Making Yogurt in the Crock Pot: A weekend experiment

{a bowl of homemade yogurt with granola and honey}

I’ve mentioned before how I’ve been collecting recipes for making homemade items. This weekend was my foray into trying homemade yogurt, using the crock pot.

It appears as though there are lots of ways to make your own yogurt, but most of them involved heating and cooling and measuring temperatures—a bit too involved for my likes (plus, I don’t have a suitable thermometer). Using the crock pot, though, is a lot more straightforward and just requires you be able to set a timer, plug and unplug. That is more my style.

So we tried it and it’s just as easy as it sounds. The only thing is that this isn’t exactly like the store-bought variety: it’s runnier and very bland. I added some honey to it and that perked it up substantially for my tastebuds.

Also, be forewarned that this makes a hefty dose of yogurt! I hadn’t expected that since we only eat it occasionally, but now I have a Tupperware full in my fridge so I suspect I’ll be having yogurt and granola every day for the next week. (However, if you frequently make smoothies, I think this would work great for that.)

Here are the steps, which I followed from Nourishing Days.

Crock Pot Yogurt

You’ll need:
Crock pot
½ gallon of milk (I used skim but trying 2% or whole might offer a thicker consistency, not sure)
½ cup of yogurt with live active cultures (just read the ingredients list and it should say)
  • Turn your crock pot to low and pour in 1/2 gallon of milk.
  • Heat on low for 2 hours and 30 minutes.
  • Once 2 hours and 30 minutes have elapsed turn your crock pot off and unplug it. Let the milk cool in the crock with the lid on for 3 hours.
  • After 3 hours remove 1-2 cups of the warmed milk and place in a bowl. To that add 1/2 cup of yogurt with live active cultures and mix very well.
  • Pour the yogurt-milk mixture back into the milk and whisk thoroughly.
  • Place the cover back on the crock and wrap the entire crock pot in a thick bath towel or two.
  • Let it culture overnight, 8-12 hours.
  • In the morning stir yogurt (if desired) and store in glass quart jars or a container of your choice.
  • For optimum texture, refrigerate for at least 8 hours before using.
If you’re curious, here’s what I understand about the science behind the yogurt-making: Essentially, you have to heat up the milk to kill off any bacteria in it so that it’s a blank slate. You let it cool so that it doesn’t kill the yogurt bacteria. Then you let the yogurt-and-milk mixture ferment and you're set!


  1. I make kefir in the crockpot. My husband and I use it daily for our morning smoothies. Kefir is quite expensive, so I love that I can make it so much more affordable for us!

  2. I've just sent the link from this for my sister. What a great idea. Love your blog.
    Big "wave" from Cape Cod,
    Jude at
    dolcecapecod dot

  3. Thanks so much! I found another site with directions for making thin yogurt into greek style thick yogurt so between you I'm covered. Going to try this tomorrow.

    I googled and found a bunch but this one looks super easy.

  4. I just made my first batch of yoghurt and it's wonderful!! :) It cost me just over $2 to make 1 1/2 litres (I made less) and full priced yoghurt normally costs me around $5 a litre - and I am minus all the extras they add to it!! Thanks for this!!

  5. Giving this a try today!! Thanks for sharing the recipe. The hot water bottles, temp testing and messy cooler was not at all enticing!
    -Rachel Pitney-Nafis in San Diego, CA :)

  6. Did you end up finding a way to make your yogurt thicker? I used 1% milk and only let mine incubate for 8 hours and it was super runny. Just curious, because I really want to give this recipe another shot!

  7. @ Rachel - From I've read, it's best to use whole milk instead of skim. So I'm going to give that a try and see if that makes it thicker. I'm pretty sure that'll solve it!

  8. I've made crockpot yogurt 4 times, and two times it's flopped--smells like yogurt but looks like milk. (Even with whole milk!) The other two times it was delicious! I'm not positive, but I think the reason it stayed runny was that I only wrapped it in 1 bath towel (didn't stay hot long enough to continue culturing).

    I'm using the runny milk-yogurt for buttermilk, and it is great in smoothies. After I use it up, I'll try again with two bath towels and see if I can get it to behave again! It's so good and cheap that I'm *going* to conquer it :)

  9. You can make yogurt the same way (heating to kill bacteria, then cool to warm) by pouring it into large cottage cheese cartons and setting on a heating pad on warm for 8 hours.

    You can also flavor it with just a little of your favorite flavor of sweetened drink mix (like Kool-Aid) just before serving. Do not stir in the Kool-Aid too far in advance or it will sour the yogurt.

  10. I have been making yogurt exactly like this for years. For thicker yogurt use whole milk. It also helps to put your crock pot in the oven with the oven light on, and then wrap the whole thing up in 2 or 3 thick bath towels. If your yogurt cools off half way through the night, you will have runny yogurt. If you like greek-style yogurt just line a colander with cheesecloth, pour the yogurt in and let the whey drain out the bottom. (Save the whey for other uses)Also, anyone using ultra-pasteurized milk will have a lot of problems getting it to culture. The very best yogurt is made with raw, whole milk.

  11. Thanks for the tips, Food Lover! That's really helpful :)

  12. I have a yogurt maker but it doesn't make enough yogurt for the family. The crockpot recipe sounds great. I also had trouble with runny yogurt and suspected that it was because I was using water and powdered milk. I added another 1/3 C of milk powder which cured the problem and kept the calories down. We cannot get raw milk in our area because it is illegal to sell or purchase it.


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