Wednesday, March 28, 2012

For the Love of Dairy, Part 2: Yogurt in the Slow Cooker

In the past month, four of my coworkers have joined the homemade yogurt revolution.  Three have become converts.  One continues to waver on the fence after several botched attempts.  She plaintively asked what could be going wrong, as she sheepishly produced a Yoplait from her lunch bag.  Upon further investigation, it turns out that she had strayed from the original formula and was heating the milk in a saucepan or in a rice cooker.  Why?  No jars, she said.  Not even a single empty PB or spaghetti sauce jar languishing in the recycle bin?  No.  Well, never fear, here is a jar-free and foolproof way to make delicious yogurt at home with your trusty slow cooker.


a slow cooker

1/2 gallon of milk (2% or whole)

1/2 cup of yogurt starter (any plain yogurt with live, active cultures)

a beach towel or blanket



Pour 1/2 gallon of milk  in the slow cooker and place the lid on top

Turn on low for 2.5 hours

Turn off, leaving lid on for 3 hours.  At this point, the milk should be roughly 90-110 deg F.

Gently stir in about a half cup of starter and replace lid

Wrap in a large beach towel or blanket for 6-12 hours, leaving undisturbed

Transfer to containers and chill in the fridge.


That's it!  Be sure to set aside half a cup to use as the starter for your next batch before digging in.  The yogurt might seem a little soft at first, but after cooling in the fridge, should firm up a bit.  If it's still too runny, you have the option of pouring it into a coffee-filter lined colander to drain some whey off.  This yields thicker, almost Greek-style yogurt, but is messy and cumbersome.  Or next time, I've heard you can add some dry milk powder in at the step when you mix in the starter, though I've never tried this.

This method is super easy and requires very little active time, but I prefer the jars method because it doesn't require scooping out and transferring the yogurt, which I think makes it runnier.  The jars also allows for making different types of yogurt at the same time, like 2% for the grownups and whole milk for the baby.  And you don't have to spend time transferring yogurt and then washing a big heavy slow cooker pot.  Instead, if your baby is anything like our baby Anna was (see above), you can spend that extra time washing off the white hand of Saruman from your baby's hair after she digs into that delicious yogurt you just made.


  1. I love this photo of Anna and I love the LoTR reference and I love that this has inspired a hilarious conversation at home about how my Kyrgyz husband already knows how to make yogurt and lots of other weird and interesting fermented drinks. :) Hee Heehee!

    thanks Nikki and Jeff.


  2. Hi guys! Lindsey sent me over because I've been following her yogurt quest on facebook and then I made some goat cheese and she said that you had too, so I figured that I really needed to check you out. I make yogurt at home too, but in the microwave (to heat the milk) and with the oven light (to incubate). I take the extra step to make Greek yogurt and you're right, the coffee filter to strain is a HORRIBLE IDEA. Super messy and not worth it. So tell me about the goat cheese you made. Was it in the slow cooker? Did you use a chevre starter or some other culture? And on a total aside, cute blog and super cute kids!

  3. Thanks for the nice comments! Jody, I'd love to get your instructions on how you make Greek yogurt! Also how you make your goat cheese. We just posted on how we did goat cheese, but I'm always looking for new ideas.