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I’ve been on a cultured dairy kick this spring after finding a local source for raw goat milk earlier this year. I’ve finally had a chance to try my hand at yogurt and kefir again, and this time…it’s actually worked! So far, one of my favorite recipes has been making goat milk yogurt in the InstantPot.
It’s easy! Here’s how to make goat milk yogurt in the InstantPot.
Why Do You Need an InstantPot to Make Yogurt?
You might be wondering why I specifically mention the InstantPot pressure cooker here. Can’t you just make yogurt on the counter like any other fermented food?
Well, not exactly…
My yogurt culture is “thermophilic” – basically, that’s just a fancy way of saying it will only multiply and culture properly in warm conditions. I learned this the hard way years ago, when I tried different types of yogurt cultures. I tried keeping one batch warm in a cooler filled with hot water. What an icky mess! And the yogurt tasted nasty too. (Our weather fluctuates a lot in the Midwest as well, so holding a consistent temperature in the kitchen is even more difficult.)
Thankfully, with the InstantPot, it’s basically hands-off. There’s a built-in yogurt setting on the machine that keeps the mixture at a consistently warm temperature, providing the perfect culturing conditions to make thicker, tastier yogurt.
How to Begin Using Your Yogurt Starter
To get started, you’ll need a yogurt culture of some kind.
I used the Greek & Bulgarian Yogurt Heirloom Starter Culture from Cultures for Health. Your starter should come with instructions for making your first batch of yogurt. (The instructions here are for what is known as an “heirloom” yogurt starter; don’t use direct set cultures.) I won’t go into details here, since I’m sure it varies somewhat depending on the brand. I love tangy Bulgarian yogurt, so this culture was a good fit for me.
A Note on Direct Set vs. Heirloom
These instructions are for an heirloom yogurt starter, not a direct set starter. There’s a difference on the Cultures for Health website.
How to Use the Starter
To reconstitute my starter, I heated the milk, cooled it down, and then stirred in the powdered starter provided before fermenting the yogurt mixture in the InstantPot, much like you make regular yogurt below.
Quick Tip: I’ll be honest and say I’ve had mixed results with Cultures for Health products, with some failed projects along the way. My Bulgarian yogurt is wonderful, and I really like their simple milk kefir too, so I recommend those starters, for sure!
Why Do You Have to Heat Milk for Making Yogurt?
Yogurt isn’t made with raw milk, like some other dairy recipes might be. And I know that’s not ideal. (I’ve had success making kefir with raw milk, from the starter mentioned above, however. I’ll talk more about that below.)
The reason is because heating the milk changes the structure of the proteins, resulting in a thicker cultured product in the end. It is my understanding that not heating the milk properly will result in a thinner, less desirable end result, so I’ve always heated my milk before making goat milk yogurt.
My packet’s instructions said the milk really only needed to get up to 160 degrees F. Doing it in the InstantPot gets somewhat higher. I’m not thrilled about going higher than necessary, BUT I go along with it, because heating milk in the InstantPot is much easier than stirring it carefully over the stove until it reaches temperature on the thermometer.
How to Make Yogurt in the Instant Pot
Preparing the Milk Before Yogurtmaking
Pour 4 cups (1 quart) of fresh goat milk into the InstantPot. Screw on the lid and select the Yogurt → Pasteurize setting. Start the machine.
This will heat the milk to 180 degrees, then automatically turn off the cooker.
Once the milk has heated, remove the lid and cool the mixture until it measures 110 degrees F. (It may form a skim on top, but I usually just whisk it back into the milk.) I usually remove the pot from the InstantPot base and cool it on the counter, so it cools down more quickly.
Making Yogurt in the InstantPot
Now it’s finally time to make your yogurt! This is the easy part: Simply whisk 1/4 cup yogurt from the previous batch into the milk. Immediately put the lid back on the InstantPot.
Quick Tip: I’m using the Duo Evo Plus 9-In-One InstantPot here. Your settings may be different, so make sure you check them beforehand.
This time, select Yogurt → Ferment setting.
Allow the yogurt to “cook” for several hours before removing the lid to check it. It should be thick and pull away from the edges of the pot when you gently tilt it sideways.
My recipe said to ferment for 5-12 hours. While my first few batches required the longer cook time, I’ve found that currently, mine tends to take on a slightly unpleasant tinge if I cook it too long. I usually do something like 4 to 6 hours, and that is plenty. It should be thick and taste pleasantly tangy.
Once the yogurt has finished, turn off the InstantPot. Immediately transfer the warm yogurt into a clean canning jar. Cover with a lid and allow the yogurt to sit on the counter for a few hours before placing it in the fridge. (This is part of the culturing process, so don’t skip this room temperature step.)
Quick Tip: Don’t scrape out the bottom of the InstantPot completely. Sprinkle some cane sugar and vanilla into a bit of leftover warm yogurt for a yummy treat. So good!
How Thick Will Goat Milk Yogurt Get?
Goat milk has a slightly different composition than cow milk, which means cultured products may not get as thick as recipes made with cow’s milk. I’ve never actually made cow’s milk yogurt in the InstantPot, but I’ve heard that goat milk’s yogurt is naturally thinner.
My yogurt was fairly runny in the beginning, but the later batches got a bit thicker, probably because the culture has gotten stronger over time. I’ve heard you can also make Greek yogurt by straining the whey off the yogurt, but I’ve never tried it myself. It’s a messy extra step, and I’m not convinced it would work well with goat milk anyway.
Goat Milk Yogurt FAQs
Is Making Your Own Yogurt Worth It?
Yes! I truly believe it is. For me personally, it comes down to freshness, price, and quality.
My body doesn’t really handle cow’s milk well, but goat’s milk yogurt is very expensive in my local grocery store. Not to mention the only brand of goat’s milk yogurt available includes a few other stabilizing ingredients. In short, that means I can’t buy the type of yogurt that I make ANYWHERE, so it’s absolutely worth it for me, especially because I can just continue propagating it over time and even share with friends!
How Long Can You Keep Homemade Yogurt?
I’m still experimenting with this. Currently, I’ve saved it successfully for two weeks, and counting. Obviously, it doesn’t taste as fresh as time passes, but it should keep for a few weeks, I would think. I usually try to make another batch within 7 days of the first batch, to make sure I don’t lose my culture.
What’s the Difference Between Yogurt and Kefir?
I’ve also made kefir, which is cultured for a short time on the counter. I’ve successfully used raw milk in my kefir, though it’s technically not recommended because it could yield mixed culturing results, depending on what bacteria is already in the milk compared to the starter culture.
Kefir is more like a drinkable yogurt, with a very tart and even “sharp” flavor compared to yogurt. It’s not for the faint of heart! I didn’t like it at first, but you can get used to it over time. It’s very healthy for you. I think it has more beneficial probiotics and is better on your digestion than yogurt, from my personal experience. It’s commonly mixed with fruit.
Homemade Goat Milk Yogurt in the InstantPot
- Kitchen thermometer
- Measuring cup
- Quart Mason jar w/lid
- 1/4 cup yogurt (from previous batch)
- 4 cups fresh goat milk
- Pour milk into InstantPot. Screw on the lid and select Yogurt –> Pasteurize. Start the machine.
- Allow to heat until timer turns off the InstantPot. Remove lid, then allow to cool on the counter until milk registers 110 degrees F on the thermometer.
- Quickly whisk in 1/4 cup of yogurt from a previous batch. Close InstantPot and select Yogurt –> Ferment setting.
- Allow to "cook" for 5-12 hours, until yogurt becomes somewhat thick and pulls away from the edges of the pot when you tip it slightly to the side.
- Whisk the yogurt to remove any lumps, then pour into a clean canning jar.
- Allow jar to sit, covered, on the counter for 2 hours before storing in the fridge. Yogurt keeps at least 2 weeks in the fridge. Be sure to save a 1/4 cup for your next batch! 🙂