100 [Original] EASY Cold Start™ Yogurt (No Boil) Method - {VIDEO}

Cold Start™ Yogurt - Lucille F.
For those of you who are making yogurt, or are intimidated by the process of making yogurt, there is another, simpler method. What can be easier than mixing two ingredients and pushing a button?

This post is part one of a three part series.
Part One is this post, on How to make Cold Start yogurt.
Part Two: Cold Start yogurt FAQ
Part Three: Testing & Research
Many are calling it the "No Boil" yogurt method, but I call it the Cold Start™ Method, as you put two cold ingredients, Milk & yogurt starter, in your pot, and start your yogurt. This method has been SO popular and easy to make, it has been copied and shared all over - but this is the ONLY place you'll find the Original recipe!

There are only TWO methods for making yogurt: This easy Cold Start, or the more Traditional boil method. The biggest differences between the two methods are the milk used and the time it takes to make them.

{NEW VIDEO!} I have put together a video that will help you understand the Cold Start™method, how to choose your milk, your starter, and most everything that is shown here.

If you want to only watch the actual demonstration of making yogurt, start at the 8:19 mark. I do highly recommend that you either watch the video in it's entirety or read through this article before starting your Cold Start yogurt. Enjoy!

Fairlife milk is in the picture below, but you can use any ultra pasteurized, flash pasteurized, gentle pasteurized, shelf stable or powdered milk with this method. More info about milks can be found further in this article.

*For best results and for food safety, do not use regular pasteurized or raw milk with this method. (Read further to find out why)

Fairlife milk is only one of the many milks you can try!

You can make this yogurt directly in your pot, and if you find that you like the thickness of your yogurt without straining, you can mix your milk + starter together, and pour them into individual jars. See the FAQs section below for more information.

A member of the Instant Pot Facebook Community took this picture to show how thick their yogurt is:

Fairlife 2% milk
Fage 0%
Incubated for 9 hours
Video courtesy of Aiman Kassam-Daudaly


For regular pasteurized milks, you will need to use the Traditional method of heating/cooling your milk. 
For a full explanation as to why, see the FAQ near the end of this post. 

You will need a cooker that has a yogurt setting to use the Cold Start™ method. If you do not have a yogurt setting, read the instructions in the recipe for the workaround.

print recipe

Frieda's Easy Instant Pot Cold Start™ Yogurt
Making yogurt is so simple and easy with this revolutionary Cold Start method! No heating, no cooling, no temperature taking and most likely, no straining! You must have a yogurt setting for this method to work and use ultra pasteurized milks. If you are Canadian, Natrel Lactose free milk & Joyya milks are similar to Fairlife milk.
**Using creamer or sweetened condensed milk is optional, and only for flavor. This recipe will work for the 3 quart, 6 quart, or 8 quart Instant Pot. You can double this recipe, up to a gallon of total milk for the 6 or 8 quart, but do not triple the recipe.
  • 1/2 gallon *Ultra Pasteurized, Ultra High Temp, or shelf stable milk. If using Fairlife milk, 1 carton (52 oz) is fine to use. You can use Soy or Pea milk for a non dairy option.
  • 1-2 Tablespoons **Fresh, plain or vanilla yogurt, not opened
  • OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS: Choose ONE of the following, and use the full two Tablespoons of yogurt as your starter & add it to your milk
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk (you can use the whole can or half of it)
  • 16 oz Natural Bliss creamer (vanilla or sweet cream are my favorites)
  • 1 (11oz) carton of Premier Protein Shake (adds a protein with less sugar)
  • 1-2 cups heavy cream or half & half milk
  • If you do not use the sweetened condensed milk or creamer, you can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and your choice of sweetener after your yogurt has chilled/strained.
Instructions - If you do not have the yogurt setting, use the directions below, "No Yogurt Button?"
1. Make sure your Instant Pot & utensils are clean and free of soap residue. Pour the contents of your milk into your Instant Pot insert. Stir in  your optional ingredient milk, if desired, making sure it is whisked in very well.2.Whisk in your 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh yogurt, dissolving it well.3. Cover your Instant Pot, with the IP lid in the locked position and the pressure valve closed. If you have an IP seal that smells, you can remove it. You can also use a dinner plate or pie plate as a lid.4. Select Yogurt Normal, according to your model. If you have the ULTRA model, this can be Medium or a customized setting of any temp in the 100°F-110°F range.5. Select the incubation time for 8 hours. You can choose a longer time, up to 24 hours, by pushing the (+) button for more tang to your yogurt.6. The IP will beep, and begin counting UP. When finished, the IP will beep and your display will show YOGT.7. Remove your pot of yogurt, cover, and chill it in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours. 8. If you want to transfer your yogurt or strain it***, you can slowly pour your yogurt into another container or strainer. Do not stir your yogurt until fully chilled or strained9. After chilling, Do the thickness test. Take a spoonful of your chilled yogurt and stir it into a bowl. It will thin out. If you want it thicker, you will need to strain. Next time, you can use a higher fat milk, add some instant powdered milk to your milk prior to starting incubation, or strain & chill your yogurt at the same time. Flavor your yogurt by whisking in vanilla extract and choice of sweetener. For a list of flavoring options, look in this article. If you are making plain, unflavored yogurt, you may want to freeze some in tablespoon portions to use as starters for your next batch of yogurt. Store yogurt in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks.
1. Using the Saute Less setting, heat ONLY your milk(s) to 110°F, stirring constantly. If you do not have a thermometer, this temp is "baby bottle warm," and you can put a clean finger in your milk to test this temp. Milk should feel slighter warmer than your finger, but not too hot.2.Whisk in your 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh yogurt, dissolving it well.3. Remove your insert, cover with a lid, and wrap your pot of milk in a large towel.4. Put your wrapped pot of milk in your oven with ONLY the oven light on to maintain the incubation temp for 8-10 hours. If you do not have an oven, find a warm spot (100°-110°F) that will work. If you have a heating pad that doesn't have an auto-shut off, you can test the lowest setting to see if it will stay below 110°F. You can put your unwrapped pot of yogurt in a small cooler with 115°F water up to the level of your yogurt, cover and close the cooler. 
You can use any ultra pasteurized, UHT, shelf stable or powdered milk. The higher the fat/protein, the thicker your yogurt will be. Lower fat milks have a higher water content and will need the addition of powdered milk and/or straining to achieve a thicker yogurt. Fairlife and other filtered milks (Natrel lactose free, MooTopia, CarbMaster, Joyya) will be thicker due to the higher protein contents of these milks.
**Chose any plain or vanilla yogurt that has the taste and texture that you love. Fage, Oui are mild and will create a mild yogurt. Chobani, Siggis, and Greek Gods are tangy and will create tang in your yogurt. It must contain live/active cultures. If plain yogurt is not available, you can use a vanilla yogurt, but it will not flavor your yogurt. Yogurt with the l.casei bacteria strain will help set up your yogurt more quickly and be more viscous. For more info on yogurt starters, click here. 

***If you are unsure about straining your yogurt, chill it first for 4-6 hours. Once chilled, take a small spoonful of yogurt and stir it into a bowl. It is normal for yogurt to thin out when stirred. If you want your yogurt to be thicker, you will want to strain it. If you do end up straining your yogurt, you can strain and chill it at the same time, right after incubation. If your yogurt is too thick, you can whisk some whey back in to your desired consistency.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: 8Yield: approx. 6.5+ cups 

This short 1 minute video will show you how to get to the normal yogurt setting for the Duo. You need to make sure your display shows NORMAL and YOGURT

If it says LESS, the temp will be too low and you will have thin yogurt. 

Here are the steps to find the NORMAL yogurt setting for the Ultra, Duo Plus, Viva & Max models:

1. Turn dial to YOGURT
2. Press to select
3. Press the dial again to set TIME (5-24 hours, depending on how tart you like your yogurt)
4. Press the dial to confirm
5. Turn dial to TEMP (LOW, MED, HIGH, Custom)
6. Select  MEDIUM (107°F) or CUSTOM (you can choose between 100°F-110°F)

7. Press dial to confirm
8. Press the START button.
Incubation will start.
When cycle has ended, the display will show YOGT.
*UPDATE/2018 on the Ultra Model: There is no "medium" setting for the newer Ultra models. You will need to use the CUSTOM setting and set the temp for 110°F.

1. Select YOGURT NORMAL (press the yogurt button repeatedly until Normal is displayed)
2. Press +/- to set incubation time
3. IP will beep, and begin counting UP.
When finished, the IP will beep and display YOGT

1. Select Yogurt
2. Touch the temperature field repeatedly to toggle between Boil, Yogurt, Custom. 
3. Select Yogurt.
4. The yogurt setting will default to 8 hours. To change the time, 
       - Touch the Hours field
       - Turn the central dial to adjust
5. Touch Start to begin.

LUX MODEL - No yogurt setting is available. 
Follow the directions in the recipe above for heating your milk, then adding your starter.
To incubate your yogurt for the next 8-10 hours, try any of the following methods:
  • Oven: Wrap your pot of milk in a large towel and put it in your oven with only the oven light on.
  • Convection Oven: Use the bread proofing setting & turn that on. Place your covered pot of milk in your oven. No towel is needed
  • Warm Place: It can be in the kitchen near the oven or even in your laundry room near the dryer.
  • Heating Pad: Use the lowest setting, with the auto-shutoff disabled. Test the temperature before using. Wrap the heating pad around your pot or place it under your pot; put a towel around your pot of milk to keep the temps. 
  • Cooler: Put your pot of milk in a small cooler, fill it up to the milk level with 115°F water and close the cooler. 
I have been making dairy yogurt for a long time, so this method intrigued me. Let's take a look at the Cold Start method and answer some of the many questions about it.

What is the Cold Start™ method?
What is Fairlife milk?
Myths about Fairlife milk?
Can I use Low Fat or Chocolate Fairlife milk?
Where can I find Fairlife milk?
Can I use other ultra pasteurized milks
I can't find this milk in Canada - what can I use instead?
Why is milk heated to make yogurt?
Does it save any time?
Is it safe to make yogurt with this method?
How does it taste?
Does the texture change with this method?
How much does it cost to make yogurt with Fairlife milk?

What is the Cold Start™ Method?
Yogurt is typically heated to 160°-180°F using the "Boil" setting of the Instant Pot. This is called the Traditional Method, where the milk is heated/cooled/then starter is added/incubated. You can find my post here that demonstrates this method.  The milk is not 'boiled,' but scalded at this temperature. Reasons for heating your milk are listed further in that post.

I call it the Cold Start™ method, as you are putting cold ingredients (milk + starter) and letting the Instant Pot warm up your milk, automatically, to the perfect incubation temperature for your yogurt. No heating your milk, no cooling your milk, and no additional or special equipment is necessary. "No Boil" is not accurate to describe this method, as milk is not boiled to make yogurt, nor is it heated first to make yogurt.

What is Fairlife Milk?
 It is 100% dairy milk that has 50% less sugar, 50% more protein, 30% more calcium and is labeled as lactose free.  Fairlife milk  comes from Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana. It is unique that is it ultra filtered, using a process that was inspired by water filteration. Water filtering removes impurities by using sieves, adsorption, ion exchanges and other processes.

It is filtered milk & LACTOSE FREE. Fairlife doesn't divulge how their milk is filtered, but they do explain that once the individual components of water, butterfat, protein, vitamins/minerals, and lactose are filtered, the milk is put back together with a formula that results in the milk described above. Lactase, is added to the milk, which made me wonder why it was added, if the lactose is removed.

"Those who are lactose intolerant are not allergic to milk, or even to lactose. Instead, they lack the digestive enzyme needed to break down the lactose, or the sugar in milk.
"Lactose-free milks are the same as regular milk, except for the addition of lactase. This neutralizes the lactose and, therefore, eliminates the gastrointestinal trauma. Lactase does make milk taste sweeter. Also, to neutralize the lactase enzyme inactive, manufacturers ultra-pasteurize the milk, a move that extends the shelf life." - Karen Fernau, Food writer 
Here is another explanation of lactose free milk:
"It’s neither practical nor really possible to remove lactose from milk — not only would it be logistically difficult, it’s simply not necessary. Instead, manufacturers react the lactose chemically, altering its composition and converting it into molecules that your digestive system processes easily. To react lactose, manufacturers add small amounts of the enzyme lactase to milk, explains OrganicMeadow.com, a producer of lactose-free milk. The lactase splits lactose into its constituent components, which are two sugars called glucose and galactose." - How is Lactose Free Milk Made?

But wait...don't you need lactose to make yogurt?
There are two things at work when making yogurt with lactose free milk. First, the lactose free milk is treated with the lactase enzyme to break down the lactose into its component molecules, glucose and galactose, which make it easier for the bacteria to ferment. Otherwise, they do this conversion themselves, but the process is a bit slower.

Second, the ultra filtered milk is higher in protein, and the action of the bacterial fermentation creating lactic acid which then acts to coagulate the protein. More protein, easier coagulation. -Kathy Peschell

If you are lactose intolerant, this milk is a good choice for you! You can still use a dairy yogurt as your starter, as there is lactase added to lactose free milks, and this will help you digest any lactose that is found in your starter. If you want to use a dairy free yogurt as your starter, you can use a dairy free yogurt like SoDelicious yogurt or try Yogurmet, a freeze dried powdered starter.

Fairlife Whole Milk
Costco's Kirkland Whole Milk

Fairlife is not organic, which means that the cow must be certified organic, given organic feed, and the cow cannot be given any growth hormones or antibiotics. They do maintain that their milk abides by the highest standards when it comes to milk quality, their farming practices, dedication to animal care and comfort.  They do not use growth hormones. You can read more about their milk and farming practices here. 

Myths about Fairlife milks

MYTH: Fairlife Milk is made by Cocoa-Cola.
It is NOT manufactured by the Coca-Cola Company; it is the distribution partner for Fairlife milk.  Coca-Cola helps Fair Oaks farms distribute (deliver/market) the milk at the right price, with the right packaging and to the right destinations.

MYTH: Fairlife milk is not really milk.
Fairlife is 100% dairy milk. The only added ingredients are lactase enzymes, Vitamin A Palmitate and Vitamin D3. Vitamins can come from animals, plants or be synthetic. These 'added' ingredients are in most dairy milks, including Costco's Kirkland brand milk. You can find lactase added to lactose free milk, such as Lactaid.

MYTH: Fairlife milk is not ultra pasteurized. It is only ultra filtered.
The definition of ultra pasteurization (also known as UHT-ultra high temp) is bringing the milk up to 280°F for a few seconds, and then chilling it rapidly. This process kills 99.9% of the bacteria in the milk, and when packaged in a sterile container, extends the shelf life of the milk to 6-9 months. However, once opened, the milk should be treated like any dairy milk, kept at 40°F or lower for 2 weeks or less.

When you read this statement on their website, it fits the very definition of an ultra pasteurized milk:

I contacted Fairlife, asked if their milk is ultra pasteurized, and their response confirms that Fairlife milks are ultra pasteurized:

Can I use Low Fat or Chocolate Fairlife Milk?

Yes, you can use Fairlife 2% or Fat Free milks for making yogurt with the cold start method.

Lower fat milks have a higher water content and may yield a more soft-set, pudding like yogurt,**  so you may want to strain your yogurt for a thicker consistency. You can add non fat instant milk powder to your low fat milks for a thicker yogurt.

It is not necessary to use a low fat yogurt starter with these milks - you only want the starter for the live cultures. You can find out more about How to Choose a Starter, here.

Fairlife has two different chocolate milks. 2% Chocolate Fairlife milk contains the following ingredients:
 Reduced Fat Ultra-filtered Milk, Sugar, Alkalized Cocoa, Lactase Enzyme, Dipotassium Phosphate, Salt, Acesulfame Potassium, Carrageenan, Natural And Artificial Flavors, Sucralose, Vitamin A Palmitate, Vitamin D3

Fairlife also has a SuperKids Chocolate milk with the following ingredients:

Ultra-filtered milk, cane sugar, alkalized cocoa, natural flavors, DHA omega-3 (algal oil), monk fruit extract, salt, carrageenan, lactase enzyme, vitamin E (tocopherols), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), vitamin A palmitate, vitamin D3
The biggest difference between the two chocolate milks is that the SuperKids Chocolate milk does not contain Sucralose, instead, it uses cane sugar.

**Fairlife Chocolate milk, like any store bought chocolate milk, has too many additives (thickeners, sugars and other ingredients) that inhibit, or slow down the culturing process, making it take much longer than 8 hours to culture or "set" the yogurt. Most people using Fairlife Chocolate milk get a "pudding-like" texture, even with a 9 -10 hour culturing time. You will need at least a 10 hour culturing time, which can also make a tangy or tart yogurt. For most people, this combination of chocolate + tartness is not a pleasant taste. You can try using a mild yogurt starter for a more mild tasting final product. 

If you want a mild tasting chocolate yogurt, make a plain yogurt, by incubating it for less time and strain it. Add chocolate syrup, chocolate drink mix powder, or whey protein powder.

Where Can I find Fairlife Milk or Other Similar Milks?
What if I can't find it where I live?

Fairlife milk is only available in the United States. You can find a list of 74+ retail stores on the Fairlife website here.  UPDATE: Fairlife milk is now available in Canada! Check HERE for store locations.
UPDATE: Try Joyya milk, which is ultra pasteurized, has MORE protein than Fairlife! It has the same amount of low sugars, but is not lactose free, like Fairlife milk is.

If you live in Canada, you can try Joyya or Natrel lactose free milk, which is very similar to Fairlife in composition.  It comes in a 2 liter carton (8.45 cups), versus 52oz (6.5 cups) with Fairlife. Other Natrel filtered milks are NOT ultra pasteurized. Only the lactose free version is ultra pasteurized.

Kroger CARBmaster milk has a similar composition.
Kroger CARBmaster milk

HEB has a milk, MooTopia that is ultra pasteurized and similar to Fairlife milk.

Ultra Pasteurized or Powdered Milks work great!
When using Ultra Pasteurized milk, it will not be as thick as the filtered milks (Fairlife, CarbMaster, MooTopia or Natrel Lactose Free), but you can strain it to your desired consistency.

Not everyone has access to fresh milk, so dry, or powdered milks are perfect for the cold start method and you can make a concentrated milk by using half the amount of water that the recipe calls for.

Instant powdered milk dissolves readily in cold water, whereas regular dry powdered milk needs heat to dissolve the granules. Here are two examples of instant powdered milk that will work well.

You may live in another country where fresh milk is not available. You may see Ultra Pasteurized, Ultra High Temp, High Temp Short Time or Extended Shelf Life on the package.

Organic Valley states that HTST (High Temp, Short Time) milks are heated to 161°F for 15 seconds, which kills 99.9% of the bacteria and produces a shelf life of 16-21 days.

Use the regular, not the iron fortified, for the best taste

Instant powdered milk dissolves well in cold liquid

Amanda Atchley, who lives in Japan, found this ESL milk. It took about 11 hours to set, which can be true of some ultra pasteurized milks. She also strained it for a thicker texture.

Shelf Stable Milk
Shelf stable milk is the boxed milk that you find on the shelves in the grocery store. It is an ultra pasteurized, or ultra high temp (UHT) milk and will work for the cold start method.

If you need a dairy free option, Soy or Ripple (pea) milk work great!
TIP: Soy or pea milks need at least 12 hours incubation to thicken and will continue to thicken or "set" while chilling in the fridge. It will not be a thick Greek style yogurt, but more of a traditional yogurt consistency. 

These are the only plant based milks that don't need a thickener.

Almond, Coconut, Rice and other plant based milks need a thickening agent (gelatin, agar agar, tapioca starch, etc) and those thickeners require heat to activate. These milks will not work well for the cold start method.

Why is milk heated to make yogurt?

When you make any kind of yogurt that uses a thermophilic culture (most often found in store bought yogurt and requires heat to activate), the milk is heated to at least 100°-110°F, either on the stove top or using a yogurt maker. This ensures that the thermophilic yogurt cultures will begin to actively work at the time they are added.

Milk can also be heated to 180°F which is the temp for denaturing, or changing the proteins in the milk for a firmer set yogurt. Fairlife, and other ultra pasteurized milks have already been heated to a very high temp, 280°F, which is explained a little further down. Why heat milk to 180°F if your milk has already been heated to 280°F?

The Instant Pot method uses a "boil" setting, which really doesn't 'boil' the milk, but it will heat a half gallon of milk within the 160°-180°F temp range. There is another yogurt setting for incubation, the normal setting, which heats the milk and maintains it at a constant 96°-109°F temp range for a specified set time.

Does the Cold Start™ method save any time?

Yes, it can. Heating 52 oz of cold milk to 110° with the IP boil setting only takes about 15 min. If you accidentally heat it higher, you would need to let it cool or set it in an ice water bath, which can add up to another 5 minutes. It does save the step of taking the temp of the cooled milk and straining.

When heating 64 oz (8 cups) of regular pasteurized milk to 180°, it takes 20-25 min, and then 5 minutes to cool in an ice water bath. That's 30 minutes total.

Cold Start doesn't take any prep time, but it does take 30-50 minutes to get to the incubation temp zone, which you need to consider when calculating your incubation time.

Is it safe to make yogurt with this method?

First, let's talk about what makes food unsafe. The Unsafe Food Zone is the temp range determined by the USDA:

The Unsafe Food Zone
The unsafe food zone is any food that is left out in the temp range of 40°F-140°F for 2 hours or more. It is perfectly fine for any milk to be in the unsafe food zone as long as the yogurt starter is actively working in the milk. Once the yogurt starter is active (in the 100°-110° range), it begins to produce acidic whey, which continues to ferment and preserve your milk in this temp range. Milk without an active yogurt bacteria present should not be left out at room temperature for 2 hours or more.

UP/UHT (ultra pasteurized/ultra high temp) milk already has 99.9% of the bacteria killed during processing, meaning there is little risk, if any, of any pathogenic (bad) bacteria multiplying during the warming up to the incubation zone, as long as it is less than 2 hours. Once you open UP/UHT (ultra pasteurized/ultra high temp) milks, it needs to be treated like dairy milk. Even though UP/UHT milks are shelf stable in their sterile packaging for 6+ months, once opened, their fridge shelf life is 1-2 weeks and should not be left open at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

You should not try the Cold Start™ method with raw or regular pasteurized milk. See below.

*If you are undecided about the safety of using the Cold Start™ method, you can always warm up your yogurt to 100°-110°F and add your starter. 

Can I use the Cold Start™ method with regular pasteurized milk?
I would not recommend using the Cold Start™ method with regular pasteurized milk. Even though the milk is heated to 160°F for pasteurization, there are still natural bacteria present in the milk. This bacteria can grow/multiply during the 30-40 minutes and can compete with the natural bacteria in the yogurt starter. This competition of bacterial strains may result in either a thin, runny yogurt, lumpy, bitter, stringy or ropey yogurt. You can see the results of what happened with raw milk:

Raw milk used with the Cold Start™ method

For raw and pasteurized milk,  you can find this simple method here for thick, Greek style yogurt.

You can increase the protein/fat content of your dairy milk by adding dry milk powder, heavy cream or half & half milk for a thicker set yogurt. You can also add gelatin to your yogurt, which helps set your yogurt once refrigerated and requires no straining.

Can I use this method with another Ultra Pasteurized milk?
For the most part, yes. Ultra pasteurized milks are hit and miss when making yogurt. I'm seeing more successes than failures. Sometimes the high heat process damages the proteins in the milk to the point that it won't set. Some UP milks take longer to incubate, up to 10 hours or more. Milks that you can try for the cold start method are: Organic milks, Soy milk, canned milks (evaporated or sweetened condensed), heavy cream, half & half, powdered milk (mixed with filtered water), any ultra pasteurized or ultra high temp milks.

You will need to keep in mind that if it does work, it will not be as thick as the Fairlife whole milk yogurt right after incubation. This is because Fairlife milk has added protein. Higher fat and more protein is what makes whole milk yogurt thicker than 1% milk yogurt. If you want a thicker yogurt with another brand of UP milk (not ultra filtered), you will need to strain it, add dry milk powder, heavy cream or half & half. 

How do I flavor the yogurt and when?
If you want a vanilla yogurt, you can add your vanilla extract when your yogurt has chilled and strained. It is believed that the alcohol from the extract can interfere with the culturing process, but you can add vanilla bean paste or scrape a 2"vanilla bean into your milk before starting. If you are straining your yogurt, any flavor or sweetener can go out with the whey.

Sweetener: You can use any sweetener of your choice after your yogurt has chilled and strained. Granulate sugar, powder sugar, maple syrup, or any alternative sweetener can be used. Honey mixes in better if it is warmed first.  If you add sugars to your milk prior to heating, it can inhibit, or slow down the culturing process, adding time to your yogurt to properly set. I prefer to add sweetener after my yogurt has finished.

Sweetened Condensed Milk: You can add a small can of sweetened condensed milk to your Fairlife milk prior to heating. Make sure it is mixed in well and plan to add time if necessary to allow your yogurt to gel, or set. This makes a creamy, slightly sweet vanilla yogurt.

Can I use the Cold Start™ method with the Instant Pot Lux model or other model that does not have a yogurt setting? 
No, you will not be able to use a true cold start method, as you need a yogurt setting to be able to bring the temp to 100°-110°F. You can use the saute setting to heat your milk(s) first to 110°F and then adding your starter. The key to making yogurt work in a LUX , or pressure cooker without a yogurt setting, is to keep the pot in the incubation temp zone for 8 hours, which can be a challenge. Wrap the warm pot in large towels and keep it in your oven with the oven light on or use one of the alternate methods in the No Yogurt Button directions in the printable recipe above.

Can I mix the milk & starter together and pour them into individual jars first?
If you are not straining your yogurt and like the consistency, you can try it. Fairlife and other filtered milks will make a yogurt that has the thickness between Greek and traditional yogurts. Using 8 oz, regular mouth glass canning jars and the plastic lids that come with them seem to work better than using 2 layers of shorter jars. When 2 layers of jars are used, the bottom jars will set while the top layer is still liquid milk. Glass also retains heat and is slower to heat the milk inside the jars, so it may take longer than the 6-8 hours for the yogurt to set - up to 10 hours. You do not need to set the jars on the trivet/metal rack. You can add a couple of inches of water, which seem to help incubate the yogurt, but it not required.

How does Fairlife yogurt taste?
At first, our family thought the yogurt tasted fine. It was creamy, thick, mild, with very little tang. My oldest said that it tasted "watery" or "bland." Many readers that have tried Fairlife mention that it has a "very mild taste," even when incubated for times longer than 8 hours. If you want a tangy Fairlife yogurt, try a starter that is tangy, ie. Greek Gods or Siggis.

When compared to our Costco 2% yogurt, there was a marked difference. The Costco 2% yogurt had "depth, body and flavor."

We enjoyed the Fairlife whole milk yogurt, as it makes a very mild tasting yogurt. If given a choice, we would use the regular pasteurized Costco 2% milk yogurt; not just for the price, but for the taste as well and use the traditional method of making yogurt.

When Fairlife milk is on sale, we definitely buy it for its long shelf life and ease of using it to make yogurt. The cold start is great for its simplicity and if you are lactose intolerant, making yogurt with Fairlife milk is a great option.

Does the texture change with this method?

No. If you use whole milk, it will taste creamier. You can use 2% or skim, and have it strained nice and thick, but the texture may not be as creamy.

 *The yogurt stuck on the bottom of the pot does have a gritty or grainy texture. Take a look at the photo, below, taken right after incubation and before straining in the fridge. Avoid scraping this into your yogurt. This may be difficult to avoid if you chill your yogurt while in the pot prior to straining. Try slowly pouring your yogurt immediately into another bowl or your lined strainer and chill in the fridge. Don't scrape the yogurt off the bottom.

The yogurt stuck to the bottom of the pot had a grainy, gritty texture.

Here's my experiment!

110° vs Cold Start™ Experiment
I made two separate batches of Fairlife milk yogurt.

Batch #1: Heat to 110°
Milk Temp: 43°
Heated the milk on the boil cycle for 10 min.
The temp was 149°F, ice water bath to 110°.
Stirred in 1 Tablespoon of Walmart GV Light Greek yogurt
8 hours on the yogurt normal setting.
15 min prep.

Batch #2: - Cold Start™
Milk Temp: 44°F
stirred in 1 Tablespoon of Walmart GV Light Greek yogurt
8 hours on the yogurt normal setting.
2 min prep.

Incubation Time to Temperature - 100°-110° optimal incubation zone
Used a Thermapen digital thermometer to accurately test temperature in 3 different spots, not touching the bottom of the pot.
Time elapsed when temperature was measured in fahrenheit.

Batch A continued to increase in temp from 110° till it leveled off to a stable 107° temp at 50 minutes into incubation.
Batch B took 30 minutes to reach the optimal incubation zone for thermophilic yogurt to begin activation and begin fermenting the milk to make yogurt.

How long will it take for 2 cartons of Fairlife milk to reach incubation temp?
I tested 13 cups of 40°F water to see how long it would take for 2 bottles of Fairlife milk to come to temp in the IP Duo.
It took 23 minutes to reach 99°F
40 minutes to reach 107°, where it stayed there for the next 2 hours.

I was very surprised to see that 6.5 cups of 44°F Fairlife only took 40 min to reach 105°F and 13 cups of 40° water took 40 min to reach 107°F!

Let's take a peek!

Traditional method yogurt is typically set at the 5th-6th hour marks, so I checked the yogurt 5 hours later. The video above shows Batch (A)  at 5:15 and Batch (B) at 5:30. You can see a significant difference in firmness. You can also see Batch (A) has bubbles on the surface (from whisking to cool the milk and add the starter), whereas Batch (B) has a smooth, glossy surface.

Cold Start™Fairlife milk yogurt with the Eurocuisine strainer after 8 hours of straining. Using the OXO Good Grips digital scale. 

Strain or No Strain?
Straining your yogurt will give you a thicker, Greek style yogurt. The longer you strain your yogurt, the thicker it will be. Straining is a personal preference. Fairlife milk, when it is not strained, will give you a consistency somewhere between Greek and Traditional (thinner) yogurt. (You can find LOTS of straining options on this post!) I like to use either coffee filters over a mesh strainer, or the Eurocuisine strainer.

See how thick and creamy this yogurt looks while pouring warm into the Eurocuisine strainer!

Fairlife milk has 50% more protein than regular dairy milk. The higher the fat and protein content, the thicker your yogurt will be. Also, if milk is heated to 180°, your yogurt will be more firm. This explains why Fairlife milk looks very set after incubation.

This video shows chilled Fairlife milk yogurt (not strained). It is very thick, but once stirred, it will thin to a consistency between Greek and traditional style yogurt.
Unstrained, chilled Fairlife Yogurt

The video below shows the 3 finished Fairlife milk yogurts.
On the far right, chilled unstrained cold start yogurt, the middle, cold start yogurt strained with the Eurocuisine strainer, and on the far left, Heat to 110° yogurt strained with coffee filters. Both yogurts were strained overnight, for 8 hours.
Strained Fairlife Yogurt

Yield - 

Strained in the fridge for 8 hours right after incubation

Summary: Coffee filters were much better at extracting more whey, resulting in a very thick yogurt. EuroCuisine strainer yogurt is not as thick, but acceptable; it kept about 1/2 cup whey into the yogurt. Unstrained yogurt = about 50 oz (there was some yogurt stuck to the bottom, which I chose not to scrape out as it was grainy in texture).

Cost Comparison 
Fairlife Milk = $2.98 + 1 Tablespoon of WM Greek Yogurt = .04 cents 
*Does not include cost of sugar or vanilla extract.

The most expensive yogurt per oz/serving is the Fairlife yogurt that was strained very thick, using coffee filters. It had a creamy texture, and a very mild taste. The coffee filters also produced the clearest whey.

Next was the cold start Fairlife unstrained yogurt, producing a creamy texture with a moderately thick consistency, between Greek and traditional style thickness. It had a very mild taste. When compared to the 2% milk yogurt, it seemed to lack some of the depth of the traditional yogurt in taste, which is really hard to describe. If I had not compared the two yogurts, I wouldn't have noticed a difference.

The least expensive option is the regular pasteurized Costco 2% milk yogurt, using the Traditional Method,  strained with the EuroCuisine strainer, that made a reasonably thick yogurt, which is worth the cost, and 30 minutes waiting for your milk to heat and cool down. Side by side, it also won the taste test over Fairlife milk yogurt, having a slightly better taste, with depth, and flavor.

If you are lactose intolerant, your best option is to use Fairlife milk and make your yogurt, as doing this will still be less expensive than purchasing a specialty yogurt. You can use dairy milk to make a lactose free yogurt by incubating it for 15-24 hours, in which all the lactose is consumed, leaving a very tart, tangy yogurt. Using Fairlife can give you a milder yogurt that is lactose free.

Using the cold start method with Fairlife milk is a good option for those who don't want to fuss with heating/cooling/temp taking and straining their yogurt. Many moms love the fact that Fairlife milk is good for their kids as it is lower in sugar, has more protein and more calcium, a Win/Win for busy moms!


  1. I went to your Amazon store for the silicone lid you used in the Cold Start Yogurt video and couldn't find the lid to purchase. Could you please add it or let me know which lid you used? Thanks!

    1. The flat silicone suction lid that is in my video is from the Norwex company, but I located a similar one at a better price and added it to my Amazon store. I really enjoy using this lid for not only incubating yogurt, but for covering my bowls and saving on plastic wrap. :-)

  2. I wanna try making the yogurt with ripple milk what non dairy yogurt do you recommend? My son has a dairy allergy and misses yogurt very much. Any help would be appreciated

    1. Yoplait and SoDelicious brands carry non-dairy yogurt you can use as starters. You can also try a powdered yogurt starter ie. Yogurmet or others found online at Cultures for Health.

  3. I need to increase my protein intake in virtually everything I eat. Can I add Protein Powder to this using the cold start method?

    1. Hi Amy!
      Absolutely, you can add protein powder to your finished and chilled yogurt. Using a milk that is high in protein (Fairlife is an example) is a good start. Straining your yogurt also increases the protein in your yogurt, as the whey removed from it contains very little protein. :-)

  4. I used shelf stable UHT milk 1 liter with the powdered yogurt starter in your video. I put it on yogurt mode normal, as directed put lid on without silicone ring because it smells. 8 hours later and it is liquid milk still?

    1. Some UP/UHT milks need a longer time to culture, or set, into yogurt. Give it another hour or two and see if it sets, or gels. If not, it may be that your yogurt starter is too weak. If you used more starter than the recipe calls for, it can make a thin, lumpy, or bitter yogurt.

  5. When using yรณgourmet freeze dried yogurt starter with cold method can you mix the starter with the room temp shelf stable milk or does the starter need warm milk to activate before adding to rest of milk?

    1. The Yogurment starter can be dissolved in a cup of cold milk, then mixed into the rest of your milk. No need to warm up the milk. :-)

  6. Any easy way to determine whether my yogurt fails are my UHT shelf stable milk or if my yรณgourmet freeze dried starter is the problem? I have tried cold start and boil method with same milk and starter. Cold start yielded a few milk curds but mostly all milk and the boil method all milk.

    1. There are a couple of things you can check:
      1. Check to make sure you are using the correct yogurt setting for your model. If you are using the correct setting for incubation, the temp should be in the 100°F-110°F range. You can test this setting by putting 4 cups of water into your insert, selecting the appropriate yogurt setting, and testing the temp of the water 30-40 minutes later.
      2. If your incubation temp is correct, then it is most likely your starter that is the culprit. Yogurmet starter should be sealed in the packet and I find it in the refrigerated section of my store. Make sure you are using the correct amount - I believe it is one 5g packet for every liter (4 cups) of milk.
      3. You may want to try your favorite plain or vanilla yogurt that contains live/active cultures as a starter.
      4. If your incubation temps are too low on the correct setting, you will want to put in a support ticket with the maker of your pressure cooker.
      Hope this info helps!

  7. I have a quick power pot and it only has the boil method avaiable so i cant use cold start method as it automatically boils milk so what kind of milk should i use to get thick yogart? When should i add in sweetners like sweet condensed milk or creamer?

    1. The Power Quick Pot automatically heats your milk to 180°F, and there is no way to bypass this setting. However, it does have a sous vide setting that you can use to make my Cold Start yogurt recipe.
      First, test this setting with 4 cups of water and choose a temperature in the 100°F-110°F range. My Instant Pot incubates at 107°F.
      Wait 40 minutes and then take the temperature, to make sure it is accurate. If not, make any adjustments to the setting so it falls within the incubation range.
      With the Cold Start recipe, your thickest yogurt will come from using higher milk fat and the most protein. These milks are Fairlife, CarbMaster, Natrel Lactose free or Joyya milks. You must use an ultra pasteurized milk with this method. The creamer or sweetened condensed milk is added along with the milk prior to incubation.
      If the sous vide setting doesn't work, you can always use the boil method to make yogurt. You can use any regular pasteurized milk with the boil method. Add your creamer or sweetened condensed milk after your milk has heated, and before it cools, dissolving it well. :-)

  8. Mary Jo GilbertFebruary 20, 2019

    Hi Frieda - I just want to thank you for sharing your knowledge (which is clearly from a *lot* of experience) of yogurt making. You have saved me a considerable amount of time, trying to figure out cause and effect. I suspect that I would quit before getting the preferred result. The first batch turned out great and I am currently making my first cold start batch with condensed milk. Thanks again, Mary Jo

    1. Hi Mary Jo!
      You are most welcome! I'm glad you found my site and that you enjoyed my recipe. :-)

  9. Hi Freida! I have been using your cold start method with sooooo much success!! My family, friends, coworkers, even my pup are in love with my yogurt! I am using 52 oz of Fairlife, a can of condensed milk, 2 tablespoons of starter, and a teaspoon of vanilla! It is absolute heaven! HEAVEN!!! Thank you so very much because it is my new go to food and snack! I cannot believe I waited so long to try it! Best yogurt of my life! I cannot thank you enough!

    1. Just curious! Did you add the vanilla in the beginning with the milk? Or at the end after the yogurt has finished and chilled?

    2. Hi Janie!
      I'm thrilled to hear that you are having so much success and enjoying this recipe! You are most welcome. Enjoy! :-)

  10. I have been making yogurt using the boil method for quite sometime. I freeze the whey in ice cube trays to use as starter. I am going to try the cold start method. Can I use the defrosted whey cubes as starter in the cold start method? If so, should I use 1 or 2 cubes?

    1. Yes, you can use your defrosted cubes of whey as your starter. I thaw my starters at room temp for about 30 minutes, mash and stir in a cup of the milk, dissolving well. If you are using only 8 cups of ultra pasteurized milk, use 1 tablespoon of starter. If you are adding sweetened condensed milk, dairy creamer, or heavy cream, increase your starter to 2 tablespoons. I'm not sure how large your ice cube tray is, but mine holds 1 tablespoon in each cube. :-)

    2. when using the sweetened condensed milk do you know how many calories are in it? Is they a way to cut back?

    3. Frieda, I would like to begin making cold start yogurt in my IP. Freezing the starter is so cost-effective. How long will the culture remain active. Which would be a better starter to freeze, a tablespoon of fresh yogurt or the fresh whey.

  11. Can I use probiotics instead of yogurt for starter and how much to use with Fairlife 52oz. I have used other UP/UHT and now I stay with FAIRLIFE. I even shared my cold start yogurt with an owner of a senior home there is only 2 ladies left there now, but I make yogurt 3 times a week. I do incubate it for 11 hours for a nice firm texture but keep the whey and serve it with the yogurt. But I wanted to use probiotics for myself and if it does for me what I want then I can share it with her and my elderly friends in her home.

    1. Hi Donna!
      So sweet of you to share your yogurt with the ladies in the senior home! I'm sure they love your homemade yogurt.
      While you can use probiotic caps as as starter, I don't recommend them, as there are so many strains and strengths available. Use too little or the wrong strains, and your yogurt won't set. Use too much, and you will have thin, bitter yogurt.
      Probiotic activity in yogurt is at their peak during the first week that yogurt is made, and then begins to decline of the next couple of weeks. You can open up a probiotic cap and stir it into your yogurt for a boost. :-)

  12. Hi Frieda,

    If I want to flavor my yogurt with creamer, do I add it at the beginning with the Fairlife and starter? If so, is it okay to do this without boiling since now you are adding milk that is not ultra pasteurized?

    One more question, does it have to be a creamer that is only milk and sugar? My son really wants to try the International Delight Reese's Peanut Butter Cup creamer. :)

    Thank you for your great video. It was very informative and gave me the courage to try it. :)

    1. Hi!
      Yes, you add the creamer at the beginning with your Fairlife milk. The creamer should be ultra pasteurized, to be added at the beginning with the milk.
      Yes, it's best to use a creamer that is all-dairy, made with only milk, sugar and flavor. You can use a non-dairy creamer, but it may make your yogurt thinner; it depends on how thick you like your yogurt and if you strain it.
      Thanks for watching my video! I'm glad it gave you the courage to make yogurt.

  13. Hi Frieda! I just love you, and I love your yogurt. I've been fighting using Fairlife because of the calories, but using the carbmaster regular milk (lately) has produced a yogurt too loose (and now that I can't find my vanilla carbmaster milk, I'm devastated!). So I bought a half gallon of fairlife fat free and am going to try that. I watched your recent video where you said you can add pudding, but I can't find that reference here on your site. I'm all about watching my calories, so if I do the fairlife, I want to add sugar free vanilla pudding to give it that vanilla taste. Will that work? I'd SO love to use SCM, but....it's like 130 cal. per TBSP or per 2 TBSP thus defeating my purpose of making healthy yogurt (same with the bliss...it's like 30 cal. per TBSP or per 2 TBSP). I ONLY use my IP for yogurt (I have another pressure cooker to cook meat and stuff in) because I don't want the pot to take on any funky smells or anything...so it is the dedicated yogurt maker. I just want to make the best tasting, thickest that I can get, yogurt with that hint of vanilla. Your new video is great and I thank you for all your hard work and caring that goes into everything that you do! Fan for life!

    1. Hi Terri!
      Thank you for your sweet comment! You can add a small package of instant pudding mix to your finished and chilled yogurt. Adding flavors after your yogurt is made is a good way to give variety to your yogurt. You can try sprinkling some Crystal Light on your individual serving of plain yogurt, as an example.
      Thank you for watching my video and for leaving a comment. I'm sure, with some tweaking, you'll be able to make your perfect yogurt! :-)

    2. Terri, I had similar concerns so I tried to figure out the calorie and sugar content. I used 1% Fairlife and bliss vanilla. Total calories per 1/2 cup serving are less than 100 kcals. Sugar is around 11 grams. I found the yogurt to be sweet enough without adding additional sugars. Oikos triple zero has less sugar but is more calories. I’m not sure how thick the Fairlife fat free would be without additions, and straining is likely to increase sugars and calories.

  14. I'm considering the cold start method. Is the time the same if I want to half the recipe?

    1. Yes, the incubation time remains the same. 8 hours is average. :-)

  15. If my cold start yogurt is "set" at 6:30 hours is it okay to go ahead and strain and refrigerate it that soon, or is it necessary to wait for 8 hours of incubation time?

    1. Yes, as long as your yogurt looks set, you can put it in the fridge to strain. :-)

  16. Hi Frieda! Made my first batch of cold start yogurt last night...used Fairlife whole milk, 1/2 can SCM, and 5% fat Fage yogurt as starter, also added about a 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla bean paste for flavor.

    I however do not have a yogurt button on my IP, so I put the cold mixture into 8 oz mason jars, and incubated overnight using the dehydrate function at 105 degrees in my Breville Smart Oven Air. Worked like a charm!! Will definitely be making this again and again!! Gonna make some berry compote or lemon curd to add to my vanilla yogurt for varfiety.

    Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe and step-by-step clear instructions!!!

    1. You are most welcome! I'm thrilled to hear that you made a great tasting yogurt using your dehydrator setting on your oven. Perfect! :-)

  17. Does anyone have an idea of the calorie/macro breakdown if you use Fairlife whole milk and Bliss? Is it the same as the individual ingredients or does the bacteria process out some of the sugars? Thank you!

    1. Brooke, you can get a close estimate by using the nutritional info on your milk labels and dividing it by the number of servings you get from a batch. The yogurt process does consume some of the sugar/lactose/carbs. The longer you incubate, the more tang, and fewer carbs you will have. :-)

  18. Just made this recipe using half a gallon ultra pasturized whole milk and my yogurt starter. Set for 8 hours. Checked when it was done and my "yogurt" is nothing more than warm milk. So bummed. Where did I go wrong?!

    1. So sorry to hear about your yogurt! Milky yogurt means that your yogurt starter was not active. It is also possible that your yogurt setting is not working correctly. To test this, you can put 4 cups of water into your insert, select the correct incubation setting for your model (Normal/Medium/Custom) and wait 40 minutes. Test the temp with an accurate thermometer and the temp should be in the 100°F-110°F range. :-)

  19. Money cane out real thin so I added Knox gelatin to it and put it back on yogurt setting for 2 hours with NO improvement! Currentlyitsin the fridge. Maybe my kids will like it. They like those yogurt drinks!

    1. Heather, so sorry to hear about your yogurt! It may be your yogurt was not active and you may want to test your yogurt setting as I described in the comment just above yours.
      Knoxx gelatin needs heat to activate, much like adding boiling water to Jello gelatin. You can use this thin yogurt by freezing it into yogurt pops or adding a small box of instant pudding mix. :-)

  20. Freida strange question. I have a friend who wants to make it in the crock pot. Doesn't have an instant pot. Do you know if your cold start would work there? Just curious. I use your recipe weekly in my IP and love it. Thanks.

    1. It's a great question! I've used many methods of making yogurt over the years, including the crock pot. Ultra pasteurized milks are heated to 110°F, regular pasteurized milks are heated to 180°F, then brought to 110°F.
      1. Heat your milk on LOW for 1 hour.
      2.Take the temp. It should be in the 100°-110°F range.
      3. Unplug the crockpot
      4. Add the starter to 1 cup of milk, then mix the milk mixture back into the pot.
      5. Cover your pot, wrap the entire pot in a large towel for 8-10 hours.
      Chill your yogurt thoroughly and enjoy.

  21. Wow . You are a wealth of information. Thank you for sharing and explanations of the yogurt process. I Made my first batch yesterday in my IP and it was perfect. My grandson gobbled it down. Will experiment with different flavors. Thank you for sharing and explaining the different ingredients and how they affect the yogurt, as well as explaining different ways to Make it in all the different cooking vessels. THANKS

  22. Can i double the recipe? And if so will the 8 hours still be good. Need to make some for home as well as for the grand kids

    1. Yes, you can double the recipe; however, for your first time, I'd make a single batch just to become familiar with the process.๐Ÿ™‚

    2. Just for clarity, would I double ALL of the ingredients? 2 fairlife, 2 creamers and 4 tbls of starter? Have made several single batches and am so happy to find you and your recipe! Now hubby is in on the yogurt love and he inhales it so I need more at once.

  23. Hi Frieda, I made a batch with SCM. It was a bit too sweet for me. Was thinking of doubling the milk and using one can of SCM. Would I use 3 TBLs of starter then? Thanks!

    1. Hi! That would equal 14.6 cups of total volume of milk, so you'd be fine with 3 or 4 Tablespoons of yogurt as your starter.

  24. I made some a few days ago for the first time with the fairlife whole milk a can of sweetened Condensed milk and a bit of Cobani. Super easy and it turned out fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. Do you know how many calories are in this made this way?

    1. I'm thrilled that you are enjoying your yogurt! If you are not straining, you can add up the nutritional info from the labels and divide it by the number of servings. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Hi Frieda....Ruth sent me ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜‰
    This is my first time making yogurt and I think I may have messed up before I even started the batch ๐Ÿ˜ I bought a small container of Yoplait Source yogurt in cherry flavour as my starter...it was all that was available at my corner store. I don’t want to waste my expensive Joyya milk if it’s not going to work because of my starter. Do I need to go to the big city and get a different starter in plain??
    Thank you so much for guiding us ๐Ÿ’•

    1. Hi Erin!
      You are fine to use your cherry yogurt as your starter, as long as it doesn't contain fruit, you haven't opened it and that it contains live/active cultures. The small amount you use as a starter will not be enough to flavor your batch of yogurt. Using plain or vanilla yogurt gives you more consistent results from batch to batch and more options for flavoring after it has been chilled.
      Joyya has a long shelf life, unopened, so it can wait if you want to wait until next time to find a plain or vanilla yogurt as your starter. :-)

  26. If my cold start yogurt is coming out runny what am I doing wrong?? I used Fairlife Milk, can of sweetened condensed milk and 2 tbsp of starter yogurt. Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Hi- runny yogurt is usually due to using low fat milk or the low/less yogurt setting. If your yogurt looked set after incubation, and then thinned out when you stirred it, this is normal. You may want to increase your milk %, add instant powdered milk or strain your yogurt. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. I've tried making the yogurt in the Instant Pot several ways: with regular cream, half n half, sweet cream, and nothing but Fairlife (with plain Fayeh yogurt as starter) and our favorite is plain Fairlife with nothing else but the Fayeh yogurt for culture added. While the Half n Half and nothing added versions had to be strained (it pretty much self strains), the plain version is still rich and less fattening and I have high cholesterol. That says a lot considering previously we were Fayeh fans. I also find that adding a third ingredient makes it much more expensive. I should add though that for some reason the Fayeh yogurt was not settling well with me, whereas the Instant Pot yogurt sets very right with my troubled digestive system. Thanks Sooo Much!!!

  28. which of the longlife boxed milks work with this recipe? Any that says ultra pasteurized?

    1. Yes. They will be marked ultra pasteurized or UHT, ultra high temperature.

  29. I've made cold start yogurt twice now and love it. Now I want to try cold start and putting them in jars first. In doing so, do you lid the jars for incubation or do you lid them after the 8 hours?

    1. If you are not straining your yogurt, using jars to incubate is a good idea. You can use lids or keep them off; it doesn't matter. Personally, I'd keep them off so condensation doesn't form and drip onto the yogurt. :-)

  30. When you double the recipe do you also put in 2 16 oz/ creamer for flavor or still just use 1 16 oz?

    1. If you like the sweetness of using one 16oz container with 1 carton of milk, then yes, double it; keep the same incubation time. :-)

  31. I used the cold start metthod, added heavy cream with sugar and the yogurt came out fine but some of the top was a little yellow and has a skin on top. I have used light cream with sugar in the past and didn't have any of the above. I'm sure it's safe to eat. Just wondering why that happened..thank you

    1. The yellow layer is the milk butter fat from the heavy cream. You can scrape this off or mix it into your yogurt. ๐Ÿ™‚

  32. I have my first batch of yogurt in the IP now. How should I preserve part of it to be used as a starter for my next batch? Do I freeze it so it stays fresh? If so, do I thaw it before putting it in my next batch?

    1. You will want to freeze some of your chilled yogurt in tablespoon portions in an ice cube tray, transfer to a freezer baggie and they will keep viable for up to 6 months. Yes, thaw out your starter at room temp for 30 min, mash and dissolve in a cup of milk. You can find this answer and much more in my IP Yogurt Guide for Newbies, here. :)

  33. Hello!

    My yogurt came out kind of gritty/lumpy. Any ideas on what I did wrong?

    I used Fairlife, natural bliss creamer, and 2 tbs of starter and set my pot to yogurt function for 8 hours.

    Is there any way to smooth out the texture?


    1. The gritty texture can be from the milk solids that are on the bottom of your pot (see above, in my article). You can avoid this by pouring your warm yogurt into another container/strainer to chill, or try the ice cube tip in my traditional boil method yogurt, found here ( http://www.friedalovesbread.com/2016/07/no-powdered-milk-pressure-cook-greek.html). The starter you use also contributes to texture, so you may want to try a different starter. :-)

  34. Thank you for your thoroughly researched article. It was so helpful to get me over the fear of making my own yogurt in the Instant Pot. I followed all your directions and read all the hints, and my first batch today turned out perfectly. I am so happy! I used 2% Fairlife, and it was still creamy enough for me, and I didn't even have to strain it (because I don't like it too thick). Thank you thank you!

    1. You are welcome! Thank you for sharing your experience with my yogurt recipe. :-)

  35. Hi frieda, thank you so much for all that you do and share. My 13 grandchildren love the cold start yogurt so much that I can't keep it in house.
    I have a question, when using the 8 qt Ultra do you add more fairlife and if so does that change texture? I have always used my 6 qt duo.

    1. You can double my recipe by doubling ALL the ingredients, but keep the incubation time the same. A double recipe will fit in your 6 quart. Even though the 8 quart can hold much more, for best results and consistency, I don't recommend using more than a gallon of total milk volume. I'm glad your grandkids are enjoying your yogurt! :-)

  36. I made my own yogurt following the way you do it and worked amazing. I didn’t add sweet condensed milk because we don’t like it sweet but WOW! Thanks for sharing all your information helped me decide what milk to use and how to do it. ♥️

  37. I really love coconut yogurt, can I use noosa coconut? What about cream of coconut instead of scm for a sweetner, would I add before or after? TIA!!

    1. It's best to use a plain or vanilla yogurt as your starter. There's not enough flavor in 2 tablespoons of yogurt to flavor your entire batch. Cream of coconut sounds like a better option, but as a non dairy milk product,it may not set up as well. My favorite way to make a coconut flavor yogurt is to add a splash of coconut flavor Torani coffee syrup in my serving of yogurt. Toss in some mini chocolate chips, toasted almonds and toasted coconut....๐Ÿ˜‹

  38. How much powdered milk would you add to one 52oz container of Fairlife 1%?

    1. 1/3 cup instant powdered milk for every 4 cups is what I recommend starting with. Fairlife is 6.5 cups, so that is where I'd start. :-)

  39. I would like to know calories etc of cold start yogurt using 2 tbsp out yogurt as starter,2 c. Natural bliss sweet cream and a carton of either 2 percent fairlife or whole fairlife.

    1. You can add the nutritional information from the labels and use MyFitnessPal or other nutritional calculator & divide it by the number of servings. :-)

  40. Hi, can I use two different brands of yogurt (1 tablespoon each) as starter? Would that have any negative effect? Thank you

    1. Each brand of yogurt has a unique blend of bacterial strains that make up both the tang and texture of yogurt. Using a combination of two different starters may or may not have a negative outcome. I've only used 2 tablespoons of yogurt from the same container to maintain consistency in taste and texture from batch to batch. ๐Ÿ™‚

  41. I made my yogurt with heavy cream, and developed a yellow skin on the top as another commenter mentioned above. I mixed that in to the yogurt prior to straining. However, I noticed the yogurt then became chunky and gritty. Maybe I mixed in the bottom milk solids that you mentioned? If so, how do you mix in the yellow butter fat but not mix in the milk solids from the bottom? Proves to be quite difficult.

  42. The yellow skin you mention is the milk fat that has risen to the top of the milk during incubation. Stirring is not recommended until after chilling and straining. You can scrape off this yellow layer and use it like butter or discard it. Stirring this layer into your yogurt can explain the chunks.
    The gritty texture is more likely from the milk on the bottom of your pot, as it is near the heat source. To avoid this, you can slowly pour your warm yogurt into another container to chill or use the ice cube tip in my boil method yogurt recipe, which keeps the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pot.๐Ÿ™‚

  43. please delete or not post my last query from Anonymous. I was mistaken about the sweetened condensed milk question. It was LOW FAT sweetened condensed milk not 2% that I was asking about. thanks. Sorry about that.

    1. You can certainly use the low fat sweetened condensed milk in your yogurt recipe. :-)

  44. My son has dairy allergy. If I make fresh almond milk (without the thickening agents), would that work with the cold start method? Many thanks!

    1. It won't set like yogurt; it would be thin and drinkable. If you want a non dairy yogurt with this recipe, you'll need to use soy or pea milk. They will thicken into yogurt without a thickening agent.๐Ÿ™‚

  45. The Lactantia PurFilter you have posted doesn't say Lactose Free and that's the one that I buy all the time. It does say UHT but doesn't say Lactose Free. Can I use this one for cold start or should I get the Lactantia Lactose Free one?

    1. Hi Tracey -
      As long as the milk says that it is UHT, you are fine to use it with the cold start yogurt method. It doesn't have to be lactose free milk. :-)

  46. Hi Frieda
    I absolutely loved this yogurt recipe however to cut some calories i was thinking next batch i would use 1% fairlife. I see that you said it would be a loser consistency. I would love for it to have the same consistency as it did with the original recipe (i really dont want to get into straining) Any suggestions?

    1. Lauren - I'm glad that you are enjoying my Cold Start yogurt recipe! You can try adding some non fat instant powdered milk to your cold milk for a thicker consistency. 1/3 cup of instant powdered milk, added to one carton of Fairlife, is a good place to start. You can adjust the amount of powdered milk to your desired consistency. :-)

  47. I've seen other posts about making yogurt in the instant pot and they use the whey as the starter. Does this work with cold start method? If so, is it two tablespoons as well, or would you need more? After researching it seems to have live cultures so I would think so but would the liquid consistency make the final product looser?

    1. Yes, you can use whey as your starter, as it contains the same live, active cultures. Yes, use the same amount as you would yogurt. The liquid consistency of your small amount of whey will not impact the overall consistency of your yogurt. The key to using whey or yogurt as your starter is to freeze it asap after straining to preserve its viability. :-)

  48. Can you strain some of the yogurt and leave the rest in the pot to cool or will this mess up the consistency of whats left in the pot?

    1. You can,if you like. No stirring until it's fully chilled. I like to strain the entire batch, divide it in half, and whisk in some whey back into one half. That way, I have some thick, Greek style yogurt and some thinner, traditional style yogurt. ๐Ÿ™‚

  49. A question for you please. I made cold start yogurt last night with time up around 11:30 pm. Unfortunately I fell asleep and didn’t put it in fridge til I woke up at 3 am. 3 1/2 to 4 hours later. So, do I throw the batch out. Is it safe to eat. I used fairlife 2%, coconut milk sweetened condensed milk and yq vanilla for starter. Thank you.

    1. It's questionable. I personally would not keep yogurt in the off setting for more than two hours. Others go by smell and taste. If your yogurt smells or tastes "off" for any reason, toss it.


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