Homemade yogurt made easy

Jun 8, 2010 at 9:35 p.m. ET

Basic yogurt is one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but its growing popularity has brought a proliferation of not-so-good-for-you yogurt products, including seemingly beneficial foods bursting with added fat, sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other unhealthy ingredients. Making yogurt at home is the best way to ensure you’re getting all the yogurt goodness while leaving the supermarket’s façade of healthy yogurts behind. Here’s how to make homemade yogurt and the ever popular, creamy-thick Greek-style version.


Basic Homemade Yogurt

Makes 8 cups

yogurt making tip

Once your yogurt has set up, you can keep it plain or stir in your favorite flavors: fresh fruit, citrus zest, preserves, agave or honey, vanilla paste, chocolate syrup or flavored extracts.


1/2 gallon whole milk
4 to 5 tablespoons plain storebought yogurt without additives or stabilizers

1. Place milk in a large pot over medium-high heat. Place kitchen thermometer on the side of the pot, and heat milk until it reaches 185 F. The milk will be steaming and just beginning to form bubbles.

2. Remove pot from heat and let milk cool to 115 F. In small bowl, thin yogurt with a little of the warm milk, then stir it into the pot.

3. Divide yogurt between two quart-size mason jars. Secure their lids, and quickly wrap with several kitchen towels to keep yogurt warm so it can set. You can also place wrapped jars on a heating pad, but make sure the temperature of the yogurt does not exceed 115 F. Let sit undisturbed for six hours.

4. Place jars in the refrigerator to cool. At this point, you can eat your yogurt plain or flavored, or use it in recipes calling for plain yogurt.

greek yogurtHomemade Greek Yogurt

To make thicker Greek-style yogurt or yogurt cheese, simply pour homemade yogurt into a colander double-lined with cheesecloth, and let the liquid drain into a bowl overnight. Transfer the thickened yogurt back to the quart-size jar. Transfer liquid (whey) to an airtight container and use for smoothies, oatmeal or pancake batter. Whey contains protein, potassium and calcium.

Here are a few tasty ways to eat Greek yogurt:

  • Stir in mango chutney for a savory dip or spread.
  • Substitute it for sour cream, cream cheese or mayonnaise in recipes.
  • Top with berries and honey for a healthy snack or dessert.
  • Mix with chives for baked potatoes.
  • Stir into pasta with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and basil.
  • Whisk with agave or honey and spread on bagels.
  • Combine with fresh herbs and minced garlic; spread on toasted bread.

Keep a ready supply of homemade yogurt in your fridge, and you'll find many delicious and nutritious ways to enjoy it.

Related video

Alton Brown gives crazy kitchen tips on Letterman
After a couple of clever tips for saving time on particularly grusome kitchen tasks, Alton Brown tells Dave about his easy, albeit unorthodox, method for making yogurt in his hotel room.

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