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Instant Pot Yogurt (Pot in Pot Method, with and without yogurt button)

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Learn how to make thick, rich, and creamy yogurt in Instant Pot each time. One can make this Instant Pot Yogurt in individual jars or in a big oven-safe bowl using the Pot in pot method. This works with and without the yogurt button.

Making curd is a common thing for Indians. Most of us make this curd daily at home. It is either served as a side to a meal, in the form of raita, or as a drink in the form of chaas i.e buttermilk.

Benefits of yogurt/curd

Eating yogurt has many benefits to it. You must be knowing but just in case,

  • It helps cool down your system and aids in digestion.
  • Contains helpful bacteria called probiotics helpful for your gut.
  • A good source of essential nutrients, i.e. rich in proteins and calcium
  • Good for your bones

Is Yogurt and Curd the same?

Yes, there is a difference between curd and yogurt and mainly in the way it is set. There is loads of information on the net on this. I am not going into details.

Store-bought yogurt definitely has some form of preservatives added to it. It does not go bad for days and is fresh and creamy. It does not change the texture at all. Also, it lacks the taste of the typical yogurt or curd which we make at home. So I was in search of making the typical Indian style curd at home. 

3 jars of Instant pot yogurt and a steel bowl of yogurt seen. In background is Instant Pot seen.

Making yogurt or curd at home without Instant Pot

But making yogurt or curd at home again is a challenge especially when you are living in a country where the temperature hardly goes above 10Deg C except in the summer months. I have tried various methods of making yogurt at home using the oven, blanket method, pressure cooker method. It used to be a hit and a miss at times. Sometimes the yogurt use to be set and sometimes not. If set at times it use to have a slimy texture that no one is ready to eat. 

So I invested in Instant pot and my main reason was making yogurt initially. Though I am very happy with my purchase and now cannot leave without this appliance. It has helped me a lot over the last 2 years especially with a lot of cooking where I do not need to monitor or can delay the cooking using the delay timer.

I have to use my Instant Pot for fermenting Idli dosa batter too, but I am able to successfully ferment my Idli dosa batter in a cold climate without an Instant pot or anything. I have detailed a few tips and tricks in this post on “Fermenting Idli Dosa Batter in a cold climate.”

Instant Pot Yogurt

Making yogurt basically needs a specific temperature throughout. If you are living in a warm environment it is fine. However, in a cold climate, this is not possible in an open kitchen. Instant pot exactly provides this. It maintains a specific temperature while the milk and the bacteria do their magic. 

It is not compulsory to have an instant pot to make yogurt and yogurt have been made without it for ages. But using an Instant pot works perfectly when you are not living in a cold climate. It is a challenge to set the perfect yogurt or curd in a cold climate. 

Making curd in a pressure cooker

I have been experimenting with making yogurt in small batches in a pressure cooker and it is successful. However, I need to try it a few more times before I share the process, so until then you would need to wait. 

3 jars of Instant pot yogurt and a steel bowl of yogurt seen. In background is Instant Pot seen.

Recipes with yogurt or curd

Then yogurt is also used in making a lot of main course dishes. Pakodi wali kadhi, Takachi Kadhi, Rajgria Kadhi, Dahi kadhi, Dudhi Kofta Curry etc. Also used in many chutneys and dips.  It is also used as a marinade in a lot of dishes. Like this Paneer Tikka. Most of the time it is also used to impart a particular taste in dishes like dhokla and chila’s

A lot of the above-mentioned dishes need sour yogurt or curd. Store-bought yogurt outside India does not go sour. As I said it would have some form of preservatives added to it. So my search to make the perfect yogurt at home began.

Why make yogurt at home?

  • It is preservative-free
  • You can make it in small batches
  • Cheap and affordable

Ingredients needed to make yogurt

We just need 2 main ingredients, i.e. milk and yogurt culture. I simply used a good quality organic and preservative-free greek yogurt for my initial culture available. If you can source some culture from a friend or back home (If you have) it would be good.

Boiling Milk to be used in making yogurt

I am using Pasteurised milk available here in local shops. This milk however needs to be boiled and cooled down to a particular temperature before it is allowed to set for yogurt. I have tried to set this without boiling but it does not work. 

Consistency of Yogurt

No Boil or Cold Start Yogurt

One can make yogurt without boiling the milk. This is called No boil or Cold Start yogurt. For this, however, you need ultra-filtered milk. I believe the US brands Fairlife works for this. I have not tried this so cannot comment much. 

Pot in pot method

I like to make yogurt using the pot in pot method and overnight so that my Instant pot is free to use the following day. Secondly, when you do a lot of cooking in the instant pot you might smell some food. Yogurt will get that taste or smell so it is advisable to use the pot in pot method. 

How to make thick yogurt

To make the perfect thick yogurt each time I have a pro tip below which I have shared in the process of making yogurt. However, one needs to refrigerate the yogurt for a couple of hours in the fridge to set it perfectly.

Consistency of Yogurt

Greek Style yogurt in Instant pot

If you prefer thick greek style yogurt, strain the yogurt using a clean cheesecloth or a strainer in the fridge. This will help remove all the water and you would be left with the perfect thick yogurt.  

Jars or Large Bowl to make yogurt?

I prefer to make this yogurt in individual jars or a steel inner pot. One can use oven-safe glass bowls too. 

Small portions of yogurt 

I make small portions of yogurt as the nutritional value of active cultures diminishes the longer you keep the yogurt. Also making in small jars helps me in serving and the yogurt does not go bad.

Type of milk used in making yogurt

It is advisable to use full-fat milk to get that rich creamy texture. However, if you prefer to use reduced-fat milk you can use that too. However, curd or yogurt set with skimmed milk is not that creamy and rich in texture.

Why my yogurt turns sour quickly?

You would need a couple of trials to get the perfect yogurt every time. It depends on the time set, the quantity of yogurt culture added, and also the climate. If your yogurt is getting sour, try to reduce either the starter or the time required to set the yogurt. I would go with the starter first, i.e. reduce that first. If it is still getting sour, reduce the timing you set it for. Once done refrigerate.

The process to make yogurt / Instant pot yogurt recipe

Temperature of milk

First, the milk needs to be completely boiled. Once boiled it is allowed to cool till it is warm to touch but not hot. I.e. when you dip your finger you should be able to hold it. I do not use a thermometer for this. However, if you use the temperature of the milk is around 39 Deg C / 102.2 Deg F.

Adding Yogurt Culture

Once the milk is warm enough I add the yogurt culture. For this in a clean vessel, I first take around half a cup of milk and add the yogurt culture. Then I mix the yogurt culture thoroughly in the milk and pour the remaining milk into the pot. 

Frothing the milk

The next step is frothing the milk. I.e. I pour the milk from one pot to another from a little height. This helps in breaking down any cream or fat formed in the milk. This also helps in the even distribution of the yogurt culture. Frothing helps to set the yogurt thick and with that perfect creamy texture.  

Instant Pot Yogurt time

Once this is done, pour it into individual jars or your bowl and let it sit in the Instant Pot. Set the instant pot to yogurt function. By default it is set to 8 hours, I set it for 6 hours as it finishes mid-night and I open it only in the morning. Temperature is already maintained for the remaining hours in the Instant Pot.

Once the yogurt is done in the instant pot, let it refrigerate for a couple of hours. One can enjoy it straight, however, if you prefer thick it is advisable to refrigerate it.

Instant Pot Yogurt without Yogurt Button

Yes, this works too. I have been experimenting with this too. At times my DH simply switched off the Instant pot when I had put it for yogurt making and In the morning I was like now it’s not done. But it used to be. After posting this post, I got a few requests if this would be done. So I purposely experimented with it a few times before posting it.

I did not use any cover or blanket etc as many do. The instant pot would be sealed and would give the necessary warmth. What I did was in the instant pot add 2 cups of boiling water and then keep the milk. Immediately close the lid and let it sit for approximately 12 hours. What the hot water did was create a nice warm environment inside.

It will work without boiling water too, as I have tried that, but just to be on the safer side. In the morning the yogurt was all set. You can see the videos for yourself in the link.

Temperatures outside for me are around the range of -5 Deg C. I would say experiment with a small batch with no yogurt button at the start and then see how it goes. If you think it is still cold for you, you can keep the instant pot in a warm location, near the radiator, or simply cover it with a blanket.

Disclaimer

This has worked for me. It may or may not work for you. So do try with a small batch. I am sure it will work but I am letting know in advance. Let me know if you have any questions.

Shelf life of Instant pot yogurt

This yogurt will stay good for 8-10 days in a cold climate. However after 2-3 days the taste changes. This will turn slightly tangy or sour in taste. So it is advisable to make it in small batches especially if you do not like the sour taste or want to consume it fresh or use it in smoothies or your breakfast bowls. 

Here goes Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe

Close up look of yogurt in jars seen

Instant Pot Yogurt (Pot in Pot Method, with and without yogurt button)

Learn how to make thick, rich, and creamy Instant pot yogurt using the pot in pot method in individual jars or in a big oven-safe bowl.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish, Snacks
Cuisine: Indian, International
Keyword: Greek Yogurt, Instant Pot Recipes, Yogurt
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Yogurt Setting Time: 8 hours
Servings: 1 Ltr
Author: Renu Agrawal-Dongre

Ingredients

Instant Pot Yogurt with Yogurt Button

  • 1 Ltr Milk -Approximately 4 Cups
  • 3 tablespoon Yogurt starter culture -If in a hot environment, use just 1 tablespoon of culture
  • 1 Cup Water -For Instant Pot

Instant Pot Yogurt without Yogurt Button

  • 1 Ltr Milk -Approximately 4 Cups
  • 3 tablespoon Yogurt starter culture -If in a hot environment, use just 1 tablespoon of culture
  • 2 Cups Hot Boiling Water -For Instant Pot

Instructions

  • Remove the yogurt culture and bring it to room temperature. (Not necessary, but I prefer doing this)

Boiling and cooling milk

  • In a heavy bottom pot, add the milk.
    1 Ltr Milk
    Milk ready to be boiled
  • Boil the milk and switch it off.
    Boiled Milk
  • Let the milk come to a lukewarm temperature. (The milk should be warm to touch but not hot. I.e. when you dip your finger you should be able to hold it. If you are using a thermometer, the temperature of the milk is around 39 Deg C / 102.2 Deg F.)

Adding the yogurt Culture

  • Now in a clean pot add the yogurt culture and around ½ cup milk and mix.
    3 tablespoon Yogurt starter culture
  • One can add the yogurt culture directly too in the same pot as the milk is added. I do it separately as the culture then mixes properly.

Frothing milk (Optional – But helps in setting thick yogurt)

  • Pour the milk from one pot to another from a little height.
  • Continue the above step 3-4 times. This helps in breaking down any cream or fat formed in the milk. This also helps in the even distribution of the yogurt culture.
  • Frothing helps to set the yogurt thick and with that perfect creamy texture.
  • Add milk in individual jars or in a bowl.
    Milk ready to be set

Setting the yogurt in Instant Pot

  • Place a trivet in the bottom of the inner of your Instant Pot.
  • Add 1 cup water.
    1 Cup Water
  • Place the pot inside and lightly cover with a plate. (One can even leave it uncovered)
  • If using jars, just lightly top the lid. Do not close it tight. (One can even leave it open)
    Milk ready to be set in jars
  • Now close the Instant pot, and switch off the Instant Pot to Yogurt Mode.
  • This automatically sets to 8 hours. ( I set mine for 6 hours and it works).
  • Once the timer beeps and you when instant pot reads "yogt", yogurt is ready.
    Yogurt is done
  • You can enjoy this as is or for best results keep it refrigerated for 2-3 hours.

Instant Pot Yogurt without Yogurt Button

  • Follow the same procedure for boiling, cooling, adding of yogurt culture and frothing of milk
  • Place a rack in the bottom of the inner of your Instant Pot.
  • Add 2 Cups boiling water.
  • It will work without boiling water too, as I have tried that, but just to be on the safer side.
  • Place the pot inside and lightly cover with a plate. (One can even leave it uncovered)
  • If using jars, just lightly top the lid. Do not close it tight. (One can even leave it open)
  • Immediately close the instant pot Lid and leave it untouched for 12 hours.
    Instant pot is switched off for no yogurt button
  • After 12 hours open the lid. Your yogurt should be set.

Greek Style yogurt

  • Keep a strainer on top of a pot. One can add a muslin cloth to this, or can directly add yogurt in the strainer if you have a fine mesh in the strainer.
  • Add the yogurt to this. You should have the strainer on top of the pot so that the water gets collected down.
  • Water will be collected down in the pot and you would be left with thick yogurt in the strainer.
  • The leftover water can be enjoyed as is or with some salt and cumin powder to make cooling buttermilk.
  • Keep this refrigerated for 5-6 hours.

Notes

  • If living in a hot climate it is best to use only 1 tablespoon of yogurt culture. As the more culture, you use it will be sour or get sour faster.
  • Frothing is an optional step.
  • Using full-fat milk is advisable for making yogurt.
  • One can adjust the timings after you know how much time it takes for you.
  • Adjust the yogurt culture. If it gets sourer for you reduce the culture and vice versa. Read above in detail.
  • Timing can vary depending on the climate you are in. For me it sets in 6 hours with the yogurt function, for others, it might take up to 12 hours.
  • Once the yogurt is allowed to set, it should be left undisturbed. Do not move or shake it. You will not get the desired results. 
 
 
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Recipe Rating




Carlee Savage

Thursday 14th of April 2022

Hi! Trying bowl-in-bowl for the first time...would a steel bowl with a rubber bottom work? Thanks! Carlee P.S. With yogurt button...

Renu Agrawal Dongre

Friday 15th of April 2022

Hi, it will work.