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How to Make Greek Yogurt

Written By: Julie - Jan• 26•14

make greek yogurtMaking Greek style yogurt is simple. True Greek yogurt is strained to remove some of the whey, but I skip that step because I like this thick, creamy yogurt just as it is.

Your yogurt will only be as good as the ingredients, so be sure to choose a starter that has a taste you like. To make yogurt you will need plain Greek yogurt. Look for a brand that has no additives like gelatin or other weird stuff. The best brands contain milk, milk protein, and culture and little or nothing else. I use the brand Fage because I like the texture and it is very forgiving as far as incubating time and temperatures. You can use any plain yogurt that has live cultures, whether it is Greek yogurt or not. I like to choose a brand that lists several live bacteria instead of just one. After the first time, you can keep using your own yogurt for starter. I like to start with a fresh starter every few months.

I like wide-mouth canning jars because they are easy to keep clean and easy to use. Be sure your jars are very clean so you don’t accidentally culture bad bacteria. I use plastic lids on my jars since they are easy to work with. The plastic does not touch the yogurt, but you can choose metal lids if you prefer. This is a good way to reuse old canning jar lids – but be sure they don’t smell like salsa or something! If you don’t have canning jars any glass jars or ceramic containers will work as long as you can close them tightly.

One gallon of milk will give you 16 cups of yogurt. Our small family eats that much in a week or so. Yogurt will keep at least 3-4 weeks in closed jars in the refrigerator. If you need less, just halve the recipe.

To make 1 gallon of yogurt you will need:

  • 1 gallon of milk – whole milk will make thicker yogurt, skim milk is still fine but will be less creamy tasting
  • 1 cup of powdered milk
  • 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 quart glass jars or 8 pint glass jars, with lids
  • A large pan to heat the milk
  • An instant read thermometer (I use the same one I use for testing meats in the oven)
  • A ladle
  • A small strainer or cheesecloth (optional)
  • Canning funnel (optional)
  1. Heat milk over medium heat until it is 180 degrees. Stir often to prevent scorching or sticking.
  2. Cool milk to 112 degrees. This does not have to be exact. Yogurt culture will develop nicely at above 110 degrees and will die at above 120 degrees. The ideal is 112 degrees.
  3. Whisk in the dry milk powder.
  4. Whisk in the yogurt starter.
  5.  Ladle the mixture into clean jars. I like to use a strainer set into a canning funnel to make smoother yogurt, but this is optional.
  6. Put the lids on the jars.
  7. Keep the jars warm (90-110 degrees) for 3-4 1/2 hours. Check it at about 3 hours and then every half hour or so until you determine how long it takes to finish in your house. It will gel rather quickly once it is done. I find that if it goes too long it will get sour. Still usable, but tangier than my daughter likes.

In summer, I just let the jars sit on the counter under a towel for 4 hours, winter it is not warm enough in our house for this.

If you wish, you can strain some of the whey out with cheesecloth and a colander. This is too much work for me and we like it just the way it comes out.

Stir in flavorings as you wish:

* Fresh fruit
* Jam
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and some chopped almonds with a bit of brown sugar
* Applesauce
* Honey and chopped walnuts
* Cinnamon and brown sugar
* Vanilla extract and honey

This creamy, thick yogurt is also ideal as a sour cream substitute. You can also strain most of the whey out with a cheesecloth lined colander – turning it into a creamy yogurt cheese.

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  1. This is cool, I like Greek yoghurt but have never had the opportunity to make it myself. It is not in my Delia Smith recipe book.

  2. Sierra says:

    I hoped over from the UBC

    I love this post! I eat greek yogurt everyday and love it with my smoothies. Your tips show how easy it is to make it and how simple it is to add treats to it!

    Thank you!


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