Homemade Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker

Homemade Yogurt- Apron Strings & other things

Is it possible to have homemade yogurt without a yogurt maker? Yogurt is one of the best foods ever. My family enjoys it at breakfast, for snacktime. It provides health benefits like adding calcium to your diet and as a source of probiotics. I really think of it as a super-food. But it can be expensive to purchase good quality yogurt, and I’ve been unpleasantly surprised by some of the additives in some brands I thought were good for us. My solution – make our own! I spent years thinking I couldn’t do this myself because I didn’t have a yogurt maker. I had also heard it was difficult because everything has to be certain temperatures and monitored closely and the failure rate was rather high. While visiting with a friend one day, I sat at her kitchen counter and watched as she made a batch of delicious creamy yogurt while we talked of babies and homeschooling and gardening and laundry and other important things in life. Then she served that yogurt to my family for breakfast next morning. Yum! I was sold and the rest is history. I do have to watch the temperature, but it doesn’t have to be micro-monitored. And failure rate? I have a 100% success rate! If I can do this, anyone can do this, really.

Homemade Yogurt (without a yogurt maker)

You will need:

  • 1 gallon milk (I use whole, raw milk. I have been told you can use the pasteurized you find at your grocery, but I haven’t tried it.)
  • 1 Tbsp plain or flavored gelatin (optional)
  • 12-16 oz already prepared yogurt (I save back a bit from our previous batch, but you can purchase 2 small containers of plain yogurt to use as a starter)
  • 1 cup sugar (or equivalent amount sweetner of choice) (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla or other flavored extract (optional)
  • candy thermometer
  • large thermos or chest-type cooler for incubating.
  • glass jars with lids (pint, quart or gallon size)

Making Yogurt 2 - Apron Strings & other things

      1. In a large pot heat 1 gallon milk over medium to 180 degrees. Stir every few minutes to prevent scorching.
      2. Add 1 teaspoon gelatin once milk has reached about 150 degrees. The gelatin will clump and look a bit strange, but as it continues heating it will dissolve. Making Yogurt 3 - Apron Strings & other things
      3. Once milk has reached 180 degrees, remove from heat. Cool to 120 degrees.
      4. Add 12-16 oz yogurt starter and sugar (if desired) and vanilla (or other extracts you’ve chosen).Making Yogurt 4 - Apron Strings & other things
      5. Stir very well and pour into clean glass jar. I use quart sized mason jars, but any size will work.ย  Making Yogurt 6 - Apron Strings & other things
      6. Place a towel in the bottom of a thermos-type cooler. Place jars inside, cover with another towel for added insulation.

Close lid and keep warm for about 4-6 hours or until firm.

Making Yogurt 7 - Apron Strings & other things

    Place in refrigerator, chill thoroughly before serving and enjoy!



I have left my jars to ‘incubate’ for 8 or 10 hours and had good results. The larger the jar the longer I leave it incubate.

I currently add 2/3 or 3/4 c sugar (or 1/2 cup fructose) as I am trying to adjust my family’s taste buds to using less sugar.

The gelatin gives the yogurt a consistency a bit closer to the store-bought varieties.

2 tsp favorite flavoring or extract (cherry is my favorite right now) along with the vanilla for variety. Try new combinations like orange/vanilla creme — using orange flavored gelatin & vanilla ext.

I have also used small single-serving disposble containers and baby food jars for packing lunches and traveling.

Serve with topping of crunchy granola or cereal and fruit and you will be ready to face the day!

Making Yogurt 1 - Apron Strings & other things

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  1. I am a huge yogurt fan. There is nothing like the sweet taste of fresh homemade yogurt!

    I make mine plain and flavor it later but this way of flavoring it sounds yummy and easy. I am going to have to try making it this way.

    And FYI you can successfully make yogurt with store bought pasturized milk. Just don’t get ultra pasturized. You’ll know it by its really long use by date. It’s usually the lactose free varieties.

    • Thanks for your input Amanda – since I don’t buy milk at the grocery, I wasn’t sure what options were available out there.
      I like my yogurt like you – plain and simple with fruit and flavorings added later – I can change it up to fit my mood! I’m working on weaning my family off the sweet stuff and this is a nice transition for that.

  2. This is great – I have made yogurt in a crockpot, but haven’t made it like this…. Looks wonderful! Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. I’ve made it in a crockpot but not on the stove. I’m going to have to give this a try.

    • I know many make it in the crockpot, but I’ve never tried that! This is easy and works well for me. I hope you get the same results, Debi.

  4. This looks wonderful. I look forward to trying it! Love yogurt, as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for linking up with “Try a New Recipe Tuesday.” Hope you will be able to join us again this week. http://our4kiddos.blogspot.com/2014/08/try-new-recipe-tuesday-august-5.html

  5. Hi Linda,
    I make mine about the same as yours except >>>> I only use raw Guernsey milk (since it has more cream to it) and I only heat mine to 120 -130 degrees. I make 2 gallons at a time. I dissolve the gelatin in another smaller pan filled with 1-2 cups milk & and heat it to scalding and stir it for at least 5 minutes to make sure it is completely dissolved and then add to the other milk and stir. I incubate it by putting it in my oven that has been preheated to 170, wrap in towel and then turn the oven off and let ferment for 8-10 hours. I like to keep it as raw as possible. I use yogurt almost every day – usually don’t add any flavoring except I occasionally put a little maple syrup in it and I also make a salad dressing with olive oil and the yogurt and its great. Thanks for sharing your method I always love reading and getting ideas from other people on how to make homemade.

    • thank you for sharing your tips, Marla – we enjoy it here almost daily as well. I also use raw, fresh milk. Can’t imagine using anything else! I’m so glad you stopped by for a visit – have a lovely day!

  6. So am I right in thinking this can be made as a dairy free option? Am I getting my wires crossed?

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