DIY Yogurt

Always wanted to make homemade yogurt? Here's how——and why

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

With so many delicious yogurt options at the grocery store, why bother making your own? Two words: quality control. Homemade yogurt lets you achieve just the right consistency and flavor—without fillers or thickeners. Adding your own fresh fruit or preserves allows you to manage sugar levels and create flavors you won’t find in the supermarket. Plus, freshly fermented yogurt is a rich source of probiotics, since the live cultures haven’t diminished due to long transport or storage periods. Refrigerated right away, yogurt will stay fresh for up to a week. And now that yogurt makers are less expensive and more reliable than ever, it’s easy to produce a perfect batch at home.

What You’ll Need

•Freeze-dried live yogurt culture or store-bought plain organic yogurt (look for “live, active cultures” on the label)

•Milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream

Large saucepan

•Instant-read thermometer

Yogurt maker

How Yogurt Works

When live bacterial cultures (Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus) are added to warm milk, they feed on the milk’s natural sugars. The milk then ferments, which creates acids that cause milk proteins to coagulate to make thick, creamy yogurt.

Gear Up

A yogurt maker is basically an incubator—it heats milk and bacterial cultures at the optimum temperature to make yogurt. Here are two we like.

Yolife Yogurt Maker


This versatile machine comes with seven 6-ounce glass jars, plus an extra-tall dome lid that lets you use larger jars to make a single big batch of yogurt.

Cuisipro Donvier Electronic Yogurt Maker


The Donvier’s eight 8-ounce jars fit snugly into the yogurt maker and are made of unbreakable, dishwasher-safe plastic, making it a good choice for butterfingered cooks or families with small children.