Pressure Cooker | March 30, 2018

Instant Pot Yogurt

I have to admit, when I first heard about instant pot yogurt making I shunned the idea.  Why would I spend 16 hours creating yogurt at home when I can easily purchase it at the store?  Then one day, I just decided to go for it.  I had read many people’s experiences in various forums and decided I needed to give it a try, even if I didn’t know if it would turn out. I went with a method that involved zero boiling because it seemed the least painful.  To my surprise – it did work!  And it was creamy and delicious and a FRACTION of the calories and sugar store bought yogurt has.

Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt in glass jars with berries

Yogurt Making Sans Boiling

There are a few things you will need for this method:

  • Ultra Pasteurized Milk
  • Live Cultures
  • Sweetener (Optional)
  • And Instant Pot with a yogurt setting

Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt ingredients on a white surface with a blue whisk

Ultra-Pasteurized Milk

The first is an ultra-pasteurized milk. The reason for this is simple – using regular pasteurized milk can result in lots of yucky bacteria building up.  So go for the ultra pasteurized versions to make your instant pot yogurt.  If you want to use a regular milk you will need to do a boil start method for yogurt making.

Some ultra-pasteurized milks you may find at your grocery store are:
  • Fairlife – which is what I use.  It was the first brand I tried.  It worked.  Why fix something that isn’t broken?  I’m sticking with Fairlife.
  • Organic Valley
  • Horizon
  • Certain Varieties of Kirkland Brand Milk – be sure to read the label

Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt mason jars with fresh fruit

Live Cultures

To get your yogurt started you need to add live cultures.  The easiest way to do this is to use yogurt.  It is the same idea as a sourdough bread starter.  It may sound counter intuitive, but you need those cultures to make your own cold start yogurt.

Once you’ve made your first batch of yogurt you can use your homemade yogurt as your starter.  You can use your own yogurt as a start – freeze some yogurt in an ice cube tray, and then use a few thawed cubes in your next batch.

Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt in mason jars with fresh fruit and granola

Yogurt Starters With Live Cultures

Some brands of yogurt that contain live cultures are:

  • Fage
  • Chobani
  • Dannon
  • Yoplait
  • Siggi

Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt in a mason jars with a spoon scooping some out

Sweetener

The next ingredient for your homemade yogurt is a milk based sweetener.  This is completely optional, but let me tell you why I add it.  Sugar acts as a preservative, and when you are adding a small amount of sweetener to a gallon of milk, the amount per serving is very small.  I’ve included the nutritional information below to include my sweetener of choice (sweetened condensed milk.). I also don’t care for plain yogurt.  If you like plain yogurt, then simply omit the sweetener.

You can also add sweetener in after you have incubated your yogurt. Or you can sweeten with toppings like berries, honey, or granola.  If you want to add sweetener before you incubate, chose one of the following:

  • sweetened condensed milk
  • Natural Bliss Sweetener

Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt in a mason jar with fresh fruit at the side

The Proper Instant Pot Model

The last and most important item you need is an Instant Pot with a yogurt setting.  Not all models have this setting, and you can not complete this method without it.  There are other methods of making yogurt without a yogurt settings, but they are much more complicated.  Below are some models that have the yogurt setting.  I also included the glass lid I use while making yogurt.

instant pot cold start yogurt in mason jars with yogurt overflowing down the sides
Don’t let this intimidate you.  You will be done prepping in minutes and all you have to do is let your instant pot do the work.  If you make this recipe, please come back and leave me a comment with how it went!  I know you’re going to swear off store bough yogurt after your try it!

4.83 from 34 votes
Instant Pot Cold Start Yogurt
Instant Pot Yogurt
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
8 hrs
Chill Time
8 hrs
Total Time
16 hrs 5 mins
 

How to make creamy and delicious yogurt in the Instant Pot.

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to make yogurt, instant pot yogurt
Servings: 20 servings
Calories: 154 kcal
Author: Kadee
Ingredients
  • 104 ounces ultra pasteurized milk like Fairlife brand
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt with live cultures like Fage brand
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk optional
Instructions
  1. In a 6qt Instant Pot, combine all ingredients.  Whisk until well combined. Cover with glass lid.

  2. Using the yogurt setting, incubate for 8 hours.

  3. Without stirring, transfer inner pot with lid to a refrigerator and chill for 8 hours.

  4. Serve your cold start yogurt plain or with desired toppings.  Will keep in refrigerator for 7 days.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Yogurt
Amount Per Serving (0.75 cup)
Calories 154 Calories from Fat 54
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 9%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 21mg 7%
Sodium 89mg 4%
Potassium 271mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Sugars 18g
Protein 6g 12%
Vitamin A 5.8%
Vitamin C 0.6%
Calcium 22.5%
Iron 0.5%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

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      1. I can not eat sugar so I flavor my yogurt with Vanilla Paste. I add about two tablespoons along with the Fairlife 2% milk and my starter that I froze from the previous batch. When eating it, I add a tablespoon of strawberries that I sweetened with Splenda and froze. You can also flavor your yogurt when eating it with honey – try orange blossom.

  1. How long can the finished yogurt stay good in the refrigerator? Can I make a half recipe with success? This makes an awful lot of yogurt for my household!

    1. Yes you can make a half batch. And it lasts about a week. Some say two weeks but it doesn’t last that king at my house.

      1. If you make 1/2 a batch do you cook it for 1/2 the time? Also, have you ever made frozen yogurt from this after? I made some today, its excellent but way too much for us to eat so I’m thinking of making frozen yogurt today 😊

    1. You don’t need to strain. There is such a small amount of whey that you can just stir. If you want thicker Greek style yogurt you can strain.

    1. You can use your regular lid. Just remove the silicone ring so you yogurt doesn’t taste like chili ha ha. You don’t need the ring because you aren’t pressurizing the pot.

      1. Awesome! Yes, minE smells like salsa chicken and I was wondering about the smell seEping in! Thanks for the tips!!

  2. Can you use the natural bliss coconut milk creamer as a sweetner. One of my kids cant have lactose and fAirlife is dairy free, but the regular cream is not.

  3. It looks like my message mIght be in caps, excuse it if it is. Can you use half aNd half as your Milk source? Its ultra Past. Also, does tHe sweetened Con Milk make The yogurt thicker?


      1. Tried it last night witha quart of organic valley half half and tbps of fage yogurt and it worked beaUtifully! Creammy and thick and mild!


  4. I made another recipe that called for 52 ounces of FAIRLIFE milk with 14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbsp. Of live culture yogurt not a whole gallon. It came out great. It was thick and creamy and not too sweet. I am wondering if the thickness and sweetness level would differ much with a whole gallon of milk. Any thoughts?

    1. thickness will be the same. sweetness level will just be slightly sweet with this recipe. You can adjust the sweetener to your liking.

    1. 2/3 cup. I’m not sure why the serving size wasn’t showing up – but I’ve updated the nutritional info to reflect that.

  5. How did you calc the CALORIES? I have calculated significantly more cAlories and sugar. 14 oz of sweetened condensed milk has 1300 calories and 222 grams of sugar. Even at a 2/3 cup serving, i get 193 calories and 23 grams sugar. (Sorry for caps – it wouldnt change to lc)

    1. Hi Hllb,
      Thanks for bringing this to my attention! Our recipe cards automatically calculate the nutritional info, and when I further inspected the card it was calculating the sweetened condensed milk in a strange manner. I’m not sure what happened but it had calories with several decimals. I manually adjusted the calories and made sure the serving size was visible. It should be accurate now.

      1. Thanks! Have you tried making this with half the amount of sweetened condensed milk? I’d like to cut the sugar content a bit.

        1. I have. For me – it is kind of like eating sour cream. You can, however, add different sweeteners after incubating. Like stevia, honey, or fruit.

  6. I read on a blog that the culture shouldn’t be mixed in until after the refrigeration period. Ant thoughts on this?

    1. I would not recommend this. Your yogurt will not thicken without a rice live cultures in it.

      You can, however, add non milk based sweeteners after the refrigeration – stevia, honey, fruit, etc.

  7. If i add the sweetener before IncubatinG, will the STARTER i keep still wOrk for nExt time? (NO IDEA why all caps😩

    1. The only sweetener you can add before incubating are milk based sweeteners like sweetened condensed milk. All other sweeteners need to be added after incubation.

      Starters containing milk based sweeteners will work fine for your next batch.

  8. do you have to use a whole milk? or could you use fairlife’s 1% or 2% milk? (sorry if this comes across in all caps)

          1. 2% is what I always use, works perfectly and after I strain mine for Greek yogurt it turns out very thick which I love. BTW, Fairlife skim works well also. I’ve made it with all three – full, skim and 2%.

            When I skim mine I get about 3-4 cups of whey.

    1. I always use Fairlife skim milk with the Fage 0% and my yogurt turns out very smooth and tasty. I have used every flavor of the Natural Bliss creamer available, and they are all equally delicious. I do strain my yogurt in a yogurt strainer to make Greek yogurt, which is my favorite.

    1. If you are adding a non-milk based sweetener like stevia, sugar, or fruit – add it after the yogurt is completely done. After incubation and chilling.


  9. My batCh came out beautifully. I added a Homemade strawberry compote. My concern is that the yogurt i put in the freezer comes out really really thin once thawed. I’m worried my cubes of yogurt (without the strawBerry oBviously) will be thIn as well once thaweD. If they do Thaw really thin will they still work as a starter?

  10. I made a half batch of this with less of the swee cond milk. For a 1/2 gallon oF milk, i used about 1/3 of a can of The swee cond milk. I also strained it for about 2 hours. It tastes good and is still plenty sweet. Ill pr use 1/4 of a can of sweetener next time to reduce the sugar further.

  11. If my yogurt finishes overnight (like 4AM) and I don’t plan to get up to put it in the fridge, is it OK to sit on the counter until morning when I put it in (probably 2-3 hours)?

    1. Do you plan on leaving it in the instant pot? If so it will continue to incubate. Which is OK, but the longer it sits in that warm environment, the tangier the flavor will be.

  12. Don’t have a glass lid, so I’m just using the regular instant pot lid without the ring. But when it comes to Refrigeration, if I’m only putting the inner liner in, what’s the best thing to use for a lid?


  13. Your recipe says 1 gallon of Fairlife but the bottle is only 52 oz. Can you clarify how much you used? Does that change your Nutrition Facts?

    Thanks!

  14. Half and half is also ultra pasteurized. It makes awesome yogurt. I strain mine to get Greek yogurt and it is the best yogurt I’ve ever eaten.


  15. Is this supposed to have the consistency very similar to the sweetened condensed milk?? Or should it be thicker. Mine is just a tad bit thicker than the sweetened condensed milk. I used the exact same ingredients (packaging was the exact same as in the picture above) so I’m not sure if I did something wrong or if that is how it’s supposed to be. It’s definitely not as thick as any store bought yogurt I have ever had.

    1. Hi Judith – It should be the same consistency as a yoplait yogurt – so not as thick as greek, but thicker than sweetened condensed milk. Did you chill before stirring?


      1. Yes, chilled for 14 hours because at the 8 hour mark of chilling it would have been 2:30 in the morning. I wasn’t going to wake up to stir it and taste it then. I figured it would be ok until I woke up in the morning and had yogurt for breakfast.
        Thank you for the quick reply!!

        1. My only other guess is that the starter was not mixed well enough into the milk in the beginning. That is the only instance I’ve had of it not thickening properly. I hope you’ll try it again, and I hope you’re able to enjoy the thinner version too. :)


  16. It is excellent. Thank you for the recipe. I have made it twice but didn’t add sweetened condensed milk. Why do I have lumps. I follow the recipe to a T and I end up with lumps but it is great tasting. Just wondering thanks.

  17. Sorry, just to comfim. Should total time be 16hrs 5mins or 8hrs 5 mins? You have 8hrs for cooking, 8hrs for cooling. Should it be 4 & 4 or 8 & 8?

    Also, does it have to be a glass lid?

    1. Glass lid is not necessary. You can use the regular pressure cooker lid. Once it goes in the fridge – you can use plastic wrap or another cover. Incubation is 8 hours, chilling is 8 hours. SO 16 hours.

  18. I have made this in my Ultra 6 qt and it’s perfect every time. I just bought the Ultra Mini (3) and went to make it & discovered the yogurt function only has low/high. The larger pots have low/normal/high. When making cold start we use normal. Not knowing what to do I chose low, since high said boil. It did not turn out. It was very runny. I cannot find anywhere to tell me the temperature differences. Can it be done just going longer or will it just not work in the mini?

    1. It won’t work on an instant pot that doesn’t have the yogurt function. The yogurt function keeps the yogurt cooking at a certain temperature for many hours to help the cultures incubate and grow at the temp for the perfect yogurt.

  19. Hello- I accidentally bought the almond milk version of Natural Bliss creamer. Do you think that will work fine or should I go get the regular version?

    Thanks!

    1. I would make sure it is dairy based, as the natural bliss creamer works as a sweetener because it is a dairy base with the milk.


  20. Do you recommend keeping the glass lid on it while it chills in the fridge or would a rubber instant pot lid be better and more airtight ?


  21. You have the best, straightforward, uncomplicated recipe for IP yogurt, bar non. I am making this in my Instant Pot mini with 1/2 gallon ultrapasturized milk. I did, however, use the ‘boil’ yogurt setting to bring the cold milk and the can of condensed sweetened milk up to about 90 degrees F to get the milk warm right away, because it takes a long time to get to incubation temp otherwise. Then I add my starter and set for 9.5 hours because we like our yogurt a bit more tangy. Since we always use organic ultrapasurized milk, I could never see heating the milk up to 185 or so. Your method is so much simpler to understand. Thank you


  22. Can I make the cold start yogurt in a 7 c pyrex bowl instead of the instant bowl? It would prevent any smell from instant pot bowl and I could leave it in pyrex bowl for serving instead of transferring it to the pyrex bowl to refrigerate.

  23. I’ve used the boil Would love to try this. I have the ultra model. When I go to yogurt setting, it gives. Temperature options. Low. Nef. High. Which do I choose for this method? Thank you


  24. Just made this and it came out great. I used low-fat fairlife. I was wondering what type of milk your nutrition information is based on. Whole? Low-fat? Fat free? Thanks!


  25. Thank You! This was my 3rd attempt at instant pot yogurt. First 2 times were with the heating the milk up and cooling it down. They didn’t turn out right. Different problem with each.
    This time I tried with your method. I used fairlife whole milk, stoneyfield organic plain yogurt (it was the only “plain” I could find with live cultures), and Eagle sweetened condensed milk. Mixed it all together and used the regular cover with it on the venting setting. 8 hours later…PERFECTION. As soon as I lifted the lid I could see the difference. I chilled it and have half in a strainer to try it Greek style. It’s better than the store bought I have. I can’t even believe it. Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

  26. Can you make this a dairy free yogurt. My grand daughter had a dairy allergy. I can buy the dairy free condensed milk and yogurt. Which milk would you recommend. Thank you. Have a great day

    1. I’ve not tried this. The milk you use has to be ultra pasteurized. If it is not, you’ll need to use the boil method that I linked to in the post.


  27. Hi! My second time making this yogurt – it was easy and good but I would like it a bit thicker. Would I strain it before or after it sets in the refrigerator?
    TIA!
    Donna

  28. I accidentally stirred this before putting it in the fridge (my old boil method had me stir). What can I expect and is there any saving my yogurt??


  29. Would you happen to know the nutritional value without the condensed milk. Since I want to use part of my batch for Yogurt Sauce, the sweetener is not necessary. Thank you for al of the great info and tips!

  30. I was just in my local store looking for the Fairlife to see who carries it. I seen several flavored choices, like chocolate, or vanilla etc. Can these flavored choices be used too??

    1. Hi Terri,

      I’ve not tried to make yogurt with the flavored varieties – so I don’t have an answer for you. If you try it, please let me know!


  31. This is delicious. Question: I’ve been using sweetened condensed milk and I’d like to try a batch with the Natural Bliss, BUT, I’m not sure how much to use??? help


  32. I’ve made this a few times now using fair life whole and 2% milk and both were equally creamy. I made it with the sweetened condensed milk up until last night. I used some maple syrup to sweeten it instead and was anxious to see how it turned out this morning. Without thinking, I took the lid off and added the vanilla and stirred it in. Afterward, I realized I’m not supposed to stir until AFTER it chills. Fingers crossed that it still turns out. Have you ever stirred too soon?

  33. Help! I followed this recipe to a T and after an 8 hour incubation, it is completely liquid still. What could have happened?

    1. Hey Amber, did you whisk the yogurt starter into the milk well? Sometimes if the starter isn’t fully incorporated into the milk, the cultures won’t grow. A few readers have reported that their yogurt didn’t set up if they did not whisk it well.


  34. Oh my gosh, why haven’t I made this sooner? I’m not a plain yogurt lover, so I would add a small amount of sweetener next time. I was going to spend $25 on a yogurt strainer on Amazon, but thankfully changed my mind and bought a cheese cloth. Strained it for about 2 hours to get rid of the whey, and it turned out perfect. Thick and creamy

  35. Can I make the yogurt with the pot in pot method? I don’t have a 2nd inner pot and don’t want to tie up my instant pot for 16 hours. I have a stainless steel container that will fit in my 8 quart. Thanks in advance!