Homemade Yogurt – the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Remember Amish friendship bread? You give sections of the dough to others to make their bread, and you keep some for yourself to bake? I was reminded of this when a friend of mine recently taught me how to make yogurt. I have an Instapot which I absolutely love. But I’ve been intimated to try the yogurt setting. Active cultures, bacteria – it sounded complicated, and hard to get right. Well I couldn’t be more wrong! It takes awhile (10+ hours when all said and done) but it’s super easy, and totally worth it! If you don’t have an Instapot, no worries – you can also make yogurt in a warm oven.

In order to make yogurt, you need a starter. You can buy one, or get one from someone you know that makes yogurt. My starter came from my friend. I’m happy to share, and keep the gift going! I love the friendship and sharing aspect of this. Food brings people together in so many ways! The starter is just a few tablespoons of yogurt from another recent batch. The active and live cultures in the starter are what turn your milk into yogurt.

Literally all you need to make yogurt are:

  • A few tablespoons of Whole, 2% or Skim yogurt with active cultures
  • Milk of your choice

Now that I know how easy, delicious and inexpensive homemade yogurt is, I think I’ll be making this quite often! Here is a great way to make and enjoy homemade yogurt:

Homemade Yogurt with Honey and Mixed Fruit Jam

Make the Yogurt

If you have an Instapot, follow this yogurt recipe posted by Epicurious.

If you don’t, follow this recipe from my friend:

You’ll need –
2-6 cups milk of your choice. The higher the fat percentage the tastier the yogurt.
2-4 tablespoons yogurt starter.
Warm place (~80-90F), e.g. oven with light on (if incandescent bulb)
  1. Warm milk to near boiling, or boil
  2. Take off stove and let cool to ~110F or comfortably warm to touch (from Jennifer – I let mine cool for 1 hour. I don’t have a thermometer – I drop a few drops on the inside of my wrist. You want it to be a little warmer than body temperature. Err on the side of too cool; if it’s still too hot it will kill the live cultures).
  3. Pour milk into large container to be used to set yogurt.
  4. Put starter in small bowl, add some of the warm milk and stir gently to near smooth consistency.
  5. Add to rest of milk and stir gently.
  6. Place in warm place till set, usually 12-24 hours. The longer, the more tart and flavorful the yogurt will be.
  7. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.

Make the Mixed Fruit Jam 

This easy jam recipe uses one of my favorites – chia seeds! I love how they plump up, and they’re so good for you, providing omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, iron, and calcium. When I made it I didn’t feel like dragging out my blender (and then cleaning it after use) so I just mashed the berries with a potato masher. Easy peasy. And I left out the Stevia, but sweeten to your preference.

Assemble It!

Scoop your cooled yogurt into a bowl, drizzle with honey and top with berry jam. The honey is the perfect compliment to the tart yogurt. I use Whole milk for this so it’s richer. For a savory yogurt (think mixed with chopped cucumbers and dill) I’d use 2% or even Skim milk.


Jennifer Strilko

Jennifer is the Director of Operations at DI/LDM, keeping the train moving for several operational teams and helping them meet their goals. Jennifer believes that everything happens for a reason and that we don’t meet anyone by accident. She’s looking forward to meeting new people and widening her tribe through this blog project. In her spare time Jennifer enjoys DIY projects (upcycling curbside finds is her favorite past time). Her Mom Hustle includes being a dance and baseball mom, maneuvering teen drama, and preparing her kids for college. She lives in the western suburbs of Chicago with her husband, three teenagers and two dogs.