Homemade Yogurt – It’s Super Easy!

The weather for the past few weeks has been rain.  More rain. Thunderstorms.  Rain.  More thunderstorms.

Consequently I’ve been in the house a lot.  I’ve been using my time wisely though.  I’m continuing to purge and give away items I don’t use.  I’m getting ready to move into less than 600 square feet.  You can check out that story here.  While going through recipes I came across my favorite granola.  I made a huge batch.  Granola makes me want yogurt, a banana, and raw honey.  I didn’t want to spend five dollars for the equivalent of one quart of yogurt, so instead, while grocery shopping I grabbed a small container for 50 cents and a gallon of the cheapest whole milk.  Total cost $3.27.

I can’t believe I haven’t posted this homemade yogurt recipe before today!  It is so easy, has only two ingredients, and is inexpensive, which checks off the box for simple and frugal.  It is healthy, contains active cultures, and you control the amount of sugar (fruit puree) that you add – if any.  What’s not to love about that!

To get started you’ll need the following:

Quart jars (wide mouth are best) and lids or any type of glass jar, even old spaghetti sauce jars work

1 gallon of whole milk (or less if you don’t want four quarts of yogurt) – pasteurized, not raw.  Raw milk yogurt is made differently.

Any type of store bought yogurt that contains active cultures (not Greek yogurt)


Large pot

Heating pad*

Beach towel

Begin with clean jars and lids.  Pour desired amount of milk in large pot.  Heat on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the milk reaches 180-ish degrees. Test with a thermometer.  Don’t worry if your milk heats up a little higher, this recipe is very forgiving.

Remove from heat.  Allow to cool until temperature is down to 120-ish degrees, 20-30 minutes.  Don’t get anxious and skip this part.  Temperatures over 120 degrees will kill off the active yogurt cultures so be patient. Again, this recipe is forgiving.  If you get busy and your milk cools to 110 degrees, no probs!  Pour milk into clean jars.  Add one heaping tablespoon of yogurt (any flavor – but NOT Greek**, it just doesn’t work well) to each jar and stir until yogurt is completely incorporated into the milk.  Place lids on jars.

yogurt making 1

Place heating pad on kitchen countertop turned on to lowest setting.  Cover with beach towel.  Place jars on beach towel and wrap like a package.  Wash out the large pot you used to heat the milk, then take the clean pot and place it over the towel-wrapped jars.

yogurt making 2

Allow jars to sit for 12 hours until yogurt has formed.  The longer the yogurt cultures, the thicker and more sour the flavor. Some recipes call for a 24 hour ferment. When satisfied with taste and consistency, place the jars in the refrigerator and enjoy.  To make flavored yogurt add a little fruit preserves and stir or add fresh fruit or honey to sweeten.  I like it plain, but I sometimes add my homemade granola, with a sliced banana and honey, of course.

yogurt making 3

Yummo!  That’s it.  I told you it was super easy.  It doesn’t take much time and keeps for up to a month.  Then, save out one heaping tablespoon for each quart of yogurt you make for your next batch and do it all over again!

*If you don’t have a heating pad then wrap the jars in a towel, place on oven rack, cover with pot and turn on the stove light to keep warm.  It will take longer for the yogurt to thicken so this is a good overnight recipe —- just don’t forget it in the morning!!

**If you like Greek-style yogurt, simply line a colander with a coffee filter or cheese cloth.  Place the colander on a pie plate.  Pour the desired amount of yogurt into the lined colander, cover with a plate and place in the refrigerator.  The whey will drain out and you’ll be left with thick yogurt.  The longer it drains, the thicker the yogurt.  I don’t care for a super thick consistency so an hour or so is enough for my taste.

If you decide to try this let me know.  Bon appetit!


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