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Instant Pot Yogurt – The Complete Guide

Instant Pot Yogurt is so easy, creamy, and dreamy! This recipe requires no special tools or equipment, besides an Instant Pot with yogurt function. My homemade yogurt recipe only has two or three ingredients. Try it plain or sweetened!

*This post may contain affiliate links. This means as an Amazon Associate and affiliate for other products, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

Graphic of The Best Instant Pot Yogurt with three pictures of a cup of yogurt with berries, yogurt ingredients, and plain yogurt in a pot.

It actually took me a couple years to muster up the courage to make my own yogurt. It just seemed super intimidating. Plus, I was pretty happy with my Instant Pot Bread Pudding for breakfast!

To be completely honest, I have always been indifferent towards yogurt. I never cared about it, even as a kid. But I wanted to try Instant Pot yogurt because so many readers had the same concerns and questions as me. My kids like eating yogurt too.

I saw the same homemade yogurt method over and over again, which originated from Frieda Loves Bread. It couldn’t be that hard, right?

I set out to conquer my fear and be the tribute for everyone with my same questions: 

“Would the yogurt set up?” 

“Would it be totally gross?” 

“Is it difficult?” 

“Why would I make my own if buying it is so easy?” 

“Do I have to buy a thermometer, strainer, cheesecloth, or special tool?”

I’m here to literally answer all these questions and more! Spoiler: Instant Pot yogurt is the BEST yogurt I have ever had. I’m never going back to store bought yogurt!

A spoonful of instant pot yogurt

INSTANT POT YOGURT TABLE OF CONTENTS

Here’s what to expect in this post:

  1. Homemade Instant Pot Yogurt Description and Explanation
    •  How To Make Yogurt In Instant Pot Without Thermometer
  2. Instant Pot Yogurt Supplies and Ingredients 
    • Instant Pot with Yogurt Setting
    • Ultra Pasteurized Milk vs. Ultra Filtered Milk
    • Milk Brands
    • Best Milk to Buy in Canada
    • Yogurt Starter
    • Frozen Starter
    • Sweetener and Flavorings, Sugar-Free Yogurt
  3. Instructions–How to Make Instant Pot Yogurt
    • Large and Small Batch Yogurt
    • Yogurt Variations
  4. Test results from multiple different batches
  5. Frequently Asked Questions
    • Thick and Thin Yogurt
    • Troubleshooting
    • Storage

My Popular Breakfast Recipes

3 Quart Instant Pot Duo, Fairlife whole milk, chobani plain yogurt, whisk

HOMEMADE INSTANT POT YOGURT

Basically everyone knows about and eats yogurt! But to make it at home, it helps to understand the ingredients and process. 

Yogurt is defined as, “a semisolid sourish food prepared from milk fermented by added bacteria, often sweetened and flavored.”

Ha! I wonder why Chobani doesn’t put THAT description on the packaging!

close up top view of instant pot yogurt topped with granola, berries, and chocolate chips on a blue plate next to pink flowers

WHY WOULD I MAKE MY OWN YOGURT IF BUYING IT IS SO EASY? 

Couldn’t you ask the same question for anything homemade? I like making as many things homemade as possible. I think it tastes better. Furthermore, it’s empowering to know EXACTLY what is in my food and EXACTLY how it was handled.

Also, isn’t it just kind of cool to say you’ve made homemade yogurt? Keep in mind:

  • It’s a little cheaper to make it on your own, especially if you eat a lot of yogurt.
  • Save the environment! It’s much less plastic waste.
  • It is the best yogurt I’ve ever had (and I really like Noosa pumpkin!)

HOW TO MAKE YOGURT IN INSTANT POT WITHOUT THERMOMETER

The Instant Pot is a great tool for making yogurt because it consistently keeps the perfect temperature throughout the incubation process. Instant Pot yogurt is essentially made by warming milk (typically between 110 and 116°F) with live cultures, encouraging the bacteria to do its job! 

The best part–no thermometer needed! That leads me to the necessary supplies and ingredients.
I do, however, still encourage every home cook to have a cooking thermometer for cooking and baking confidence!

top view of instant pot yogurt in glass cup with spoon in yogurt on a blue plate next to pink flowers

INSTANT POT YOGURT SUPPLIES AND INGREDIENTS

WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE INSTANT POT COLD START YOGURT? 

Let me break down the necessary supplies and ingredients. I think you’ll be surprised by how basic and easy it is!

INSTANT POT WITH YOGURT SETTING

In order to make Instant Pot yogurt, you need an Instant Pot with the yogurt setting. Every Instant Pot model has the yogurt button, besides the Lux. 

photo of instant pot buttons featuring yogurt button with cup of instant pot yogurt in front

I use (and LOVE) my 3 quart mini for this recipe.

MY INSTANT POT DOESN’T HAVE A YOGURT BUTTON! I HAVE AN INSTANT POT LUX. CAN I STILL MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT?

Unfortunately, no. This is one of the main reasons I recommend purchasing the Instant Pot Duo over the Lux versions.

I typically start my yogurt right before bed. It incubates overnight and I don’t have to babysit the temperature! Then, when I wake up, I refrigerate it.

There are other methods on the internet that troubleshoot how to make Instant Pot yogurt without the yogurt button. Mostly these recipes rely on other functions, like the sous vide function on the more advanced pots. 

However, I have not personally tested these methods. I can’t speak to the safety and reliability or make any endorsements.

DO I HAVE TO BUY A THERMOMETER, STRAINER, CHEESECLOTH, OR SPECIAL TOOL TO MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT? 

Nope! 

There are methods for Instant Pot yogurt that involve sanitizing, scalding, boiling, tempering, incubating, straining, and many other intimidating words. And while I will always, always recommend every home cook to have a cooking thermometer, this recipe does not require one.

I wanted THE easiest way to make homemade yogurt without buying any fancy supplies. The only thing you need for this recipe is an Instant Pot with yogurt setting! 

Though if you want SUPER thick, Greek-style Instant Pot yogurt, you will have to strain it (More on that later).

photo of instant pot yogurt ingredients: instant pot, fairlife milk, sweetened condense milk, fage 2%

INSTANT POT YOGURT INGREDIENTS

INSTANT POT YOGURT VS YOPLAIT YOGURT 

Before developing this recipe, I usually bought Yoplait yogurt. But I noticed it has modified food starch, gelatin, and other unnecessary ingredients. I didn’t really feel great about eating it or feeding it to my family. 

Chobani has better ingredients, but I’m not a huge fan of Greek yogurt. I definitely liked the sweetened version, or sweetening plain Greek yogurt myself.  

This homemade Instant Pot yogurt recipe only requires two ingredients! You can also add some sweetener, depending on your preferences.

Let me break down the different ingredients:

  • Ultra-pasteurized milk 
  • “Starter” that has live cultures

ULTRA-PASTEURIZED MILK

FAIRLIFE MILK YOGURT

Since we do not boil the milk or use a thermometer, we need ultra-filtered milk. Ultra-filtered milk has already been pre-boiled. 

I love the Fairlife brand OR the Costco ultra-pasteurized milk.

Costco Organic Ultra Pasteurized Milk (not fairlife) for Instant Pot Yogurt

DO I HAVE TO USE FAIRLIFE MILK FOR INSTANT POT YOGURT? WHAT ABOUT COSTCO MILK? 

Any ultra-pasteurized or ultra-filtered milk should work. I have personally had success using Fairlife Whole or Fairlife Whole DHA Omega 3 (Lactose Free) and Kirkland Organic Lactose Free 2% Reduced Fat Milk. I purchased Kirkland milk at Costco. It’s ultra-pasteurized and comes in a pack with three half gallons.

Fairlife whole milk has more protein and fat than 2% milk. This results in a much creamier, thicker, and smoother texture.

The 2% milk is a little thinner. I incubate it longer, about 10-11 hours. Whatever it looks like after the incubation period is what it will look like after you refrigerate it. (It will not really firm up any more in the fridge.) So if it looks too soft, incubate it for a couple extra hours.

If you are making Instant Pot yogurt for the first time, I highly recommend using the Fairlife Whole milk. I always get extremely consistent results with Fairlife, where I have had some inconsistencies with other brands.

two glass cups of instant pot yogurt topped with granola, seeds, and berries in front of a white cloth topped with foliage and a jar of granola

ARE ULTRA PASTEURIZED AND ULTRA FILTERED THE SAME OR DIFFERENT?

Ultra-pasteurized and ultra-filtered are not the same. Ultra-filtered milk has been heated to a high temperature to kill bacteria, and then passed through filters to concentrate the protein and remove sugar. 

That’s why Fairlife milk has less sugar and fifty percent more protein than conventional milk.

The Costco brand organic, lactose free 2% milk is ultra-pasteurized. This means it was heated to a high temperature to kill the bacteria. 

You’ll notice by the expiration date that both options stay fresh much longer than regular milk.

Making yogurt the traditional way requires you to basically pasteurize the milk yourself by boiling and cooling it down to a specific temperature. Using this no-boil method, you can skip that part and the straining to get beautiful Instant Pot yogurt!

close up of instant pot yogurt being scooped with a spoon inside the instant pot

HOW WAS YOUR COSTCO MILK YOGURT COMPARED TO THE FAIRLIFE MILK YOGURT? 

I was actually really nervous about this yogurt batch. When I purchased ultra-pasteurized milk, I wasn’t completely positive it would work. But I knew the main reason you need ultra-filtered is because it has already been pre-boiled.

Doing so kills the bacteria and it’s safe to leave for a long time. I knew both milks had gone through that process and I was pretty sure it would work.

I mixed in two tablespoons of frozen starter from my last batch, then incubated for ten and a half hours because it looked too loose at eight hours. The results were beautiful! I loved the silky smooth texture. It wasn’t too thick and actually my favorite of all my attempts.

WHICH ONE IS BETTER?

I’m so glad it worked! Costco milk is less fat and more affordable. I like the Costco brand better because it’s a little softer, even though I loved both. 

It will purely come down to a texture preference. I’m not a big Greek yogurt fan and prefer my yogurt a tiny bit softer.

two cups of instant pot yogurt topped with granola and berries in front of instant pot, fairlife milk, and jar of granola

HELP, I’M IN CANADA AND CAN’T GET FAIRLIFE MILK!

My sources tell me that JOYYA brand milk is easily found in Canadian stores and can be successfully used for yogurt making!

CAN I USE GOAT, ALMOND, OR COCONUT MILK TO MAKE YOGURT? 

I have heard about coconut milk yogurt being successful. But I’m not an expert on non-dairy options. My friend Jennie from Jenuine Home has spent a ton of time creating a non-dairy Instant Pot yogurt recipe. Find this recipe in her Instant Pot Creations ebook! All the recipes are gluten, soy, dairy, and refined sugar free. It’s the perfect cookbook for Whole30 or Paleo diets!

INSTANT POT YOGURT STARTER

The second ingredient in Instant Pot yogurt is a “starter” with LIVE CULTURES. This might sound gross, but yogurt is basically milk with bacteria in it.

All you need is premade yogurt to introduce the bacteria into the milk. Have I scared you away yet? 😉

Don’t worry. It’s easier than it sounds!

It’s similar to sourdough bread. If you’ve ever made it or are familiar with the process, then you know you need a starter. Something that has been fermenting to give that distinct taste.

For yogurt, you need live, active cultures to begin the process. You’ll find live cultures in any yogurt that is already made, but it should indicate on the packaging. 

Live cultures are basically bacteria and probiotics that are alive. They sit in the warm milk and multiply to create yogurt.

If this is your first time making homemade yogurt, your starter will simply be store bought yogurt. I typically use Fage 2% plain yogurt! Double check that the yogurt you purchase has “live cultures” in the ingredient list.

I have also used Chobani plain and Chobani blueberry with success (just use the yogurt on top that isn’t mixed into the fruit.) I’ve also used Nancy’s Organic yogurt.

If you have already made homemade yogurt, you can use your current batch as your starter next time! Set aside, and even freeze, about two tablespoons of your yogurt. 

Tip: I usually start with a fresh starter every 5-8 batches just to ensure the yogurt will set. If you use a frozen starter, I recommend using one that is no more than 3 months old.

supplies to make homemade yogurt

HOW TO USE FROZEN YOGURT STARTER?

I freeze two tablespoons of my last batch of yogurt in a tiny storage container. When I’m ready to use it, I pour some of my milk in the tupperware and let it thaw for about 5-10 minutes. Then I whisk it together completely. 

You can also let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Then, use it as normal.

WHY DO I NEED YOGURT TO MAKE YOGURT? 

Great question! Just like other foods that are fermented, you need to introduce the bacteria into the milk at some point. You can always buy a yogurt starter on Amazon, but it’s about $8-$20 for a starter. Or you could just get the starter for about one dollar using premade yogurt!

DO I NEED TO USE STORE BOUGHT YOGURT EACH TIME I MAKE YOGURT IN THE INSTANT POT? 

Technically, just once! Then you can use your current batch of homemade yogurt as your starter. You can even freeze your yogurt starter to use for next time, which is what I do. 

However, I do recommend starting with a fresh starter every 5-8 batches just to ensure the yogurt will set. If you use a frozen starter, I recommend using one that is no more than 3 months old.

INSTANT POT YOGURT SWEETENER

Adding sweetener to Instant Pot yogurt is optional. It totally depends on your preferences. If you’d like plain Instant Pot yogurt, simply don’t add any sweetener.

Plain Instant Pot yogurt is too tart for my liking. I usually add a can of sweetened condensed milk right before incubating and it sweetens up beautifully! It is perfectly milky, still tart, but smooth and sweet. I LOVE it like this!

TELL ME MORE ABOUT SWEETENING INSTANT POT YOGURT

I use sweetened condensed milk, which equates to .27 ounces of sweetener per ounce of yogurt. I think this is pretty comparable to other yogurt brands. 

I’ve never tried this myself, but many people have successfully used:

  • Coffee creamer such as Bliss Natural coffee creamer (before incubating)
  • Coconut creamer (before incubating)
  • Coconut milk sweetened condensed milk (before incubating)
  • Powdered Jello (after incubating)
  • Cream of Coconut (before incubating) 

I use this ingredient in so many recipes that I created The Ultimate Cream of Coconut Guide!

  • Jam (after incubating)
  • Drink Syrups (like what you put in sodas, after incubating)
  • A bottle of Premier Protein drink (before incubating)

I also like just eating it plain with honey or berries. One of my favorite ways to sweeten yogurt is adding in some pineapple juice or chunks and Cream of Coconut for a pina colada yogurt!

I have seen people add a bag of frozen or fresh fruit to the Instant Pot before incubating the yogurt. Yes, it works. However, my food safety instincts don’t love the idea of letting fruit cook at a low temperature for that long mixed with dairy. Do what feels right to you, but I wouldn’t recommend this.

how to keep berries fresh up to 21 days
Nothing better to top your Instant Pot yogurt than some fresh strawberries. Check out my hack on how to keep berries from molding up to 3 weeks!

CAN I ADD VANILLA EXTRACT TO INSTANT POT YOGURT? 

Yes, you may add any flavor extract to Instant Pot yogurt, such as vanilla or coconut.

Simply add vanilla or other extracts before or after incubating. I have not noticed a difference in flavor if you do it before or after.

Please note that mixing up yogurt will break down the proteins, making it thinner. So if you decide to mix in some vanilla after incubating, it will be thinner than it was right after incubation.

Instant Pot yogurt ingredients
I typically start my yogurt around 1 or 2am, right before I go to sleep. Then, I refrigerate it when I wake up.

SUGAR-FREE INSTANT POT YOGURT

When I want to make low carb yogurt, I make a sugar free Instant Pot yogurt using monk fruit sweetener. I use the Lakanto sugar-free substitute. 

It tastes the most like real sugar to me, and it works in the yogurt! In order to make it low carb, ensure you use a low-carb milk like Fairlife.

I usually add monk fruit sweetener to taste. Start with about ¼ cup to half a gallon of milk and sample a small sip before incubating to see if it’s sweet enough. How it tastes before incubating will be close to what it will taste like after incubation (but not as tart).

Ensure the sweetener is dissolved as well as possible. If you’re worried about the sweetener not dissolving all the way, you can remove a cup of the milk from the yogurt, warm it up, and then dissolve the sweetener in the warm milk first.

DO I NEED TO USE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK? 

NO! You don’t have to use the whole can, either! That’s the beauty about it. You can add as much or as little as you like to control the flavor and sugar. See other flavoring ideas above!

If you like this recipe, check out my Instant Pot oatmeal recipe!

INSTANT POT YOGURT–YOUTUBE

For a helpful step-by-step tutorial video, watch How to Make Homemade (2 Ingredients!) Instant Pot Yogurt!


HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT

Now that you have ultra-filtered or pasteurized milk, a starter, and sweetener (if you’d like), you’re ready to make Instant Pot Yogurt!

This is the simplest Instant Pot Yogurt recipe. Simply pour, whisk, and press Yogurt. Refrigerate, then eat! 

It’s so simple I kept thinking, “Is that it?!”

STERILIZE INSTANT POT 

First, I like to give my Instant Pot a thorough cleaning. I run a cycle using my Instant Pot deep clean technique (it went CRAZY on Instagram!), especially if the lid smells funky.

Check out my YouTube video on How to Clean Your Instant Pot + A GENIUS Hack! or get my free guide on How to Clean Your Instant Pot by signing up for my email list at the bottom of this post!

STARTER FOR INSTANT POT YOGURT

The key to Instant Pot yogurt is to ensure the starter is completely whisked into the milk!

  • Measure exactly 2 tablespoons of starter in a little bowl. Add about ½ cup milk and whisk together COMPLETELY.
  • Pour the can of sweetened condensed milk into the Instant Pot liner with 1 cup of milk. 
  • Whisk the milk and condensed milk together completely to dissolve the sugar (sweetened condensed milk is like a sticky syrup consistency.) 
  • Add the rest of the milk into the pot and whisk more.
  • Add the starter/milk mixture and whisk a bit more.
  • Press Yogurt and set it to Normal for 7-10 hours.

 I typically do 8-9. The longer the incubation period, the more tart it will taste. I find 8 hours to still be pretty mild!

The Instant Pot will count UP to the time set, NOT DOWN like regular pressure cooking.

  • After it’s done incubating, it will be nice and set. Place it in the fridge for at least 4 hours, or overnight, to cool and set completely.
Instant Pot yogurt after incubation period with a spoon sticking in it.

Oh wait, you do have to stick a spoon in your finished product, just because it’s so satisfying! 

My favorite is vanilla yogurt with frozen blueberries, mini chocolate chips, and this pumpkin flax seed granola. It is the BEST!

There’s also nothing better than Instant Pot yogurt topped with some fresh strawberries. Check out my hack on how to keep berries fresh for three weeks

INSTANT POT GREEK YOGURT

I thought mine came out pretty thick! But if you’d like a more Greek yogurt texture, you’ll have to strain it using a nut milk bag or special strainer until you get the consistency you like.

Making Instant Pot Greek Yogurt like you know it from the store requires just a little extra work to make it as thick. If you don’t use the Fairlife whole milk (red carton), your yogurt will be thinner than pictured above and you will need to strain it.

CAN I INCUBATE YOGURT IN JARS? 

Yes! I love making my homemade Instant Pot yogurt in jars. This is perfect for cute, individual servings.

  • Add 1-2 cups of water to the Instant Pot liner, add the trivet or rack, and put jars on top.
  • Just add the whisked milk mixture into individual mason jars or glass containers.
  • Incubate for the desired time. You don’t need to cover the containers, but you may if you prefer.

A reader told me today that she added jam right into the bottom of the containers and then added the yogurt mixture on top and it worked! She did note that the ones with jam had a softer, runnier texture than the jars without jam.

PUMPKIN YOGURT

Make sure you check out my Noosa Copycat Instant Pot Pumpkin Yogurt Recipe– it MAGICALLY separates into two distinct layers during incubation. It’s seriously SO GOOD.

graphic of a spoonful of Instant Pot pumpkin yogurt on top of a jar

I also have this recipe in a single portion in my new Instant Pot Cookbook! There are two easy recipes in the book for Instant Pot yogurt in jars to create a single portion.

I incubate my individual 2-layer Noosa Inspired Pumpkin Yogurt Recipe directly in jars! It typically takes less time to incubate in a smaller quantity (about 6 hours).

I like using a glass lid or plate to cover the yogurt while incubating.


INSTANT POT YOGURT TEST RESULTS

Fairlife Milk, sweetened condensed milk and Nancy's probiotic yogurt

I have tested many different yogurt combinations. Here are the results for each batch:

  • ATTEMPT 1: Fairlife Ultra Filtered Whole Milk with Chobani Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt (8 hours).

Results: Tart, thick, bright, fresh-tasting yogurt. It was a tiny bit gritty. I don’t think I whisked in my starter well enough.

  • ATTEMPT 2: Fairlife Ultra Filtered Whole Milk with DHA-Omega 3, 1 Tablespoon of Nancy’s Organic Probiotic Whole Milk Yogurt, 1 Tablespoon of Chobani Greek Yogurt (it had blueberries on the bottom, but I only used the top yogurt). We had a yogurt issue at my house, hence the mixing of the yogurt starters. Lastly, one scant can of Kroger Sweetened Condensed Milk (8 hours).

Results: SO GOOD. THICK! Perfectly sweet, milky flavor. It wasn’t quite Greek yogurt consistency, but it was definitely thicker than Yoplait.

  • ATTEMPT 3: Kirkland (Costco) Organic 2% Ultra Pasteurized Lactose Free Milk, 2 tablespoons of the yogurt from Attempt #2 above, one can of sweetened condensed milk (10.5 hours)

Results: My favorite combination yet! The ultra-pasteurized milk has a slightly sweeter taste, but the texture is what I loved most. It was so smooth, creamy, and light. Because Fairlife has a lot more protein, I knew it would be thicker. But this consistency with the 2% milk was actually my favorite! I’ve noticed I need to incubate closer to 11 hours to get the thicker consistency I want with the lower fat/protein milk.

  • ATTEMPT 4: Kirkland (Costco) Organic 2% Ultra Pasteurized Lactose Free Milk, 2 tablespoons Fage 2% plain yogurt, one can sweetened condensed milk, 14 oz Ultra Pasteurized 40% Heavy Cream. (10.5 hours)

Results: The yogurt was fantastic, but I prefer it without the heavy cream. The cream left an odd film on top of the incubated yogurt. It wasn’t the best texture. It wasn’t a huge deal, but I don’t think it added any flavor. In the future, I will use my favorite method (Attempt #3.)

MAKING YOGURT ON KSL’S STUDIO 5 WITH BROOKE WALKER 

Lisa Childs of Tried, Tested, and True with Brooke Walker, host of KSL’s Studio 5 

Lisa Childs of Tried, Tested, and True Instant Pot Cooking with Brooke Walker, host of KSL's Studio 5 with Brooke Walker
Lisa Childs of Tried, Tested, and True Instant Pot Cooking with Brooke Walker, host of KSL’s Studio 5 with Brooke Walker

I got to share this recipe/technique for homemade yogurt with Brooke Walker on KSL’s Studio 5 lifestyle show. I absolutely love being at Studio 5 and it’s always a joy and honor! Head on over to my TV SEGMENTS page to watch this segment, and others!


INSTANT POT YOGURT FAQ

IS IT HARD TO MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT? 

NO! I actually made it and thought, “Wow! This is one hundred times easier than I thought it would be. Can it really be this simple? Am I missing something?!” 

Again, NO! Instant Pot yogurt is not difficult to make. It’s literally 2-3 ingredients and a little whisking. After that, it’s just refrigeration and eating!

IS HOMEMADE YOGURT CHEAPER?

As far as cost, you get more yogurt (½ gallon or 64 ounces) compared to the 52 ounces from the Fairlife container. Fairlife usually costs about four-ish dollars each, but the half gallons of Costco milk cost $9.99 for three containers.

  • Fairlife Milk Yogurt Cost: $4/52oz = .077 cents an ounce
  • Costco Milk Yogurt Cost: $3.33/64 oz = .052 cents an ounce

WILL MY HOMEMADE INSTANT POT YOGURT SET UP? 

YES! There’s no special trick, just follow the recipe. 

Please keep in mind that the texture of homemade Instant Pot yogurt will be the same when it is done incubating (when it is still warm) and after it is refrigerated. Many people have milky yogurt that didn’t set in the Instant Pot and mistakenly put it in their fridge, hoping it will set. It won’t.

If you notice the yogurt hasn’t set by about halfway through the cycle (3-5 hours), then double check that your starter was fresh and the settings on your Instant Pot are correct.

Instant Pot yogurt with blueberries, granola, and chocolate chips

IS INSTANT POT YOGURT TOTALLY GROSS? 

Actually, no

I explain two Instant Pot yogurt recipes: a SWEETENED one, and a PLAIN one. The recipe for plain yogurt, without a sweetener, is tart. So, you may think that’s gross. 

Honestly, it isn’t AMAZING plain. But I prefer my yogurt plain to mix in homemade jam, vanilla bean paste, honey, or fruit. This helps me control the sugar and calories.  

I give directions on how to make yogurt in your Instant Pot without sweetner (sugar free yogurt) or with sugar (sweetened condensed milk).

WHAT ABOUT OTHER METHODS TO MAKE INSTANT POT YOGURT? BOILING YOGURT?

The other method for Instant Pot yogurt is the boiling method. This involves using a regular gallon of milk (not ultra-filtered), and then boiling it to a certain temperature, adding in the starter, whisking, incubating, cooling, etc.

This requires you to have a thermometer (I exclusively use Thermoworks!) and a strainer. You can buy a euro strainer, or use cheesecloth or nut milk bag to strain the yogurt from the whey. It takes a while longer than this method.

I don’t want to strain my yogurt. Plus, I don’t have any strong personal convictions about using ultra-filtered milk or sweetened condensed milk. This method is a lot easier for me!

Two glass cups filled with instant pot yogurt on blue plates next to purple and green foliage and a white cloth

MY YOGURT IS THINNER THAN I WANT. HOW DO I THICKEN INSTANT POT YOGURT? 

The Fairlife milk produces a much thicker product than the Costco milk. That’s because it is ultra-filtered, has more protein, and less sugar. It’s still pretty creamy, but the Costco milk yields a more conventional, Yoplait-esque texture.

If you’d like more or a Greek yogurt texture, you’ll have to strain it using a nut milk bag or special Yogurt strainer until you get the consistency you like.

I’ve also heard people using coffee filters or a very clean cloth, though it is much messier. You do need to get a very fine strainer designed for yogurt or nut milks. A fine mesh strainer or colander will not work to strain yogurt.

When I use 2% milk, the yogurt made in the Instant Pot is definitely thinner. I find that incubating for an additional 2-3 hours does help it set up more. When I use a lower-fat and lower-protein milk (anything besides Fairlife), I incubate for a longer period.

MY INSTANT POT YOGURT IS TOO THICK 

If your Instant Pot Yogurt is too thick, here are a few ideas:

  • Use a milk that has less fat and/or protein. Fairlife milk is ultra-filtered, meaning it has more protein and less sugar than conventional milk. If you use the whole milk variety (red carton), it will be much thicker than the 2% variety. The Kirkland brand 2% milk has less protein and fat, so the texture is more like conventional yogurt.
  • Stir your yogurt or whisk it around to thin it out. If you put your Instant Pot yogurt in a blender, it will also thin it out substantially.
  • Add a little milk and mix/whisk.
using a plate or glass lid for Instant Pot yogurt
I like using a glass lid or plate to cover the yogurt while incubating

CAN I LEAVE MY INSTANT POT UNATTENDED WHILE MAKING YOGURT? WHAT ABOUT OVERNIGHT? 

Yes, you can absolutely leave your Instant Pot unattended while making homemade yogurt. The Instant Pot doesn’t ever come to pressure while on the yogurt setting. Nothing will burn because it is just warming the milk at such a low temperature.

Making your yogurt overnight is a great idea! You can start it right before bed, and then put it in the fridge when you wake up. It won’t go bad if you leave it longer than 8 hours. Some people incubate their yogurt for 12 hours! In fact, I do this almost every time.

DO I NEED TO VENT OR SEAL MY SEALING KNOB? 

Such a great question! You do not need to turn your knob to sealing when making Instant Pot yogurt. You may, but you do not need to because it will not make a difference. Since the pot doesn’t come to pressure, it’s “venting” the entire time.

You can also use any glass lid that fits your pot lid.

Give your lid a sniff before you make homemade yogurt and make sure it doesn’t smell like last night’s chili! If it does, give it a little love using my cleaning method.

You can get a FREE guide on How to Clean Your Instant Pot by signing up for my email list at the bottom of this post!

If your lid smells like anything–the flavor and smell WILL infuse into the milk. Curry and pot roast flavored yogurt is not an uncommon occurrence in this space! If in doubt, just cover the pot with foil, plastic wrap, a dinner plate, or a pot lid. It doesn’t need to be sealed.

The same concept applies when you make Instant Pot Cheesecake. If your pot and lid have a strong smell, it will definitely infuse into your cheesecake. Please get rid of the smell before cooking something delicate!

two jars of Instant Pot pumpkin yogurt

INSTANT POT YOGURT CAME OUT STRINGY AND GLOOPY 

I have had this happen once. I suspect the following:

  • The pot was not clean and there was some bacteria in the Instant Pot liner that affected the incubation.
  • The quality of the sweetened condensed milk.
  • The milk had an inconsistency that did not affect the taste, but affected the incubation and final texture.

I have had this happen maybe three times in the hundred batches of Instant Pot yogurt I have made. The Instant Pot yogurt is slimy, stringy, gooey, and gluey. It’s honestly disgusting. I have tried to replicate the results and cannot force it to happen. 

I do not know conclusively what causes the yogurt to come out this way. If it does come out this way, please ensure your next batch has fresh milk, fresh starter, and the pot is extremely sterile.

I will also add that I have never had the yogurt come out stringy when I use Fairlife milk. It is the most fail-proof milk I have used, no matter the brand of sweetener or starter.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to reverse this odd occurrence. I usually resort to blending it with my immersion blender, freezing it, and using it in my smoothies for the week. 

You can use this disappointing yogurt in any recipe that calls for yogurt. (I wouldn’t recommend using it in any recipe where the texture matters.) I just couldn’t bring myself to eat the yogurt slime straight up!

HOW LONG DOES INSTANT POT YOGURT LAST IN THE FRIDGE?

My last batch was in the fridge for 7-10 days. If you’re worried you’re not going to eat it all, yogurt freezes beautifully!

Simple Instant Pot Yogurt with blueberries, granola, and chocolate chips

HOW DO I STORE INSTANT POT YOGURT?

You can keep it in your Instant Pot liner with a lid or covered with plastic wrap. Scoop it into a tupperware, individual mason jars, or glass/plastic containers. These glass jars with lids are the perfect size for individual portions that you can reuse!

WHY DID MY INSTANT POT YOGURT TURN OUT GRAINY OR RUNNY?

There are two likely culprits: 

  • Not whisking in the starter completely.
  • Adding too much starter or adding old starter. 

The first time I made it, it did come out a tiny bit grainy. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t as smooth as normal yogurt. 

I whisked a decent amount, but I also “eyeballed” my starter, which might have been part of it.


BEST INSTANT POT TO BUY

Read my recommendation on the Best Instant Pot to Buy and Which Instant Pot Accessories to Buy (and Avoid!). This is the Instant Pot I have 4 of, and love! Also, don’t forget that I’m on Youtube where I teach Instant Pot Inspiration and Confidence!

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Graphic of Instant Pot Yogurt with a picture of yogurt with berries and granola.
Simple Instant Pot Yogurt with blueberries, granola, and chocolate chips

Simple 2-ingredient Instant Pot Yogurt

Yield: 13
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Refridgerate: 4 hours
Total Time: 12 hours 2 minutes

Instant Pot yogurt is so easy, creamy, and dreamy! This recipe requires no special tools or equipment besides an Instant Pot with yogurt function. Try it plain, or sweetened!

Ingredients

  • 1 Container Ultra-filtered or Ultra Pasteurized Milk, divided (do NOT substitute- I have had success using Fairlife that comes in 52 oz containers, as well as the Costco Kirkland Organic Lactose Free 2% Reduced Fat Milk that is Ultra Pasteurized)
  • 2 Tablespoons Yogurt, with live active cultures (I used Chobani plain/Chobani Flavored/Nancy's Organic. Just look on the side of the container and look for "contains live active cultures.")
  • 1 Can sweetened condensed milk, if using (My can was 14 ounces but you can add however much you like to control the sweetness).
  • Instant Pot with Yogurt function

Instructions

  1. Combine 1/2 C. milk with the yogurt starter completely to dissolve.
  2. Add sweetened condensed milk, if using, to the Instant Pot with 1 c. milk and whisk in completely to dissolve.
  3. Add in the rest of the milk and starter/milk mixture. Whisk completely.
  4. Lock the lid on (or use a glass lid, and don't worry about it being on sealing or not. It does not matter!)
  5. Press the Yogurt button and ensure that it is on the NORMAL setting, NOT LESS or MORE. Use the plus and minus buttons to select a time. 7-10 hours is ideal. I do 8 hours for Fairlife milk and 10.5 hours for Costco 2% (it requires longer incubation or it will be watery). The longer you "incubate," or let it sit, the more tart it will be. Some people incubate up to 24 hours. The Instant Pot will start counting UP, not down like when pressure cooking.
  6. After the 8-10 hours are up, take the liner out of the Instant Pot, cover with a lid/plastic wrap/foil, and refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight. Do not stir or disturb. The consistency after incubation will be almost exactly the consistency after refrigeration, so if it is not set enough for you, continue incubation for another couple hours.
  7. If you would like a super thick consistency like greek yogurt, use a yogurt strainer and strain to your desired consistency after chilling.
  8. After refrigeration, you can mix it up and transfer to a large Tupperware container, or individual containers/mason jars.
  9. Enjoy with your choice of sweetener, fruit, granola, etc.

Notes

  • Your Instant Pot should be clean and sterile before you make your yogurt.
  • The consistency of your yogurt after incubating should be thick. It will not thicken much more in the fridge.
  • The starter needs to be whisked in completely, otherwise your yogurt may result in a grainy texture.
  • Try my Magical 2-Layer Pumpkin Yogurt Recipe if you like this!
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 13 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Unsaturated Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag me @tried_tested_true on Instagram!

Kisha

Tuesday 6th of September 2022

I would like to try the monk fruit sweetener. Are you using the granulated one? How much did you use? Thanks!

possum

Sunday 19th of June 2022

i've done this twice and both times when finished incubating there is a thick film on the top which I can't remove, hence it adds gross lumps to my otherwise delicious yoghurt...I followed instructions completely, altho once I used frozen ultra filtered 2%milk that I really had to whisk to get melt the ice and this time, i could only find pastureized (not ultra pasturized) filtered milk...any ideas, it's delicious but I can't get past the lumpy bits from the film

Lisa Childs

Tuesday 28th of June 2022

Hello! The most important part of this recipe is using ultra-pasteurized milk, because the milk has already been heated to a super high temperature to allow it to incubate from its original, cold state. I hope you'll be able to try it with ultra pasteurized milk (I recommend the red, Fairlife whole milk for absolute best results.

Margie Latta

Saturday 4th of June 2022

I wish you would tell everyone that if their Instant Pot does NOT have a yogurt button they can still make yogurt. Simply use the “Sous Vide” button and set Temp. for 110*and time for 8 hours. Follow the rest of your instructions for Cold Start Yogurt. Works for me every time. Thanks. Margie Latta, Black Mountain, NC

Riley

Friday 29th of April 2022

How long will this yogurt last in the fridge?

AJ

Saturday 2nd of April 2022

Hi. Can you use can coconut milk as a sweetner or will it make the yogurt thin?

Lisa Childs

Thursday 26th of May 2022

Hello! Coconut milk is not sweetened, so it wouldn't work as a sweetener. You could add some cream of coconut after incubation.

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