Making your own yogurt is a wonderful fermentation project for beginners. It's actually a lot easier than it seems. In fact, you only need two ingredients to make plain whole milk yogurt. Making Instant Pot Yogurt takes the simplicity and ease to a whole new level.
I've tried a few different methods of making homemade yogurt. I've used a yogurt maker, which was okay. The yogurt turned out great but I felt like the yogurt maker itself was a little over the top for what it was. (Which is pretty much how I feel about all single-use kitchen gadgets.)
I've made yogurt in the slow cooker, which was much more up my alley. Making yogurt in the Instant Pot is very similar to making it in the slow cooker, but it cuts down on the steps and dishes even more! What's not to love?
Instant Pot Yogurt is Loaded with Gut-Healthy Probiotics
Gut health starts with the microbiome – the trillions of bacteria that live in our stomach and intestines. The health our microbiome obviously affects digestion, but evidence is also piling up that it significantly affects other aspects of well-being, too, including our mental health.
Eating probiotic-rich foods is a great way to keep your gut healthy.
Instant Pot Yogurt Offers Mood-Boosting Magnesium
Yogurt is also rich in magnesium, a mood-boosting essential mineral. Magnesium deficiency is very common. According to Joy Stephenson-Laws, founder of Proactive Health Labs, it's one of the 8 essential nutrients to focus on when fighting depression:
Several studies have shown an improvement in the severity of symptoms of depression when study participants were given 125-300 mg of magnesium with each meal and at bedtime. Foods containing magnesium include spinach, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, kefir, almonds, black beans, avocado, figs, dark chocolate and bananas.
Of course, expert help is recommended whenever dealing with mental health issues. BetterHelp.com is one option – they offer online therapy for depression and other situations.
Instant Pot Yogurt Saves You Money
Another great reason to make instant pot yogurt is to save money. By making your own yogurt, you can basically get it for the cost of milk instead of yogurt. While every area has different food prices, I'll share the current rates in my area to give an idea of the savings:
- 1 gallon of organic whole milk: $7.96/gallon or 6.2 cents per ounce
- Plain organic whole milk yogurt: 14 cents per ounce
- Savings: 8 cents per ounce or 64 cents per 8oz serving
You don't have to use organic products, either, if you don't want to. The savings for conventional milk and yogurt are also fabulous!
- 1 gallon whole milk: $3.69/gallon or 2.8 cents per ounce
- Plain whole milk yogurt: 12 cents per ounce
- Savings: 9 cents per ounce or 72 cents per 8oz serving
That can totally add up if you eat a lot of yogurt, especially if you have a family! Worth it.
Prepare to Make Instant Pot Yogurt
With any kind of fermentation or cultured food, it's very important to start with clean and sanitized vessels and utensils. Clean your Instant Pot thoroughly with very hot water and rinse thoroughly with boiling water. Do the same for any utensils you'll be using and for the containers you'll be putting your yogurt in.
Sanitizing ensures that your yogurt will only grow the helpful bacteria that you want, rather than harmful bacteria that will make you ill.
- • 1⁄2 gallon whole milk
- • 3 Tbsp quality yogurt with live cultures
- Pour the whole milk into the instant pot insert.
- Set the instant pot to “yogurt” to boil milk. Set the steam release handle to “venting”.
- When the cycle finishes, the milk needs to reach 180°. Repeat the cycle if the milk does not reach this temperature.
- Remove the insert from the instant pot and set aside to cool down. Watch the temperature until it cools to 110°. A skim should appear on the top of the milk, this can be disguarded.
- Spoon out one cup of the cooled milk and add to the yogurt in a seperate bowl. Whisk to combine and add the mixture back to the milk in the instant pot insert. Whisk again.
- Place the insert back in the instant pot. Lock the lid and press the “yogurt” setting for “normal” at 12 hours.
- Place insert full of yogurt in the refridgerator, covered with a dish towel for 4 hours to set.
- Scoop yogurt into clean canning jars or other containgers.
- Eat with your favorite fruit and granola or enjoy plain.
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Serving Size:8 oz.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 149Total Fat: 8gCarbohydrates: 11.7gNet Carbohydrates: 11.7gFiber: 0gSugar: 12.3gProtein: 7.7g
Nutrition info is based on the information for plain whole milk. According to Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS, "Nutrition Diva" - "Fermenting milk doesn’t significantly change the fat, calories, or protein content of milk but it does change the make-up of the carbohydrates. The beneficial bacteria that turn milk into yogurt digest the sugar (lactose) in milk and produce lactic acid, which is what gives yogurt its tart tang. Although the total amount of carbohydrates is about the same, the lactose levels in commercial yogurt may be anywhere from 20 to 50% lower than milk. The longer you ferment your yogurt, the less lactose it will have (and the more tart it will be). Straining your yogurt to make a Greek style yogurt removes even more of the lactose. However, you’ll also lose about half of the calcium." However, adding sweeteners, fruit, or granola to your yogurt will change the nutritional information.
Add-In Ideas for Instant Pot Yogurt
If you don't enjoy plain yogurt, there are a ton of ways you can spruce it up! Consider adding sweeteners, fruit, and granola for
The yogurt containers listed above are 9 oz to allow room for add-ins. A serving size of yogurt is technically 8 oz, but you can adjust as needed to leave room for whatever yogurt add-ins you'll enjoy.
- Diced fruit
- Maple syrup
Keep in mind that any add ins will change the nutritional content of your yogurt.
How to Make Instant Pot Greek Yogurt
If you prefer Greek yogurt, it's definitely possible to get that smooth, creamy effect for your Instant Pot yogurt if you don't mind a couple additional steps. Here's how to make your Instant Pot yogurt greek:
- Line a sieve with cheesecloth and place it in a large bowl
- Pour your prepared Instant Pot yogurt into the sieve and place it in the refrigerator
- Leave it for a few hours or overnight. The whey will strain our into the bowl, leaving you with thick greek yogurt in the sieve.
- You can throw out the whey or add it to other foods – it's very nutritious!
Ways to Use Whey from Homemade Greek Instant Pot Yogurt
The leftover whey that you strained out to make your Instant Pot yogurt greek doesn't necessarily taste good, but it is nutritious. Here are a few ways to use it:
- Add it to smoothies for a probiotic boost
- Add to baked goods for mock sourdough
- Use it as starter for your lacto-fermented veggie projects (like this lacto-fermented salsa verde – yum!)
Instant Pot Yogurt Won't Set?
Waiting a little longer may help if your instant pot yogurt won't set. However, it it never thickens up and remains liquid, you may have added your starter yogurt when the milk was too hot, killing the live active cultures. If that's the case, you'll want to start from the top.