How To Make Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

(Last Updated On: August 2, 2020)

Make breakfast time easy and delicious with this homemade vanilla yogurt recipe. Perfect for meal-prepping breakfast on busy mornings, just top with fresh fruit and breakfast is served! While this post is sponsored by Florida Dairy Farmers, all opinions and my love of dairy are my own.

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

Homemade yogurt. What if I told you that it was actually pretty easy? But, why make homemade yogurt? Well, because it tastes better than store bought. Isn’t that always the case though? When you make something from scratch it always tastes better than if you bought it at the store. Like my homemade strawberry fruit roll-ups. And like my homemade fruit roll-ups, this homemade vanilla yogurt only requires a few ingredients and about 5 minutes of prep time.

How To Make Homemade Vanilla Yogurt without an instant pot

My daughter and I eat yogurt topped with fresh fruit for breakfast several times a week and while yogurt is indeed available at every local grocery store, I decided that we should make yogurt at home. By making it at home, I know exactly what’s in it and it doesn’t get fresher than homemade 😉 With school starting back up here soon, I wanted to have easy breakfast options ready to go in the refrigerator, and this homemade vanilla yogurt is just that. Easy breakfast options for the win! Once your yogurt is ready, you can easily put in into single serving jars and store them in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. Making the Monday – Friday breakfast rush easy peasy!

Best Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

If you like granola and fresh fruit on your yogurt like we do, you can also make yogurt parfaits the night before. Simply layer your yogurt and topping into a container, cover it and refrigerate. You can actually make yogurt parfaits up to 3 days ahead of time. Again, making that school day breakfast just that much easier.

Easy Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

Ok, so let’s to the steps on making this deliciously creamy yogurt at home.

To make vanilla yogurt at home you will need just simple three ingredients:

  • Milk – I used 2% milk. You can substitute whole milk if preferred.
  • Plain yogurt with live cultures – These live cultures are what will work with the milk to actually make your yogurt.
  • Vanilla Extract – Well, we are making vanilla yogurt 😉

How to make yogurt

What equipment do you need at home to make vanilla yogurt?

  • Dutch Oven or heavy pot with a lid.
  • Thermometer – You will have to make sure that the milk reaches two different temperatures.
  • Spatula – For stirring.
  • Measuring Cup.
  • Bowl.
  • Whisk.
  • Oven or someplace you can place the pot with yogurt in it so it can stay warm and cozy.

Easy way to make yogurt

Directions for making homemade yogurt:

  • Pour the milk into a Dutch oven and warm over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches 180° to 200°F. Stir gently as it heats.
  • Now you will cool the milk. You can allow it to cool on the kitchen counter or to speed up the process you can place the dutch oven into an ice bath. Stirring it will help the cooling process and stop a “skin” from forming on the top. You want the milk to cool to 112°F to 115°F.
  • Once the milk is cool, use a measuring cup scoop out about a cup of warm milk from the Dutch oven and put it into a bowl. Add the yogurt and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir or whisk until smooth and the yogurt is dissolved.
  • Pour the milk/yogurt mixture from the bowl back into the Dutch oven and stir/whisk gently.
  • Place the lid on Dutch oven and put it into your TURNED OFF oven. Turn on the oven light and wrap the pot in a dishtowel to keep the milk warm as it sets (ideally around 110°F, though some variance is okay).
  • Now you wait. After 4 hours you can check your yogurt. The longer it sits the thicker and more tart it will become. You can let it sit as long as 8 – 10 hours! The exact time will depend on the temperature of the yogurt, the cultures you used, and how you like your yogurt. If this is your first time making yogurt (like it was mine), check it at the 4 hour mark. If it has the flavor and consistency you like, you can stop there. Avoid checking on, stirring or jostling the Dutch oven while your yogurt is setting. After 4 hours you can shake the bowl ever so gently. Watch for a gelatin-like jiggle. If a slight shake causes a splash (of the milk, not just the whey sitting on top), let it set another hour or two while the yogurt bacteria continue to multiply. Do not stir or disturb your incubating yogurt before it has set. Pouring it into a strainer or another container stops the incubation process.
  • Once your yogurt is set, remove it from the oven. If you see any water on the surface of your yogurt, you can either drain it off or whisk it back into your yogurt before putting it into containers. Whisking the yogurt will give the it a more consistent creamy texture.
  • Store your homemade yogurt in airtight containers in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it! It will thicken a little bit when it’s in the refrigerator. Your delicious homemade yogurt will be good stored in the refrigerator for about 7 – 10 days.

Easiest homemade vanilla yogurt

Now, here is my Homemade Vanilla Yogurt recipe, be sure to Print It and Pin It so that you can make it again and again. I know I will be.

Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

With 3 simple ingredients and less than 5 minutes of prep time, you can make yogurt at home. Homemade vanilla yogurt is creamy, delicious and the perfect on-the-go breakfast option.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: breakfast, easy recipe, easy recipes, homemade, yogurt
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Resting Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 12 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
$2
Author: Tracy

Equipment

  • Pot with heavy lid, such as a Dutch Oven
  • Oven

Ingredients

  • 8 cups 2% milk you can substitute whole milk
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt I used nonfat, you can use regular
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Pour the milk into a Dutch oven and warm it over medium to medium-high heat until it reaches 180° to 200°F. Stir gently as the milk heats. Use a therometer to make sure the milk has reached the appropriate temperature.
  • Remove the Dutch oven from heat and allow the milk to cool to 112°F to 115°F. You can allow it to cool on the kitchen counter or to speed up the process you can place the dutch oven into an ice bath.  Stirring it will also help the cooling process and stop a "skin" from forming on the top.  
  • Using a measuring cup scoop out about a cup of warm milk from the Dutch oven and put it into a bowl. Add the store-bought yogurt and vanilla extract to the bowl and stir or whisk until smooth and there are no more clumps.
  • Pour the milk/yogurt mixture back into the Dutch oven and stir/whisk gently.
  • Place the lid on Dutch oven and put it into your TURNED OFF oven. Turn on the oven light and wrap the pot in a dishtowel to keep the milk warm as it sets.
  • After 4 hours you can check your yogurt.  The longer it sits the thicker and more tart it will become.  You can let it sit as long as 8 - 10 hours! The exact time will depend on the temperature of the yogurt, the cultures you used, and how you like your yogurt. If this is your first time making yogurt, check it at the 4 hour mark. If it has the flavor and consistency you like, you can stop there. Avoid checking on, stirring or jostling the Dutch oven while your yogurt is setting.
  • Once your yogurt is set, remove it from the oven.
  • If you see any water on the surface of your yogurt, you can either drain it off or whisk it back into your yogurt before putting it your containers.
  • Store your homemade yogurt in airtight containers in the refrigerator until you are ready to enjoy it!  It will thicken a bit more once it's refrigerated.  Your yogurt can stored in the refrigerator for about 7 - 10 days. 
  • Top with homemade granola and fresh berries the night before or when you are ready to eat.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

You can make yogurt parfaits the night before. Simply top your yogurt with your favorite fruits, granola etc, cover and refrigerate. 
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Tasty homemade vanilla yogurt

I hope you enjoy this homemade vanilla yogurt as much as we do!

Tasty homemade yogurt

Here are some common questions about making homemade yogurt, and the answers, of course 😉

Best homemade yogurt

Why type of milk do you use to make yogurt?

You can use any kind of milk from skim to whole, but if you use skim milk you may need to add thickeners (such as unflavored gelatin, nonfat dry milk powder or pectin) to it.

What type of yogurt do you need to use when making yogurt at home?

You need a plain yogurt with live active cultures. The live cultures are what turns the milk into yogurt. I used a plain nonfat yogurt.

What equipment do you need?

All you need is a heavy pot with a lid. I used my Dutch oven. Once the lid is on, a heavy pot like this does a good job of keeping the milk warm and at a steady temperature (ideally around 110°F) while the bacteria work on turning the milk into yogurt. You will also put the pot into an OFF oven with a light on to help it stay warm.

Best homemade yogurt without an instant pot

How long can you store homemade yogurt in the refrigerator?

You can store your homemade yogurt in airtight containers (I used small glass jars) for 7 – 10 days.

Why make homemade yogurt?

I recommend making homemade vanilla yogurt because it extra creamy, delicious and it’s easy to do. Plus, you know exactly what the ingredients are and where your food is coming from.

Homemade Vanilla Yogurt without instant pot

Can you make homemade yogurt without an Instant Pot?

Yes indeed! I didn’t use an Instant Pot to make my homemade vanilla yogurt, I used a dutch oven. You just need a heavy pot with a tight fitting lid.

Homemade Yogurt parfaits

Can you make yogurt with an Instant Pot?

Sure can! There are settings on most Instant Pots to help you easily make yogurt at home. Truth be told, I borrowed my friends because I thought it may be easier and I couldn’t figure it out. However, this was the first time I have ever tried to use an Instant Pot, I am sure it’s easier if you are familiar with them. Using an Instant Pot does not lessen the time required to make yogurt.

How to make yogurt at home

Have you ever made yogurt before? What is one of your favorite yogurt toppings?

Best Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

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Comment section

5 thoughts on “How To Make Homemade Vanilla Yogurt

  1. 5 stars
    I grew up with homemade yogurt…. my grandmother and then mum. In fact as a kid I don’t think packaged yogurt was something you would find in India. It was just something people made at home. Now, of course, things have changed. And flavoured yogurt is fairly common, at least in urban areas. But i don’t think I have ever made vanilla yogurt at home. Thank you for sharing this! I love overnight oats. And homemade vanilla yogurt will be perfect for this 🙂

    1. Be sure to come back and let me know if you try it! I haven’t made overnight oats before but it’s on my list, I will definitely have to try that!

    1. Thank you Lois! It’s actually easy to do in the oven and the results were delicious! Great idea about using the crockpot though, I may have to try that next!

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