Instant Pot Yogurt - Cold Start Yogurt & Lactose Free

How to make thick and creamy yogurt easily in your Instant Pot! Store bought yogurt may be convenient but nothing compares to the creaminess and taste of homemade yogurt. 
Making yogurt is one of the best features of the Instant Pot! It's super simple to make and one of the main reasons I purchased the Instant Pot from the start. Before the Instant Pot, I was making homemade yogurt in my Slow Cooker. I loved the yogurt, but the whole process was really time - consuming. By using the Instant Pot, I can have thick, creamy Greek yogurt in 8 hours versus 12 and it is practically hands free.  

Once you have all your ingredients together, simply add everything to the instant pot and push the yogurt setting. I prefer 8 hours for my yogurt to incubate, but use your preference. The longer the yogurt incubates, the tangier it is. Once the yogurt is done, chill and enjoy! 

We love our yogurt topped with maple syrup, honey, fresh fruit, berries, freezer jam and granola. My favorite way is to top mine with fresh berries and raw honey. Once you taste homemade yogurt, you'll never go back to store bought yogurt. This recipe makes a good amount and will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks if stored in a covered air - tight container. 

I use the cold start method for this yogurt recipe, so there is no need to heat the milk first. The most important step in making cold start yogurt is the type of milk used. The milk must be Ultra - filtered or Ultra - Pasteurized. If you want Lactose Free yogurt (like me) you will need to use Lactose Free Ultra Pasteurized (whole or 2% milk).
You also need to make sure that if you're not using a yogurt starter that the store bought yogurt that you use as a starter is a Plain yogurt or Plain Greek yogurt with Live Active Cultures. My favorites are Fage Plain or Chobani Plain Greek yogurt. Just look at the back of the yogurt container and make sure it contains live active cultures (see above). 

You will also need vanilla extract and a sweetener, I use one can of sweetened condensed milk. For dairy free use Lactose free sweetened condensed milk . I am lactose intolerant on some things, but I don't have any issues using regular sweetened condensed milk in this recipe. 

To start place the insert into the Instant Pot and pour 1/2 gallon of ultra filtered, ultra pasteurized or lactose free ultra pasteurized milk into the instant pot. Add the whole (5.3 ounce) container of plain yogurt and gently mix using a wire whisk. 

If you would like to add a sweetener add it now, I use sweetened condensed milk (it gives the perfect amount of sweetener), add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla),  and whisk everything together to make sure it is all  combined. 

Close and lock the instant pot lid in place, leave the steam release valve open.  Push the "yogurt" button until it reads 8 hours then push start. I have the DUO so I just push the yogurt button and 8 hours will appear on the display and the incubation time will begin. 

The time on the display will count up. The yogurt will start to thicken as soon as 3 hours, but wait to check the thickness at around 6 hours. To test the thickness gently dip a spoon into the yogurt, but DO NOT stir. 8 hours of incubating will yield a perfectly thickened yogurt. 

After the 8 hours the Instant Pot will beep and the Incubation process is complete. When the display reaches "0" the instant pot will display "yogt" indicating the yogurt is done. 

Remove the insert and give the yogurt the spoon test. Take a spoon and insert it into the middle of the yogurt. If the spoon stands up straight without help the yogurt is thick enough. Do not stir the yogurt before chilling.  

Place a paper towel over the top of the insert (to collect moisture as it cools) and cover with plastic wrap or foil. Refrigerate the yogurt overnight or at least 6 - 8 hours. The yogurt will thicken a bit more as it chills.  

Remove the insert from the refrigerator and lightly stir!!! Look how thick and creamy the yogurt is. If you would like and ever thicker yogurt similar to the consistency of Greek yogurt you will need to strain it some to remove the whey. I use a yogurt strainer.   

Now it is time to store the yogurt. Transfer the yogurt from the instant pot to an air tight container for long term storage. Yogurt can be refrigerated for up to 2 - weeks if it lasts that long. 😉  


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tiqtoq said…
What if it’s not thick enough when you test it?
Tina Butler said…
What milk did you use? It must be ultra pasteurized! It also depends on how long you let the yogurt incubate? It should be the whole 8 hours when the Instant pot beeps and displays the "yogt" icon. This means it is complete. It should be thick at this point. It could also be that the lid was not properly closed. It doesn't have to be sealed, but it needs to be closed with little air to get into the pot. Second, It can also be that your yogurt did not have "active cultures" or the yogurt was expired that you used as a starter.
Sarah said…
Having the same problem as the person above. My milk is ultra pasteurized. My yogurt was not expired and had active cultures. I let it incubate the whole time. And the lid was closed. I have made the recipe before with out trouble. Is there a way to save this batch? Cook it longer? I have followed all steps as outlined and the yogurt is not thick. Is there a way to save the current batch?
Tina Butler said…
I am not sure how you would save it and try and make yogurt again. I have not had this issue before and mine has always set up. Did you refrigerate the yogurt to see if that helped? If not I would just save it and use it to bake with. I don't really know what happened especially since you said you have made it in the past with no issues.