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Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt

Homemade yogurt? Oh, YES you can! All you need is four simple ingredients, an Instant Pot, and a little patience to make this Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt that’s thick, creamy, and so delicious and simple, you will want to make it again and again!

There are two ways to make yogurt in the Instant Pot: the (kind of) easy way and the really easy way.

Today we’re going to talk about the really easy way because I just love it when recipes are this ridiculously simple yet so incredibly delicious!

You can find recipes all over the place for making yogurt this way – I certainly didn’t come up with it – but it’s so good that I just had to share it here for any Instant Potters out there who might not know about it or who might want to give it a try.

This method of making yogurt in the Instant Pot is often called either the cold start method or the no-boil method. I’ve also seen it called Vietnamese yogurt.

I honestly don’t know who actually first came up with it, but I learned about it from the blog Freida Loves Bread. She has a ton of great information about this yogurt if you’d like to learn even more about it!

small bowl of yogurt with a spoon in it and three mason jars, one open, of yogurt and a blue and white napkin

Now, before we go any further, you need to know that there two simple RULES to making this Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt.

Rule #1 (The Milk):

You must use ultra-pasteurized milk and, preferably, milk that is also ultra-filtered.

DO NOT use regular pasteurized milk or raw milk for this recipe.

There is an entirely different process that needs to be used when making yogurt with these types of milk due to the bacteria content. So not only will it not work, it’s not safe to use those types of milk in this recipe.

Just don’t do it, okay? Thank you.

Ultra-pasteurized milk, on the other hand, has had most of the bacteria removed, which is why it is safe to use in this recipe.

The most common brand of milk that is both ultra-pasteurized and ultra-filtered – and the only one that I ever use for this recipe – is called Fairlife. It’s easy to find here in the US, and it has worked perfectly for me every single time.

It also results in a thicker yogurt due to its higher protein content. Plus, it’s lactose-free.

You can use the Fairlife whole milk version (which is what I use) or the 2% reduced-fat version. The reduced-fat version will be less thick and creamy because it has a higher water content.

And in case you’re wondering, the chocolate one, sadly, will not work.

Note #1: I have no affiliation with the Fairlife brand. This is just the brand that I and many others have found works the best.

Note #2: Even though it doesn’t say it on the bottle, Fairlife milk is, in fact, ultra-pasteurized. I contacted Fairlife, and they confirmed that the milk is ultra-pasteurized.

Rule #2 (The Yogurt Starter):

Your yogurt starter must contain live active yogurt cultures (and it must be fresh).

You will need to use some yogurt to make yogurt, and the yogurt you use must contain live active cultures. Check the label because there are some yogurts that don’t contain them. 

The yogurt you use also must be from a fresh, unopened container of yogurt. I use a plain Greek yogurt where the only two ingredients are milk and live active cultures.

Okay. Now that we’ve gone over the rules, let’s get on to making the yogurt!

Ingredients You Need To Make Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt:

  • Ultra-pasteurized, ultra-filtered whole milk (I recommend the Fairlife brand)
  • Plain yogurt that contains live active cultures
  • Sweetened condensed milk
  • Pure vanilla extract

Note: If you’d rather make plain unsweetened yogurt, all you need is the milk and the yogurt. Follow the recipe without adding the sweetened condensed milk or vanilla.

Special Equipment Needed:

  • Instant Pot (must have the yogurt function)

Here’s A Quick Look At How To Make Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt:

three images with steps to make easy instant pot vanilla yogurt with text that says add milk, yogurt, and sweetened condensed milk to Instant Pot, whisk until thoroughly combined, cover, select yogurt and set time to 8 or 9 hours
three images showing steps to make easy instant pot vanilla yogurt with text that says instant pot will say YOGT when yogurt is done, place a paper towel over the top of the pot and cover, refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 8 hours
two images showing steps to make easy instant pot vanilla yogurt with text that says add vanilla and stir to combine, enjoy

That’s it! About 2 minutes of pouring and stirring, and the rest is totally hands-off time.

The hardest part really is the waiting, but your patience will be rewarded!

Tips & Tidbits:

  • For this recipe, you can cover the Instant Pot with the regular lid (steam release valve turned to venting) or a glass lid. Even a plate will do in a pinch.
  • If you are going to use your regular Instant Pot lid and you have a sealing ring that has a strong smell, I strongly recommend that you remove the ring for this recipe (it’s not needed since we aren’t pressure cooking).
    • You could also swap out the sealing ring for one that has no smell. Why? That smell will transfer flavors to your yogurt, and yogurt that tastes like beef stew, curry, or whatever you have been cooking in there is so not delicious.
    • I use a glass lid for this reason and also because there will be some condensation that builds up on the lid during the incubation process, and it’s easier to very gently lift off the glass lid so all that water doesn’t drip down onto your yogurt.
  • The longer you incubate the yogurt, the tangier it will be. 8 hours will give you a milder, less tangy yogurt. 9 hours will give you a more tangy yogurt.
  • Don’t stir the yogurt until it’s thoroughly chilled. Yogurt thins a little after you stir it, so just leave it be until it’s chilled for best results.
  • If, after you stir it, you find that you want your yogurt thicker, you can strain it.
    • Place a mesh strainer over a bowl, line it with coffee filters, and add the yogurt.
    • Cover and place in the refrigerator for as long as it takes the yogurt to become as thick as you’d like it.

Oh, and if you want a super creamy, super indulgent yogurt (I do! I do!), add 1 cup of ultra-pasteurized heavy cream with the milk. WOW!

bowl of yogurt with a spoonful being taken out

So how do you like your yogurt?

This yogurt is really great on its own, but it would also be nice with some fruit and/or nuts and maybe a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Sometimes I swirl in some preserves (blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry are my favorites).

It’s also great in smoothies.

I especially love it topped with some granola (like my Cranberry Coconut Homemade Granola) for a really yummy snack or breakfast!

bowl of yogurt with granola on top on a green napkin with a spoon on the side and a mason jar of granola in the background and some granola scattered around

Common Questions:

  • I’d rather make plain unsweetened yogurt. How do I do that?
    • Easy! Follow the same instructions, but only use the Fairlife milk and the yogurt.
  • Can I use regular pasteurized or raw milk?
    • No, definitely not. Please see Rule #1 above.
  • Can I use a different sweetener?
    • From the research I’ve done, only milk-based sweeteners can be used when being added to the milk and yogurt mixture before it is incubated.
    • If you want to sweeten your yogurt with honey, maple syrup, agave, or other sweeteners, just make plain unsweetened yogurt (see above) and then sweeten the yogurt after it has incubated and chilled.
  • Can I add fruit or other flavorings?
    • Yes, but only after the yogurt has incubated and chilled.
  • My Instant Pot yogurt function doesn’t have a “normal” option. What should I do?
    • Check your owner’s manual to see what yogurt setting you need to use to achieve a temperature anywhere between 100°F and 110°F (I suggest getting as close to 110°F as you can).
    • It might be Medium on some models, or you might need to use a custom setting and set the temperature manually.

Making your own homemade yogurt has never been easier. You’ll totally feel like a kitchen rock star. And it’s so delicious you’ll want to make it again and again!

I hope you try this recipe for Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt and love it as much as I do. Thanks for visiting today!

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a bowl of yogurt with a spoon in it and mason jars filled with yogurt and a kitchen towel in the background

Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt

All you need is four simple ingredients, an Instant Pot, and a little patience to make this Easy Instant Pot Vanilla Yogurt. Thick, creamy, and so delicious and simple, you will want to make this yogurt again and again!
4.88 from 33 votes
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Author: Michelle / Now Cook This!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Chill Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 16 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 16 Servings (about ½ cup each – recipe makes about 8 cups total)
Estimated Calories: 183

Ingredients

  • 52 ounces ultra-pasteurized, ultra-filtered whole milk (I use the Fairlife brand)
  • 2 tablespoons non-fat plain Greek yogurt (must contain live active cultures)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Add the milk, yogurt, and sweetened condensed milk to the Instant Pot. Whisk until the mixture is very thoroughly combined. 
  • Place a lid on the pot. You can use the Instant Pot lid (steam release valve set to venting) or a glass lid. Note: If your sealing ring has a strong smell to it, I recommend removing it (you don’t need it for this recipe because you are not pressure cooking), or you could swap it out for a ring that has no smell. The smell can and will get into your yogurt. I just use a glass lid that fits the pot.   
  • Select the YOGURT function and make sure it is on NORMAL, and set the time to 8 hours (for a milder yogurt) or 9 hours (for a tangier yogurt). 
  • When the time has finished, the Instant Pot will say YOGT. Carefully remove the lid (there will be condensation on the lid, so just gently remove it so as to not get a lot of water dripping down into your yogurt). 
  • Remove the liner pot from the Instant Pot, cover it with a paper towel (this helps to stop any condensation that forms on the lid not drip down onto your yogurt), and then cover the pot (a glass lid or even a plate works fine). For best results, do not stir the yogurt until it has chilled.
  • Place the pot in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled (I leave mine to chill for at least 8 hours). 
  • Add the vanilla extract and stir to combine. Enjoy!
  • Store your yogurt, covered, in the refrigerator. It should last for 1 to 2 weeks.

Notes

  • You must use ultra-pasteurized and, preferably, ultra-filtered milk for this recipe. DO NOT use regular pasteurized or raw milk.
  • You can use 2% reduced-fat ultra-pasteurized milk. The yogurt will be thinner and less creamy.
  • If you want thicker yogurt, you can strain it. To do this: place a mesh strainer over a bowl and line it with coffee filters. Place the yogurt in the strainer. Cover and strain (in the refrigerator) for as long as it takes for the yogurt to become as thick as you’d like it. 
  • For extra-creamy yogurt, you can add 1 cup of ultra-pasteurized heavy cream with the milk. This will give you 18 (½ cup) servings. Calories per serving: 209.
  • If you would like to make plain unsweetened yogurt, follow the instructions but only use the Fairlife milk and the yogurt. This will give you 13 (½ cup) servings. Calories per serving: 76.
  • I used an 8-quart IP-DUO80 for this recipe, but it will also work in a 6-quart or 3-quart Instant Pot (as long as the model has the yogurt function).
  • If your model Instant Pot doesn’t have a “normal” setting for the yogurt function, check your owner’s manual to see what yogurt setting you need to use to achieve a temperature anywhere between 100°F and 110°F (I suggest getting as close to 110°F as you can). For example, it might be Medium on some models, or you might need to use a custom setting and set the temperature manually. 
Did you try this recipe? I’d love to see it!Share it on Instagram, tag @nowcookthis and use the hashtag #nowcookthisrecipes. Thanks!
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Recipe Rating




Jenny

Wednesday 8th of May 2024

I make this recipe every 2 weeks. My family and friends love it! I do switch out the sweetened condensed milk with honey. Thank you so much! Jenny

Michelle

Wednesday 8th of May 2024

Thank you, Jenny!!

Shelly May

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Can I substitute the condensed milk with stevia? If so what would the portions be?

Michelle

Thursday 25th of April 2024

Hi, Shelly! I have only ever made the recipe as written, so I don't know if or how using stevia would affect the final result when added before incubation (and since I don't use stevia, I don't know what the proportions would be if you did). Sorry! You could always make a batch without the sweetened condensed milk and then just sweeten the finished yogurt to taste with stevia when you add the vanilla.

George Noland

Wednesday 6th of March 2024

Wow...this was simply fantastic. Per the suggestion I added a cup of heavy cream and I also made a low carb sugar free ( allulose) condensed milk to add since my wife has sugar issues . Just simply wonderful...If you are not a yogurt lover then prepare yourself....you are soon to be. Thank you so much for this recipe :-)

Michelle

Wednesday 6th of March 2024

Thank you, George! So happy you enjoyed it!

Jenny

Tuesday 5th of March 2024

Super easy and amazingly delicious!

Michelle

Tuesday 5th of March 2024

Thank you very much, Jenny...so happy you like it!

Cindy

Saturday 2nd of September 2023

You can make yogurt in a instant pot that does not have a yogurt setting. My Instant pot has Soys Vide button, which will do the exact same thing. It’s how I always make mine.

Michelle

Monday 4th of September 2023

Hi, Cindy! Thanks for sharing this information. At the time I wrote this post, I don't think any of the Instant Pots had a sous vide function. I don't have one of those, so I haven't tried it yet, but for anyone wanting to give it a try, the temperature should be set to 110°F for the 8 to 9 hours of incubation.