One of the easiest, tastiest, and most penny-pinching recipes I have up my sleeve is this one for homemade yogurt.

I make it far more often than any single person probably should, but I LOVE IT and use it all the time!

homemade yogurt recipe

Wait? You mean…yogurt is more than just somethin’ to eat at breakfast?


I use this homemade yogurt recipe to:

  • Get tons of whey (which I use in a  wide variety of ways)
  • Soak grains and flours
  • Make frozen treats
  • Feed my cat (hey, sometimes)
  • Douse my gut in good bacteria
  • Strain for Greek yogurt
  • and many more things I’ve yet to discover/share with you all.

I’m willing to confess that I make a batch at least ONCE every two weeks, and when things get crazy, sometimes every week. It’s frequent. I’m totally sold on it, and will never go back to buying expensive yogurt at the store.

Depending on your milk source, this recipe can become incredibly cheap. When I was using non-organic milk, I could make 1/2 gallon of yogurt for about $1.50. That price has nearly doubled with organic milk costs, but I’m willing to pay the price for an increase in quality. Plus, I’m sure I’ll find a cheaper source one day!

Homemade Crock Pot Yogurt Recipe

Equipment Required:

1 Crock Pot
(I use one that holds 1/2 gallon of milk)

1 terrycloth towel (required!)

Storage containers (I use about 1 quart Mason jar and 2 pint ones)

Something to transfer your yogurt into your jars (and maybe even a funnel)


1/2 gallon of milk (I use organic WHOLE milk, and have not tried it with any percentage milks)

1/2 – 1 c. of active yogurt, or 1/2 c. of whey

That’s it!

This recipe requires about 5 minutes of active work, but is quite a process. Strive to start at about 3 in the afternoon so you have ample time for cooling and resting and all that goodness.


Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Turn it on.

1. So, pour 1/2 of your gallon of milk into your Crock Pot. Turn it to high, cover, and let it sit for 2-2.5 hours. Then, turn it off completely, and let it cool for 2.5 – 3 hrs.

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

Turn it off.

2. Once it is cool enough that it is either below 110 degrees Fahrenheit or you can put your pinky finger in it for 10 seconds, you’re ready to add the yogurt. (If it’s too hot, it’ll kill the good bacteria you’re about to add, so be patient!)

*If you’ve never made yogurt before, you’ll need to buy some or get some from a friend. Be sure to find one with ACTIVE CULTURES, or you won’t have yogurt! I used an organic, full-fat, and plain yogurt, and it worked out well for me.*

Want to make a particular type of yogurt? There’s a company for that! Cultures for Health has a wide assortment of yogurt culture starters, including one (called “Villi”), that doesn’t require the initial heating process! Just a thought.

Cultures for Health

I think I used about 1 cup of the starter yogurt when I made my first batch. With that quantity, you’ll definitely have enough probiotics to make a nice, big batch of yogurt, but you can use less once you get the hang of the process.

Once you’ve made your own yogurt, be sure to save enough of your most recent batch to make the next! If it might be awhile between batches, freeze your 1/2 – 1 c. for later use.

Why do I use less yogurt? Although I do not mind the thinness of this yogurt, I do prefer a yogurt with a little substance to it. A little jiggle, if you will. Many conventional yogurts include thickeners to give us that jiggle we love, whereas my homemade stuff does not.

I find that decreasing the amount of fluid or starter yogurt and increasing the time I allow the probiotics to culture results in a somewhat thicker yogurt. It works for me, but start off slowly until you know what works for you!

3. Okay, back to the recipe. Once your yogurt has cooled down and you’ve mixed in your starter, all you need to do is wrap it in a towel, and let it rest for 9-12 hours in a dark, cool place. I usually use oven, especially if I haven’t been baking that day.

DO NOT EXCLUDE THE TOWEL! I am a lazy, lazy lady, and decided to stick my yogurt in the oven without a towel once. I got a weird, watery, and not very pleasant surprise the next morning. Yes, I ate the whole batch, but I pouted the whole way through it.

Use a terry cloth bath towel, wrap the entire crock, and let it do its thing.

In a pinch, I’ve even used thin jackets (again, the pinch was because I was too lazy to go upstairs), and have placed the wrapped crock under a side table in a cool room. Each of these experiences resulted in good yogurt!

4. Once 9-12 hours have elapsed, portion out your yogurt into jars, pop ‘em in the fridge, and consume!

Homemade Yogurt Recipe

One batch usually yields about 2 quarts and one pint for me.

The probiotics will continue to grow in the fridge, although at a much, much slower pace. I never throw out yogurt (if it even has a chance to get old and questionable), because I know it’s still alive. If it’s alive, it’s good. If it’s moldy….it’s bad.

homemade yogurt recipe

Neat idea: Store in 8 oz containers with a dollop of homemade jam at the bottom of the jar. You’ll have homemade flavored yogurt you can grab on-the-go!

Use this yogurt in any way you can imagine, from face and hair masks to your morning breakfast. It’s a happy, easy, and versatile recipe.


Shared at: HomeAcre Hop, Hearth & Soul Hop, Foodie Friends Friday

Paid Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. Disclaimer: None of the posts on this blog should serve as medical advice. I am not a medical professional, and I advise you to seek out professional assistance before making any major lifestyle changes.
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  • Beth Elderton

    Thank You! I have been wanting to make yogurt but haven’t seen a really easy reasonable way to do it–with materials that are reasonably easy. *pinned*

    • Rachael Cleveland

      Aw, thank you!! This recipe really is extremely easy, and I do hope you try it out. I’ve made it so many times, and feel sad when it’s not in the fridge. Totally worth it. Let me know if you give it a whirl! :)

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  • Michelle

    What do you mean by ‘wrap in a towel’? Do you drape a towel over the top or scoop the whole batch into a towel and drain over a bowl? Thanks!!

    • Rachael Cleveland

      Michelle, I just wrap the entire crock in a towel. I remove it from the outside – the part that heats up – and wrap it up like a baby before putting it in the oven. Does that make sense?

      • Naomi

        Do you leave the cover on the crock pot?

        • Rachael Cleveland

          Absolutely. Part of the process is slowly inoculating the milk with the bacteria. This requires a slow, consistent cooling temperature. Just take the crock out of the heating element (the outside case), leave the lid on, wrap the whole thing in a towel, then place it in a cool oven overnight.

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  • Ninfa Moore

    This looks great! I have been trying to cook in a much cleaner way for my family (cutting out all the processed stuff that I can). This is perfect for what I am trying to do. Thanks!

    • Rachael Cleveland

      So glad to help, Ninfa! :)

  • Heather Bee

    Is it possible to double the recipe? Or does that just give you crazy watery yogurt? Thanks! Starting my first batch right now

    • Rachael Cleveland

      Heather, you CAN double the yogurt. I would add a little more starter culture for that, though. As this is a thinner yogurt, you’ll still have to deal with that issue, but you can always strain or thicken through gelatin for an added boost!

  • Angela S.

    Couple of questions: 1. How long will this last in the refrigerator apx? 2. If I want it thicker like a Greek style yogurt do you have a suggestion on how to do this?

    • Rachael Cleveland

      Angela, thanks for your comment! I leave yogurt in my fridge for longer than most people. The bacteria keeps it going for quite a long time. I think the longest I’ve gone is 3-4 weeks, although I’d say 2 weeks to be safe. You can also use yogurt for baking, like my awesome yogurt dough, and it’s a very easy way to use up yogurt quickly.

      Also, please use a cheesecloth to strain for a thicker, Greek-style yogurt. Be sure to save the whey for fermentation! :)

  • Blecky

    I, too, was hoping for a much thicker yogurt – mine turned out liquidy (I did use a towel). Suggestions?

    • Rachael Cleveland

      Thanks for your feedback! This is definitely a thinner yogurt as there are no thickening agents added. There are recipes for yogurt thickened with gelatin, which I do recommend trying if you prefer something a little thicker. Also, you could very easily strain this yogurt with a cheesecloth to make this yogurt your desired consistency! It’s fun, too. Plus, then you get whey for all kinds of kitchen experiments. :)