Raw Milk Yogurt in the Instant Pot
Since we started off the week talking about gut health in this post on Fermenting Carrots, I thought we would end on that topic too. Homemade yogurt is a great way to get some probiotics in your gut! I have been making yogurt for many, many years. However, the Instant Pot has made it so much simpler for me to make it a couple times a week. In this post, I show you how I make raw milk yogurt in the Instant Pot.
Disclosure: Any information given is my opinion formed through my own research. This information is not meant to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness. Please do your own research regarding your health as you are responsible for your own decisions.
**June 2020 Update**
Since posting this recipe I have had several people e-mail me and say that this method did not work for them. I too have had some batches come out very runny. The truth is I do not know why it works out sometimes, and other times it doesn’t. One thing that seems to make a difference could be the time of year. I think it has something to do with the protein content of the grass during different seasons. There is clearly a lot more for me to learn on this topic. I also think results could vary from cow to cow.
All that to say, that this may work like it did in my video, and unfortunately it may not. If you want a guarantee of thicker yogurt, it may be best to heat it first before you set the yogurt setting on your Instant Pot.
What is raw milk yogurt?
Well, most yogurt recipes you see will call for pasteurizing the milk, which is just heating it to at least 180 degrees. We have a cow, which means our milk is raw. We have drunk raw milk for at least 15 years. I wont go into all of the details, but essentially, raw milk still has the live enzymes in it that your body needs to process or digest it. For your health, raw milk is far superior to pasteurized milk.
Less than stellar results with raw milk
Although I didn’t like heating my milk to make yogurt, I wasn’t getting great results with raw milk. The yogurt would be runnier, not thick like my family wanted. I had read that the cultures in the yogurt starter were competing with the good bacteria in the raw milk. This is supposedly what was making it runnier. When I searched for a way to make thicker yogurt, I saw solutions like adding gelatin to the yogurt to thicken it. However, I wanted simple! My thought was that perhaps I just wasn’t maintaining the right temperature and that was probably my problem.
Heating the milk is an extra step
What I disliked the most about heating the milk before making yogurt was the time it added. You have to heat the milk to 180 degrees and then cool it down to 115 degrees before you add your starter. This is annoying to say the least. My pattern was, over heat the milk and then waste a bunch of time waiting for it to cool to the right temp. Again, I wanted this to be simple!
I decided to conduct an experiment
After buying the instant pot, I was curious. What if my failed raw milk yogurt was just a problem with consistent temperature while incubating? I decided that I would try three different things to see if I could get good results with raw milk. However, I stopped after two, because it couldn’t get any simpler than Experiment 2.
For my first experiment, I decided I would take the morning milk…directly from the cow, and add the starter to that. By the time the milk got to the house and we strained it, the temperature was 97 degrees. That seemed pretty good. Then I put it in the instant pot and set it to the yogurt function. After 8 hours, we had some really good thick yogurt! Success!
For my next experiment I was going to heat the milk in the instant pot to the right temperature of 115 degrees, add the starter and incubate it for 8 hours. However, I thought….why not try putting the milk in cold with the cold yogurt starter and see what happens. This would be the simplest method, so let’s try it next!
Turns out this was also a complete success!!! I am so pleased! No more heating the milk and waiting for it to cool! No more killing all the good bacteria in our raw milk! This is by far the simplest method ever!
What should you use for starter?
My understanding is that a freeze dried starter, like this one, contains the most beneficial cultures. Although, I do not claim to be an expert on this. I will say the flavor from the freeze dried yogurt starter is tangier.
Store Bought Whole Milk Yogurt
I often use plain whole milk yogurt for my starter and I like the results and flavor a bit better.
Your Own Homemade Yogurt
After making your first batch, you can save a cup or two of your yogurt and use it to start the next batch. This would definitely keep the cost down. My understanding is that the starter from your own yogurt will eventually lose it’s ability to incubate. I do not know this first hand, because my reserved starter often gets eaten! I have had success using it two or three times, with no issue.
I am always in a rush….not always because I need to be, but it just seems to be my mental state. I want to get it done fast. However, my understanding is that, the longer you let your yogurt incubate, the better it is for your digestive system. If you find that you are lactose intolerant, yogurt that has been incubated for 24 hours is the best for you. The reasoning being that the longer incubation greatly reduces the lactose content of the milk.
Our family does not seem to have any issue with lactose, perhaps because we have drunk raw milk for so long. So for us, I incubate for 8-12 hours depending on when I get it started.
So, you just dump your yogurt starter and your raw milk into the Instant Pot, press the yogurt button, set your time and walk away! Easy Peasy! I hope this post has helped you to make your own raw milk yogurt in the Instant Pot!
This is great Jenn! I’ve been wanting to try yogurt in my Instant Pot. I have access to both raw cow and goat milk so thank you for this. I love experiments!
This looks fantastic. I really haven’t utilized my Instant Pot much and this is motivating! I am now really craving some yummy yogurt!
Maybe you can help me. I just made yogurt as you suggested with fresh morning milk and after 24 incubating and then cooling overnight, I ended up with a thick layer like cream cheese on the top. What did I do wrong? Should I have skimmed my milk? That seems counterproductive. Thank you!
That layer is likely just the cream. I am either going to delete or highly edit this post. You can see in another comment, I don’t really recommend making yogurt this way anymore. I have been reading some things from a cheesemaker and she claims that this is not really yogurt but something closer to clabber. Heating the milk to 180 and then cooling to 115 is really the best way to make yogurt. Otherwise, the raw milk bacteria is competing with the yogurt cultures and you don’t really get true yogurt. I definitely have more consistent results when I heat the milk first. I hated to “kill” the good raw milk bacteria but it seems to be the only way to get true yogurt. I hope that helps!
More info please! : ) came here excited to make yogurt in my instant pot then saw your comment. How do you do it the other way?
In the Instant Pot I use the saute function to heat the milk to 180 degrees. Then I let it cool to 110-120 degrees. After it is cooled I add in some plain whole milk yogurt or yogurt starter depending on what I have. I make mine about a gallon at a time so I add about 1 cup of yogurt for starter. You need less of course if you are making less. My Instant Pot has the Yogurt function, if yours does not have that I’m not sure you can make it in there. You may need to search the internet for making yogurt in the IP without the yogurt function… anyway I usually let mine go for at least 12 hours sometimes 24 depending on how tart you like it. I hope that helps!
All of these instant pot recipes have me wanting to get one of my own!! maybe when we move!
I was so reluctant to get one, but it really has been a useful addition to my kitchen!
Thanks for sharing your experiment. Marisa at Bunblebee Apothacary did a raw milk yogurt video a while back but she used a yogutherm. I was thinking I would try this in my instant pot but just havent had time. Thanks for doing the research!
It was my pleasure, I had to get it figured out! Ha!
Thanks for sharing your experiment on Farm Fresh Tuesdays, Jennifer! Your yogurt looks delish! I can’t wait to see your posts this week!
Thanks Lisa! I appreciate your blog too!
I am new to using raw milk. I have my first raw milk yogurt batch incubating now thanks to your method! I love making yogurt in the instant pot but since I’m new to handling raw milk I have a few questions. Approximately how long will this yogurt keep in the fridge? Would it strain successfully to create a greek style yogurt? I always strain the whey off when using pasturized milk and I assume there would be no reason you could not strain this as well. Thank you so much for the video by the way as that really helped to reassure me that this recipe should work.
So glad it was helpful. Probably two weeks for time. Yes you can strain this just as you would any other yogurt!
I’m so grateful for this easy-does-it recipe.
I just made my raw milk yogurt last night following your guidelines. Wow! Thank you!
Nona, I am so glad to hear this post helped you! Yes, it doesn’t get any simpler!
I tried this last night, using Cultures for Health yogurt starter for 8 1/2 hours, it stayed in the instant pot for about another 2 hrs beforeI I put it into the fridge, then it was in tere for about 2 hours, and it’s just sour milk. Any ideas what might have happened?
I replied to this in an email. I have recently had two batches not turn out well myself. The only difference has been the milk I used. Our cow is dry, so I have been buying milk. It is A2 milk. I am curious as to whether the protein that is easier for folks to digest does not make thick yogurt? I wish I had all of the answers!
My instant pot doesn’t have the yogurt setting. Any tips?
I sent an email. I just don’t know…maybe a keep warm setting?
Thanks so much for posting this recipe! I’m going to give it a try this week 🙂
Great! Thanks for stopping by! I hope it works out well for you!
I used a half gallon raw milk and half cup organic whole milk yogurt. Put it in my instant pot on the yogurt setting. It just finished and was runny. Any ideas? Thank you!
I grew up part of my youth drinking raw milk with no problem. My younger brother could go through a gallon or more a day. Our mother also made our own butter, we had a large cream separator to get the cream. I think she also made cottage cheese & ice cream sometimes. I hate store bought milk but don’t have a clue where to get raw milk here around Calgary Alberta. It’s really stupid the opinions people, the government, etc. think about products from the farm. You’re really tempting me now to get a Instant Pot. I have friends that have them & they love them. One of my problems also is counter space, I live in a very small apt. with almost no counter space. You’ve made me think. Will definitely keep your email with the information about making yogurt.
Yes, it’s discouraging that the world is so upside down right now with there being rules against things that are harmless! I hope you can find a source! Thank you for taking the time to reach out, sounds like you had a lovely time growing up!
I’m very new to using raw milk(like only a month in to having in it my life). Going down a fun rabbit hole 🤪. I was just curious can u add any flavoring like vanilla or maple syrup doing the process or should it be added at the end?
You should add it at the end. Also, I am considering removing or heavily changing this post. I have been following a cheesemaker on Instagram and she says that making yogurt this way isn’t really making yogurt it’s something more like clabber. I have also been getting very inconsistent results making the yogurt this way. If you want true yogurt and if you want it to come out nice and thick consistently you really do have to heat the milk to 180 degrees first then let it cool to around 110-115 F and add your yogurt or your yogurt culture. Yes you are killing the good bacteria in the raw milk but you are allowing the good yogurt bacteria to grow if that makes sense. Apparently the two compete and that is why it comes out runny sometimes. I hope that helps!