A couple years ago, I discovered the amazing way you can make homemade yogurt in your crock pot. Since then, my slow cooker and I have made dozens upon dozens of batches of homemade yogurt using this simple recipe.
We’ve eaten a lot of homemade yogurt and love it! Recently, we’ve started eating greek yogurt for the higher protein that it has in it. I enjoy eating Greek yogurt with my homemade granola for breakfast.
As if yogurt prices are not high enough, Greek yogurt prices are ridiculous highly! You are easily paying $5 or $6 for a quart of yogurt. With sales on milk, I can make a quart of Greek yogurt for around $1.50. That is a substantial savings!
The main difference between regular yogurt and greek yogurt is the thickness. To achieve that, you will need to add powdered milk to your yogurt. I tried making greek yogurt without the powdered milk and it just didn’t work. Add powdered milk and strain your yogurt to make it nice and thick.
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1/2 gallon milk (I used Skim because I wanted a non-fat Greek yogurt. Any milk will work – knowing that the higher percentage of milk, the less you will have to strain.)
1/2 cup yogurt starter (Any yogurt with live cultures – Greek or regular – works. I’d recommend plain or vanilla.Once you make your first batch, simply save 1/2 cup of the yogurt to use as starter for your next batch.)
1/2 cup instant powdered milk (You can buy this in the baking aisle of your grocery store or at a bulk food store.)
1/2 cup sugar (I’ve read that honey works too. I stick with a simple sugar. You can add more or less to taste. This amount was just about perfect for us.)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract (I use my pure Mexican vanilla which I love! We buy ours at El Mercado in San Antonio but you can buy a similar bottle on Amazon, although not as cheap. It is so delicious!)
Cheesecloth and colander (Necessary and explained below.)
Pour 1/2 gallon of milk into your crock pot and turn it on low. Let it sit for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Set a timer and walk away from the crock pot at this point.
When the timer dings, turn the crock pot off and unplug it. Whisk in powdered milk. If you want vanilla greek yogurt, whisk in sugar and vanilla. Let the yogurt sit for 3 hours. Again, set your timer and resume your regular activities.
After the 3 hours are up, whisk in your yogurt starter.
Put the lid back on the crock pot and wrap the entire crock pot in one or two beach towels. I wrap one around the outside and cover the top with another towel. The reason being is that it allows the temperature of your yogurt to slowly cool and culture.
Let your wrapped crock pot sit for 8 to 12 hours while the yogurt cultures. The longer the yogurt cultures, the tangier the taste. 8 to 9 hours is what I generally do.
Now you have yogurt – and here’s how we turn it into greek yogurt.
After the 8 hours are up, line your colander with 2 or 3 squares of cheesecloth. Place the colander on top of a metal bowl and pour all of the yogurt into the cheese-lined colander. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight to strain. This allows the whey to strain out from your yogurt, turning it into Greek yogurt.
In the morning, simply scrap the yogurt out of the cheesecloth and put in a glass jar to store in the fridge. You now have greek yogurt!
I think vanilla yogurt is the perfect flavor for the addition of fruit or granola. If you don’t want vanilla yogurt, simply omit the sugar and vanilla in this recipe to make plain Greek yogurt.
1/2 gallon is 8 cups. If you don’t strain the yogurt, you will end up with 8 cups of regular yogurt. When I am done straining it, I end up with around 4 cups of Greek yogurt. If you strain out too much whey and the yogurt is too thick for your liking, it is easy to stir some whey back in to thin your Greek yogurt a bit.
I found my cheesecloth at Meijer. You can also buy it on Amazon here or here. It can be washed and reused after each batch of yogurt. This is a similar model to the slow cooker I use, for those who are curious.
Since Greek yogurt takes longer than regular yogurt, I start the process first thing in the morning. Then, when I go to bed, I transfer the yogurt to the colander and fridge to drain over night. When I wake the next morning, my Greek yogurt is ready!
If you find a good deal on milk, remember that milk freezes really well so you could buy your milk and freeze it until you are ready to make yogurt. There are so many foods you can freeze, like milk! Just pour a little bit of milk out before freezing so the jug can expand. I buy milk when it’s on sale and use half of the milk to make yogurt. Then, I freeze the other half until I’m ready to make another batch of yogurt.
Due to the size of my colander, I stick to making half gallon batches of yogurt. This ensures our yogurt stays fresh, too!
It might seem intimidating but if you eat a lot of yogurt and are looking to save money, give this a try. I’m still amazed at how simple it is to make yogurt with a crock pot!
What do you think? Will you try making your own Greek yogurt? If you have any questions, ask in the comments, and I’ll do my best to answer!