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
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.
Yogurt is a super immunity food that benefits digestion, immune function, eliminates bad bacteria, yeast infections, and reduces inflammation.
There are so many health benefits associated with eating yogurt that it is well worth including yogurt in your meal planning. Add homemade yogurt to your child’s school lunch box, store yogurts in the fridge at work or home, or simply eat yogurt with fresh berries to make a healthy, nutritious super immunity dessert or breakfast. Rather than snacking on “empty” calories, such as chocolate and crisps, making yogurt or fruit smoothie made with yogurt will provide an excellent source of calcium, essential for healthy bones and teeth.
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!
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.
What are the Health Benefits of Yogurt?
While the vast majority of bacteria found in the gut are actually beneficial, some forms of intestinal bacteria and organisms can lead to multiple health problems. Through eating yogurt, the body is provided with healthy live bacteria, which helps to redress the balance.
Key health benefits and properties associated with eating yogurt are:
- Probiotics protect the body from harmful bacteria.
- Healthy bacteria in yogurt produce acids killing germs (e.g., botulism)
- Reduces antibiotic-associated diarrhea, stomach cramps
- Limits antibiotic-associated wind, bloating.
- Reduces infant diarrhea
- Suppresses symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
- Eases irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms
- It helps fight some forms of food poisoning
- Combines with a high-fiber diet to prevent diverticulitis
- Reduces thrush/yeast infections
- It helps reduce yeast infection symptoms
- Less likely to suffer urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Assists immune system in fighting off germs
- It helps prevent the recurrence of bladder cancer tumors
- High calcium content – builds strong bones.
- Lactose-intolerant sufferers can gain essential calcium sources.
Further health benefits to be gained as a result of eating yogurt on a regular basis are:
- Supports healthy digestion
- Eases allergy symptoms
- Lowers inflammation (ideal for arthritis sufferers)
- Helps lower cholesterol
- High source of vitamin K
- Suppresses bacteria causing mouth ulcers
- Reduces odor causing bacteria in halitosis (bad breath)
- Helps improve complexion (external moisturizer)
- Protects the body from dysentery, cholera
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 😉
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.
- Oven or someplace you can place the pot with yogurt in it so it can stay warm and cozy.
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.
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
- Pot with heavy lid, such as a Dutch Oven
- 8 cups 2% milk you can substitute whole milk
- ¼ cup plain yogurt I used nonfat, you can use regular
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 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.
I hope you enjoy this homemade vanilla yogurt as much as we do!
Here are some common questions about making homemade yogurt, and the answers, of course 😉
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.
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.
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.
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.
As highlighted above, yogurt is a super immunity food, which has many different health benefits, is high in calcium, and is even suitable for those who are lactose intolerant. Key benefits of eating yogurt regularly include that it protects the body from harmful bacteria, reduces antibiotic-related diarrhea, lowers cholesterol, supports healthy digestion, and reduces halitosis, inflammation, and yeast infections.