, Euro Cuisine Yogurt Strainer, or coffee filters for ½-1 hour or overnight for a greek yogurt consistency.
- Pour yogurt into a bowl. Add vanilla extract or vanilla bean seeds, and/or sweetener at this point, if desired. Whisk until smooth. (A hand held mixer makes quick work of this, only mix until smooth)
- Place yogurt in jars and store in fridge.
- Add your favorite mix-ins and enjoy!
If you liked this yogurt recipe, you may want to try making Homemade Ricotta Cheese in your pressure cooker as well.
Here are some pin friendly images for you to use on Pinterest!
*Linking up to these parties, HERE.
* This post contains affiliate links. Rest assured, I only recommend products and services I use and love.