0 Instant Pot 10 Steps to Easy Thick Greek Style Yogurt

One of the FIRST things I learned to do with my new Instant Pot pressure cooker was to make yogurt. Don't get me wrong, I still love and use my Cuisinart pressure cooker, but it doesn't make yogurt! There are SO many ways to make yogurt: yogurt maker, slow cooker, convection oven, heating pad, etc. 

There are several pressure cookers that have a Yogurt function. GoWise , Instant Pot Duo, and the Instant Pot Smart are just a few that I have heard people use to make yogurt. So, if you have a yogurt maker or a pressure cooker with a yogurt function, let's get started!

Here's a video that I did that shows YOU how easy it is from start to finish!

And yes. 

You get to see me in a bathrobe....

First, it is handy to have an instant read thermometer. I currently have the LavaTools Javelin Digital thermometer and while it is not "instant," it does read accurately within a few seconds. I use this to measure the temps of all my cooked meats and check the temp of my yogurt.

There are 2 temperatures important to making yogurt and it is helpful to know and measure with an accurate thermometer to ensure a successful batch of yogurt.

Next, find some yogurt. Yes, it takes yogurt to make yogurt! You can use any brand, flavor or style of yogurt, just look for one that says CONTAINS LIVE AND ACTIVE CULTURES

I'm using Good Value Greek Yogurt from Walmart. It comes in a small 4 pack and has been working well for my yogurt. Fresh yogurt works best!

You don't have to purchase yogurt from the store. You can also get freeze dried starters online or after your first batch, reserve a few Tablespoons for your next yogurt. You can reserve some yogurt from your own yogurt as a starter, but it only lasts 5-6 generations. Some people make a batch of yogurt and freeze it in ice cube trays or silicone cups and let it thaw before using. 

Milk. I have made yogurt using Whole, 2%, and 1% cow's milk from the store. I have found that the final yogurt yields more and is creamier with whole milk. I still get great results with 2% and prefer it over 1% or skim.

If you want to use organic milk, you may want to use a different process. Using organic milk with yogurt is hit/miss, as some of their milks are ultra high temp process, which can cause a yogurt failure. Same thing with using raw milk. You may want to refer to a different method.

If you cannot have dairy or wish to make a Vegan yogurt, by all means you can! Folks have used Coconut Milk, Soy, Almond Milk, and others.

Are you ready?

I like to start my yogurt about 45 minutes before I go to bed. This includes the heat up time, cool down time and stirring in the yogurt starter.

1. Set aside 1-2 Table spoons of yogurt into a small bowl.

Make sure all your tools, and equipment are clean and ready to use. Use a clean liner, free of any soap residue.

**If your liner/pot are warm from previously cooked food, make sure you use a COLD liner and Pot. If it's still warm, the heat sensor at the bottom of your pressure cooker will not register the temp of your milk correctly. 

2. Pour 8 cups (half gallon) of milk into the pressure cooker. I have made a full gallon before, but it is easier to make/strain smaller batches and it doesn't take as long to heat up.

3. Move the pressure valve to the SEALING setting. Make sure your sealing ring is in! 

4. Push YOGURT and quickly push ADJUST.

At first, your screen will read 8:00, but if you push ADJUST within 5 seconds, it should say BOIL.

**If you accidentally push ADJUST twice, your screen will say 24:00 you will get a lower temp that will not work for your yogurt. Push Keep Warm/Cancel and repeat step 4, till you see the 8:00 and the words BOIL and MORE on the display.

Yogurt + the Adjust button will heat up your milk

It will take approximately 25 minutes to reach at least 180°F.

This is where you test it with the thermometer. If it doesn't reach 180°F, hit the YOGURT and then ADJUST buttons again.

My Instant Pot Smart reaches 182°F on the first boil. Some folks are having to do the boil cycle more than once to reach 180°F. Also, if you are using a FULL gallon of milk, it may take a couple of cycles to reach this temperature. I would stop at 2 boil cycles and carefully use the Saute setting, while constantly whisking your milk, till it reaches 180°.

Do you REALLY need to heat your yogurt? 

First, heating the milk will kill any wild bacteria you may find, especially if you are using raw milk. These bacteria can compete with your yogurt loving strains of bacteria and affect your final outcome. 

Second, whey, an abundant protein in milk, is fully denatured at 170°F and results in a firmer, thicker yogurt. 

So, if your milk is pasteurized and you like a thin set yogurt, by all means, skip the initial heating step. You can still skip this boil step and strain your yogurt for a silky texture. 

5. Next, bring your heated milk down to a reasonable 110°-115°. This temperature, is important. Too hot, and it will kill your yogurt starter. Too cold, and your starter won't work quickly enough to outrun the bacteria that can spoil your milk. 

You can let it sit for awhile to naturally (takes an hour for a gallon of milk) to bring down the temperature, but I prefer to set the liner of heated milk in a larger bowl filled with ice water.

Takes only 5 minutes for a half gallon of milk.

Scrape off any "skin" from the top if you want a smooth yogurt. 

Stir gently and constantly, WITHOUT SCRAPING THE BOTTOM, until the temperature hits the "zone" of 110°-115°. Stirring while it is cooling will prevent "hot spots" in your milk and give you a more accurate temperature. 

Use an ICE WATER bath to quickly bring the temperature down.
Cool down to 110°-115°F

Remove the liner from ice water and wipe the outside of the liner with a clean kitchen towel. 

Temper your yogurt

6. Take some cooled down milk and stir it into your 1 Tablespoon of yogurt starter. Mix till smooth

Pour the warmed up starter back into the pot and give it a quick whisk. Don't scrape the bottom.

Put the liner into the Instant Pot. 

This is the display you want to see to make successful yogurt. 8:00 and the word NORMAL.

7. Push the YOGURT button. It will say 8:00, and NORMAL meaning your yogurt will incubate for 8 hours. Your yogurt will begin to set around hours 5-6. If you want a "tangier" yogurt, you can push the (+) button and increase your time to 10 hours or longer.....8 hours is a good place to start.

That's it! Go to bed. Say "Good night" to your yogurt.

** If your IP keeps going back to the BOIL cycle, it has a memory of your last setting. To clear out this memory, Push and Hold the Adjust button for 3 seconds. It will beep, clearing out the previous setting. Then push Yogurt once. 8:00 and Normal will display.

**NOTE: Do not push the ADJUST button for the yogurt cycle. If you see 24:00 on your display and the words LESS, this is NOT the yogurt cycle. Hit CANCEL/KEEP WARM. Push the YOGURT button ONE TIME. That's it.

This is NOT the yogurt cycle. This is a lower temp used for fermenting rice and proofing bread. Your yogurt will be runny if you select this setting. 

Ta Da! Here is my yogurt at the 8 hour mark. But... 

If you stir it, the yogurt will get thin. Why? Whey. There is liquid whey, floating around in the yogurt and when stirred, it will get thin. Not soupy, but thin. 

8. If you want to have a THICK Greek Style yogurt, you will need to strain it. If you use a mesh reusable Nut Bag, clean white T-shirt, a Euro Cusine Yogurt strainer, you will need to put your pot of yogurt into the fridge to chill completely. This "sets" the yogurt and won't run through the mesh.

I like to use large coffee filters because they don't let ANY milk solids through. I can strain right away without chilling first.

If you don't want a super thick yogurt, put your liner in the fridge and let it SET. 

I like to use coffee filters as I have a bunch ... er.... hundreds of them on hand. Use and dispose. Easy.

I line my IKEA strainer with coffee filters and set it in my OXO Salad spinner bowl. Works like a charm. This is why I only use 1/2 gallon of milk at a time. I don't have a larger strainer or larger bowl and it's hard to divide a whole gallon's worth of yogurt into two strainers. 

Strain for 2 hours in the fridge. 

I end up with approximately 4-5 cups of thick, creamy yogurt and about 4 cups of whey.

If you feel that your yogurt is too thick, you can always add some whey back in. :-)

Don't throw out the whey! You can use it to make ricotta, feed the pets, in making bread, etc. Here are 18 Ways to Use Whey. 

9. Flavoring your yogurt.
Now is the time to sweeten or flavor your yogurt if you wish. I like to put 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and stir before pouring into individual jelly canning jars. You can use any sweetener you like, honey, Stevia, Truvia, etc. 

If you don't flavor your yogurt, you can use it in place of mayonnaise or sour cream.

I like to use my 8 oz. jelly canning jars to store 5 oz of yogurt in each one. Weighing with a scale ensures that each of my boys have the same amount and no fighting over the "largest one." 

I found the plastic reusable lids at Walmart. You can also find them on Amazon.

Having a "space" above the yogurt lets my family choose any toppings, mix-ins or flavorings of their choice. Honey, brown sugar, granola, berries, etc. My mom likes to sprinkle a little bit of Lemon Crystal Light drink mix into hers. 

Yogurt making is simple and you will be easily making it weekly for your family.

10. Enjoy!


8 cups whole or 2% milk, (no ultra pasteurized)
2 Tablespoons Yogurt, room temp
(*can use 1 Tablespoon, if desired!)

Large mixing bowl w/ ice water
Strainer, colander or sieve
*Coffee Filters, butter muslin, paper towels, linen kitchen towel, flour sack cloth, butter muslin, or several layers of cheesecloth

Set out 1-2 Tablespoons of yogurt in a small bowl. Set aside.
Pour milk into pc pot. Cover. Vent to Sealing.
Push YOGURT, then ADJUST. Display will read BOIL and takes about 25 min.
Test milk with thermometer. Should read 180°F or higher. Take pot of heated milk and place in ice water bath.
Remove skin from top of milk with a utensil. 
Stir gently with a whisk, being careful not to scrape the bottom till temp reads 110°-115°F. 
Remove pot from ice water. Ladle 1 cup of warm milk into yogurt, stir till smooth. 
Pour tempered yogurt into pot, whisk gently. Don't scrape the bottom!
Push YOGURT. Display will say NORMAL 8:00. Push (-) or (+) to change the incubation time. 
Strain yogurt over a bowl using desired method for 2 hours in the fridge.  I use xlarge coffee filters, which allows me to strain immediately. If you use any other material that may let the yogurt go through, you will need to CHILL your yogurt completely prior to straining. 
Mix sweetener and vanilla into yogurt. *I like to use 1/4 c. sugar + 1 t. vanilla extract
Put yogurt in desired container and use whey as desired. 

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