Recipe: Greek-style yogurt

Ever since a friend taught me how to do it easily, I’ve been making my own yogurt at home. The procedure is simple.


1/2 gallon milk (2% or whole is best)

2 tablespoons plain yogurt with live cultures


2 quart-sized canning jars (or 4 pints)

heavy pot big enough for 1/2 gallon of milk

candy thermometer


Heat milk over medium heat until it reaches 170 degrees F.   For the
first 5 minutes or so, you can basically ignore it.  But as it begins to
heat up, keep an eye on the temperature and stir it frequently.  (This
is the most complicated part of the whole recipe, but don’t worry, it
only takes 15 minutes or so!)  You don’t want the milk so hot it boils–
all you want is for it to start to simmer around the edges and be
heated through.

2. Once temperature has reached 170 degrees,
remove from heat and let cool to 110-120 degrees F.  This part takes
20-40 minutes or so, depending on the temperature in the room.

When milk has cooled to the right temperature, it is time to add the
yogurt.  Whisk in 2 tablespoons of plain or vanilla flavored yogurt
until well combined.  You can use any store-bought yogurt, as long as
the container says, ‘contains live cultures’.

4. Turn on oven and
preheat to 200 degrees for 5 minutes or so. Pour the milk into the quart
jars and tighten on rings and lids. (It is perfectly fine to use other
glass jars, as long as they are clean and have metal lids.)

5.  Turn off oven
and place jars in warm oven to sit for 6-10 hours, or until milk is set
and looks like yogurt.  (I like to do this at bedtime and let it sit in
the oven overnight.) Once yogurt has set, place it in the  refrigerator
to cool and thicken a bit more.

6.  It is perfectly fine to sweeten as desired and eat the yogurt at this stage.  However, if you like your yogurt very thick and creamy, you may want to take one additional step.


7.  I discovered that this bag
lets me really step my yogurt up a notch.  The bag is a plain muslin
bag with a draw string.  Scoop the yogurt into the bag, close the bag
with the drawstring, and hang it up over a bowl.  (I hooked my bag over
the handle of my microwave.)  Let the bag hang up for half an hour or
so, allowing the watery whey will drip out into the bowl.  What remains
is ultra-rich, ultra-thick Greek-style yogurt. 

I made a batch
today using 1% milk, and was amazed at how rich and creamy the yogurt
tasted. And since I made it myself, I know my family’s not getting
preservatives or artificial thickening agents, just pure delicious
yogurt. Sweeten your yogurt with honey and fresh fruit.  Or– easiest
yet– just add a spoonful of jam to each serving.  Yum!!

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  1. Thanks for sharing, Mary! This is the most straightforward recipe for making yogurt I’ve ever read. I have a question that might seem a little silly: How long does the yogurt keep refrigerated?

  2. When we hang the yogurt to drip (for making cheese cake, cream cheese, etc.) then we use the whey in cooking rice. It gives the rice a nice cheesy flavor.

  3. So, what exactly is the difference between regular yogurt and Greek yogurt? Taste? Thickness?

    • Greek-style yogurt has much less whey, which makes it thicker, richer-tasting, and less likely to separate. It is also often made with a mixture of cream and milk. (My recipe just uses milk, however)

  4. I think you are a mind reader. Greek yogurt was on my list of recipes to find. Thanks so much. I love your site!

  5. Ok. So I made this and I had just one small problem. The bottom of the pan had a coating of browned milk and when it ended up on the bottom of the jar of yogurt. What should I do different next time?

    • YOu just heated the milk a bit too fast. Next time keep the temp of your burner a little bit lower, heat the milk a little bit more slowly, and stir more frequently. If you still do get a little bit of brown on the pan after heating, try to leave it undisturbed on the bottom of the pan as you are pouring the milk out into jars.

  6. I tried making this yesterday evening but my yogurt did not thicken. What could I have done wrong? The only thing I was thinking was that maybe my thermometer was not working and it was still too warm when I stirred in the yogurt? I did wait for it to go down to 110.

  7. If I want vanilla yogurt, do I add the flavoring at the same time I add the cultures, or do I not flavor it until after it has set?