Recipe: Easy Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt with my Homemade Granola

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making homemade yogurt because it is cheaper and healthier than many commercial yogurts. Besides, I just enjoy doing that kind of thing.  But making yogurt scared me because I knew it could be kind of touchy and because, well, I had never done it and really had no idea what I was doing!  Then I found this very easy recipe and decided to give it a whirl and have been thrilled with the results. I really like that I didn’t have to buy a yogurt maker, wrap the jars in towels etc. Who knew making yogurt could be so incredibly simple?

We’ve been enjoying this homemade yogurt for 2 years now and have no plans of returning to eating store bought yogurt.  Once you get used to the homemade there is just no comparison!  And I’ve found this recipe to be pretty forgiving.  There have been several times where I left it in the oven for over 10 hours or have heated it above 190 degrees and it still was great.

Yogurt Culturing in my Oven

Homemade Yogurt
2 qt. milk
1/2 c. sugar (I use raw sugar)*
1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin
2 Tbsp. plain or vanilla flavored yogurt**
- make sure it contains live and active cultures…should say on the package
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Dissolve gelatin in 1/3 c. cold water. Heat milk to 190 degrees. Add gelatin, sugar and vanilla. Cool to 130 degrees. Add commercial yogurt and stir well with a wire whisk. Pour into 2 quart jars (or whatever containers you want to use); screw on lid. Set in oven with light on for 8 to 10 hours. Cool.

Serving suggestions: Stir in fruit, pie filling or dry flavored jello.

*You can omit the sugar all together if you’d like.  You may want to do this especially if you plan to stir in pie filling or jello.

**Once you have some homemade yogurt, you can just use that instead of the bought yogurt. I usually buy yogurt maybe every 12 times to use as starter as it does seem that after a while the yogurt just doesn’t get quite as good.

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  1. by Karen

    On March 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    When you make yogurt do you need to use whole milk or raw milk, or can you make your own yogurt out of store bought 1% milk?

  2. by Lydia Beiler

    On March 8, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Karen, sorry for the slow reply…no you do not need to use whole or raw milk. However if you use 2% or 1% milk your yogurt will be a bit thinner and less creamy. Still should taste the same though!

  3. by Rozi

    On January 12, 2013 at 7:55 am

    I make yogurt easier. Than this

  4. by Tami

    On January 13, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    Do you then have to refridgerate?

  5. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 14, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Tami, yes, after the yogurt is done doing its thing in the oven, you need to refrigerate it just like any other yogurt.

  6. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 14, 2013 at 8:11 am

    Tami, yes, after the yogurt does its thing in the oven, you need to refrigerate it like any other yogurt.

  7. by Mama Tia

    On January 16, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    This is probably a dumb question…on my candy thermometer (which I’ve never used lol) it has 190 degrees in both Celsius and Fahrenheit…which one??? Many thanks for a reply. I’m so excited to see how this works as my entire family eats tons of yogurt, both plain and vanilla. Thank you for the recipe and I’ve enjoyed reading through your grocery budget tips!!!

  8. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Mama Tia- not a dumb question at all! You sound like me…you don’t want to go to all that work and not have it turn out. The temps I give are in Fahrenheit. Hope you all enjoy it! And glad you’ve enjoyed the blog. That always makes my day when I hear that. :)

  9. by Mandy A.

    On January 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    How could you make this flavored? My family loves yogurt. We can go through quite a bit but we like it flavored. Could I just add strawberries to make it like strawberry yogurt?

  10. by Mama Tia

    On January 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks for the reply Lydia!!! :) I’m very pleased with the results, I’m happy to say!!! Only thing is I sort of ‘overslept’ the 10 hour deadline (2a.m.) and didn’t get my little goodie packages in the fridge until I woke up this morning. You mentioned this recipe is forgiving … How forgiving ? And what are the implications? Will it be spoiled? How will I know? It actually tastes great and very creamy, just seems to be a little bit coagulated near the edges…. Any feedback is welcome!

  11. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Mandy A- This is actually vanilla flavored since you add vanilla to it but if you want fruity flavors you can do two things. You can omit the sugar in the recipe and once the yogurt is done and cooled (ready to eat) you can mix in pie filling or flavored jello. Or you could make it as I posted it and add fruit once the yogurt is ready to eat. In other words if you make it flavored you wouldn’t add any additions until the yogurt is cultured and cooled. If you do fruit, you might find it helpful to blend the fruit first. I would think frozen fruit would work well too. Let me know how it turns out if you try it!

    Mama Tia- So glad it worked and that you like it! Making me want to go eat some now. :) Oh, it’s quite forgiving- the yogurt should be fine. I’ve done the same thing many times and never had a problem; it takes a lot to make it spoil, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever had it happen. You mentioned the coagulation, I have that happen sometimes too- haven’t ever been able to figure out why. In the summer (maybe because of the humidity?) a liquid, which I think would be the whey, separates off. I either just stir it in or sometimes I put it in the blender. If I blend it, it actually becomes like drinkable yogurt which is fun too. Or if that coagulation bothers you, just skim it off….but really, if you mix it in, you never notice it. Thanks for letting me know how it went and that you like it!

  12. by Mama Tia

    On January 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Thank you SO much for the follow up replies. I’m so anxious to gobble it up to make it again!!!

  13. by Angie

    On January 26, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    I can’t wait to try this!

    I have a question: can you strain this in cheesecloth just like store-bought yogurt to give it a “greek yogurt” consistency?


  14. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 26, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Angie, I’ve never tried that but I’m pretty sure it would work from what I’ve read and heard. And if you google it, you can even find uses for the stuff that strains off (I think it would be called whey). If you try it, I’d love to know how it works for you.

  15. by Christine

    On January 31, 2013 at 9:28 am

    How long does the yogurt last refrigerated before spoiling?

  16. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 31, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Christine, I’m not entirely sure because we typically eat it within about a weeks time, however, recently we were gone a lot and didn’t get it eaten as fast and after about 2 1/2 weeks it was starting to smell and taste a bit strong. If you are worried that it will spoil, try making something baked that uses yogurt or sour cream (you can swap the sour cream for yogurt in baked goods). I should mention too that I make our yogurt with unpasteurized (raw) milk. I’m guessing that pasteurized milk might make a difference in it staying good longer.

  17. by Jill

    On February 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Can you substitute the gelatin for powdered milk?

  18. by Lydia Beiler

    On February 18, 2013 at 7:48 am

    Jill, I’ve never tried that but it might work. The gelatin is simply to thicken it. You can leave it out- your yogurt will just be more runny.

  19. by Brooke

    On February 27, 2013 at 10:11 am

    Can I culture and store the yogurt in tupperware or in the commercial yogurt quart containers?

  20. by Lydia Beiler

    On February 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    Brooke- Yes, that should be fine. I’ve used both glass and plastic containers to culture and store our yogurt and have notice no difference.

  21. by Jo

    On February 28, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Would love to give this a try using Stevia instead of sugar.Stevia is Not a sugar substitute. It is a natural sweetener. Will let you know how it turns out.

  22. by Lydia Beiler

    On March 1, 2013 at 12:05 pm

    Jo- I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. I’d love to know how it turns out and how much you use.

  23. by Laura

    On April 7, 2013 at 8:42 am

    Hi..just discovered your site…looks great! Just wanted to make sure that the only heat in the oven is the oven light? Thanks!

  24. by Lydia Beiler

    On April 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm

    Laura, yes, the only heat is from the oven light. You basically just want it to stay warm enough inside the oven to keep the yogurt at an even temperature. I typically just put the yogurt in the back of the oven as close to the light as possible. Hope that helps and hope the yogurt turns out well for you!

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