How to Make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker

I love making homemade recipes. I am excited I now know how to make yogurt in a slow cooker. My slow cooker now has a new name my yogurt maker. Yes, you heard me right, my yogurt maker. I bet you didn’t know you could use a slow cooker to make wonderful yogurt. If you have seen Alton Brown from the food network, there is no need to buy one kitchen device that only does one thing. My slow cooker is the most amazing device in my kitchen right now and it is the most used kitchen item I have. 

I am now on a quest to buy more organic food for my family and still stay within a $70 a week spending budget. I saw a website on how to make yogurt in a slow cooker and I thought I would try it out. After following the instructions I found there were a few small steps missing to make perfect yogurt every time. I can’t wait to share these tips with you, so you will know how to make homemade yogurt. I am really into science and this is like doing my own tasty science experiments.

The science behind making homemade yogurt:
Yogurt is made by the fermentation of special bacteria in milk. Lactose is fermented by these special bacteria to produce lactic acid to give yogurt its texture and taste.

I like to make a half gallon at a time. I know that sounds like a lot of yogurt, but with five of us this goes really fast. When I am finished there is about a cup per person, since I will also show you how to make Greek yogurt in this awesome post.

If you learn better by viewing you can watch my first YouTube video on homemade yogurt

How to make Yogurt in a Slow Cooker:

How to Make Yogurt pouring milk

1. Measure out 8 cups or 1/2 gallon of milk and pour into the slow cooker.

How to Make Yogurt in a crock pot

2. Then heat the milk in the slow cooker on high for about 2 1/2 hours or a little longer. It really depends on your slow cooker. With a candy thermometer or digital thermometer check the milk to see if it is between 175 – 180 degrees. This heating process is to kill any other bacteria that may be in the milk and denature the milk proteins to set together instead of making curds. This would result in lumpy yogurt. Blech

2. Once the milk is at 175 – 180 degrees allow to cool to between 115 – 100 degrees. This is the perfect temperature for the yogurt bacteria to grow quickly.

3. When the milk has cooled add 1/2 cup plus two tablespoons of yogurt to the warm milk in the slow cooker. Whisk it around to make the yogurt really well incorporated into the milk and get rid of the yogurt lumps. Secret tip: Turn on the oven to the lowest setting just to warm it up then turn it off.

4. While you are stirring in the yogurt, Secret tip: turn the slow cooker back on high just until the outside is warm to hot to the touch then turn it off and unplug the slow cooker. Now turn off the oven.

5. Wrap the entire pot with lid and warming part, yes the entire slow cooker in two towels. This keeps the heat in the slow cooker longer to provide the best growth for the good bacteria in yogurt. 

6. Put the slow cooker wrapped in towels in your oven for 8 to 12 hours. You may need to remove a rack in your oven. I leave the towel wrapped slow cooker in for 8 to 12 hours and it turns out great every time.

How to make yogurt Starter

7. After 8 – 12 hours take whole thing out of the oven and unwrap. Open up the slow cooker to find the best homemade yogurt you have ever made. Once you take the pot out of the slow cooker, if the bottom is still a little warm, you know you have homemade yogurt. That is how to make yogurt in a slow cooker. Take a whisk and whisk to get out the lumps in the yogurt. This is a little thin for my taste, since I like Greek yogurt.

How to Make Greek Yogurt:

8. Now you know how to make yogurt. Let’s make Greek yogurt. Place a coffee filter or cheese cloth to line a large colander. Pour all the yogurt in the lined colander and place in a large bowl to strain. Let sit for about 30 min. After about 15 min stir to get the larger curds off the bottom. This will allow for a thicker Greek yogurt.

9. Take out a 1/2 Cup and two tablespoons and save this for your starter next week. I have a special container labeled STARTER YOGURT DO NOT EAT in my fridge. This keeps my starter until the next time I need to use it.

10. The yellow stuff in the bowl that has drained is whey. So you have curds and whey! The whey can be throw out or you can save it. If you read my blog you know I don’t throw anything away. I will share how to use whey I will share in future posts.

After straining the yogurt this makes about 5 cups of Greek yogurt and 3 cups of whey. The first time I made yogurt I got really thick milk. You can still use this for smoothies instead of throwing it out. I don’t think it set long enough, so I increased my time to 12 hours. I haven’t had a batch fail since.

I got these cute little containers at Ikea. They hold about 6 oz just the same size as the cups of yogurt at the store. I make individual little cups of flavors I can’t buy at the store. Tomorrow I will share a list of yogurt recipes and  flavors you can’t buy. I usually make about eight cups at a time this should get us through a couple of days. Now you know how to make yogurt, give it a try and let me know how it turns out.

Other homemade recipes you may like to try:

Homemade Cream Cheese (using Homemade Yogurt)

Homemade Ice Cream without an ice cream maker

Homemade butter (using a stand mixer)

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  1. Oh yum! I love Greek yogurt, and making it at home is even better….!

    Thanks much an have a happy and terrific new year!

    hugs x

  2. Pingback: How to Use Whey

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  4. YUM! I have seen how to make yogurt before, but never in a slow cooker. And now Greek yogurt, how great is that? Thanks so much for sharing this with Share Your Cup.

  5. This is a really great skill to have. My family loves yogurt. Thanks for teaching me how to do it myself! I’m so happy that you visited and linked up at One Creative Weekend at The next party starts tonight at 8:00 PM MST. I hope you’ll be back. (Pinned)

  6. Great information, this seems super doable!!
    Thanks for linking up at our Gluten Free Fridays party! I have tweeted and pinned your entry to our Gluten Free Fridays board on Pinterest! 🙂

    Be sure to check out the winning entry this week for our Better Batter Giveaway! The winner will be announced Thursday evening!

    See you there!

    Cindy from

  7. Pingback: #glutenfreefridays 22 is live! Come share your #glutenfree knowledge! | Vegetarian Mamma

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  10. Made greek yogart this past weekend and am delighted to say it was super easy but best of all so delish!!! Thank you for sharing. I used Fage as my starter, which was my favorite til now, and organic 2% milk NOT ultra pastuerized. As you stated making it is soooooo simple. Buying greek yogart is a thing of the past. Thank you again.

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  12. Do I use store bought yogurt for my starter yogurt? I have never made this and would love too.

    • Yes! I jut use store bought yogurt. If you make it every week you can use this for about 6-8 weeks before you need to buy fresh yogurt for a new starter. I would love to know how yours turns out.

  13. Worked fine for me – I let it set ~13 hours in the oven. Could clearly see “whey” – yellow clear liquid – separated from white white “yogurt.” Blended both together this time and got something that is less “stiff” than I would have liked but could be used to make kefir, I think. A number of individuals in our household or lactose intolerant and this seems like a good way to get dairy and cheaper than buying yogurt directly. Any reason not to go with 1 gallon if the slow cooker can handle it? Increase the amount of yogurt used to inoculate the milk? Wondering how the “1/2 cup plus 2 T” was arrived at, but I guess it is similar to deciding how much yeast to use when making bread.

    • After experimenting a while I have found 8 hours works the best. Longer is too tangy of a taste. I like more a greek style yogurt, so I strain it to make it thicker. If your slow cooker can handle a gallon, go for it. Mine went out, so I got a bigger one that can handle a gallon now. I have also found you can use as little at 2 tablespoons of yogurt as a starter. I have been using less, so I have more to eat!

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  16. What if you have a warm setting on you crock pot, could one use this to keep yogurt warm to set up ? just sayin’

    • I would suggest testing the warm setting over night first. As long as the temperature stays between 100 and 115 degrees you should be fine. If it is warmer than that it may kill the good yogurt bacteria. You will then end up with something like kefir or runny yogurt.

  17. I want to try this but am a little confused, Step 3 says to add yogurt, so does that mean i need some store bought yogurt to start with and then from that batch on I can save some for my own starter?

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    • No turn the oven off. You really do not even need to turn the oven on. I mainly did this because it was winter when I wrote this post and my yogurt was not turning out. During the summer you could probably skip this part. Also 8 hours is long enough, but it is still ok if you leave it in for 12 hours.

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    • I have not personally tried it, but I have heard that this will work. Good luck. Please let me know if you do try. I would love to share that info.

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    • The oven is not necessary to make yogurt during the summer time. During the winter, you may want to turn your oven on the lowest setting to warm. Once the oven has warmed turn it OFF and then place your wrapped slow cooker in the oven for 8 – 12 hours. I have been having great success with 8 hours in the warmer weather.

  26. Hi, thank you so much for sharing this, I was having a chat with someone yesterday about how much junk is in my kids food they said did I know i could make yoghurt in my slowcooker, so when home I googled it and your great web site came up. That afternoon I followed your recipe but with soya milk instead of cows milk as we like the health benefits of it, and to my delight I had perfect thick creamy yoghurt, no need to drain it, perfect !! Thank you

    • I am no expert, but I think this should work fine with the SCD yogurt method. I have read about it and it seems like a similar process. You may need to keep your oven light on to make sure the temperature remains around 100 degrees.

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  33. Hi there –
    I have been trying to make yogurt with this recipe and it’s SUUUUPPPERRRR runny.. but I let it sit overnight for a total of 12 hours.. and it was still super runny.. I repeated the process, adding new yogurt and, again, let it sit more than twelve hours this time.. STILL SUPER RUNNY..
    I am beginning to think I cannot do this.
    Idk what is going wrong! It smells like yogurt, looks like milk. Tried to strain it but I might as well have poured milk through my cheesecloth and strainer.. Argh…

    • OK. Let’s try some troubleshooting. Do you mind if I send you a private email to help troubleshoot what is not working?

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