Thick, creamy, Greek yogurt in your Instant Pot. Easy, delicious, and way better than store-bought yogurt!
On a recent trip to Seattle, my husband and I stayed at the Ace Hotel, a historic hotel in the heart of Belltown. One of the amenities was a shared kitchen with free breakfast. I usually skip hotel breakfasts: packaged yogurt, subpar fruit, and Cheerios is not my favorite way to start the day. But I was famished after a long morning run, and the promise of DIY waffles and good coffee (we were in Seattle after all) drew me in. The coffee was excellent, but even better was the rich, creamy Greek yogurt with homemade granola. I don’t eat much yogurt at home, finding even the good brands of store-bought yogurt a bit bland. This yogurt reminded me of how amazing yogurt can be.
When I purchased my Instant Pot after that Seattle trip, homemade Greek yogurt was one of the first recipes I tried and I’ve been making it weekly since. My new favorite breakfast is this homemade Greek yogurt, frozen blueberries, and a dollop of peanut butter. I make up several jars at once and grab one every morning to eat at the office.
How to Make Instant Pot Greek Yogurt
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure policy here.
You only need two ingredients for rich, creamy, plain Greek yogurt: 1 gallon of milk and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt with active cultures. I use the store brand of organic milk and Fage brand 2% Greek yogurt for my starter. I’ve used both 2% and whole milk and both work great. Other Instant Pot users have had great success with fat free milk as well. I love the tanginess of plain yogurt, but you can sweeten it with honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup, and add in fruit, nuts, or jam.
All of my instructions here are for the Instant Pot Duo 6qt. If you have a different model, make sure to refer to your manual for the settings specific to your machine. The basic process will still be the same. If you don’t have an Instant Pot and still want to make your own yogurt, you could try this recipe. I’ve never tried the recipe myself, but the New York Times Cooking recipes haven’t let me down before.
The basic process to make Greek yogurt is to:
1) Heat the milk to over 180 degrees F. This scalding denatures the milk proteins so they do not form curds.
2) Cool the milk to 110 degrees F. If you add the starter yogurt when the milk is too hot, you’ll kill the active cultures.
3) Add the yogurt with live active cultures and incubate for 8 to 10 hours for fermentation.
4) Strain for an hour or two using a cheesecloth in a colander.
5) Mix in any desired toppings or sweeteners, chill, and enjoy.
To follow these steps in your Instant Pot, start by pouring the milk into the Instant Pot stainless steel pan. Seal the lid and press the “Yogurt” button until it says “boil”. It takes about an hour for my Instant Pot to reach the boiling point. When it beeps, remove the lid. You don’t need to worry about releasing the pressure for this recipe since we don’t build up any pressure with the yogurt settings. Stir the milk and insert a thermometer. The goal is to get the milk just over 180 degrees F. If it’s not to that temperature yet, then click on the “Saute” button and stir occasionally until the milk is up to temperature.
Using oven mitts, carefully remove the stainless steel pan from the Instant Pot and set on a heat resistant surface. The goal for the next step is to cool the milk to below 110 degrees F. You can let it sit out for about an hour, checking the temperature occasionally. If you want to speed up the process, fill up your sink partway with cold water and ice and place the pan in the sink, making sure not to get any water into the pan. If you use this method make sure to dry the outside and bottom of the stainless steel pan before placing back in the Instant Pot.
Once the milk is below 110 degrees F, use a ladle or spoon to move about 1 cup of liquid to a bowl or cup. Add the two tablespoons of yogurt with live active cultures to the bowl and mix well. This step allows you to mix in the yogurt well rather than just sinking to the bottom of the full pot. Pour the yogurt/milk mixture back into the pan, mix together with a spoon, and put the stainless steel pan back in the Instant Pot. Seal the lid. Since this is not a pressure setting, it doesn’t matter if you’ve closed the pressure valve or not. Press the “Yogurt” button until it’s on the “Normal” setting and press the +/- buttons until it says 10:00 for 10 hours. For a less tart yogurt, you could change it to 8 or 9 hours.
After 10 hours, remove the lid and stir the yogurt. If you just want regular yogurt, then you’re done. Add any flavorings or sweeteners and transfer to a container to refrigerate. If you want Greek yogurt, set a large colander over a large bowl or over your sink and line the colander with a cheesecloth. Carefully pour the yogurt into the cheesecloth-lined colander and let it sit for an hour or two to strain out the whey. If you’re using a large bowl, you may need to occasionally pour out the whey and then continue to strain. You can save the whey to use for other purposes (recipe ideas coming soon), or just pour it down the drain.
While the recipe takes a while to finish, most of it is hands-off time. It’s the perfect recipe to start in the evening, leave to incubate overnight, and then strain in the morning. If you want to better understand how the yogurt making process works, check out this informative article from Saveur on the science of yogurt.
What’s The Difference Between Regular Yogurt and Greek Yogurt?
Greek yogurt sounds fancy, but it’s really just regular yogurt that’s been strained to remove most of the whey. This results in a thicker yogurt. Whey is the liquid remaining after milk has been curdled and strained. When you see the yellowish liquid that forms on the top of store-bought yogurt after it’s been in the fridge for a while, that’s simply whey separating from the yogurt.
Greek yogurt is generally more expensive than regular yogurt because it requires more milk to make the same volume of yogurt. While prices for milk and Greek yogurt can vary, I did the math with the organic milk and organic Greek yogurt brands we like and this Instant Pot Greek yogurt is both tastier and cheaper than what we buy in the store.
If you try this recipe for Instant Pot Greek yogurt, leave a comment and review below and let me know how it worked out for you!
Instant Pot Greek Yogurt
- 1 gallon milk (I've used 2% and whole milk, other IP users have had success with fat free milk)
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt with active cultures (I used Fage brand 2% plain Greek yogurt)
- Pour the milk into the instant pot stainless steel pan. Seal the lid and press the “Yogurt” button until it says “boil”. When it beeps, remove the lid (no pressure release is needed since there was no pressure built up). Stir and insert a thermometer. The goal is to get the milk just over 180 degrees F. If it’s not to temperature yet, then click on the “Saute” button and stir occasionally until the milk is over 180 degrees F.
- Using oven mitts carefully remove the stainless steel pan from the Instant Pot and set on a heat resistant surface. Let it sit out for about an hour, checking the temperature occasionally, you want it to get to 110 degrees F.
- Once the milk is below 110 degrees F, use a ladle or spoon to move about 1 cup of liquid to a bowl. Add the two tablespoons of yogurt to the bowl and mix well with a fork. Pour the yogurt/milk mixture back into the pan with the milk, mix together with a spoon, and put the stainless steel pan back in the Instant Pot. Seal the lid. Since this is not a pressure setting, it doesn’t matter if you’ve closed the pressure valve or not.
- Press the “Yogurt” button until it’s on the “Normal” setting and press the +/- buttons until it says 10:00 for 10 hours. For a less tart yogurt, you could change it to 8 or 9 hours.
- When the Instant Pot is done, stir the yogurt. If you just want regular yogurt, then move to the next step. If you want Greek yogurt, then set a large colander over a large bowl or over your sink and line it with a cheesecloth. Pour the yogurt into the colander and let it sit for an hour or two to strain out the whey. If you’re using a large bowl, you may need to occasionally pour out the whey and then continue to strain. You can save the whey to use for other purposes, or just pour it down the sink.
- Move the finished yogurt to a storage container, add any flavorings or sweeteners, and refrigerate.
I made this yesterday and it could not have been easier! I’ve been having trouble finding my preferred sugar free Greek yogurt at the grocery store and of course, being sugar free, it has some undesirable chemical sweeteners so I decided to finally put the yogurt setting on my IP to good use. I stuck with the recipe and process outlined here and it came out super smooth and creamy. I made up some mason jars with this yogurt, mixed frozen berries and oatmeal with a little maple syrup and vanilla extract for overnight oats and the rest will be for snacking. I add a spoonful of yogurt to both my dog’s breakfast bowls and they lapped this right up today.
Just made greek yogurt for the first time using this recipe and it came out great! So rich and thick and creamy, even using skim milk! One question: My yogurt does not have the tangy taste that all the store-bought yogurts do. I cooked it for 9 hours in the instant pot. I love the way it tastes without the strong tang, but was wondering if that is normal? Does it mean it has more natural sugar or that the cultures are less effective? In short, does a lack of tanginess signify anything?
I make IP Greek yogurt with skim. Does anyone know the nutrition facts for that? Or even just how many calories it has
This is my go to greek yogurt recipe! How long can the whey stay frozen to use for next batch? I froze some whey a few months ago and was afraid to use it. I’ve wasted a 4 litre jug in the past, I bought some active culture yogurt and froze it and found out the hard way you can’t use frozen Yogurt. Hence my hesitation to use the whey.
That’s a good question! I know that you can use whey to make another batch, but I’ve never had any beyond a week or two. I do love using the whey in place of buttermilk in pancakes if you’re looking for more ways to use it up!
I have kept whey frozen up to a month and it was fine. I also dilute it and feed it to my plants once a month
Has anyone used almond milk instead of regular milk? I’ve used almond milk for about 5 years now, and use it in all of my recipes with no problem. However, this is a “mite” more milk than my other recipes! Will it work, or do I just have to try it for myself? Also, if I want to add vanilla flavoring, how much would you recommend using?
Hi Susan! I have never tried making almond milk yogurt, but there are some other recipes out there that look promising. Here’s one potential one: https://www.corriecooks.com/instant-pot-almond-milk-yogurt/
Can I halve this recipe?
Yes, you can halve the recipe! I would use a half gallon of milk and still use about 2 tablespoons of starter yogurt. The time and other directions stay the same.
Can you add flavor to the yoghurt during the incubating process? Like coriander or maybe cardamom?? 😉
I’ve never tried it, but I think it should work! Let me know how it goes!
I tried making this today and am not sure it turned out. It’s really runny at the moment, but appears to be thickening as it cools. I’m wondering if I had the yogurt setting too low – my InstaPot shows low – med – high – custom for yogurt temp settings. When I selected high for the first step it said boil, so after cooling and adding my starter I used the med setting. Is this normal for you (I cooked for 8.5 hours)? Thank you for the advice!
I cooled in the fridge overnight and it was definitely more set this morning. Straining it now!
I have the Instant Pot Lux 6 qt and it does NOT have the Yogurt button. What setting can I use?
Hey Cheri – you’ll have to change up the steps a bit if you don’t have a yogurt button. Here’s a recipe that looks like it may work for you: https://www.theferventmama.com/pressure-cooker-yogurt/
This recipe worked very well and the yogurt is delish! I make a batch every week now. A friend told me to pour the whey into ice cube trays (1 Tbsp per cube), freeze them, then thaw out one or two to use in each subsequent batch as the culture. I’ve been doing that and it seems to work great. So I’m passing the idea along here. Thanks for this site with so many good Instant Pot recipes!
I fell in love with Ellenos yogurt on a trip to Seattle a few years ago (I wonder if that’s what they serve at the Ace Hotel?). Instant Pot yogurt tastes closer to Ellenos than anything else I’ve found, so I’m rarely without a batch in my fridge. Great photos and blog name!
I wonder if it was the Ellenos brand! Either way it tasted fantastic, just like the Instant Pot yogurt 🙂
Can I use milk that is a couple days away from the sell by date and have the yogurt last?
Yep – as long as the milk is still good you can use it, shouldn’t impact the life of the yogurt to my knowledge.
I was looking for a Greek yogurt flavored with cardamom, and of course your link came up due to your website. Do you have suggestions for how to incorporate the cardamom into the recipe? Would boiling the cardamom pods mess up the ability of the yogurt to ferment? You’ve inspired me to make a cardamom and coconut Greek yogurt!
If using cardamom pods, I’d probably add it in at the same time you add the yogurt starter (so after the boiling step is done) – you may want to put them in a nut bag or something to make them easy to remove at the end. You could also just follow the regular instructions and add in some cardamom powder, vanilla extract, and sugar to taste at the end to make it cardamom flavored. Good luck and let me know how it works out!
Made this for the first time using skim milk and am so impressed. Thank you for the detailed instructions, I made the Greek yogurt and it turned out fantastic!
Teresa – I’m so glad it worked out for you! I’m still making this yogurt weekly for my family 🙂
Making my second batch now, I even invested in the $50 Euro Cuisine strainer. I had to have two colanders with cheesecloth in both, I figured the strainer will pay for itself with the savings in buying cheesecloth.
Just thought of something, do I use 2 TBLSP of my first batch of yogurt as my active culture starter? If so, do I use it after it’s strained or before?
Either way is fine! The yogurt has live active cultures whether it’s strained or unstrained. You can even freeze 2 tablespoons of the yogurt and use it in your next batch – just let it thaw before incorporating.
I got the Euro Cuisine strainer a few weeks ago… it’s so good! The cheesecloth works fine, but the strainer is way easier to use and to clean up!
Thank you so much for getting back to me. About to make another batch and nice to know I don’t have to go buy a little container of active culture yogurt. I actually froze one quart of yogurt, nice to know freezing it doesn’t kill the live culture. BTW I love my Euro Cuisine!
I love your step by step photos!
I use to make yoghurt – might be time to start making it again.
Cardamon is such a beautiful spice.
Thank you for this informative post! I love to use Greek yogurt in recipes, so it’s great to know that I can make it myself!
I love finding great recipes like this to try – thanx for sharing!
I buy greek yogurt every week and can not wait to try an make it myself at home! Thank you for this recipe.
Love the idea of making yogurt at home! Great idea!!!
I don’t have an Instant Pot but more and more I see how versatile it is. Makes me wanna buy it. Your homemade Greek Yogurt looks fantastic.
I love making my own yogurt. You’re right that homeade yogurt and homeade granola are so much better than anything you can buy premade!
For those who want to know about fat free, I have used fat free milk and yogurt and it works great with this recipe.
Thanks for the feedback, Nadine! I assumed it would work with fat free, but had never tried it so didn’t want to lead anyone astray.
I’ve been wanting to try these and I love how you really explained each step! Will try soon!
Can I cut the recipe in half, or even quarters? This would be way too much for the two of us. Also, how long does it keep in the frig? Thank you.
When I start with a gallon of milk, and strain to make Greek yogurt, I end up with 2 qts of yogurt. We found that since we have it, we use it. It can replace sour cream and I use it in smoothies and its great with fruit and granola for breakfast. We use it up in 2 weeks or less and it is fine.
Kathy, I agree with everything Lynn said – we use greek yogurt a lot more than we used to. While I’ve never tried to halve the recipe before, the science behind it would be the same, so I think it would work! Give it a try and let me know the results!
I grew up on greek yogurt my Aunt would make it all the time and I love it. This instant pot sure does wonderful things I need to get one and try this
Yes, I didn’t even know the Instant Pot could make yogurt when I got it and now it’s my favorite recipe. So many other yummy things you can make in it too.
We eat a lot of yogurt in my house but I very rarely make it myself. Definitely going to give this a try.
I never tried making yogurt at home! You’re making this looks so easy and the result looks and sounds delicious!
Love this! Favorite breakfast!