Crock Pot Yogurt for frozen smoothies and more

It feels like the good old days when you’re making your own yogurt at home. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for at least a year. I don’t know why I didn’t try it earlier, but I’m thankful I’ve made it to pass along my experience with you.

I start with a half gallon of whole milk. We have lots on hand due to the one-year old baby, but I did try it with our usual 2% milk once and it was quite thinner. Just note it works, but I would suggest adding a thickener (which I’ll address).

Adapted from

Step 1-Pour 1/2 gallon of whole milk in a crock pot, cover and set on low for 2 1/2  hours.

Step 2-Unplug and leave the cover on let it set for 3 hours.

Step 3-After 3 hours, remove 1 cup milk and add 1/2 cup store-bought yogurt with live active cultures (later you can use your homemade yogurt as starter-so don’t forget to save 1/2 cup). Whisk the milk and yogurt together.

Here’s where you have a couple of options for thickening. You can add either

  • Up to 1/4 cup powdered milk. Use this method if you’re striving for PLAIN Greek yogurt.
  • 1 box of vanilla flavored instant pudding (natural is best, but use what you have). My daughter prefers it this way for vanilla flavored yogurt. You can also add vanilla extract for flavor at the end.
  • 1 packet non-flavored gelatin (I have not used this, but read about it as an option)

Step 4- Pour mixture back into crock pot and whisk together. It’s so easy my three -year old is doing this.

Step 5-Put the lid back on and keep it unplugged.

Step 6-Cover it with a heavy bath towel and wrap it all the way around and let it set over night. Isn’t this fun to use a beach towel?

This is what it looks like in the morning. REAL homemade yogurt you’ve made yourself. Do you see the water (whey)? This is what you’re going to strain. If you’re using 2% or less, it may need to set longer than eight hours to thicken.

Step 7-Prepare a straining method. I use an unbleached coffee filter in a small colander. I allow small batches to sit in the filter for a while and strain the whey.

This is some of the whey I drained off my first batch. I’m still reading up on what to do with this whey here. In the meantime, I’m throwing it out.

This is the end result: a thick, creamy homemade yogurt  for parfaits, smoothies, homemade Yo crunch or Yo Baby, pancakes, biscuits and more. Store in containers up to ten days. Never throw out unused yogurt-use it in recipes calling for buttermilk or sour cream.

Enjoy your yogurt with fresh seasonal fruit or no sugar jam. Try honey or raw sugar on the plain yogurt to sweeten your tooth if necessary.

It’s so yummy for breakfast, snack or dessert. Let me know what you think?

Updated 8/5/11

I’ve found another way to drain the whey efficiently. I use a piece of thin muslin cloth (which is actually a small clean basket liner) draped over a large colander. The colander sits inside a large mixing bowl.

After an hour or a long while, look how much whey has drained.

I use a measuring cup to scoop it out of the cloth and place in resealable containers. The cloth is washed for the next batch of yogurt. I’ve been making this yogurt about every 7-10 days.

updated 2/20/11

The current way I drain the whey is using muslin cloth method attached to the strainer on the inside of a salad spinner with a rubber band like I drain my homemade chicken broth here. The whey can be used for as protein source for smoothies.

How do you enjoy yogurt?


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