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To make no-fail yogurt in Instant Pot, or your favorite yogurt maker in just three steps, sanitation, inoculation and incubation. None of these steps can be skipped!

yo1You can use any kind of milk you like, I prefer to use whole cow’s milk. See my tips at the bottom of this page for getting extra-thick yogurt!

Step 1: Sanitation
Ensure that all of the equipment, containers and utensils to be used in the yogurt-making process are carefully cleaned. This ensures that no other bacteria compete with the yogurt starter during the incubation.

If you’re making the yogurt directly in Instant Pot’s stainless steel container, sanitize the cooker by running Instant Pot on the pressure steam program for one minute with one cup of water. Set the valve on the lid to “Sealing” push the [steam] button and then the [-] button until you get down to one minute. When the program is finished, release the pressure and then pour out the water. Then, scald the milk by pushing [yogurt] button and [adjust] until the screen says “Boil” for the DUO model; for the DUO Plus, push the [yogurt] button, until the screen says “Boil” (there is no adjust button); and, for the ULTRA choose the [yogurt] program, and then select the recommended Temperature under “more” (181°F).

For all models, let Instant Pot bring the milk to a boil until the screen says “Yogt”.

If you’re going to make yogurt in little jars, anyway, you can sanitize the jars and scald the milk at the same time (as shown in the video). Add a cup of water and the steamer basket into Instant Pot. Pour the milk in the jars and place the jars in the cooker. Set the valve on the lid to “Sealing” push the [steam] button and then the [-] button until you get down to one minute. When the program is finished push [cancel] to turn off the instant pot and let it cool down naturally.

For both milk that has been scalded in the pot or little jars, wait until the yogurt cools down to at least 115°F/46°C before proceeding to the next step. That can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour (make sure to take the temperature with a clean thermometer). If you don’t have a thermometer handy, you’ll want to wait until the jars are cool enough to handle.
Preparing for yogurt making.

Step 2: Inoculation
To the scalded milk, add the yogurt inoculate according to package instructions or, use a high-quality plain yogurt with live active cultures. Once you get going, you can use the yogurt from a previous batch to make the next- as long as it’s under two weeks old. Measurements do not need to be exact, but you’ll want to aim for about one teaspoon per cup (250ml) of milk.

Mix the inoculate or yogurt into the milk until it dissolves completely (as shown in the video).

Making yogurt.

Step 3: Incubation
Close the lid with the pressure valve in any position or place the freshly cleaned glass lid to run the yogurt program by pressing [Yogurt] for the DUO model; for the DUO Plus, push the [yogurt] button, until the screen says “08:00”; and, for the ULTRA choose the [yogurt] program, and then select the recommended Temperature under “med” (107°F).

For all models, the default time is 8 hours, and I’ve had great results with this time but you can adjust the time by pressing the [+] or [-] buttons to get different effects.

Longer time will produce a more tart yogurt. Most yogurt strains will begin to solidify after bout 6 hours – for less tart results check to see if the milk has already solidified after this time.

When the program is finished the letters “Yogt” will appear in the display.

Storage
Top the jars with clean lids, or pour the contents of the inner pot into a clean container, and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Finished making yogurt.

Extra-thick Greek-Style Yogurt
There are three ways to make a thicker yogurt.

  1. Nonfat Milk Powder – add 1/2 teaspoon of milk powder per cup of milk at the beginning of the process.
  2. Boil Milk a little longer – during the scalding process, boil the milk for an extra 10 minutes. When scalding milk directly in the stainless steel insert, simply run the scalding program (Boil) one or two extra times depending on the thickness desired.
  3. Strain the Yogurt – after the yogurt making process is complete. Pour the yogurt into a cloth-lined fine strainer that is positioned over a bowl. Place the whole set-up in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours depending on the desired thickness.

Straining yogurt to thicken.

 

See Also:

Instant Pot DUO Discount Code: hippot

yogurt made in electric pressure cooker

ip-smart recipe script (what’s this?)

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288 Comments

  1. Derek, my first suspicion would be that the yogurt you used to inoculate your milk is suspect. Your starter needs to be a fresh, high quality, PLAIN yogurt that talks about live bacterial culture on the label. For instance, the batch I made last night was started with commercial yogurt claiming “contains 1 billion probiotic bacteria per serving” on the label. Don’t be shy with your starter either… try doubling the amount you use and see if that makes any difference.

    Starting to incubate at 96 degrees should not make that much difference provided you let it run for the default eight hours. Did you remember to put water into the pot underneath the rack? I have been using 1 1/2 cups of water for incubation on the premise that the larger amount has more thermal mass and thus smoothes the temperature fluctuations.

    1. I have never placed any water in the stainless steel pot when incubating my yogurt in jars. I don’t even use the trivet. I place the jars directly in the stainless steel pot (after scalding; cooling & inoculating)
      – put the cover on and press the yogurt function. I have never had a failed batch of yogurt. Perfect every time.

  2. Derek,
    Sorry, I made the assumption that after the “boil” you put your milk into some sort of container which is what I do. I use a largish glass bowl. I have no experience incubating in the stainless steel liner pot. So please disregard my comments about water underneath the rack if that is what you do.

  3. Thanks for your help Meg! I do incubate in the stainless pot. Maybe I’ll try putting the milk in a large glass bowl on the trivet with 1 1/2 cups of water underneath and see what happens. My starter has active cultures.

    1. Dumb question: You are talking degrees Fahrenheit aren’t you? 96ºC would be way too hot and would kill the starter.
      I seem to recall NASA crashed a rocket a while back by making a similar error.

      Also the milk could be suspect. There are some brands here I will NOT use as they do not work like real milk. They are known for breaking down real milk into its constituent parts, then reassembling so it looks like milk but isn’t really. Try changing your brand

  4. I make my yogurt in the stainless pot 3.5 liters full. A couple things I have found is that you should stir the milk a few times while it is heating. Then I set it on saute medium setting and stir until it reaches 190 degrees. Then I remove the pot into the sink full of cold water to speed the cooling process. You need a good instant read thermometer. I have found that the heating element is too hot at that point to put the milk back into the instant pot so I drape a damp dish rag over it a couple of times while the milk is cooling to get the temperature down. I burned the bottom of the milk once when i did not do this. The element holds the heat very well.

    I use 250 grams of plain yogurt for starter. I stir some of the milk into the yogurt first then stir it into the pot. Then put the pot back into the Instant pot and set for yogurt. You need to adjust to the middle setting the lower one is for a low temp type of yogurt and the high is boil. Adjust the time for 8 or more hours, the longer you let it go after 8 hours the tarter it will be. 24 hours will remove almost all the lactose.

    Good luck with it,
    Gerry

  5. I have been making yogurt weekly since January in Ball mason jars and it always turns out great. My issue is that I have had 3 jars crack in that time. The last one the bottom fell right out while I was washing it. They were all new and different sizes. I will contact the manufacturer but was wondering if it was something I was doing. I followed your directions to the letter, 1 cup water, the trivet, jars of milk,steam etc and let them cool in the cooker with lid off. When I take them out to add starter I either put them on a cooling rack or a dry hand towel so they will not come in contact with a cold surface. This is becoming frustrating. Thank you for letting me vent and I love your videos and recipes.

    1. Sue, do you know or can you hear when the jars are actually cracking?

      Ciao,

      L

      1. No I do not hear them cracking. I usually find the crack when the jar is empty. The crack is near the bottom so I don’t see it until I have used the yogurt. Sue

        1. That sounds like too much heat is coming from the bottom. Maybe use a slightly taller trivet.

          DISCLAIMER: I don’t have an InstantPot and don’t make yoghurt this way.

      2. Update: Hi Laura, I have been heating my milk to 90 degrees F before I pour it into the jars. That was doing the trick until this last time and another jar cracked. This time i heard it and it was during the 1 min. steam cycle. Also the last two times I made yogurt after the steam cycle and the pin dropped when I went to remove the lid the milk bubbled up and almost over almost like it was still under some pressure. I felt the pin drop time was quicker the last two times than any other times (10 min compared to 20) so I don’t know if there is an issue with my machine (I hope not !). Any help would be appreciated. Thank you Sue.

  6. Sue, I take it that you are using a trivet under your jars. Just checking. I share Geg’s thought and suggestion.

    There is also a possibility that you might have run into a flawed batch of jars, which has happened to me. If you think that the cracked jars all might have come from the same box, you can return them or exchange them for a new box.

    1. Rita and Greg, I am using a the trivet that comes with the Instant Pot. The jars did not come from the same batch, they were all different sizes and styles but all were mason jars. After speaking to the company they suggested that maybe the milk is too cold when I put it in the jars and when it comes up to pressure the heat difference is what is making them crack. I’m sure I’m not the only one that uses cold milk to start the process. I hope I find a solution to this problem as I like making it in the jars. Thank you for your suggestions. Sue

      1. Sue, the cracking definitely comes from a temperature differential or, as Rita mentioned, a bad batch. I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems.

        I don’t buy that pressure cooking jars with cold milk would crack them. First, because I do it, and second because the cooker “builds” the temperature over 10 minutes. They’re not going from cold to pressure instantly! Since you notice the cracks when you wash them I wonder if the jars are cold from the fridge and you’re putting them under hot water?!?

        Or, less likely, you’re adding more cold starter than what is called for?

        Or, the jars were shipped to you and they were man-handled in transit?

        That’s all I can think of right now!

        The only other option is to use Instant Pot’s yogurt set. I’m personally not a big fan of it because I don’t see the logic of cooking plastic. Even heat-safe plastic. So when they offered to send it to me, I told them to keep it. However, the case of the mysteriously cracking jars sounds like a good enough reason to try it!

        http://amzn.to/2rHyBpQ

        Ciao,

        L

        1. Laura, By the time I wash the jars they are room temperature and I do take the starter out to warm while I am waiting for the milk to drop in temperature. I have started warming my milk in the microwave for 1 min then pouring it in the jars. So far so good but I’m not happy having to do an extra step (and dishes lol).

        2. Wondering..would it matter if the jars were sealed during the sanitation process? The directions call for them to be unsealed. Of course you might already be sanitizing unsealed, so, I’m just throwing it out there. Good luck!

          1. Yes, it matters. Putting the lid on will affect the temperature of the milk inside the jar – also if it is sealed tightly the jar may explode due to the pressure difference of pressure inside vs. outside of the jar.

            If your goal is to sterilize the lids, too, just put them in the pressure cooker next to the jars. Then, after you inoculate the milk, lightly close the lids – or as they say in canning circles “close, and then unscrew or 1/4 of a turn” before running the yogurt program.

            You can tighten the lids before putting the jars in the fridge. : )

            Ciao,

            L

            1. I’m sorry, but the idea that CANNING JARS will explode under normal “cooking” pressure is totally ludicrous.

              I have been canning food for over 50 years. I use a PRESSURE CANNER, which reaches a much higher pressure than this toy pressure cooker. I have NEVER had a jar crack or break, let alone explode, in a pressure canner.

              It is, in fact, the “pressure differential” that makes the seal.

              1. Please re-read my comment.

                Thanks,

                L : )

  7. When using the jar method for making yogurt, at step 3: incubation — do you have water under the trivet for the 8-12 hours?

    1. Yes, I leave it because it heats the inside more evenly than just having the heating element on in a dry cooker.

      Ciao,

      L

  8. Fran, Yes I do.

  9. Hi Laura. Thanks to your help figuring out how to toggle through the yogurt settings, I have successfully made many batches of yogurt. But I took a break for awhile, and now I can no longer remember whether to set the lid to “sealing” while boiling. Perhaps it doesn’t matter if you do seal or don’t? Either way, I don’t see any specifications in your directions.

    And while I”m at it, a couple of other questions. I thought boiling temperature was around 212, but the IP only gets my milk to about 180, which seems sufficient for making yogurt, but what’s the story? How does the boiling function work? Is there a sensor that lets the IP know when it’s reached a boiling temp?

    Thanks again for your all your experimentation, which saves the rest of us from costly trial and error learning!

  10. Can you make yogurt in a slow in a pressure cooker that does not have a yogurt setting? Mistakenly I bought one that doesn’t have a yogurt setting and it’s from Amazon so I can’t return it. I suppose I could return it but it’ll cost me more than it’s worth. Thank you for your help!

    1. The short answer is no. Yoghurt needs a fairly precise low temperature to grow. Too high or too low and you will either kill the bacteria or allow the wrong one to grow.

      However there are other ways to get that temperature. You can use your pressure cooker as a container for one of those methods. I actually use a sous vide circulator to maintain the temperature when I make yoghurt, but its been a while since I did.

      It is a two step process. First you heat the milk to near boiling and hold it there for a while. This kills all the unwanted bugs already in the milk. This step is called pasteurisation. Theoretically you could just use pasteurised milk from the shop and not worry about this step, but there is always the risk that the milk was contaminated after the company did the process so it is safest to do it anyway. The second step is to cool the milk down to about blood temperature, add the culture and hold it there until the yoghurt cultures do their job. Each of the exact strains of bacteria in the culture like different temperatures best, so varying the temperature SLIGHTLY at the second stage can alter the taste quite markedly.

      1. In the USA you do not need to “sterilize” grocery store milk that has been pasteurized. It makes yogurt (or paneer, for that matter, a soft cheese) just fine without it. You only need to heat it up to 120F. I only heat milk for paneer to 160F, and even that may be overkill.

        If you don’t believe me, believe Alton Brown.

        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/fresh-yogurt-recipe-1939865

        1. Last time I looked, this website did not only go to addresses in the USA. It is does not do any harm to sterilise again. It does do harm to NOT sterilise unpasteurised milk.

          By all means take whatever risks you want. Laura has to err on the side of safety.

  11. What temp seting am I supposed to use for the instant pot ultra. My options are low = 91 F, medium 107 F and high 180 or custom.

    1. Jane 180 to boil milk (if you’re not pre-pressure cooking it like in the instructions) and 107 to run the yogurt program – the even lower setting is for fermenting rice.

      Ciao,

      L

      1. The lowest setting is perfect for making dosa or idli batter. That’s why I’ve been looking at this device – I can’t find a spot where the batter will ferment properly in my new house. In the old house, it fermented perfectly at the back of the fridge (on top). Here, it either never ferments at all or it gets too warm and grows pink stuff. I just need it to hold at about 90F for 6 or 8 hours, which it seems this thing might manage ok.

        I specifically came to this page because you said the Ultra has a minimum temp of 104F – too hot to ferment dosa or idli batter. (From this page: https://www.hippressurecooking.com/which-instant-pot-model-is-right-for-you/)

        So unless the Ultra is LACKING a feature of the lower priced Duo model (low temp = 91F) that statement must be in error? Or were you using the Duo Plus?

        You also don’t mention the elevation feature of the Ultra in your review of it. I live at 5200 feet. It sort of matters to me what that feature does or does not do.

        1. Pyewacket, that is an Ultra Preview – I’m writing the actual review for it right now. The yogurt setting on the Ultra is awkward. It will let you set the temperatures as in previous models (including the 91°F setting) – however, the “custom” program only goes down to 104°F so there is no way to make adjustments between 91-104°F.

          Ciao,

          L

          P.S. When I don’t “boil” shelf-stable milk (Ultra Heat Pasteurized) before making yogurt it also grows pink stuff so I think you need to take into consideration what the milk goes through between it being pasteurized at the dairy until it gets to you. Considers giving it another go before fermenting.

  12. I just bought the newest Instant pot model – The Instant Pot Ultra 10 -in 1. The instruction book that was included is terrrible and does not give accurate instructions for that particular model. Your video is very helpful but I am still having to make a few interpretations as to how to use my machine.

    I like the idea of making the yogurt directly in the jars. When you sterilized the milk in the jars, you did so for only 1 min. Is this enough time to scald the milk and get the temperature up to 180 F? Could I scald the milk in the Instant Pot and then pour the milk into the jars? Or, can I scald the milk in the Instant Pot insert, let it cool, stir in the inoculant and then pour the milk into the sterilized jars and then put them back into the (cleaned) insert on a rack for incubation in the Instant Pot?

    The jars that I hope to use are jars that I buy my yogurt in. They hold about 125 mL (1/2 c) of yogurt. Mixing a bit of starter in each of these jars would be a bit tedious but not impossible.

    I would appreciate any feedback on my thoughts.

    1. Helga, yes you can scald directly in the pot and pour into sanitized jars. But…

      1 minute of high pressure involves 10 minutes heating up to temperature before holding for a minute. At the high pressure setting, the inside of the instant pot will be full of 240F steam, and the natural pressure release means an extra 15-20 minutes above 212F. So really you’re steaming the jars for almost 30 minutes. This should be sufficient.

      This general technique is outlined in the instructions that come with all Instant Pots that have a yogurt function. The instructions for the Instant Pot Ultra are available here: http://instantpot.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Ultra-Manual-English_-2017-web.pdf

      On page 18 they describe making yogurt and have a note about making yogurt in jars: “To make yogurt in containers instead of the inner pot, modify step 1 (Heat Milk): fill containers to 90% full with milk, add 1 cup (~8.5 fl oz / 250 mL) of water to the inner pot, place containers on a steam rack in the inner pot, close the lid, the quick release button will automatically reset to Sealing position. Use the central dial to select the Steam function and set the cooking time to 2 minutes. Once complete, use the natural release method then open the lid and continue with steps 2 to 4.”

    2. Oh… re: your jars. It’s not recommended to use jars not-meant-for-canning under pressure. Your re-purposed yogurt jars are not meant for canning. Just bear in mind there is some risk (hard to say how much) that the jars might crack or shatter during the pressurized scalding. This risk is less than if you had tight fitting lids on the jars while they were under pressure (as one would while trying to can with a re-purposed spaghetti sauce jar), but since you are using the jars in a way that’s not intended, it’s probably not zero risk. I have seen a few bloggers say they use the Oui by Yoplait jars in this way. I also see warnings not to, but I have yet to come across someone saying “I tried this and my jars frequently break”.

      If you’re comfortable with that risk (I think I would be), go ahead and use those jars. If cleaning broken glass out of your IP is something you aren’t willing to risk, buy some Ball, Kerr, or other jars designed for canning OR portion the yogurt sometime after scalding (either before or after incubation).

      1. Thanks Paul, I didn’t catch that she WASN’T using canning jars. That ‘splains it!!

        Ciao,

        L

  13. when I first got this machine making yogurt was a dream come true; but after 10 times the base started heating up; I tried to move it around because my apartment was warm; yet after 3-4 hours my yogurt started to curdled; got a replacement and the same thing is happening after about 10 times of use; so it has nothing to do with the yogurt starter or the milk; and sometimes the milk in the jars boil over and goes all over the inside cover; I am beside myself; tried to use the stainless bowl; again that worked for about 4 times; then I went back to the jars; if someone could answer how to make the yogurt without having to do it the old fashion way please let me know. Help.

    1. Elizabeth, can you clarify what you mean about “the base heating up”? It doesn’t sound like something that should happen! Also, which model do you have?

      Ciao,

      L

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