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You won’t ever need to buy yogurt again after trying this Crockpot Express Yogurt! You control the consistency, the sweetness and fat content. Best of all-no thermometer or stirring required!
I have a love/hate relationship with yogurt. It’s a good source of protein in the morning but often full of sugar. Kids’ yogurt is the worst. I wouldn’t categorize myself as health conscious normally, but if I can easily make something at home that’s cheaper, better for you and still tastes great-I’m going to do that. Crockpot Express Yogurt is the answer to that problem!
I’ve never made homemade yogurt before. Honestly, it never occurred to me that it was even possible. The whole “culturing” thing freaked me out a little bit. But with the Crockpot Express it’s just so easy! I don’t have a good reason not do do it. I’m adding this to my collection of Crockpot Express Recipes for sure.
The Crockpot Express Multi-Cooker <—(click there to shop for one on Amazon) has a Yogurt setting. It’s not slow cooking or pressure cooking. It’s a low controlled temperature that allows the milk to cook and ferment for several hours. It’s like magic: milk goes in and yogurt comes out!
What is the Boil Start Method?
There are two methods for making yogurt in the Crockpot Express. The first is often called the “boil start” method. The Boil Start is great because you can use any kind of milk. However it does require a few extra steps.
It’s a bit of a misnomer, because you don’t actually boil the milk. Well, you’re not really supposed to, anyway. It can scald the milk. Instead, using the Yogurt HIGH setting, you slowly bring the milk up to 180 degrees, whisking frequently. This takes about 30 minutes in my experience.
After it reaches 180, you then cool it to 95-105 degrees. After that, you add your starter and then let the Yogurt LOW cycle begin.
What is the Cold Start Method?
The second method for making yogurt is called the Cold Start Method. The Cold Start Method is what I use, simply because it’s faster and easier. It does require a special kind of milk, though.
If you aren’t going to cook the milk first, you have to use Ultra-pasteurized (or ultra-filtered) milk. The most commonly found brand is Fairlife Milk, but there are others. Just check the label to be sure.
For Cold Start yogurt, you simply add the milk to the pot, stir in your starter and then hit the Yogurt button. Done!
How long should you cook Crockpot Express Yogurt?
The longer you cook, the more tart and tangy the yogurt will be. The minimum time is 8 hours of incubation. I like mine at 9 hours.
You can set the timer for 12 hours and then open and taste it after 8 hours to see if you want to continue or not. Once you find the flavor you prefer, you can just use that as your setting every time.
If you are lactose intolerant, you can still enjoy yogurt! Most yogurt is actually OK for people who are sensitive to lactose. The live cultures help to break down the lactose.
But if you’re still concerned, make the yogurt belly-friendly by allowing it to incubate (culture) for a full 24 hours. That means you’ll have to restart the cycle after it ends and set it for another 12 hours.
What is a starter?
To make yogurt, you need active live cultures. But don’t worry, you don’t need to go order some fancy powder from an online store. Any old yogurt cup will do, as long as it’s labeled as having active live cultures.
I chose a plain, full fat Greek yogurt to make my first batch of Crockpot Express Yogurt. After that, I just saved a couple scoops from each batch as starter for my next one!
You can even freeze your starter, but be sure to thaw it before stirring it into the milk, and don’t keep it for more than a couple months. I prefer working with a fresh start from my previous batch. You can always go grab another cup of yogurt from the store if you need to. 🙂
The other option would be to use a few capsules of probiotic powder. That’s really only necessary if you’re trying to make dairy-free yogurt, though.
How do you flavor Crockpot Express Yogurt?
This recipe is for basic, plain yogurt. What you choose to do with it after that is totally up to you! You can add a little vanilla extract to the milk before cooking or use sweetened condensed milk, but any other flavoring should be added after it’s done. I like to sweeten mine with a little honey or real maple syrup and enjoy it with fresh fruit. My kids will even eat it this way!
I have made a berry sauce that I mixed into the finished yogurt, as well as a few other “mix-ins.” I’m sharing that recipe, along with more great tips in my eBook: Crockpot Express Yogurt: a complete guide to making yogurt in the CPE. (On sale now!)
I store my yogurt in pint sized canning jars with plastic storage lids. They are awesome for food storage! I like that the jars are clear so I can easily see how much I have left and when it’s time to start another batch of Crockpot Express Yogurt.
- Canning jars (these come with the rings and lids)
- Storage lids for refrigerating
Crockpot Express Yogurt
- 8 cups ultra-pasteurized milk I use whole milk (Fairlife brand sells 1.5 liter bottles rather than half gallons)
- 2 tbsp plain yogurt
For sweetened yogurt
- 1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
- Using a silicone whisk, stir together the yogurt and milk until smooth.
- Close and lock the lid, leaving the steam release valve OPEN. Press YOGURT and leave it on low temperature. Set time for anything between 8-12 hours. The longer you cook the more tart the flavor will be. I like mine to cook for 9 hours.
- Once the yogurt has reached the desired taste (or the cooking cycle has ended) press START/STOP. Remove the inner pot, cover with foil and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. Yogurt will thicken slightly as it cools.
- If you want thicker, Greek-style yogurt, simply strain it through some cheesecloth until the desired consistency is reached.
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I was hoping you would point out how to access the Boil Start feature on the Crock Pot pressure cooker, I think I over looked the instructions on what buttons to push to follow that method. I am trying it now with pressing the yogurt button and adjusting the temp to high. Is that all there is to it.
Nicole Burkholder says
My particular model doesn’t have any other buttons for yogurt setting other than hi/low. If you aren’t doing cold start, then yes, you’d just select the yogurt “high” and pour regular milk in there. Cover it and stir occasionally so the milk is heating all the way through. It takes about 30 minutes to finish. (Don’t open too frequently or it will take forever to get up to temperature.) After that you need to cool it back down below 110 to add the starter. Then you turn it on low and let it incubate for 8 hours. 🙂 Hope that helps!
I really like Greek yogurt but the brand I love is over 2.50$ per 8oz serving.
Thought I’d try this. >>complete novice<<
Followed this recipe and gave an extra 2 hours after checking at 9. Perfect yogurt. Creamy delicious and better than any I've had!
Nicole Burkholder says
Congratulations! You are a novice no longer 🙂
Not sure if it’s a stupid question… can I use a plastic container in the CE or does it need to be glass?
Nicole Burkholder says
It very much depends on the type of plastic you are using. You would want to be certain that the type you have is food safe for over 100 degrees and for a long amount of time (the yogurt is being incubated at 110 for several hours.) To be safe, I would stick with glass, but there are some types of restaurant quality plastics that would be safe to use.
I tried this with the Fairlife ultra filtered milk. Couldn’t find the ultra pasteurized. Seems to taste okay but looks to have a bit of a curdled texture. Do you think it’s still okay?
Nicole Burkholder says
The terms “ultra filtered” and “ultra pasteurized” are used interchangeably, so what you used was fine. Sometimes if you add anything to the milk and it doesn’t get stirred in completely, you can get a lumpy looking texture, but typically that goes away with a good stir. As long as it smells and tastes OK, it’s fine to eat. Sometimes if it gets heated too much, it will do that (I might notice that on the very bottom where the heating element is.) It really shouldn’t, but a bit too much heat is what will do that to yogurt. You did the cold start method and didn’t heat the milk first, right?
Yes I did the cold start method. It did get smoother with a good stir. Thank you for the easy recipe.
Worked very well! I put in a cheesecloth lined strainer and put in fridge for 2 hours….perfect Greek yogurt plus about quart of whey!
Hi, my Crockpot is old school. Doesn’t have setting for yogurt, low, high, warm are my choices. Oh and no vent cap either. Can I make yogurt in it?
Nicole Burkholder says
Sounds like you have a Crockpot slow cooker. This recipe is for the Crockpot EXPRESS, which is a multi-cooker. It works as a slow cooker as well as pressure cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, etc. Yogurt needs to incubate at 110 degrees for about 8 hours. That can’t be done with a typical cooker, sorry!