Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot (Cold Start Method)

Making homemade yogurt in the Instant Pot has become a routine weekly task for me. With the cold start method, you don’t have to heat up the milk, it takes 5 minutes to get it started, making it the easiest possible way to make yogurt. Best of all, it result is perfectly creamy, smooth and tangy yogurt.

Instant Pot Yogurt cold start method
easiest way to make yogurt

Homemade yogurt is the perfect snack any time of day. Ever since I discovered the cold start method of making yogurt in the Instant Pot, it has made the process incredibly easy. If you make yogurt using the traditional method, it takes quite a while to heat up the milk, then to cool it to the proper temperature before adding the culture. And that’s all before you even start the hours of incubation time! With this method, you just pour the cold milk right into the Instant Pot, add the live cultures and turn the Instant Pot Yogurt function on and let the machine do the rest for you. SO easy!

The yogurt turns out so thick and creamy. I never even have to strain it; there’s hardly any whey at all. If you haven’t tried making homemade yogurt, this is the recipe to try.

There are so many delicious ways to enjoy the yogurt. You can add different flavorings and sweeteners to it, like jam, fresh berries, fruit, honey, maple syrup, granola or nuts. It’s also really nice to have on hand for baking and can be substituted for sour cream.

Video of the Easiest Way to Make Homemade Yogurt

Ingredients for Homemade Yogurt (Cold Start Method)

  • 1 gallon whole milk, it needs to be ultrafiltered for the cold start method
  • 4 Tablespoons yogurt with live cultures (I use Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt or 1 small jar Oui vanilla yogurt)
  • sweetened condensed milk, optional (to taste)

What Kind of Milk Do You Need To Use For Homemade Yogurt?

In order to make cold start yogurt where you don’t have to heat the milk, you need to use ultrafiltered milk.

Since the Fairlife milk is ultra filtered, it doesn’t need to be boiled at all. Not only does this make the process of making yogurt much easier, it also comes out much creamier and thicker. 

Note: Fairlife whole milk comes in a container that is slightly less than a half gallon. I use 2 containers when I make this yogurt. It will not yield a full gallon, but is close enough (104 oz instead of 128oz). The amount doesn’t have to be exact. (When I make yogurt with regular milk, I use the full gallon.)

If you want to make yogurt with regular milk, you need to use another method to make yogurt, where you heat the milk first. Watch the detailed video and recipe HERE.

What kind of milk to use for homemade yogurt. Ultrafiltered vs regular whole milk.

I have never tried making yogurt with other non-dairy milk (almond milk, cashew milk, etc.) so I have no idea if it works, how to adjust it, etc.

What Kind of Starter Do You Need To Add To the Milk When Making Yogurt

You can buy a yogurt culture, usually a powdered substance, but the easiest way to make yogurt is to use store bought yogurt that has live cultures in it. Make sure the yogurt has actual live cultures in it, not stabilizers and other weird ingredients. You can use store-bought yogurt (I like Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt). Once you’ve made your own yogurt, you can use that to make yogurt and have a never ending supply. (As long as the yogurt is fresh.)

My kids love the texture and flavor of Oui yogurt, so I use that one sometimes too. The small jar is just the right amount of yogurt culture that you need to make yogurt. (Also doesn’t have to be exactly 4 Tablespoons).

What kind of yogurt to use to make homemade yogurt

How to Make Homemade Yogurt (Cold Start Method)

  1. Pour the milk into the Instant Pot. (Cold, right out of the refrigerator)
  2. Add the yogurt and the sweetened condensed milk (if using) and whisk to combine.
  3. Turn on the Yogurt button and set it for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 12 hours. (I like to do this overnight.)
  4. To store, scoop out the yogurt and store in the refrigerator for 7-10 days.
Photo tutorial of how to make homemade yogurt using the cold start method in the Instant Pot.

How To Sweeten Yogurt

If you don’t use sweetened condensed milk but want to sweeten the yogurt, you can add honey, maple syrup, agave syrup or jam. You can also add vanilla extract, fresh fruit or berries (mango, peaches, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries are our family favorites.) Granola, coconut flakes, chocolate chips are also great toppings.

Traditional Method Yogurt Recipe & Video

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Homemade Yogurt in the Instant Pot (Cold Start Method)

Creamy, rich and tangy yogurt is so easy to make in the Instant Pot and is very cost effective too. Using the cold start method is the easiest and fastest way to make yogurt. 

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 6-8 hours
  • Total Time: 43 minute
  • Yield: 10 cups 1x

Ingredients

Scale

1 gallon ultra filtered whole milk
4 Tablespoons yogurt with live cultures (I use Chobani Whole Milk Greek Yogurt, or 1 jar Oui vanilla yogurt)

1 can sweetened condensed milk, optional

Instructions

  1. Pour the milk into the Instant Pot, add the yogurt and sweetened condensed milk, if using. Whisk to combine.
  2. Turn on Yogurt function, adjust set the time for a minimum of 6 hours, up to 12 hours. (I like doing this overnight.)
  3. When the yogurt is done, cool and store in airtight containers in the refrigerator for 7-10 days. There is no need to strain this type of yogurt.

Keywords: Homemade Greek Yogurt, Homemade Greek Yogurt in the Instant Pot, How to make homemade yogurt, easy homemade yogurt, how to make homemade yogurt, Instant Pot yogurt recipe, Cold start yogurt recipe

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This recipe was originally published on September 14, 2018. I have since updated it to clarify the recipe and add more details and tips.

This video and blog post is not sponsored and I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned.

53 Comments

  • Rigina

    Thank you for posting this! I just got an instant pot and am new to using it. I love greek yogurt by itself, with grilled meats, and even as part of cucumber soup (tarator) so this recipe is very useful for me. I had a few questions, maybe it is because I am so new to using the instant pot. If I wanted to make less yogurt with let’s say a 1/2 gallon of milk, would the cooking time be the same? When boiling the milk, is there a general amount of time that it usually takes to boil to 180-185F? Thank you

    • olgak7

      Congratulations on getting a new Instant Pot, Rigina:).
      If you want to make a smaller batch of yogurt, halve the ingredients, but keep the time the same.

  • Alla Vasilevska

    Thank you so much for the recipe. My kids loves parfait. This homemade yogurt is so good, so fluffy and tender!!! Wow !!! Not even compatible to store bought ones. For sweetener I used condensed milk ( perfect combination). The only one it takes long time to boil/pasteurize milk in instant pot. So I found out in my recipe booklet that you can do it on your stove top. Thanks again

    • Sue

      Will any lactose free milk work? It cost me $10 alone just for the milk so wondering I can do an off brand next time as long as it’s lactose free? Or is there something else that makes Fairlife the only option for the no boil method?

        • Sue

          I don’t mean Fairlife…I want to use an off brand to save money. What is it about the Fairlife milk you use that makes it so you don’t have to boil it first? Is it because it’s lactose free? So will any lactose free milk work? Thank you!

          • olgak7

            The Fairlife milk does not need to be boiled because it is ultra pasteurized. Any milk that you use that has not been through the ultra pasteurization process cannot be used for this method and you will need to boil the milk first. Regular Milk has some bacteria that needs to be brought up to 180 degrees prior to making Yogurt. I have this exact process with all the details for that method in this recipe as well.

  • Jeannine

    I made the greek yogurt with the Fair life and Oui Yogurt and it came out perfect. Thank you so much for such a perfect recipe. I do have a question. I know you said you don’t add the flavoring until the yogurt is done. If I wanted to add vanilla extract to the mix before cooking it would that do anything to the consistency of the yogurt?

    • olgak7

      Hi Jeannine! I’m so glad you enjoyed the yogurt. If you want to add vanilla extract to the mix, it will be great. It won’t have any impact on the texture of the yogurt.

  • Salma

    Hi Olga what are the active cultures I’m looking for in a starter? Does it have to be Greek yogurt or can it be regular yogurt?

    • olgak7

      Hi Salma,
      If you use plain yogurt, not Greek yogurt, the yogurt will be much thinner and you will have more whey.
      Some yogurts have stabilizers and additional ingredients in them, so you don’t want to use that type of yogurt. It shouldn’t have gelatin, cornstarch and things like that. It should say something like: Active cultures: L.bulgaricus, S. thermophilus or L. Acidophilus, Bifidus and L. Casei. Different types of yogurt have different strains of culture, they are live bacterial cultures that help transform milk into yogurt.

    • olgak7

      That depends completely on personal preferences. You can leave it out completely, use 1/4 of a can, 1/2 a can or the entire can. It depends on how sweet you want it to be.

  • Olya

    Hi Olya,
    I just recently got an Instant Pot as a gift from mh husband. I would like to try making your yogurt recipe. I live in Europe and they mostly sell UHT (room-temperature) milk. Would it still work for this yogurt recipe?
    Thanks!

  • Pat Gerbrandt

    I have the instant pot duo 6 qt. I want to make yogurt, and set the IP to yogurt. You say to turn on boil. How do I do that? The buttons are (top left, down: soup, meat, bean, poultry) (top right down: rice, multigrain, porridge, steam)
    Across from left to right, top row: slow cook, pressure level, keep warm, yogurt
    Bottom row: saute, delay start, cancel, pressure cook

  • Alina

    Hi Olga, I printed the recipe to try it, I have been wanting to try it for a while but didn’t know where to get the Fairlife milk. The other day I saw it at Walmart and remembered your recipe! I wanted to let you know when I used the print function to print, your font color is a light gray instead of a black, and its a little difficult to read. If you are able to change it that would be helpful. Thanks

  • Inna

    Hi Olga, I’m excited to try this recipe just wanted to clarify if I can use oui yogurt if I’m doing regular whole milk version. Thanks

    • olgak7

      Hi Inna,
      Yes, you can use Oui yogurt with regular whole milk, but make sure to follow the instructions to boil the milk first then cool slightly before adding the yogurt, otherwise your yogurt will not set.

    • olgak7

      There is no release because it never actually comes to pressure. The Instant Pot simply keeps the milk/yogurt mixture at a constant 100 degrees. Simply open it when it’s ready. Although I do like to leave it for about an hour to let it cool off completely before moving the yogurt to the refrigerator. The texture will be much smoother and creamier and you will have less whey.

  • Pernille

    Hi Olga
    Just wondering if you could use something else like a SlowCooker maybe if you don’t have an instant pot ?
    Thanks in advance ☺️

  • Jacqui

    Thank you for this easy and great recipe. I’ve made it once, and am currently making it again only half the volume. Our family loves it and it’s healthy!

  • Nancy Salvp

    What is the difference between the Fairlife milk and regular whole milk such as Clover? Why don’t you have to boil the Fairlife?

    • olgak7

      Fairlife milk is already boiled before you purchase it, so you can skip this step for yogurt, however regular milk needs to be boiled to a higher temperature, then cooled down before adding the yogurt, otherwise the yogurt will not set. Fairlife milk is also “ultra filtered” which means that it goes through an ultra filtration process, where it filters the water and sugar (lactose) from the milk. (It’s also lactose free for that reason.) This makes the milk slightly creamier and thicker which also helps the yogurt turn out thicker and creamier that yogurt made with regular milk.
      Both types of milk will work for yogurt, you just need to make sure to follow the correct instructions.

  • Lana

    Any idea how to do this my instant pot does not have the yoghurt function, I tried to research it a little bit and it’s way more complicated if you don’t have a yoghurt function on your instant pot🧐😟

    • olgak7

      Hi Lana.
      It’s a lot more complicated to make it without the yogurt function, which is why I can’t even guarantee that it will work if you don’t have one.
      The point of the Yogurt function on the Instant Pot is that it will keep the milk/yogurt mixture at a perfect temperature, around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, for the entire time that it is incubating. It is very difficult to maintain that temperature for hours yourself and most appliances don’t do that. Most ovens, slow cookers, etc. don’t go any lower than 170 degrees, which is way too hot for yogurt – it will kill the yogurt culture at that temperature and the yogurt will not set. If it cools off too much, which it naturally will much too quickly when you take it off the heat, the yogurt will also not set, because it didn’t incubate long enough.
      Reheating it/cooling it on the stove is possible, but also tricky and you can easily overheat it, especially if you don’t have an instant read thermometer.
      Before I had the Instant Pot, this is what I would do to make yogurt:
      Heat the milk to the proper temperature, cool to the proper temperature (details in the recipe), add the yogurt culture, mix to combine. Cover the pot or container in a large, thick towel or blanket, then place inside a really large cooler. This will help to keep it at the correct temperature longer. It will most likely take longer than 6-8 hours like it does in the Instant Pot, you may have to do it overnight and see what happens.

    • olgak7

      No, it will not work if you use regular milk and not boil it first. It’s a necessary step in the process of making yogurt. If you skip it, your yogurt will most likely not set.

  • Victoria

    Hello,

    Can I skip the boiling step if I use the Fairlife milk with regular plain chobani yogurt (not the oui yogurt which you used)? Thanks!

  • Nadia

    Hello Olga!

    I’m a fellow Floridian and I just got an instant pot! Super excited to make yogurt!!

    Could you share what store has the Oui yogurt? Haven’t seen it yet.

    Thank you!!

  • Lilly Pankiv

    Hi Olga, I have a question. I’m using Fairlife milk recipe. When I press the yogurt button, it automatically goes to boil. I understand that I need to skip this step, so I pressed it again and it allowed me to adjust the time to 6 hours. It also stays on “less” and counting the time upwards from 00:00. Am I doing it right?

  • Kelly Saltzman

    Hello…do I need to boil the milk if I use ultra pasteurized milk? Also, have you ever used low fat milk? Thanks for your help.

  • Andrea

    I tried to make this yesterday and it didn’t turn out. After reading all the comments I am wondering if it was because my yogurt setting automatically went to boil, then cool (6hrs) then told me to stir and start again. It then said ferment. I was using the Fairlife recipe. Also used 1 gallon on fairlife but now looking at your pic I only see 2 containers which is 104oz not 126. Not sure if that added to it not setting too…

    • olgak7

      Hi Andrea,
      What a bummer that the yogurt didn’t work out.
      If your yogurt setting went automatically to boil, then that would kill the yogurt culture and that’s why the yogurt didn’t work out. If you ever use the boil setting, you need to cool the milk first before adding the yogurt.
      I hope it will work out for you next time.

  • Mila

    Hi Olga,

    Is it possible to use Fairlife milk that is 2% and not whole milk? We live in small town and our stores don’t carry Fairlife Whole Milk. Also, reading other comments above, some mentioned that using Yoghurt function boiled their milk. How do I prevent that? Thanks.

    • olgak7

      You can use 2% milk, but it’s possible that the yogurt will not be as thick and creamy. If you don’t choose the “boil” setting on your yogurt function, it will not boil the milk.

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