Nov 092009

Hi!  Thanks for visiting! This is an older post and I confess, I actually have a new favorite way to make yogurt now.  With only two ingredients, you’ll make the thickest, creamiest, homemade yogurt ever!  Come check it out here.

However, if you’d still like to make it in the slow cooker, keep reading!


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I am the last person you would think who would be making yogurt.

I never thought I would. I thought that, unless you ran a dairy farm, yogurt was just one of those things that you just had to buy. Like butter. Or cheese. Something that normal people just didn’t make.

I was almost proud of the fact that I bought it.

Though I had friends who had made yogurt in the past, their recipes sounded complicated. Some involved specialty yogurt-making equipment. Others involved thermometers, special processes for keeping the milk a specific temperature like putting it in a thermal-lined ice chest or ovens that could be kept at really low temperatures (which mine never could). I just didn’t have the space or the time or the equipment, I said. And I know that if I had an ice chest laying around in my kitchen, there’d be no way that I’d be able to keep my son out of it. He’d be opening it and closing it, and opening and closing it and that whole “maintaining a constant temperature” thing would be out the window.

So I figured that I’d always buy yogurt. I envisioned that those people who made yogurt were exotic gypsy women with garlic hanging from the ceiling and wearing brightly colored scarves. I know. Who am I to talk? Me of the homemade sourdough starters, lacto-fermented condiments, herbs drying in my kitchen, and on and on. Yeah, but I hadn’t made it to yogurt production yet. I hadn’t gone THAT far yet in being a real foodie.

And then I came across a recipe to make yogurt in my crockpot. I read it. It was ridiculously simple. And I already had a crockpot, so I didn’t have to buy a new piece of equipment. I decided to go ahead and try the recipe.

What would I be out except for a half gallon of milk?

And I’ve been making it ever since. I’m a homemade yogurt convert.

This recipe is fantastic and one that I make about once a week. I originally discovered this recipe on A Year of Slow Cooking blog- did you hear that Stephanie has a cookbook out now, Make it Fast, Cook it Slow? I can’t wait to get my hands on it; it’s going on my Christmas List . . .

Crock Pot Yogurt
from A Year of Slow Cooking
  • 1/2 gallon of whole milk (I use organic, and oftentimes raw, but use what you have. It’s best NOT to use ultra-pasteurized if you can help it)
  • 1/2 cup live/active plain yogurt (to be used as a “starter”, like sourdough.  Can be store-bought or 1/2 cup from a previously homemade yogurt.  Full fat is best and what I would recommend)
  • Crockpot
  • Heavy bath towel or blanket

In a 4-quart slow cooker, turn cooker to low and pour in milk. Cover and allow to cook for two and a half hours.

After two and a half hours have elapsed, turn off cooker, unplug from wall and allow to sit, covered, for three hours.

Three hours later, whisk in starter yogurt and re-cover. Cover/Wrap the entire crockpot with a large bath towel or blanket and leave on your counter for eight hours.

After eight hours have elapsed, your yogurt is done! I normally lift the entire crock out of the base and keep it in my fridge until I have time to decant into something smaller . . .

This makes a fantastic smooth yogurt with just the right hint of tang. It tastes better than anything I’ve ever bought.

Go. Make It Now.

If you want it a bit thicker,
(I often prefer Greek-style yogurt) simply line a colander with cheese cloth or coffee filters, place over a bowl and pour yogurt into it. The whey will drain off into the bowl (collect it and store it in your fridge for a few months for other cooking – I use mine to soak grains, make lacto-fermented foods or just add some to smoothies for extra nutrients) and you’ll be left with a thick, creamy yogurt.

Allow to drain longer for yogurt cheese, which you can use just like cream cheese.

If you want to flavor it, now is the time! Stir or blend in fresh or frozen fruit of your choice and maybe even a little honey for sweetness. YUM!

How do I use my slow cooker yogurt?

  • In Green Smoothies
  • Mixed with Regular Granola or Grain Free Granola for breakfast
  • In place of milk or buttermilk in pancakes, bread and muffin recipes
  • In place of sour cream in homemade ranch dressing
  • Drained of whey to make a yogurt cheese, I mix in fresh herbs to make an herbed cheese bread for bagels or crackers, or mix in dried fruits and honey for a perfect spread for toast
What other ways do you use yogurt?

Special Tip #1: Due to the time guidelines for this recipe I generally start it either first thing in the morning, by 8:00am, so that it is done by 9:30/10:00pm, or I start it in the early evening (around 5:00pm) so that I can stir in the starter yogurt before I go to bed and put it in the fridge while I’m getting my coffee the next morning.

Special Tip #2: I’ve heard that, over time your homemade yogurt will reduce in strength as a “starter” and you might have to purchase a small cup of yogurt from the store to start your next batch. I’ve had good luck with using homemade yogurt as starter for several weeks worth of batches, and have increased the quantity up to 1 cup (as the starter) if I felt it needed it.



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  90 Responses to “Slow Cooker Yogurt”

  1. […] have also started making Crock Pot Yogurt. Right now…it’s sitting underneath a towel on the counter…it’ll be done […]

  2. Sarah, thanks for this recipe! I just tried it last night, and it worked beautifully! I used some whole milk that I had frozen when we hadn’t been able to drink it all one week, and Stonyfield Farms whole milk plain yogurt for the starter. I love the flavor–not nearly as sour as storebought plain yogurt. Then I put a little sugar, vanilla extract, fresh peaches, and granola in it and it was delish! 🙂

    My question has to do with straining it through the cheesecloth. I lined a colander with the cheesecloth and let the yogurt drain until it was the thickness I wanted. But how do you get it out of the cheesecloth? 🙂 I ended up scraping it off with my fingers, but I still felt like I rinsed a lot down the drain. Do you have any tricks for making that easier? Thanks!

  3. […] recipe is from Heartland Renaissance. I have plans to make her yogurt that doesn’t require a crock pot……and I’m sure you’ll […]

  4. […] an easy way to work our homemade plain yogurt (probiotics and calcium), fruit (2 bananas/blenderful gives fiber plus potassium all while […]

  5. Can you make yogurt out of almond milk or does it have to be cow’s milk?

    • Hi Noelle!

      You can make it with other milks but I don’t have experience doing so . . . some people add a little bit of gelatin to help firm it up when they use nut milks. I’ve been thinking about making some with coconut milk myself – let me know what you discover! Thanks!


  6. Thank you for a SIMPLE, undaunting yogurt recipe! I’ve never been brave enough to try making it, but this is just my cup of tea! (I love my crockpot for chicken stocks, etc) Will be trying this soon!

  7. can you do a whole gallon at a time?? My family goes through it so fast!


  8. […] me, the one who gets probably close to 25% of my daily traffic from my crockpot yogurt recipe, couldn’t make yogurt to save my […]

  9. My family drinks raw milk and I’ve read posts where making yogurt is more difficult with raw. I’ve never actually made yogurt due to this scare so what’s your opinion? Is it more difficult with raw milk?

    • I’ve made yogurt with raw milk before, but it never “stays” raw since the heat required to turn it into yogurt essentially pasteurizes it. I haven’t seen a difference between raw or pasteurized in terms of the end product in yogurt making. However, I’ve had zero success with the low-temp yogurt recipes that attempt to keep the milk/yogurt raw. Hope this helps!


  10. This is sounds so easy… I can’t wait to try it! Silly question though, how long will it keep for (I’m guessing storebought yogurts won’t spoil as quickly)? And is there a way to naturally preserve it? Can you freeze it?

    • Hi Danielle!

      The yogurt will last just as long as regular yogurt – three to four weeks or so? It should be obvious when it’s gone bad (mold). And no, I don’t recommend freezing it as that will kill the natural (good for you!) enzymes. You could, of course, use it for frozen yogurt (on purpose!) but it will separate if frozen then defrosted. Hope this helps!


  11. Hi, I have just made the yoghurt and it has not thickend. Do I strain over and over to make it thicker? It is currently still as runny as milk. Will it thicken in the fridge or have botched it lol?

    • Oh No, Samantha!

      If it still looks like milk and is not thickened at all, I think it might be a dud. Bummer!! Luckily, you can still use it in breads or baking or smoothies! What I’d recommend is to check out my other yogurt recipe and note the temperatures required both to heat the milk to, and then to cool it to before adding the starter. Next time you try it in your crockpot, take the temp of the milk at the time noted to turn it off to see if it made it up there or not. If not, keep it on until it does and notate how long it takes to get there. I found, when I got a new (larger) crockpot, that my recipe had to be augmented to accommodate. Annoying, I know! I’m so sorry that it had to happen to you too!

      Good luck!


  12. […] for this two step method to the easiest homemade yogurt goes to Heartland Renaissance. /* This entry was posted in DIY, Health by DHopkins. Bookmark the […]

  13. This looks really easy! I think I might run out to the store and get some milk so I can throw this in the crock pot in the morning. We go through so much yogurt here, if this works for us, it will end up saving us a lot of money! Thanks!!

  14. […] came across this one, in one of my favorite baking cookbooks, full of good healthy ingredients like homemade yogurt and lemon and adapted lightly, by me, with coconut oil and rapadura, slightly sweet, tender and […]

  15. […] consider lightly glazing or whipping across in little strings half of each biscotti with a mix of yogurt cream cheese, orange juice and powdered sugar (did you see Wardeh’s post on how to make more natural […]

  16. Thanks for the easy recipe! I am making it right now! I will let you know how it turns out! I can’ t wait to have some for breakfast!!! Thanks again!

  17. […] for the day: Make crockpot yogurt, Boil eggs, Make coconut flour muffins and grapefruit […]

  18. […] of things…Anyway, here’s what we’re eating this week:Breakfast: cold cereal, yoghurt with fruit and homemade granola, porridge, soaked baked porridge (Saturday)Lunch: Sandwiches, fresh […]

  19. Hi! I saw that you said in a previous response to a comment that you had to alter your recipe when you got a larger crockpot? I have a 5 qt and wanted to try this way rather than the jars because I don’t have a thermometer. Any tips you could share?

    Thanks so much!

  20. I bought a 5 quart slow cooker in order to try this recipe only to find that the recipe is for a 4 quart slow cooker.

    I have some questions:

    Is the slow cooker cold or warmed up on the low setting when I put the milk in.

    For a 5 quart slow cooker how do I adjust this recipe for all 3 steps;
    (time with slow cooker turned on, amount of milk and yogurt, time with slow cooker sitting on the counter, and time with the slow cooker wrapped in a towel).

    I do so want to try this and don’t want to waste the ingredients because I am inexperienced about this entire process. My slow cooker was half the price of the smallest yogurt maker I could find. Please email me an answer.

    Thank you. Diane Williams.

  21. […] she offers the crockpot method too… Oh but that yogurt turns out runny, and I don’t want runny […]

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