It’s easy to make yogurt in your oven without a yogurt maker. Once you learn how to make yogurt at home, you may not want to buy it ever again.
I’ve been making yogurt at home for quite some time now. When I first started it was because my husband had inherited an old yogurt maker from his family. They weren’t using it, so I decided to give making yogurt a try rather than let them get rid of it. At the time, I made yogurt mostly for fun and tried making up new flavors. Back then, I was more concerned about fat than I was about artificial flavors and sweeteners. In fact, to end up with a decent yogurt consistency using fat-free milk, I had to add in extra powdered milk.
Things have changed a lot since then. Now that I have changed my thought about processed foods, I only buy whole milk anyway, so my homemade yogurt automatically turns out the perfect consistency.
Making yogurt for a baby
I started making yogurt at home again when my son was around 6 months old. I wanted to start to introduce new foods to him, but the yogurts actually marketed as being “baby’s first yogurt” were surprisingly filled with a lot of sugar and other unnecessary ingredients. Finding a full-fat unsweetened yogurt in the supermarket was not an easy task. So, I decided that it would be best to just make my own.
My son has always been slightly obsessed with dairy products. He loves milk and cheese, and would go through whatever my homemade yogurt I had made pretty quickly. He loved it either plain or also mixed with bananas and/or avocados. The tiny amount that could be made in a yogurt maker just wasn’t going to cut it.
Making large batches of yogurt easily
It turns out that making yogurt in large batches was much easier than I had imagined. Instead of using the yogurt maker, I tried making the yogurt in my oven. Depending on your oven, in most cases leaving the light on is all that is needed to keep the yogurt at the perfect temperature for making yogurt. Using this method, it’s very simple and cost-effective to make large batches of yogurt.
- 1/2 cup starter culture I used one container of full fat unsweetened greek yogurt.
- 1 liter whole milk
- Heat the milk in a double boiler to 185ºF/85ºC . Heat it up slowly to prevent the milk from curdling which would result in lumps in your yogurt. If you heat the milk slowly, you should end up with a nice, smooth yogurt .
- Cool the milk to 110ºF/43ºC. I usually speed up the process by putting the pot into cold water in my kitchen sink. While it cools, set your oven to its lowest temperature and let it heat up for a few minutes.
- Once the milk cools to 110ºF/43ºC, stir in the yogurt culture.
- Turn the oven heat off, but leave the light on.
- Strain and pour the yogurt mixture into storage containers. I use recycled glass jars for storing my yogurt. By passing the mixture through a strainer first, you’ll help keep out any lumps and remove any skin that has formed on the heated milk solution.
- Place the storage jars into your oven, and keep the light on. Leave the yogurt incubating in the lit oven for around 7 hours.
- Once the 7 hours is up, remove the yogurt from the oven and let the jars cool. Once cooled, store the jars in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat the yogurt.
- Save some of your homemade yogurt to use as the starter culture of your next batch! (No more buying yogurt at the store!)
It really is that easy to make your own homemade yogurt without any extra additives or sugar.
Thickening homemade yogurt
Yogurt made at home with whole milk turns out pretty thick on its own, but if you want the yogurt to be even thicker, you can either strain it with a very tight weaved cloth or you can add in a little gelatin to the mixture while you are heating it in the double boiler. Once it cools it will thicken up even more.
If you are using a low-fat milk, another option for thickening the yogurt is to add in some powdered milk to the mixture before pouring it into the jars. You’ll have to experiment to find how much powdered milk you should add.
My son still loves eating natural, unsweetened yogurt, despite having been introduced to the flavored, sweetened varieties. I hate the sweetened varieties myself, not only because I know how bad they are for me, but also because I find them way too sweet! Homemade yogurt is superior in taste, texture, and quality, and I love it!
Now that you know how to make yogurt at home easily without a yogurt maker, I hope you give it a try and love it as much as I do!
My oven has a light but it turns off when the door is closed thus your method will not work. Oven manufactures need to step up and make ovens that can sustain 110 degrees. Can’t be that difficult. I still use my 25 year old yogurt machine and since my wife prefers to buy it, it’s enough for me.
Hi, wondering if you’ve attempted a dairy free yoghurt?
Tracy Ariza, DDS
I tried with coconut milk in the past, but wasn’t happy with the results and didn’t get a recipe that I liked enough to share on the blog.
Is the lid on or off the jars while incubating in the oven? Thanks.
Tracy Ariza, DDS
I put the lids on them.
How big was the container of yoghurt you used?
Tracy Ariza, DDS
I’ve used all different sizes- small jars and larger ones up to a liter. I’ve never tried larger than that, but it should work too.
Hello. Such great instructions! I’ve found I need to do a much longer oven time for yogurt so it’s easier for me to digest, according to my doctor’s suggestion. But I still do everything else in your instructions. This time, though, the oven light was inadvertently turned off while preparing dinner. When I came down this morning, the yogurt was only 85 instead of its usual ~101 when it went to bed. Have I ruined it? I’m less concerned about consistency bc I know it’ll firm up when I get it back to temp and leave it longer. But I don’t know the inner workings of yogurt well enough to know if pathogens might be an issue for hours at about 15 degrees less than usual.
Thanks for any knowledge you can share and such a great yogurt page.
Tracy Ariza, DDS
I would advise smelling it and checking the texture. If it isn’t more sour than a normal yogurt and the texture looks as it normally does, I’m guessing you’re fine. I think the bacteria from the yogurt you add do a pretty good job of taking over and keeping other pathogens out.
That said, whenever in doubt, I think it’s best to toss it and start again. (I’m not saying that’s your case, but without seeing it, it’s harder to be able to advise.)
If you see strange colors, scents, etc., I’d toss it. If not, I’d taste a very small amount on your tongue to check if it seems completely normal before eating more. 😉