A Step-by-Step Pictorial Guide to Making Yogurt

In July I wrote a post called How to Make Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker. Today I am expanding on that post by showing step-by-step how I make yogurt at home. Once you get the hang of making yogurt, it is very easy to work it into your daily routine. In fact, we enjoy this yogurt so much that I make it 2-3 times per week.

And yes, making yogurt at home is cheaper than buying ready-made yogurt. The milk I use—Organic Whole Milk—costs $5.99 per gallon. A gallon of milk makes 16 cups of yogurt, so that means each cup of yogurt costs only $0.37. Not bad!

If you’re wondering more about what type of milk to use or what type of starter, do look back at my first yogurt post to learn more.

First, choose your milk. I like to use whole milk because it makes a thick, creamy yogurt. You could use lower fat milk, but the yogurt may not be as thick and creamy.


Measure the milk. We're going to make four cups of yogurt, so we'll need four cups of milk.


Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan.


Turn the stove on to medium low.


Bring the milk to 180* F or until it just boils. Watch it closely and stir frequently because once milk begins to boil, it can overflow quickly.

Meanwhile, while the milk is heating, prepare an ice bath in the sink or other large container.


See the foam beginning to form? The milk has been pasteurized and is ready for the next step.


Carefully pour the hot milk back into the measuring cup.


Set the milk in the ice bath until the temperature of the milk cools to 110*F. Alternatively, you can skip the ice bath and simply let the milk cool on the counter.


While the milk is cooling, prepare your yogurt starter. Today I am using "Yo'gourmet," a freeze-dried yogurt starter. You could use 1/2 cup of plain yogurt as your starter if you don't want to buy the yogurt starter.


Cut open the yogurt culture packet and pour the powder into a small bowl. I like to use this 2-cup liquid measuring cup because it has a pour spout, which will come in handy later.


The hot milk has now cooled to 110*F. Time for the next step!


Pour about 1/2 cup of the warm milk into the measuring cup with the yogurt culture powder (or 1/2 cup of plain yogurt, if you're using yogurt as your starter).


Whisk well to dissolve the powder.


Pour the warm-milk-yogurt-culture-starter mixture into the main measuring cup with the rest of the warm milk (see! the spouts come in very handy with all this pouring back and forth.)


Whisk well.


Choose the bowl or crock in which you will incubate (grow) your yogurt. I like to use this insert to our mini crock pot.


Pour the milk mixture into the bowl or crock. Don't use a metal pot because it will impart a metallic taste to the yogurt.


Prepare your incubation area. Ideally, the milk will be kept at 100*F for 4-8 hours. Since our house is cool and I don't have a yogurt maker, I wrap the crock of yogurt in a heating pad turned on low and a bath towel.


Once you wrap the crock and turn the heating pad on low, don't disturb it for at least 4 hours. After 4 hours, you can peek and see if you want to leave your yogurt longer. I like to incubate my yogurt for 6 hours---it is thick and slightly tart. Incubation time will vary depending on your yogurt starter and heat source. Experiment and you'll soon discover how long to incubate your yogurt.



And here you have delicious, homemade yogurt. Cheers!


2 Thoughts on “A Step-by-Step Pictorial Guide to Making Yogurt

  1. Great Post! We’ve been making our own yogurt for years but use a yogurt maker. For three months (we make a batch every 7 days) we just use 2/3 cup of our yogurt as a starter. At the end of the three months we use a new packet. Also, we make it with 1% milk. We tried skim and it didn’t set. Since we eat it every day, 1% saves on our calorie intake but I’m sure it’s not as creamy as yours.

    • andrealein on October 16, 2010 at 11:00 PM said:

      That’s great advice to use fresh yogurt as the starter for 3 months and then start over with a new packet after that. It would certainly save money instead of using a new packet every time! Have you ever tried putting powdered milk in the yogurt? I read online that some people like to do that to make their yogurt thicker, but I’ve never tried it. Thanks for your thoughts—it’s fun to hear from a fellow yogurt maker.

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