How To Make Greek Yogurt in Your Slow Cooker

slow cooker greek yogurtYou just can’t have a frugal food blog without at some point having a post about making your own yogurt – it is both frugal and healthy and can be eaten by almost anyone.  It has natural weight loss and anti-cancer powers and some researchers say it actually improves lactose intolerance.

I was intimidated by the process – fears of messing up the accurate measuring, exact temperatures and timing. But, it turns out it really isn’t that complicated. Just heat, stir and keep warm for 6 hours. That’s it. Really.

One of my favorite new products in America’s food world is Greek yogurt. It is tangy but less acidic than regular yogurt and has a beautiful thick creamy texture. The Greek style may be even healthier than regular yogurt. So, I decided if I was going to try making yogurt, it had to be Greek style. I added instant dried milk powder to help thicken the yogurt and hopefully mellow the tartness. I am happy to report success! The result was a thick and creamy tart – but not acidic – yogurt at a fraction of the cost of purchased Greek yogurt. Whip up your own – it’s a snap!

Using a thermometer is very helpful, but not critical

Using a thermometer is very helpful, but not critical to making great yogurt

A slow cooker on warm seeting is the perfect place to incubate your yogurt

A slow cooker on “warm” setting is the perfect place to incubate your yogurt, or try your oven set at 100 degrees

Home Made Greek Style Yogurt

4 cups 2% milk
2/3 cup instant dry milk powder
1/2 cup organic plain yogurt, with active cultures

Whisk milk and powder together in a medium sauce pan. Heat to 180 to 190 degrees (If you don’t have a thermometer, just wait until milk is very hot and tiny bubbles start to appear around the edges of the pan. Do Not Simmer!). Remove from heat and allow to cool to 120 degrees (If you don’t have a thermometer, wait until milk is very warm but not hot to the touch). Stir in yogurt. Pour into jars and put lids on.

Keep in a warm place at 100 degrees (very warm) for 6 hours. (I used the “warm” setting on my crock pot and left the lid slightly ajar. If your oven can be heated to 100 degrees, you can use that, too.) Check to see if yogurt is thickened. If not thick enough, leave for another 6 to 8 hours, checking every hour until you are satisfied with thickness. Don’t let it go too long, though, because the longer it sits the more sour it becomes. The yogurt will thicken a little more when chilled.

Keeps in an airtight container in refrigerator for about 2 weeks.

Slow Cooker Yogurt, A Year of Slow Cooking
How to Make Yogurt, Cookography
Making Yogurt at Home
, One Hot Stove
How to Make Yogurt at Home,
AZ Cookbook
Homemade Yogurt,
Eating Out Loud

— posted by Donna


  1. Terry Tucker Hinkley says

    I’ve been experimenting with homemade yogurt over the past year. Got the first recipe from a wonderful Indian cookbook. This recipe is far superior, because it’s so much easier and more predictable. It’s fun to create your own “signature yogurts” with your favorite ingredients! Get the kids into the kitchen, too, when it’s time to start mixing in favorite fruits, honey and spices. When they love making their own, they’re more likely to eat it, too!

  2. Kelly says

    Your blog motivated me to try making my own yogurt, and I am DEFINITELY not a kitchen person. I’ve made at least six successful batches now with some trials-and-errors and wanted to offer my experiences to others considering this idea. It’s a bit of paying-it-back since your blog helped me get started!

    Now, I use my slow cooker with temperature probe (Hamilton Beach Stay or Go) for the entire yogurt making — no extra pot to wash! Add ingredients (I use a full gallon of milk to minimize how often I have to do this), set Probe for 180 degrees on High, and wait. Turns out it takes mine almost exactly three hours, so now I use Program Mode for 3 hours on High so I know exactly when I should be back. Let cool in slow cooker about 1.5 hours; originally, I used the probe to monitor the temperature (probe mode, then just reading the current temp and turning unit off before it heats up), so now I know it takes me 1.0-1.5 hours and again, when I need to get back. Then whisk starter yogurt directly into slow cooker and wrap the entire unit in a wool blanket for the 6-8 hours. Note that a fleece blanket doesn’t hold the heat well enough — yes, that’s experience talkin’. Experience also observed that I haven’t noticed a difference between waiting for the yogurt to get from 120 to 100 before wrapping, so now I just wrap right after adding the starter.

    I then distribute the yogurt into containers directly from the slow cooker. I use previously used plastic 500mL yogurt tubs (about seven), cover with plastic wrap and lid, and stack in back of fridge with one container reserved as Starter for the next batch. None have gone bad within the two weeks.

    Note re Freezing. Lazy bones that I am, I want to make as large of batches as my slow cooker will accommodate (hence the one gallon of milk to start!). So I tried freezing my yogurt, which tasted okay when thawed but had a weird runny/lumpy consistency. Useful if you’re having “road breakfast” while driving, since you can drink instead of spoon, but not very appealing. Now, I don’t freeze any and instead give away a tub or two if I can’t keep up; I could also freeze a couple tubs for “road breakfasts” and keep the rest in the fridge.

    Hope this helps! Again, thanks for getting me going on this journey. Sugar free, cheaper, and not too onerous, especially when done all in one pot.

  3. Dana says

    Holy Cow! I made this yogurt this week and fell in love! I used the convection oven on my microwave like another reader suggested and it worked perfectly. I added a little honey from the farmer’s market and some fresh fruit. Little granola sprinkled on top, and my kids’ appetites were visually piqued. I also love that it has NO ADDED SUGAR! Thanks for all the tips.

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