Patience is the name of the game for making your own yogurt, but boy is it worth it! Not only do you save on cost and packaging waste, the taste is so pure and so so much better than store bought. Despite the length of time until the finished product, about three days, the actual process is fairly simple once you’ve done it a few times. Below is the recipe for a single batch, but I typically double the recipe due to the lengthy process and high demand from the kiddos.
Items you’ll need:
Although this may seem like a lot, after the initial purchase, the cost savings is totally worth it. See the end of the post for the financial breakdown.
- An Instant Pot. I was on the fence for a year about getting one, but trust me, it’s totally worth it…and not for just the yogurt, obviously, but it’s a huge plus. I love them so much that I bought both the 6 quart and 8 quart (after I stalked Amazon for deals), which has totally changed my meal prep and eliminated the need for a crockpot.
- A vegan yogurt starter. This package comes with four packets, which will last you four batches, making approximately 190 ounces, or 1.5 gallons of yogurt.
- Pure non-dairy milk. By that I mean look for milk with as few ingredients as possible without additives. West Soy Organic Unsweetened Plain soy milk is ideal for making yogurt. The ingredients are literally soy beans and water. I have been able to find that brand at every grocery store in my town, so it should be available to most. From all of my research on vegan yogurt, the experts recommend using the purest form of non-dairy milk you can find. One time I did use a non-dairy milk that had a small amount of sweetener in it on accident and it turned out just fine. That being said, you bet your sweet behind that now that it’s Christmastime I’ll be trying to make eggnog yogurt from the Silk eggnog (sooo yummy, try it if you haven’t…even better with some Christmas spirits). I’ll let you know how that turns out…if it turns out…but a girl’s gotta try!
- A digital thermometer.
- Either a large colander, cheese cloth, and a medium glass bowl or a greek yogurt strainer (or two). The first few times I made yogurt I used the colander and cheese cloth, but found it to be messy and more high maintenance, as you have to watch to make sure you empty the glass bowl of the strained liquid if it gets too high and make sure you wash the cheesecloth right away after it’s done before it gets rank. Since I can barely remember if I brushed my teeth in the morning, put on deodorant, or find my car keys, the cheesecloth most definitely did not make it to the washer in a timely manner and ended up being tossed. I bought the yogurt strainer to make my life easier which holds one batch perfectly. Since I usually make a double batch, I now have a second.
Optional: Individual yogurt containers. I love these because the set comes with eight glass jars with lids that have a slider so you can keep track of the date of the batch you made. The lids are BPA free. The jars are dishwasher safe and hold 6 ounces, perfect to pack for lunches. They can also be used for canning. Just like with the strainer, I ended up buying two sets to accommodate the double batch.
- 2 quarts West Soy Organic Unsweetened Plain soy milk
- 1 packet vegan yogurt starter culture
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup strawberries, rinsed, trimmed, and pureed
- 1 cup blueberries, rinsed and pureed
- 1 cup rasperries, rinsed and pureed
- 1 cup peaches, rinsed and pureed
- shredded coconut
- goji berries
*Tip – Read through all of the steps and make sure to start this process when you know you’ll be home to refrigerate the yogurt after it’s done brewing.
1. Shake soy milk well and add to the Instant Pot. Press the ‘yogurt’ button on the Instant Pot repeatedly until the display says ‘boil’. Secure the lid and make sure the top vent is closed. The display will blink a few seconds then beep letting you know the boiling is beginning.
2. After the boiling cycle is complete, the machine will beep and the display will show ‘yogurt’. Remove the lid and stir well. With an electric thermometer, check the temperature, which should be somewhere between 180 and 185 degrees. If the milk is not hot enough, press the ‘sauté’ button on the Instant Pot and continue to heat and stir until the milk reaches the desired temperature. Stir well to make sure there are no hot spots and the temperature reflects the true overall temperature.
3. Once the milk temperature has risen to between 180 and 185 degrees, remove the metal pot insert from the Instant Pot and either place in an ice bath in your sink like I did below, or on the counter to cool down to the temperature of 110 degrees. The ice bath simply cools the milk faster and saves you time, but there is no downside to letting it rest on the counter, as long as you don’t let the temp drop below 110.
4. Once the milk has cooled to 110 degrees, remove one cup of the milk and mix in the packet of the yogurt starter packet. When mixed well, pour the cup back into the pot and again stir well.
5. Place the pot back into the Instant Pot, put the top on, close the vent, and press the yogurt button then select the time using the plus or minus buttons. I use 8 hours, however you may choose a longer time if so desired…the longer it brews, the more tangy the yogurt tastes when finished. I found 8 hours is perfect for my taste.
6. After the time expires, remove the bowl insert, cover with saran wrap or a instant pot glass lid and refrigerate for 24 hours to let it rest.
7. After 24 hours, transfer the yogurt to either the greek yogurt strainer or a colander lined with cheesecloth. If you choose the colander, set it over a medium glass bowl to catch the liquid that strains out from the mixture. Check the bowl occasionally to dump the liquid. Let the yogurt drain for 24-48 hours refriderated. The longer you let it drain, the thicker the yogurt will be (think regular vs greek/custardy yogurt. I tend to wait 48 hours as I prefer it creamy and thicker. As you can see below, I used the strainer. It was full when poured in the yogurt. After straining for 48 hours, it will have reduced by about half and released approximately 5 cups of liquid. The strained yogurt will be firm and chunky.
8. Once drained, transfer the strained yogurt to a medium mixing bowl. Whisk until the yogurt is smooth with no chunks. You can stop here if you like plain yogurt or you can use it as a vegan sour cream in any recipe that calls for it.
9. If you like flavored yogurt, here is the fun part! To begin, I always start by making a base of vanilla yogurt, then add additional varieties from there. To make vanilla yogurt, whisk in the maple syrup and vanilla extract. Please taste test after this step! You may need to adjust the measurements added, as each batch will vary in the amount of yogurt rendered based on the draining time. You may require more syrup and vanilla to get the sweetness you like.
10. After making the vanilla yogurt, you can flavor with any fresh fruit. Simply puree the fruit in a food processor and gently stir into the yogurt. I love the plain vanilla, but the strawberry and peach are also outstanding. Get creative! Mix and match and let me know your favorite combinations. Separate the yogurt into individual size portions to make it easy to grab on the go or pack for lunches. After combining the yogurt with your flavoring of choice, it is best to refrigerate again for a couple hours. This will let the yogurt firm up again. It turns out very thick…my spoon stayed upright when I put it in the middle of my bowl! Top with whatever floats your boat, I typically sprinkle it with granola. The yogurt will stay good in the fridge for a few weeks…if it lasts that long!
Cost breakdown of store bought vs. homemade:
When you make your own yogurt, two quarts of milk render approximately six to eight, 6 ounce jars of yogurt, depending on how long you strain and how much fruit you add to flavor. If you end up with six 6 ounce jars, the total yogurt you render is 36 ounces. If you end up with eight 6 ounce jars, the total yogurt you render is 48 ounces. Below you can see the breakdown of the total cost to make one batch and the price per ounce, depending on how much rendered. I did not include the price of any flavoring products or toppings (syrup, fruit, granola, etc.), as most people already have those items in their pantry.
Next, take a look below at the snapshot of the non-dairy yogurt section of my local grocery store. As you can see, the prices vary from $1.49 to $1.99 per container and the amount per container range from 5.3 ounces to 6 ounces.
To make it easy for you, I have outlined the most popular brands below including their cost per package, the amount you get per serving, and the price per ounce versus your homemade version (considering the lowest and highest amounts I have rendered from each batch). As you can see, the price per serving and price per ounce for the homemade yogurt is lower than the store bought. I included the price per ounce since the amount of ounces you receive varies for each brand. The price per ounce is a constant.
Since I am an analyst by trade, I took it a step further to see what your savings could be on a weekly and monthly basis. Assume one person consumes one package of yogurt each day for one week. You can see what the cost would be to purchase seven cartons of yogurt for each brand as well as what the cost would be to make your own. Further, take a look at the weekly savings depending on how much your recipe renders! Also, for four of the five main brands, you are receiving less yogurt in ounces, while paying more. On a weekly basis, you could save up to $7.91.
On a monthly basis, let’s assume one person consumes one package of yogurt each day for one month. You can see what the cost would be to purchase thirty cartons of yogurt for each brand as well as what the cost would be to make your own. Again, take a look at the monthly savings depending on how much your recipe renders! Also, for four of the five main brands, you are receiving less yogurt in ounces, while paying more. On a monthly basis, you could save up to $33.90.
Keep in mind, these metrics are also assuming one package for one person daily. If you have a family of more than one…imagine the savings! Aside from the money savings, think about all the packaging waste you are avoiding. And lets not forget that homemade yogurt tastes 100% better than any store bought variety and you can control what you are eating. No more chemicals or artificial sweeteners. No more dyes or preservatives! Between the cost and waste savings, control of what you consume, and the incredible taste, there is no reason to continue to buy store bought yogurt!
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista. Can’t wait to hear from you!