DIY Yogurt: Good for the Body and the Budget!

One of the complaints I often hear from friends and clients is that organic foods are too expensive. I get it: times are tough for a lot of us and every penny counts. One way to make healthy foods more affordable? Make your own! Guest blogger Nancy Cavillones tells us how to create easy, homemade yogurt. After you tackle this, try our no-cook Creme Fraiche!

Homemade yogurt + homemade granola = happy, hippie kiddies!

from Nancy Cavillones:

Sometime over the summer, my two girls, ages 3 years and 18 months, became yogurt fanatics. One week, I ended up going through two tubs of yogurt. Because I buy high-quality organic dairy, all that yogurt can get pricey. I remembered reading a blog post about making homemade yogurt in a crockpot, so I hopped on Google to find the post. In my search, I discovered an even easier way to make yogurt that didn’t require pulling out any big appliances. Harold McGee, the author of On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, writes a column for The New York Times called The Curious Cook. A few years back, he wrote a column on making yogurt. His method is so simple; once I used it to make yogurt for the girls, I could no longer justify buying tubs of yogurt.

Here’s what you need:
  1 quart of the freshest whole milk you can find
  2 tablespoons of high-quality plain yogurt
  A container with a lid for storing the yogurt. (I use a glass canning jar. Use anything that is non-reactive.)
  A dishtowel and rubberband
  Optional: a candy thermometer

Note: The first time I made this yogurt, I used my dutch oven but I had a hard time pouring the yogurt into its final container, so now I use a regular pot.

Step One: Pour the milk into your pot, and heat it to 180℉-190℉. I like to use my candy thermometer for this but you can also use your eye. When the milk steams and forms bubbles, the milk is hot enough.

Step Two: Take the milk off the heat and cool it down to 115℉-120℉. When you can put your finger in it without scalding yourself, it’s cool enough. It should still be pretty warm, though.

Step Three: Add two tablespoons of yogurt and transfer the mixture to its final container. Seal the container.

Step Four: Wrap the container with a dishtowel and secure it with a rubberband.

Step Five: Place the container in your oven, with the heat off and oven light on (the heat of the light will keep the yogurt at a good temperature). Leave it in there for about four hours, until it sets.

Finally, eat! Enjoy with your favorite yogurt accompaniments. My girls like honey, maple syrup or strawberry preserves. Or try the Full Belly Sisters' favorite yogurt parfait, with apples, raisins and sunflower seeds.


  1. delicious, if i do say so myself! thanks for having me! 

  2. you know you're always welcome - love your posts! making a batch of this today :-)

  3. great idea. I love this but why does the yogurt have to sit in the oven if off?

  4. the heat from the oven light (and/or the pilot light, depending on your oven) will keep it warm, so the good bacteria can multiply. if your home is very warm, you can probably keep it on your countertop or on top of your fridge...


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