Instant Pot yogurt making is a simple way to enjoy homemade yogurt easily. This method uses the Instant Pot as an incubator instead of a pressure cooker!
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I’ve been making homemade yogurt for years now. It really is SO easy and WAY cheaper than buying yogurt. Which is a good thing, because we eat a lot of yogurt around here.
The basic process is that you heat milk, let it cool, mix in your starter culture, then incubate it. You can read about my basic yogurt-making method here. It took some trial and error for me to find a method of yogurt making that worked well, but once I did, I haven’t looked back. Cultures for Health was a great resource for helping my yogurt-making to be a success!
Yogurt Making in the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker
When I bought my Instant Pot pressure cooker, I noticed that there was an option for making Yogurt. The Instant Pot instruction manual discussed a couple of different methods for how to heat the milk in the Instant Pot, then let it cool, then incubate it all in the Instant Pot.
One method involves pouring the milk into the insert pot and heating, cooling, adding starter culture to the insert pot, and incubating it right there. That sounds like a reasonable process, and while I haven’t tried it, I assume it would work just fine. I’m just not crazy about having to divide the yogurt into containers after it’s been incubated.
The second method discussed in the manual involves pouring the milk into jars, putting the jars into the insert pot and using the Steam function for 1 minute to heat the milk, then allowing a natural pressure release. You then allow the milk to cool before adding the starter culture to the jars. After adding the starter culture, the jars are incubated in the Instant Pot. I decided to give this option a try.
I will say that it did in fact work! However, I didn’t love the process. Using the Steam function to heat the milk was fast, but it heated the milk far above the recommended temperature of 160 degrees. I don’t know how hot it actually got, but I steamed my milk for 1 minute and allowed a natural pressure release. About 20 minutes after the steam time was complete, I came back to check the temperature of the milk and it was about 220 degrees.
Because it was so hot, it took a loooong time for the milk to cool to the recommended temperature of about 110 degrees. Once cool, I added the starter culture and incubated for 12 hours. I’ve only used this method once, and it seemed to work fine, but it is not my preferred method.
My Preferred Method of Instant Pot Yogurt Making
I decided instead to use the Instant Pot just for the incubation phase of my yogurt making. I like having more precise control over the temperature of the milk during the heating and cooling phase, which I personally think is easier on the stove top with the use of a candy thermometer. But, if you don’t have access to a stove top, feel free to try heating the milk in the Instant Pot using one of the above methods instead!
I follow my normal process of heating four cups of whole milk over medium heat in a stainless steel saucepan. Stirring occasionally, I heat the milk to 160 degrees F, then remove it from the heat to cool to 110 degrees F. Once cool, I add the starter culture.
I use the Bulgarian Yogurt heirloom starter culture from Cultures for Health. Once you make a batch with your original starter culture, all you have to do is save a couple of tablespoons of yogurt from each subsequent batch to use as a starter for your next batch. You don’t have to repeatedly purchase a starter culture for each batch of yogurt. It keeps proliferating if you take care of it properly!
After the starter culture is stirred in, divide the mixture into your desired containers. I use two pint-sized mason jars. I typically also pour some into a smaller half-pint jar, which I set aside after incubation to be the starter for my next batch. Having some already set aside in a small jar helps me to not forget that important step of saving some! 🙂 Put lids on the jars, but only tighten them to fingertip tightness.
This is where the process varies from my original method. Instead of using the heating pad to incubate the jars, I place the jars onto the trivet inside the insert pot of the Instant Pot. I close the lid and use the Yogurt setting for a time of 12 hours. After 12 hours, I place the jars into the refrigerator to cool, which helps the yogurt to thicken and set a bit more.
Easy peasy! As you can see, Instant Pot yogurt making is a very simple process. Now, I certainly wouldn’t recommend buying an Instant Pot solely for the purpose of making yogurt. Because as you can see here, it’s totally possible to make homemade yogurt without one. But if you already have an Instant Pot, why not make use of the many functions it can perform? I think that’s one of the best things about the Instant Pot–it can replace a lot of other appliances because of its functionality!
- Instant Pot (I have the DUO60, which is a model with the Yogurt function. Not all Instant Pot models have this function, so be sure to check!)
- Glass jars
- Stainless steel saucepan
- Candy thermometer
- Funnel (not required, but it does make pouring into the jars much easier)
You can find more easy pressure cooker recipes here. Read about how to convert slow cooker recipes for the pressure cooker (with a FREE printable cheat sheet!) here.
See everything you need to know about getting started with easy pressure cooker recipes here!