Instant Pot Yogurt: Step by step directions for making yogurt in an electric pressure cooker. Includes directions for nonfat, full fat, and Greek yogurt. Also, ways to naturally sweeten yogurt. This is EVERYTHING you need to know about making Instant Pot Yogurt.
I am all about making things at home when I can.
I prefer to make fruit roll-ups, chicken stock, granola bars, and even rotisserie chicken.
However, making yogurt at home, never appealed to me--and frankly overwhelmed me.
I can purchase high-quality yogurt with simple, wholesome ingredients at every grocery store around me.
But I was intrigued to try my hand at making yogurt shortly after getting my Instant Pot--and let me tell you, I am so glad I gave it a try.
Instant Pot Yogurt
There are two reasons that I will no longer purchase yogurt at the store and make yogurt in my Instant Pot.
You guys, homemade yogurt is so much creamier and less tangy than store-bought yogurt. The first time my kids had homemade yogurt they asked if I put sugar in the yogurt. Nope just plain yogurt--just a less tangy. But man, they loved it. And so did I.
And the cost of making homemade yogurt is so much cheaper than store-bought yogurt. By making homemade yogurt you cut the cost in at least half!!!
Now that you are intrigued, let's get started.
Making yogurt at home is time-consuming, but NOT at all hard. With an instant pot, it is nearly fail-proof!
How to make Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt
Step One: Clean your Instant Pot.
- This sounds like a no-brainer. But I am not talking about simply washing your Instant Pot--you need to sanitize your inner pot.
- You can prepare your inner pot for making yogurt by pouring boiling water in the inner pot and then discard the water.
- This step can be skipped, but it helps drastically in the flavor of your yogurt--especially if you have been making a lot of Instant Pot Chili.
Step Two: Heat your Milk in your Instant Pot.
- Pour ½ gallon milk into the inner pot of your electric pressure cooker, put the lid on the Instant Pot (vent can be sealed or not sealed in this function). Hit yogurt function and then the adjust button until it says Boil.
- When the Instant Pot beeps that it is done, remove the lid and test the temperature to be sure the milk has reached 180 degrees.
- I like to leave the inner pot in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes before removing it. This helps the yogurt thicken up a bit better.
Step Three: Cool the milk to approximately 105-115 degrees.
- Cooling the milk to this temperature takes about 1 hour if placed on the counter.
- I like to speed the process up by placing the inner pot into a large mixing bowl in ice water. This takes about 15-20 minutes.
Step Four: Remove the "skin" off the milk.
- Once your milk has reached the proper temperature, skim off the top layer of milk "skin" that has formed on top of the liquid.
- This helps to give you the creamiest of yogurts.
Step Five: Whisk in a yogurt starter.
- Use either prepared yogurt or a yogurt starter and whisk into your prepared milk.
- It is important to note that if using prepared yogurt you need to be sure it is plain yogurt with live and active cultures.
- If your starter is sweetened or does not have live cultures, making yogurt at home will NOT work!
Step Six: Allow your yogurt to Incubate.
- To finish making your yogurt, place your inner pot back in your Instant Pot with lid on (again, it doesn't matter which way valve is set).
- Hit Yogurt again button again.
- Adjust until it reads 8:00 or 8 hours.
- Then let the Instant Pot do its thing.
Step Seven: Enjoy!
- Transfer to glass jars or a plastic container.
- Refrigerate and Enjoy!
How to Make Yogurt without a Yogurt Button
It is a bit harder to make yogurt without a yogurt button on a pressure cooker, but it is possible.
- It is a bit harder, but it is possible.
- Pour milk into the inner pot of pressure cooker.
- Turn on the Sear/Saute function.
- Heat milk to 180°F. Use a thermometer to check the temp often and be sure to stir very often so the milk does not scorch.
- Once the milk reaches 180°F, turn off your pressure cooker.
- Remove the inner pot and cool it to 108 degrees.
- Once your milk has reached 108 stir starter yogurt and whisk until incorporated.
- Put inner pot back in instant pot and place lid on the pressure cooker.
- Wrap in a large towel, or two regular towels and incubate for at least 8 hours or 10 hours.
How to Make Greek Yogurt
- If you would like to make Greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt, follow all the instructions for homemade yogurt.
- Once the yogurt is prepared, place a large strainer lined with cheesecloth over a large mixing bowl.
- You may need to do this in batches depending on the size of your strainer.
- Allow the yogurt to drain in the strainer overnight.
- Scoop out the thick yogurt into containers to store and discard the cheesecloth.
What to do with the extra whey from the yogurt?
- You can either discard the whey or you can use it in smoothies, oatmeal, protein shakes, etc. It will be filled with protein and probiotics.
How to make Instant Pot Fat Free Yogurt
Can you use skim milk to make yogurt in your electric pressure cooker?
Yes, you can, with a few important tips.
- I have found for nonfat yogurt, 3 tablespoons of yogurt added to ½ gallon milk works best.
- Nonfat yogurt will have quite a bit more liquid on the top than yogurt made with full or reduced-fat milk.
- Just carefully drain off the layer of liquid that forms on the yogurt and discard it.
- As nonfat yogurt sits, the liquid will begin to separate again, just mix into the yogurt before serving.
How long does Homemade Yogurt last?
- Homemade yogurt should last for up to 10-14 days in your refrigerator.
- Be sure to save 2 tablespoons of your homemade yogurt to make your next batch.
How to Sweeten Homemade Yogurt
I have found homemade yogurt to be so much smoother and a bit sweeter than store-bought yogurt and simply enjoy it topped with fresh berries or homemade granola.
Homemade Vanilla Yogurt
- Make yogurt as directed.
- Mix in 1 tablespoon vanilla extract into prepared yogurt.
- This will flavor the yogurt without any added sweeteners.
**If you like your yogurt to be sweet, you can add in honey, maple syrup, or sugar adjusted to your desired level of sweetness. I would start with no more than ¼ cup, and increase by a tablespoon at a time.
A few tips for making yogurt at home
- I use 1 tablespoon prepared yogurt for every quart of milk. Therefore for ½ gallon of milk, I whisk in 2 tablespoons of already prepared yogurt into my milk.
- You can cut this recipe in half if you would like. If you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, you can also double this recipe for homemade yogurt.
- Do NOT try to make homemade yogurt with flavored yogurt as your starter. You need to either use a yogurt starter or plain yogurt with active live cultures. How do you know if you store-bought yogurt has live cultures? The label on the yogurt will say Lactobacillus bulgaricus or Streptococcus thermophilus.
- A huge tip for making yogurt in the future is to FREEZE your starter immediately after fresh yogurt is made. I recommend using an ice cube tray. Each ice cube holds 1 tablespoon of yogurt so you will know exactly how much yogurt to defrost when making a new yogurt batch. Just be sure to thaw your yogurt cubes in the fridge to not alter the cultures in the yogurt.
- If you would like tangier yogurt, set an incubation period to 10 hours instead of 8 hours.
- If you need more tips on how to use your instant pot or are confused about some of the functions or pieces I mentioned, check out my Instant Pot 101.
- Get more easy, healthy instant pot recipes here.
Homemade Yogurt is great in:
- Yogurt Peanut Butter Dip
- 2 Ingredient Homemade Gogurts
- Peanut Butter Power Smoothie
- Skinny Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
- Skinny Spinach Artichoke Dip
How to make yogurt at home in an Instant Pot:
- ½ gallon milk
- 2 tablespoons prepared yogurt with cultures
- Pour milk into inner pot of Instant Pot. Push yogurt button until the screen reads "boil." (Usually you will need to hit the yogurt button two times) This will take about an hour.
- Once the Instant Pot beebs that the boil cycle is complete, carefully remove the lid and test the temperature. It should be around 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Let inner pot sit in instant pot for 5 minutes and then remove inner pot.
- Allow the milk to cool to 105-115 degrees. This will take an hour on the counter top or about 15 minutes if you place your inner pot into an ice bath.
- Gently skim off the "skin" on the yogurt and discard.
- Whisk in the prepared yogurt.
- Place inner pot (be sure to dry off well if you had in ice bath),put lid on and press yogurt button again and then adjust until screen reads 8:00. (The pressure should also read normal--if it reads less, hit adjust again until normal is lit up.)
- Once the pressure cooker beeps that the yogurt cycle is complete, remove the inner pot from the inner pot and cover it with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 8 hours before transferring to individual containers or stirring the instant pot.
- Once refrigerated for 8 hours, you can strain the yogurt to prepare Greek yogurt and/or set some yogurt aside for future yogurt making. To make Greek yogurt, strain the yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth overnight in the fridge (be sure to place over a large mixing bowl while draining.)
- Instead of prepared yogurt as your starter, you can use a yogurt starter. Just follow directions to determine how much starter to add to ½ gallon milk (each brand is a bit different.)
- You can use any percentage of fat to make homemade yogurt.
- To make Greek yogurt, strain the yogurt in a strainer lined with cheesecloth overnight in the fridge (be sure to place over large mixing bowl while draining.)
- Homemade yogurt should last for about 10-14 days.
- If sweetening yogurt, I have found it is best to add in sweeteners/vanilla after the yogurt has set up in the fridge for at least 8 hours, or after straining.
- If you find your milk is not reaching 180 degrees after the boil cycle, you can turn to saute function for a few minutes, watching VERY closely to help it reach to 180 degrees.
- Nutritional values are approximate and have been calculated using 2% milk. The serving size is approximately 4 ounces.
Colleen J McDevitt
I made my first batch using 2% milk and 2% plain Greek yogurt with live culture for starter. I don't like my yogurt too tangy and read that it can thicken as early as 4 hours so I only set the cook time for 6 hours instead of 8 as the recipe said. It sat up nicely, I didn't mess with it during cook time. Put it in fridge over night. I scooped out some to have for breakfast and the rest I set up to strain. It was very soft and once stired came out very runny. Good flavor and creaminess. I think maybe I should have gone the full 8. Can I go back and cook it more now. I haven't added anything in at this point.
Hi Colleen! I would recommend putting the yogurt in the instant pot with 2 tablespoons of additional starter stirred in and incubate again for 8 hours.
I have successfuly made cold start yogurt many times...lately my yogurt has failed, resulting in very loose yogurt. I use fair life milk, active culture plain yogurt...sterilized my whisk and inner pot, incubated for 10 hours...did not peek or stir...the top half is thick but underneath very loose . I have a greek yogurt strainer and it still does not thicken in the fridge overnight...any suggestions as to what the problem could be??? thanks in advance for any help!!!
Hi Lizz! I am sorry you are having issues. The most common issue for this is that the incubation setting was changed. I would check to be sure you are setting your incubation to NORMAL not LOW.
I recommend using some sort of glass lid that fits your Instant Pot, rather than the big metal lid that it comes with. That way, there is no chance for any funky flavors to get into your yogurt, from any cooking odors that may have been absorbed by the rubber ring.
It doesn't have to be an official Instant Pot branded glass lid. It can be any lid that fits, from a 10" frying pan or a pasta pot that you already own.
If you don't have any lids that fit, you can also use a standard 9" glass pie plate, which will perfectly fit both the 6 QT and 8 QT Instant Pot models. Just set it on top, with the bottom pointing down towards the pot (NOT upside down).
can you use whey as starter?
No, it does not work well in this recipe!
Great instructions! My first batch turned out so good. I used local whole milk and organic Greek yogurt. I’ll try straining it next time to make Greek yogurt but we were ready to dive in to it this morning! So good and easy! Plus, 2.5 quarts ended up being about $3 with very little hands on time!
Okay SO, word to the wise (I was not so wise) and measured out 8 cups of milk using the markings on the inner pot of the instant pot.......my yogurt was okay but super runny. After using an actual liquid measuring cup.....I realized exactly why it was so runny 😳.
Great reminder! Those measurements in the inner pot are NOT accurate, but I can understand why you would suspect they were!
If I freeze my starter, do I just put it in frozen at the step when we put the starter in, or do you usually thaw it out ahead of time.
Hi Catie! Make sure your starter is thawed before adding to your milk mixture.
Took a stab at this yesterday and overall it didn’t turn out too bad but was not as thick as yours and I found it quite tangy (could be a preference thing though). I just viewed the video today and I do wish the warning about not stirring the yogurt was in the written directions since I only went by yesterday and did stir it to taste before putting it in the fridge. I’m wondering if that’s why it didn’t set up as nicely. I’ll see how it goes next time!
I do have a question though, for using the starter packets should I also follow their recommended incubation time? I used their directions for the amount of packets to use, but decided to do your recommended 8 hours instead of their recommended 4-5 hours. Thoughts?
Hi Jenna! I will add the note to not stir in the recipe card--great suggestion. That will help it thicken. Be sure your incubation is set to normal not low as well. As for the starter packets, I would use my directions rather than the package for best results.
Just put it in jars and in the fridge. I added a bit of local honey in 2 of the jars...put some in ice cube trays to freeze. It was so good as I was licking the spoon! Thanks for the easy to follow recipe! Can't wait to try it in the morning after cooled!
Wonderful! So happy you are enjoying this yogurt!
Greetings, just bought the IP Duo at Wally World… Mainly for Yogurt and Natto… Question is what is the Yogurt temp set to…. I don’t want 180… that will kill the live cultures. I can’t find anywhere that tells me if this unit is in the 110 temp rang when fermenting…. Do you happen to have any answers? Thx 🙂
Hi Etan! For incubating yogurt using the NORMAL setting, it is between 110-115 degrees.
We use lactose free milk in our house. Any suggestions? I find it tends to be thinner thank full lactose milk. Thanks!
Hi Rachel! You may want to try my Instant Pot Cold Start yogurt recipe and use Fairlife milk, which is lactose-free. It will set up perfectly.