I tried making Slow Cooker Greek yogurt for the first time about 2 years ago and I could not believe how EASY it was! It only took that one time and I was hooked, I haven’t bought Greek yogurt since.
When I started my journey to healthier living one of the first habits that I worked on incorporating was eating a proper breakfast. For years I skipped breakfast or if I did eat breakfast it was usually on the run and just grabbed something quick or flew through a drive-thru on my way to work. I quickly fell in love with the ease of a morning smoothie and fruit & yogurt parfaits are delicious! I found that Greek yogurt was a staple in our fridge now.
The one thing about using so much Greek yogurt is that it definitely adds to my grocery bill. I was now using Greek yogurt as my main source of protein for breakfast most days and it is a great substitute for mayo or sour cream in any of your favorite dips to make them just a little bit healthier, so I was now using quite a bit of Greek yogurt and it can be quite pricy.
Discovering How Easy it Is to make Homemade Greek Yogurt
When I came across a post to make your own homemade yogurt and was intrigued but also a bit hesitant. I thought it would take a lot of work or was probably difficult to do. But I was very wrong, Slow Cooker Greek Yogurt is so EASY and although it does take time to culture it doesn’t take very much hands-on time to make it. In fact, all you do is pour the milk and whisk. It’s probably the most hands-off recipe I’ve ever made! The best part is that it is cheaper, all it costs is a gallon of milk & a small amount of yogurt for your first batch after that, you will use your own yogurt to make your next batch. It has definitely helped me save money making it at home than buying it in the store.
What you need to make homemade Greek yogurt:
- Slow Cooker – large enough to hold 4L jug of milk
- 4L Jug of Milk – whichever kind you want. I usually use 3% because I like thick creamy yogurt. You can use 2%, 1% or skim if you wish but there will be a difference in the taste and texture. You just need to find the one you like.
- Yogurt starter – this is just plain yogurt with live cultures. You can purchase a small container from the store for your first batch and from then on you can just use a small amount from your previous batch. You can also use the leftover whey to make your yogurt but it makes a different texture – more smooth & silky instead of thick & creamy. My preference personally is not using the whey because although it makes no difference to me in smoothies I do prefer thick yogurt for parfaits and such. *Edit: you need about 1/3 cup starter, so you can use an individual size container from the store or measure out and save from your previous batch.
- Strainer & Cheesecloth or tea towel – Greek yogurt is made by straining the whey from regular yogurt, so you will want to have a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a tea towel. I personally use a tea towel to line my strainer as I find that the cheesecloth needed to be lined many times and not as reusable. A tea towel I can rinse clean and throw in the wash and it is there ready for the next time I am making yogurt. I also like to have a set that is only for my yogurt so I am not using this towel for the rest of my kitchen needs.
- Storage container – You will need a container to store your finished yogurt. I have used both glass and plastic and both work great. You will get approx 7-9cups of prepared Greek yogurt (depending on how much whey you strain each time will vary by a little)
Making your Yogurt:
Now that you have all the things you need making your Yogurt is super easy!
Step 1: Pour your entire gallon of milk into your slow cooker and heat it on Low for 2.5 hours
Step 2: Turn off your slow cooker. Just leave it as is and let it cool for 3 hours.
Step 3: Stir in the yogurt culture & if you wish you can add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/4 cup honey ( I did this for sure in the beginning when I didn’t really like the flavor of plain greek yogurt). Put the lid back on and wrap your slow cooker with a small blanket or towel so it insulates the slow cooker. This is to slow the cooling down process to incubate the cultures.
Step 4: Leave the slow cooker for 8-12 hours (I usually time it so this part is done overnight so I will start my yogurt making around 4 or 5 pm) This is when your yogurt will do its magic and in the morning you will have Yogurt.
The Next Morning
Step 5: Now at this stage you have yogurt and you can decide to leave it as is or you can strain it to make it Greek Yogurt. I use a strainer and a tea towel (as I said above) and I like to strain my yogurt for about 3.5-4 hours. You can strain it to your preferred thickness.
Step 6: Your Greek Yogurt is ready. Place in an airtight container and store in the fridge. It will be good in the fridge for a couple of weeks – if it lasts that long. It never does around here!! Lol
What to Do with the Whey
Strained Whey can be saved and used for many different things, it is a great source of protein as well. You can use as a replacement for milk in pancakes. It can be used in baking as well. I’ve even heard you can water your plants with your whey (I have never tried this though) You can even use they whey to make your next batch of yogurt – although it does make a bit of a different texture this way, a bit silkier than creamy I find.
I hope you all enjoy making your own Slow Cooker Greek yogurt. I know I will never go back to buying yogurt again
Ideas for using your Homemade Greek Yogurt:
- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
- Yogurt with Mixed Berry Chia Jam topping
- Replace Sour Cream in your favorite Dips
- Topping for your Homemade Pancakes