How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot (Greek Yogurt Style)
It’s here! Homemade GREEK YOGURT. Made right in your Instant Pot. Now we know that for many things it’s easier to buy product at the store instead of making at home, but sometimes the resulting homemade product is SO GOOD that it’s 100% worth the effort, which is why we’re talking all about How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot, specifically GREEK YOGURT. Mike is so in love with this one, he couldn’t believe it was homemade!
How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot (Greek Yogurt Style)
How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot is definitely one of those recipes we could not wait to share with you. Of course, there are a few more steps than usual to complete this recipe, because after all it is making yogurt at home., but trust us when we say the resulting yogurt, which is strained to make greek yogurt is so worth the effort. It’s so incredibly delicious and creamy, it’s super filling and doesn’t contain any sugar or additives! It’s made with two ingredients only: milk and probiotic bacteria. It’s worlds-away-different from anything you’ll buy at the store! We are so in love with this greek yogurt and are so excited for you to get your hands on this recipe!
We also love that homemade yogurt has way more probiotics than most anything you can buy at the store, because you can control how long you ferment the yogurt. The longer you ferment the more probiotic bacteria you have! We also can attest that making yogurt is so much cheaper than it is to buy at the store.
Prefer to make non-dairy coconut milk yogurt? Check out this post.
Why make homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot?
As if there aren’t enough ways to love our Instant Pot, using them to make yogurt is just another one of them! We loved the idea of doing it in the Instant Pot because it means we don’t need to buy a separate gadget to incubate the yogurt (and we know there are ways to do it without any gadget, but we’d prefer the controlled temperature). Of course, we are talking about an Instant Pot that has a yogurt function button. However if you do have a dedicated yogurt maker, you can certainly use it with this recipe as we opt to heat the milk on the stove because we didn’t like that heating it in the Instant Pot left the milk stuck to inner pot and in turn left the resulting yogurt chunky. If you prefer to skip this and just do the whole thing in the Instant Pot you can! All you need to do is hit the yogurt button until it says boil, and then let the Instant Pot do the rest. You follow the remainder of the steps after that.
What does it actually mean to make yogurt or ferment food?
In a nutshell, when you are making yogurt you are introducing bacteria cultures to milk and creating a warm and comfortably environment for them to grow for a specified period of time, or ferment. The culture is either a purchased yogurt culture or probiotic capsule that is combined with the milk to inoculate the batch with bacteria. You can also make yogurt with a previously inoculated batch of yogurt. The introduced bacteria feed off of the sugar in the milk and will thrive and multiply in an environment around 110 degrees or so, and the Instant Pot Yogurt setting keeps the milk at that temperature consistently.
If you’ve never made yogurt or fermented food before this can seem a little daunting. But once you get the hang of it making it will seem easy and can be done every week for an unending supply of yogurt.
Tips on How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot
- Read through the entire post and follow all of the recipe instructions. This is the type of recipe where the directions sound so specific and it’s all for a reason!
- If you are making this for the first time purchase a starter culture. After you’ve made the yogurt for a few times and have a feel for it you can start saving a tablespoon of yogurt to make new batches, but wait to do that until you’ve got the hang of making yogurt.
- Clean all your utensils and cookware and anything else you are going to use with hot soapy water, or place in the dishwasher. Generally speaking whenever you are fermenting food you want to make sure your cookware and utensils are sanitary so you don’t encourage the growth of bad bacteria. We also remove the inner seal from the Instant Pot lid because it has a tendency to hold on to odors, and they will definitely transfer to the yogurt.
- Use an instant read thermometer (we love our Thermapen: it’s an investment but one that will last forever) to make sure you have the correct temperature when heating up the milk and cooling it down so you don’t accidentally kill the starter culture by placing it in liquid too hot. If you don’t have an instant read thermometer make sure the milk is warm, but not hot by pickup up a couple of drops and putting them on your inner wrist. If it feels very warm it’s likely too warm for the bacteria.
- The longer you ferment the yogurt the tangier it will be. But you CAN ferment it too long. Check the package of your yogurt starter to see what it recommends. We found a sweet spot between 12-16 hours, but if your package says something different start out with that time and see how your yogurt tastes. If it isn’t very tangy try fermenting it for longer than next time you make a batch to get the yogurt you think tastes best.
- Strain your yogurt to turn it into greek yogurt! When your yogurt has finished fermenting it should definitely be thickened up, but you have to strain the yogurt if you want it to get greek style! The whey will separate from the milk and produce a super dreamy and creamy greek yogurt. Don’t throw away the whey though! You can use it in smoothies for some extra protein!
Tools we used to make this recipe:
- Instant Pot (We love our 6 qt.)
- Probiotic Yogurt Culture
- Small Jars
- Essentials: Pot and Whisk
If you like this how to post, check our these others:
- How to Cook a Whole Chicken in the Instant Pot
- How to Make the BEST Oatmeal
- How to Make Cashew Cream
- How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract
- How to Make Cold Brew Iced Coffee
- How to Make Coconut Milk Yogurt in the Instant Pot
Want to make dairy-free yogurt in the Instant Pot? We have you covered here!
How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot
For many things it's easier to buy product at the store instead of making at home, but sometimes the resulting homemade product is SO GOOD that it's worth the effort which is why we're talking all about How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot!
- In an Instant Pot with a yogurt function, remove the seal from the lid. Clean the lid and the inner pot with hot soapy water, or place in the dishwasher, and dry thoroughly. Set aside. (see note)
- Heat milk in clean medium pot over medium heat until it has started to steam and bubble around the edges, to 180ºF (we like to use our Thermapen for this).
- Place the hot milk in the Instant Pot inner liner, and let cool until it reaches 105ºF - 110ºF, about 40 minutes.
- Once it has cooled enough, in a small bowl add the live culture together with about ¼ cup of the milk and whisk until it is fully combined. Add it back to the inner pot, whisk until combined.
- Press the Yogurt function on the Instant Pot until it displays a timer. Set for 8-16 hours, depending on how tangy you want your yogurt and close the lid (without the inner seal). It does not matter whether you press sealing or not.
- Once finished, smell the yogurt. It should be pleasantly tangy.
- To make greek yogurt: Line a fine mesh strainer with either a clean cotton kitchen towel, a coffee filter and two layers of cheesecloth. Pour the finished yogurt inside and let it drain for 2-6 hours, or until desired consistency.
- Yogurt will keep in the refrigerator for 5-7 days.
- Read the entire article on How to Make Coconut Milk in the Instant Pot.
- You want to make sure the Instant Pot is clean for two reasons: the first is because you are fermenting food and you want to make sure there is no bad bacteria on your Instant Pot. The best way to do this is to put all of your equipment through the dishwasher right before use, or wash with hot and soap water. The second is because if there is any smell leftover on your lid or inner pot, which is known to happen in an Instant Pot, it will likely transfer to the yogurt. So clean it really well.
- You heat the milk up for two reasons: the first is to kill of any bad bacteria, the second is because heating it up changes the protein structure of the milk and allows for the resulting yogurt to thicken up.
- We are heating up the milk in a pot on the stove because we do not like the cooked milk solids that occurs when it is heated in the Instant Pot because it results in chunky yogurt. If you wish to use the function on the Instant Pot that brings the milk to the proper temperature you can do that.
- You want your cooled milk temperature to be accurate before adding your culture because if it’s too hot, it could kill the live culture but if it is too cold it might disturb the fermentation. If you wish to speed up the process of the milk cooling down you can place the pot in a ice bath. Just make sure to watch the temperature as it will cool quickly, around 10-15 minutes depending on how cold the ice bath is. If you cool off the milk in ice in the IP inner pot make sure to dry it off thoroughly before using.
- There may be a thin skin that has formed on the milk after it has cooled. This is normal, but we remove it to make for a smoother yogurt.
- The longer you ferment the yogurt, the tangier it will be as the bacteria consumes all of the sugar and the more probiotic bacteria will grow. We tried the yogurt at 8 hours, which was not very tangy at all, to 16 hours which was a bit too tangy for us. We preferred the yogurt on the higher end of fermentation around 12 hours. However depending on the type of culture you are using it may give a different length of time, so be sure to check the instructions on how long to ferment the yogurt.
- Depending on what yogurt starter you used will change how long you need to strain the yogurt to get thick greek style. If it goes too long and is too thick for your liking you can always add back in some of the whey.
- Don't throw away the whey! It's full of protein. You can use it in smoothies or as cooking liquid in pasta, rice, potatoes, etc.
- If at any point in the process your yogurt starts to smell bad, taste bad, or has any gray or pink liquid something has gone wrong and you will want to throw it out. Yogurt should be pleasantly tangy, but not taste “bad”.