When I started looking into making some easy homemade instant pot yogurt–it’s gotta be easy and pretty foolproof to withstand my personal rendition of “cooking”–I was expecting to see a variety of recommendations.
I wasn’t expecting the crazy, overwhelming amount of advice, tips, secrets, and must-do mandates! No two seemed to agree. It seemed I’d stumbled onto the homemade yogurt religious order, with many, many branches. It was so intimidating!
I wasn’t sure at first if it was worth the trouble to figure out.
Well, let me cut to the chase right here: way worth the trouble!
I like yogurt from the store so-so. I seldom buy it. But I heard people raving about their homemade. So I thought if I could make some easy homemade Instant Pot yogurt, maybe I’d like it better than store bought. But I wasn’t even remotely prepared for how much I was going to fall in LOVE with this easy homemade Instant Pot yogurt. Seriously. I am sucking this stuff down like there’s no tomorrow!
I’m not sure why it’s so much better. It’s fresher? Creamier? Thicker? Maybe it’s because the milk is fresh and I’m not using any additives? I have no clue but I don’t much care. Even if you don’t like yogurt, you very well may like this stuff. And if you do like yogurt? We’re totally on the road to happy town.
My cat, Smokey, is loving it, too! She stalks me every time she sees me with a bowl, waiting for her turn. Because I know exactly what’s in it–no additives and no xylitol (toxic for pets)–I can let indulge her just a little. And it makes her so happy!
Side note: Many cats are lactose intolerant, but can still enjoy a spoon or two of yogurt. If your kitty is extra sensitive to dairy, I wouldn’t risk it. But for most cats, a little is okay. In the incubation process of making yogurt, the bacteria eats up the lactose in the milk to set. And if you strain off whey to make greek yogurt, there’s even fewer milk sugars. So this easy Instant Pot Homemade Yogurt is easier to digest, both for you and your cat!
I’m running a few batches of this a week now with no signs of slowing. Mr. Zen, head dishwasher here, may be slightly less enthralled with this whole obsession than I am, though. He doesn’t call this recipe Easy Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt. He calls it, “Making a mess.” Oh well! Good thing he loves me.
But before we get busy, here’s a list of what you’ll need.
I love grabbing Instant Pot accessories as much as the next gal. Okay, maybe more. But I don’t want folks to pass this deliciousness by, thinking you must have all kinds of Instant Pot doodads to turn out some good yogurt. Now, if you want them, more power to you! But don’t avoid trying this because you don’t have all the insta-bling, okay?
Specifically, you don’t need fancy little “yogurt making cups“–what, are they feeding birds yogurt? Toddlers? A batch that size wouldn’t last me the afternoon!
You don’t need any cute little mason jars either (although if you tell your spouse you do need them, I won’t open my big mouth). I’d recommend making the yogurt directly in the pot. It’s way easier and you can make so much more in each batch, with much less fuss.
You also don’t require a fancy yogurt strainer for greek yogurt, although I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with those if you want one. But since I’m making this stuff by the gallon here, I didn’t want to buy multiple, specialty-use items to compete for storage space in my modestly-sized kitchen.
After you’ve made this a few times and decided it’s going to be a regular thing, you may want to beef up your tool chest. Here’s what I am deeming “necessary” for myself (using the term very loosely):
Are you ready to get rocking?
Yield is estimated based on what I got. Yours will vary, depending on how thick you make it but a good rule of thumb is to expect half as much as the amount of milk used. This is fabulous as-is, with berries or fruit compote, or whatever you like on your yogurt.
Make sure your Instant Pot steel liner is cool (to avoid scorching milk on the bottom). Add 1 gallon of milk and press the yogurt button until the unit says "boil."
Put on lid (IP lid on venting or I use the glass lid) and allow the pot to do it's thing. No pressure, stirring or other intervention is required. Yay for lazy!
When the timer sounds, the display changes to "ygrt" and the milk should be about 180F. I checked temperature for my first few batches to make sure the pot was on target but don't bother now since it just works.
Allow the yogurt to cool to between 90F - 115F. About 110F is ideal. I take my pot liner out of the base and stir occasionally to speed the cooling. Don't just stick the pot in the freezer, since sudden changes in temperature can upset your yogurt-making bacteria friends. You could place the pot liner in a sink of cool water if you're impatient (but make sure you dry the outside before putting back in your Instant Pot base). If you don't stir much and your milk forms a skin, just fish it out and discard. DO use a digital thermometer to ensure you are within this temperature range for a good set.
Once you're hit the magic temperature zone, snag about a cup of the warm milk out of the pot. Mix your starter into that milk to get the starter to the right temperature, too.
Pour the milk/starter mixture back into the Instant Pot. I usually give it a little stir here as well, but doubt the world will end if this doesn't happen.
Start pushing the yogurt button until the cycle lights up as "normal" in the middle (NOT less, with the default time of 24 hours)! The default for the normal setting is 8 hours if you have a DUO and have not made yogurt previously. Otherwise, it remembers your last selected incubation time. You can now set the time anywhere between 8 and 24 hours. I set mine to 23 and 1/2 hours, so it will just continue to incubate until I'm ready to pull it out. But not setting it to the full 24-hour max makes it easy to visually distinguish between the default time of the low cycle. The pot will keep the yogurt at the correct temperature throughout.
Let the yogurt incubate undisturbed! If your head is getting ready to explode from sheer anticipation, you could very gently jiggle the pot several hours in, to make sure it's setting up. But the more you leave it be, the better it will set. The yogurt smell will tell you it's working. The timer on your Instant Pot counts up for yogurt. I usually stop incubating somewhere between 8 - 13 hours total.
After incubation, let the yogurt chill for at least another 2 hours to finish setting.
If you'd like thicker or Greek style, it's time to strain. Set up your strainer rig, dump the yogurt in there, and pop in the fridge for at least a couple of hours. As long as you chill before the strain, the whey should be transparent. If you see an opaque white in the whey, you're losing yogurt. Chilling first helps with this, as does a finer mesh strain.
When the whole deal looks thick enough to suit you, invert the strainer over your storage container and the yogurt will plop right out.
Now you can to add sweetener or flavoring if desired, or leave it plain. I love Greek Yogurt with some homemade fruit topping, or used in place of sour cream. Strain overnight to make a thicker Yogurt Cheese, like softened cream cheese in texture. Delicious!
Discard the strained off whey, or set aside and freeze some for a starter for your next batch.
Easy Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt
Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt is easier than you'd ever guess and tastes light years better than the store-bought stuff. Strain it Greek style for an even lower carb count. But be quick if you want some for yourself. Even people who are usually "meh" about yogurt gobble this right up! Full recipe (and tips) =>> https://www.lowcarbzen.com/low-carb-recipes/instant-pot/easy-homemade-instant-pot-yogurt-recipe/Posted by Low Carb Zen on Tuesday, April 10, 2018
NOTE: Carbs are adjusted to account for the difference between whole milk as it started and "yogurtized" milk, where the bacteria has consumed the milk sugars. It's really difficult to find clear information on nutritionals because commercial manufacturers have to use the numbers from the milk as-is due to labeling guidelines. I've done my best to extrapolate from the info I have, but your mileage may vary.
I hear alternative milks often work, although the taste or texture of the yogurt may be different depending on what you use. Some people also add thickeners to make up for difference in texture. I haven't used anything other than whole milk for mine so I cannot comment on that from personal experience without experimenting more. You may find that you can do regular milk with a longer incubation time to eliminate more dairy and save yourself the trouble, though.
I’ve been making up little batches of sugar free fruit compote to eat with the yogurt and it’s AMAZING! (Recipe coming soon…)
What do you think? Have you tried making yogurt in your pressure cooker? Tell me about your easy homemade instant pot yogurt adventures!
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