A Yogurt maker lets you make your own fresh yogurt, with a wide variety of flavor and texture options. Using one is an economical and convenient way to get the yogurt you want at home, while also cutting down on your grocery bill. It’s also a great choice for people who have allergies or sensitivities to food additives. Plus, making your own yogurt is a fun activity for kids to participate in.
The process is simple, but you’ll need to pay attention to temperature, cook times and fermentation periods. Many manufacturers specify a range of temperatures and culturing durations for different types of milk, from conventional cow’s milk to non-dairy alternatives like soy, almond and coconut milk. Generally speaking, full-fat cow’s milk yields firmer yogurt, while low-fat options will be more runny. Some brands even add thickeners and other ingredients that can affect the final product.
Most manufacturers recommend using a jar-type yogurt maker that’s able to reach the desired operating temperature for culturing and works at the right level of acidity for smooth, creamy yogurt. They’re also designed to be safe to use with most milk, including high-fat varieties. But you’ll need to refer to the manufacturer’s owner manual for specific instructions and cook times.
Once your yogurt is set, it’s important to keep it in the fridge to preserve the cultures and prevent spoilage. Homemade yogurt typically lasts for about two weeks, though it can start to taste off or grow mold within a week if it’s not refrigerated. You can stretch its shelf life by storing it in the freezer, but be sure to thaw it before eating.
While you can certainly make homemade yogurt with just a pot, we recommend choosing a multi-use appliance like the Instant Pot for added convenience and versatility. It’s easy to use, and you can use it for a range of other cooking tasks. It’s also an ideal choice for those who don’t have a lot of countertop space, since it makes just seven six-ounce jars of yogurt at a time, enough for one person for a week. The only drawback is that the unit doesn’t have an automatic shutoff; if you forget to turn it off, your yogurt will continue fermenting, which can result in extra-tangy, sour yogurt. But you can always set it on a timer to remind you. This model also has a helpful feature that shows the date of each batch, so you’ll know when it’s ready to be eaten.