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Homemade Freezable Yogurt Recipe in the Slow Cooker

I have to admit, we (Tricia) aren’t a whole foods family. The idea intrigues me and is growing on me but there are so many aspects that I find myself a bit overwhelmed. The more I learn the more I find that there are food items I can make at home that I never even conceived before. When I saw posts for homemade yogurt here and here; my interest was definitely peaked.)

So I pulled on my apron strings and determined to experiment a little to see if, in fact, I could do this. After all, I struggle with recipes that require rising with yeast, how in the world am I going to fare at culturing my own yogurt?

It turns out that it is easier than you could even imagine. Or at least easier than I imagined. I followed the directions, made some of my own adaptions and still came up with a successful product.

I was so excited and so were our kids who I let help me make it. Isaac is my yogurt eater and he loved adding his own fresh fruit to it each morning for breakfast. And I loved knowing that I had made it right at home and knew exactly what was going into it.

Homemade Slow Cooker Yogurt


Tricia @ onceamonthmeals.com


  • 8 cups 1% milk (you can use other types as well, I used whole)
  • 4 ounces plain yogurt
  • 0.5 cups sugar/honey
  • 2 Tablespoons vanilla (optional)


Pour the milk into the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on LOW, put the lid on, and heat the milk for 2.5 hours. After that time, turn your slow cooker off, unplug it, and let it sit, covered, for 2.5 – 3 hours. To the slow cooker add the plain yogurt (your starter), sugar (or honey), and vanilla and whisk together. Cover the slow cooker and wrap it in a thick towel to insulate it. Now you let the yogurt culture by letting it stand like this for 8+ hours. In this case, overnight. take a strainer, line it with a coffee filter, and place it over a bowl. Then ladle your yogurt into the strainer and place the bowl/strainer combo into the fridge where your yogurt can cool. After several hours, the whey will strain out of your yogurt, leaving it nice and thick! Scrape the yogurt out of the coffee filter and into a container (pour your whey into a separate container, it can be used – Alicia has some suggestions in her post). Serve plain or with your favorite fresh fruit.

Freezing Directions:

Portion into freezer containers and freeze. To serve: Thaw.

Servings: 10 (1/2 cup servings)

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84 Responses to “Homemade Freezable Yogurt Recipe in the Slow Cooker”

  1. Crystal says:

    If you make it plain, no sweetener, you can save done back to make more, but I’m pretty sure freezing it kills the cultures, so if that’s your plan it wouldn’t work so well. I’ve ben making my yogurt this way for months with great success.

    • Andrea says:

      You can freeze plain yogurt with active cultures to use as a starter for homemade yogurt. I freeze mine in ice cube trays, bag the cubes up, and thaw a couple when I am ready to make yogurt. Since the cultures are still active enough after freezing to propagate in a new batch, I would think that yogurt would still contain the cultures after freezing. I don’t have a reference, but that is my experience. :-)

  2. Angie says:

    What do you do with the whey?

  3. Donna says:

    Aboutyogurt.com says, “The freezing process does not kill any significant amount of the cultures—in fact, during the freezing process the cultures go into a dormant state, but when eaten and returned to a warm temperature within the body, they again become active and are capable of providing all the benefits of cultures in a refrigerated yogurt product.” :)

  4. Kimberly says:

    What do you do with the whey?

    • Leanne Talshahar says:

      Use the whey to sour milk, ferment veggies, add to shakes (ever heard of “whey” protein this is where they get it from!)

  5. Carla says:

    This looks awesome. I’ve done yougurt on the stove and then insulated it in coolers, but this looks much simpler! Thanks for the great idea!

  6. Ashley says:

    How long is this good for in the fridge?

  7. Candice storm says:

    When you mention to save the whey, what do you do with it?

  8. What a neat idea. I can’t wait to try this method.

  9. Diane says:

    I made my yogurt like this last month but I didn’t save my whey. What are some uses for the whey?

  10. wow great idea! I would love to make my own yogurt. And this is easier than those fancy yogurt makers out there!

    • Raya says:

      Not easier; the steps are the same… The advantage would be it takes you less counter space but it isn’t easier! With yogurt maker you dont need to insulate it and your yogurt isnt runny ni need to stir it up. No need to drain it. The spoon stands up inside it!

  11. Maria says:

    We make our own yogurt. It’s the best!

  12. melissa says:

    Yay for homemade yogurt! This is similar to the recipe I have used. Something else I have done is keeping the towel-wrapped slow cooker in the oven with the light on for the 8-ish hours. It helps to keep everything warm. Just be sure to not preheat the oven for something else ;)

  13. [...] 0.75 Cups Plain Yogurt or homemade yogurt [...]

  14. Nerissa says:

    How much does this actually make? And is the consistancy thicker or runny?

  15. [...] Foodsaver supplies, you aren’t even come close to that cost, especially if you make your own homemade yogurt! And if you don’t want to invest in a Foodsaver how about some silicone ones?And the best [...]

  16. carole says:

    It worked!! I’m so, SO excited since we eat yogurt daily! I used a little lemon extract since i was out of vanilla, and it is delicious! Just the right amount of sweetness (for me, at least! I don’t like it super sweet). Thanks for the recipe! Mine is super thick, which I love; I guess since i let it drain overnight….but if you add back in some whey, you can thin it to your desired consistency.
    I’m off to see what to do with the whey!! :-) thanks again!!

  17. If anyone is looking for ideas to use whey, there are a bunch here and even more in the comments: http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2011/06/16-ways-to-use-your-whey.html

  18. Vanessa says:

    I’ve been making my yogurt this way or a few months and we love it! Thanks so much for posting this recipe. Just wondering if I double the amount I want to make do I need to add any extra time at any of the steps?

  19. [...] first great success was whole wheat pizza dough in the bread maker. Then I stumbled in Once a Month Mom’s recipe for making yogurt in the crock pot. It was so easy and delicious and I felt good about [...]

  20. stacey w says:

    I’m wondering if cheesecloth would work in place of the coffee filters as that is what I have? Any thoughts before I attempt this awesomely easy looking recipe? ;)

  21. [...] trying out this recipe for home made [...]

  22. India says:

    Still searching for your slow cooker yogurt making directions in your categories but haven’t found it under either slow cooker or yogurt. I had to do a google search to find it. Would be nice to add to the list! Thanks:)

  23. Lora says:

    I have been making yogurt for quite some time now. I found that straining the whey was losing a good amount of my yogurt and a lot of the “good” protein. Instead, I add one cup of nonfat milk powder to the cold milk at the start of the process. Also, I’ve found if left to culture for closer to 10+ hours the yogurt comes out with a much thicker consistency. I hope that this helps.

  24. Michelle says:

    Has anyone tried this with soy yogurt and soymilk?

  25. Pamela N. says:

    I accidentally cooked the milk on high instead of low. Is it ruined? Not sure if I should proceed or scrap it and start over?

  26. Amanda B. says:

    I don’t typically have coffee filters at my house, but I’ve got cheesecloth. Has anyone had success using cheesecloth to strain out the whey? I wanted to ask before I tried it and came up with an accidental mess!

  27. Casey says:

    can you use this just made yogurt for the starter of the next batch?

  28. Hanna says:

    I drink the ” whey” straight as do youghurtmakers in Europe and middle east. It is extremely healthy, fat free and tasty. Pour into empty jars and drink cold.

  29. Amie says:

    Has anyone made greek style yoghurt? I would love to make my own!

  30. Kelly :) says:

    How much “Greek style” yogurt do you get after 2 strainings? We go through a Costco size tub of Fage every week! This could save me $$!!

  31. Alicia says:

    I have been using this recipe and love it! It is super easy and definitely saves us money! My question is that I’ve noticed that it seems to have gotten a little sour or something. It seems to have bubbles and maybe be a bit fermented? Is this because I keep using the same yogurt over and over as a starter? (I’ve repeated the process maybe 4 times now). Or is this taste/bubbles normal and ok? Thanks so much for this great recipe! I appreciate what you do!

    • Kelly says:

      Alicia I would maybe try a new starter and just see I think sometimes you do need a little boost.

      • Alicia says:

        Thanks! I realized after I wrote this that I let it sit too long in one part of the process. Maybe that made it do something it wasn’t supposed to! =) Thanks again!

  32. cat says:

    I’m so ready to try this… can you use almond milk?

  33. [...] Slow Cooker Yogurt - Competed – 5 out of 5 stars! [...]

  34. Marissa says:

    I’m thinking of making this for my little dude (7 months old) but I’m unsure of the using the sugar or vanilla. Has anyone made this without adding the extra sweetness? How did it come out?

  35. Alice says:

    I have been making homemade yogurt for a long time. I used to use a conventional yogurt maker, then tried the crockpot method like in this post, tried a few other methods, but I finally found the easiest and best method for me:

    I dissolve 2 cups of non-instant powdered milk into 2 quarts (not more than 110 degrees) warm water. Then I stir in 1/2 cup of plain yogurt (make sure the brand you use has the live cultures) I pour/ladle this int pint jars. I bought some of the white Kerr lids and use them to cover the jars.

    I have a small cooler chest so I place a bath towel in the cooler, then place these jars around inside. I also fill 1 or 2 quart jars with hot tap water and place them between some of the jars. This helps “incubate” the cultures. I cover all of them with the rest of the towel and close the lid. 8-10 hours later I have the nicest yogurt ever!

    If it is too runny, I just keep it in the cooler for a little while longer. Or, you can add more powdered milk at the beginning for thicker yogurt.

    I found that it is not necessary to do the “scalding” to kill bacteria when using powdered milk.
    I usually put 1/2 cup “blobs” on waxed paper and quick freeze them, then I bag them for my starters.

    The whole prep time is usually about 10-15 minutes. You can add your sweetener and/or flavorings when you serve it. I use this in my green drinks every morning, and it adds a nice flavor and texture.

    It doesn’t get much simpler than that! Enjoy!

  36. Jennifer says:

    Can this be done with fat free milk and fat free Greek yogurt for the starter?

  37. Shannon Raybold says:

    I just tried this and I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. I followed the instructions and used my collander lined with coffee filters, but most of the liquid drained right through. When it was done sitting, I only got 2 small containers of thick yoghurt, the rest drained through. I will still use what was underneath, but it is runny of course. I used 1% milk. Would using whole milk work better? Do I need a smaller strainer? Any thoughts? Thanks so much!

    • Kelly says:

      Bummer! Yes I use whole milk most of the time because you do get more out of it. However you could strain it through twice and see?

  38. Shannon Raybold says:

    Thanks! I will try that next time. My family LOVES this yoghurt so I’ll be making more this week. :)

  39. Mandy Cheshire says:

    I made this yesterday with 1% yogurt. I used honey and vanilla, and it is delicious! :) THANK YOU!!

  40. Maggie says:

    Excuse my ignorance, but do you add the yogurt after the 2.5 to 3 hours are over?

  41. [...] Tablespoons plain yogurt (optional, exclude for Whole [...]

  42. [...] 1 cup plain yogurt (or make your own) [...]

  43. Heather says:

    Has anyone used raw milk to make theirs? We buy raw cow milk from a local farmer and I was wondering if it would work since it’s not homogenized.


  44. Gene says:

    Great idea. Years ago I had a yogurt culture some friends had brought from India, their family’s culture. The biggest trick was heating the milk just warm enough to kill off the bacteria, etc, but not too hot to kill the culture. This would do the trick no doubt. Just warm enough. Leave out the sugar, or honey. Simply not needed plus then you get the twang of real yogurt that has been eaten plain for eons.

  45. Holly says:

    Just made this for the first time. Seems to have turned out ok. My question is that I read in a few comments about not putting in the sweetener and vanilla so you can save some back for a starter. So once the sweetener (honey) and vanilla is in it, will it not work as a starter for another batch?

  46. […] 1.5 cups vanilla flavored greek yogurt (or make your own) […]

  47. Teri says:

    I didnt read far enough down the thread,I was ignorant as well, I added my starter yogurt, sugar and vanilla before the 2-3 hour wait time. Have I ruined it?

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