Instant Pot Yogurt

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It’s so incredibly satisfying to spend less than $2 on a gallon of milk, and to come away with thick, rich, creamy Greek yogurt for days. Strain it for just a few more hours, and you have a thick, tangy product that makes a perfect sour-cream substitute you can use in cheesecakes, tzaziki sauce, creamy curries, mashed potatoes, or as a baked potato topping.

Yogurt in the instant pot isn’t exactly “instant,” but it’s so rich and delicious compared to store-bought. I have an Instant Pot Lux (no yogurt button) and a Duo (yogurt button). I’ve discovered that there’s really no magic in the “yogurt” button, since you can incubate your yogurt inside the pot and have it maintain a pretty even temperature without it. Here’s the basic process for both the Duo and the Lux. And yes, you can double the recipe.

I like storing my yogurt in glass wide-mouth jars purchased from Amazon at https://amzn.to/2NuIoP1, topped with dishwasher-safe, leak-proof plastic screw-top lids, found here: https://amzn.to/2Yfcc2J. Here they are, all stacked up and ready to hit the fridge for the work week.

I keep a jar full of whey to use as starter for the next batch. Will the whey “wear out” or “stop working” after a few generations? I have not found that to be the case. I started making yogurt about eight months ago, and it’s still going strong.

Boil Method

Click Here for No-Boil Method

Ingredients

  • Milk, 1/2 gallon, whole or lowfat
  • 2 Tablespoons of plain, room-temperature yogurt. Ensure that it is labeled as containing live, active cultures. After this first batch, you can set aside yogurt for the the next round, or even use an equivalent amount of whey.

Supplies

  • Instant-read thermometer
  • Wire whisk
  • Glass measuring cup
  • Large coffee filter or cheesecloth
  • Large colander and saucepan or bowl for straining yogurt
  • Instant pot
  • Large, thick towel (for Lux version, which doesn’t have the “Yogurt” button

Instructions

  1. Start with clean supplies. I run about three cups of water in the pot for about 3 minutes at pressure, and then pour the hot water over my whisk, thermometer, and measuring cup just to sterilize things a  bit.
  2. Add milk to the inner liner of your pot, and seal with the lid. It won’t matter if you set it to “seal” or not, since at no point will the heat be high enough to reach pressure.
  3. Press the “Keep Warm” button, and heat yogurt for 30 minutes. Do not exceed 30 minutes, as the milk will tend to scald and stick to the bottom of the pot.
  4. Heat the yogurt as follows, depending upon your model of Instant Pot:

Lux: After 30 minutes, remove the lid and set the Instant Pot to “Saute,” and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Whisk the milk often so that it doesn’t scald the bottom. Turn off the Instant Pot when the milk reaches 180 degrees. Remove the inner pot from the Instant Pot, place a glass lid or oven-proof dinner plate on top, and place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. 

Duo: Press “Yogurt” button until display reads “Boil”. When the Instant Pot beeps that it is done, remove the lid and check the temperature to make sure that the milk is 180 degrees. If it hasn’t reached 180 degrees, press the “Saute” button, whisk the milk gently, and check the temperature until it reaches 180 degrees.
After 30 minutes, remove the pot from the oven or Instant Pot. Allow the pot to cool, whisking gently and checking with the thermometer until the temperature reaches 110 degrees. You can speed the cooling a bit by placing the liner into a larger pot or sink with a few inches of cold water. Do not allow water to splash into the yogurt, and don’t allow the temperature to fall below 110 degrees.

Now for the magic:

  1. Take about a cupful of yogurt and place in your measuring cup. Whisk in two tablespoons of room-temperature starter yogurt (or whey). Add this yogurt back into the pot and whisk gently.
  2. Lux: Place liner back into Instant Pot, replace the Instant Pot lid, turn the the valve to “Seal”, and then wrap the pot in a large, thick towel. The yogurt should be left alone for at least eight hours (more if you like yogurt to be a little more tart). After incubation, the yogurt should be somewhat solid. There may be some liquid floating on top
  3. Duo: Place liner back into Instant Pot, replace the Instant Pot lid, and press “Yogurt” button
  4. After eight hours, remove liner from pot (do not stir the yogurt!), and place yogurt in the refrigerator. Allow to chill for at least eight hours. 
  5. If you want thick Greek yogurt, you can now strain the yogurt. I use an industrial-size coffee filter inside a colander, that I then place into a pot large enough to hold the colander in place without letting it touch the bottom, so that the whey can drain out. Dump the yogurt into the strainer (don’t stir it yet). Strain until you get the consistency you like. I tend to like mine pretty thick, so I let it go for at least four hours, but you can strain more if you want a thicker, ricotta-like consistency.  You can always stir a little of the whey back in if the yogurt is too thick. Your whey should look sort of yellowish and nearly clear. 
  6. Save some yogurt (or whey) for the next batch. Whey can also be used in smoothies or baked into bread. It’s loaded with protein, vitamins, and probiotics.

No-Boil Method

For “cold-start” (no-boil) yogurt, you can skip the thermometer if you’re using the Instant Pot Duo or other model with a Yogurt function. Simply add 1/2 gallon of ultra-pasteurized milk (this is a must for food safety and for properly denaturing the milk proteins to get a smooth end product) to your pot. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of your starter (yogurt or whey from previous batch), and set yogurt button for eight to 10 hours, depending on your preference for yogurt tartness. When the yogurt is finished, the display will read “YOGT”. Remove liner from pot, cover with lid, and refrigerate for at least eight hours to thicken. Strain to desired consistency.
Use only ultra pasteurized milk for no-boil yogurt. Regular milk must be heated to 180 degrees to denature proteins and kill any unwanted bacteria. I buy my UP milk from Aldi, and my yogurt comes out perfectly thick.
Whisk in 2 tablespoons of whey or plain yogurt for each 1/2 gallon of milk.

3 comments on “Instant Pot Yogurt”

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