Homemade Greek Yogurt - Savory Simple

I have an unapologetic love for America’s Test Kitchen. I read the magazine, watch the show and collect the cookbooks. I’ve become a huge fan of one book in particular, The America’s Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook, which teaches all sorts of basics like homemade cheeses, jams, tofu and cured meats. I became so enamored with this book that I reached out to ATK and asked if I could share some of the recipes from the book on this site. 

Homemade Greek Yogurt - Savory Simple

I was overjoyed when they said yes! These are the kinds of recipes I love experimenting with for fun. And homemade yogurt has been something I’ve wanted to try making for ages so this seemed like the perfect recipe to share first. It’s very easy to make and the taste is worlds above anything you’ll buy at the grocery store. It still has a tang but the flavor is mild, fresh and smooth.

It’s worth noting a few things about this recipe since I’m skipping over their intro:

  • The cookbook uses 2% milk but you can use whole or skim milk if you prefer.
  • You want pasteurized milk but NOT ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk.
  • Use high quality milk and yogurt for best results.
  • I’ve spoken with several recipe developers who say they make homemade yogurt without the addition of nonfat dry milk. I haven’t yet tried it this way. According to the Jennifer Lalime, the creator of this recipe, it helps with the thickening process.
  • The recipe specifies to let the yogurt set for 5-7 hours but you can leave it in the oven for a longer time. I let mine set overnight for 9 hours.
  • You need some store bought greek yogurt for this recipe to add the live cultures. For future recipes you can use the homemade yogurt to start new batches.
  • If you want regular yogurt that is not Greek style, skip the final straining step. Or you can strain for less time for an in between consistency.

That’s it! Enjoy the recipe and thanks to America’s Test Kitchen for allowing me to share it with you!

Homemade Greek Yogurt - Savory Simple

Homemade Greek Yogurt
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 2 cups
  • 4 cups 2% pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized or UHT) low-fat milk
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position. Place a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl, then set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice water. Heat the milk in a large saucepan over medium-low heat (do not stir while heating) until it registers 185 degrees F.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat, gently stir in the milk powder, and let it cool to 160 degrees F, approximately 7-10 minutes. Strain the milk through the prepared strainer and let it cool, gently stirring occasionally, until the milk registers 110-112 degrees F. Remove from the ice bath.
  3. In a small bowl, gently stir ½ cup warm milk into the greek yogurt until smooth. Stir the yogurt mixture back into the milk. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and poke several holes in the plastic.
  4. Place the bowl in the oven and turn on the oven light, creating a warm environment of 100-110 degrees F. Let the yogurt sit undisturbed until thickened and set, 5-7 hours. Transfer to refrigerator until completely chilled, about 3 hours.
  5. Set a clean fine-mesh strainer over a large measuring cup and line it with a double layer of coffee filters. Transfer the yogurt to the prepared strainer, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until about 2 cups of liquid have drained into the measuring cup, 7-8 hours. (You can also skip this step for regular yogurt that is less thick). Yogurt can be refrigerated for up to one week.
Reprinted with permission from 'The America's Test Kitchen DIY Cookbook'
by the editors at America's Test Kitchen


Tools I Used

(Links go to my Amazon affiliate store)

All-Clad Stainless 2-Quart Saucepan
Stainless-Steel Mixing Bowls
Cheesecloth 10 Yard Bundle
OXO Good Grips 8-Inch Double Rod Strainer
Polder Digital Thermometer

More Yogurt Recipes

Savory Simple – Peach Yogurt Muffins
Savory Simple – Baked Pumpkin with Garlic Yogurt Sauce
Savory Simple – Strawberry Mango Yogurt Pops
Damn Delicious – Greek Yogurt Berry Trifle
Garlic Girl – Whole Wheat Blueberry Muffins
Farmgirl Gourmet – Cinnamon Yogurt Scones

  • http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/ Tieghan

    This is so cool! I prefer greek yogurt to regular and use it in place of mayo and sour cream almost all the time. I love the idea of making it at home and it seems so easy too! I need to get my hand on some ATK cookbooks!

  • http://www.astackofdishes.com Gail @ A Stack of Dishes

    Great idea to use the lightbulb in the oven for warmth. I used to have a gas oven with a pilot that worked well, but my new home is electric. Thanks for sharing that! And lovely photos as usual :)

  • http://cakemerchant.com Natasha @ The Cake Merchant

    I agree that homemade yogurt tastes worlds above anything from the store. Thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • http://omeletta.com Ruthy @ Omeletta

    Yes!! I love making homemade yogurt and I always strain it extra long to get it nice and thick- although I’ve never actually made it with nonfat dry milk, I’m so trying that next time. The thicker, the better!

  • http://cookingactress.com/ Kayle (The Cooking Actress)

    THIS IS INSANITY! Love it!

  • http://traceysculinaryadventures.com Tracey

    ATK is my favorite, and in particular I adore the DIY cookbook. I’ve made the yogurt too, and it really is fantastic!

  • http://damndelicious.net Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

    Who knew that yogurt was “makeable” at home?!

    Thanks for the link, friend!

  • http://www.bakeaholicmama.com Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama

    Really? This is it? I’m so amazed at how easy this is to make. I need to try doing it myself.

  • http://www.londonbakes.com Kathryn

    I’ve been wanting to make yogurt at home for ages but never quite got round to it – I can’t believe how easy it is though!

  • http://www.unegaminedanslacuisine.com Valerie

    I practically live on Greek yogurt in the summer (winter too, if I’m being honest). This looks incredible, and surprisingly easy!

  • http://domesticfits.com Jackie {Domestic Fits}

    I love ATK, my go-to when I have a cooking problem.
    And my Grandma used to make yogurt when I was a kid and it creeped me out. But this looks completely amazing.

  • ashley – baker by nature

    You made Greek yogurt?! Um, seriously… you’re the coolest! xo

  • http://ny-foodgasm.blogspot.com Sophia @ NYFoodgasm

    I LOVE Greek yogurt and I would love to make it, funny how you need greek yogurt to make more, it is because of the bacteria in it?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      Yes, you need it for the live cultures the first time. But after that you can use the homemade yogurt to make more!

  • http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com Kirsten@FarmFreshFeasts

    Jen your photos look lovely–I think ATK wins for seeing their recipe showcased in such a lovely way.

  • http://www.elephanteats.com Amy @ Elephant Eats

    Who knew you could make your own greek yogurt! So cool…i’ll have to give it a try :)

  • Grant Parish

    I have been making Greek yogurt a couple of times a month for the past several years – since seeing an article in the NY Times about the benefits of making your own. This is basically the process that I use but after hundreds of batches, there are a few things that I learned from experience, the NY Times, and other yogurt makers. Use WHOLE milk. Just eat/cook with the the good stuff and eat less.

    Four cups of milk makes a piddling amount of yogurt. Use a gallon of milk and make enough for your family for the week. When you drain yogurt (Greek yogurt is just drained regular yogurt) there is a significant reduction in volume.

    There is no need to add dry milk powder. Whole milks makes thick yogurt. Sometimes I add some heavy cream to up the butterfat content and it is so thick, smooth, and rich that a spoon will stand up.

    You do not have to use Greek yogurt as a starter. You are looking for the bacteria not texture. The NY Times recommends a regular commercial yogurt – like Dannon – as a starter because the bacteria in these highly processed yogurts are heartier. Over the years I have settled on using an organic regular yogurt with at least 5 cultures as a starter. It is great to use some of your prior batch but in my house, someone always eats the last few spoonfuls.

    I leave it overnight in the oven and then drain in a cheese cloth lined colander for a few hours – you can do this in the sink. Homemade Greek yogurt is so much cheaper and tastes so much better than what you can buy in the store, you will never be satisfied with the bought stuff again.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      Great tips, Grant! I probably won’t use whole milk because I work with so many heavy ingredients for my job- I prefer my yogurt to be lighter. I have a big batch right now made from skim milk and I just love it.

      • Martha Rose Wright

        Thank you, this is the way I learned from my Iranian mother in law . Brought back a lot. Of memories. I forgot do I heat the milk the same way to the 185 degrees? Thank you again Grant.

    • Anne

      I just started making my own yogurt and it is absolutely so much better than bought. However, I would like a sheet of troubleshooting tips. Any resources for that on the internet. And yes, I don’t eat a lot of fat, so I do use whole milk.

  • Judy

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I eat Greek yogurt everyday and would love to save money by making my own. Is there any way to figure out the nutritional content for the yogurt once you have made and strained it? Thanks for any help you can offer.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      I’m not sure how to calculate that, sorry!

  • http://www.becauseilikechocolate.com Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate

    I find it interesting that you have to use greek yogurt as the base for more greek yogurt. Cool idea though!

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      You need live cultures to make yogurt. You can also order them online but yogurt from the store is an easy starter.

  • http://www.nutmegnanny.com Nutmeg Nanny

    I love greek yogurt :) I eat it at least once a day! I must give this a shot!

  • Vicky and Ruth

    So impressed that you made your own greek yogurt. We have been wanting to try to make our own yogurt for a while. You have inspired to finally go for it!

  • Coral Dickinson

    This looks soooo good with some homemade granola! Also a lot cheaper! Gotta try it.

  • Ayesha

    Need to try this. Pics looks great too

  • Leah

    really excited about this! i’ve been wanting to make my own for so long.

  • http://www.loavesndishes.com Kari@Loaves n Dishes

    I’ve been wanting to make yogurt for a while but I didn’t want to buy a yogurt maker, because I really don’t like gadgets that have only one purpose. I’m so excited to use this method!

  • Sonia

    I use the crockpot method – it’s longer but so easy because you don’t even have to watch it – just set the timer. Put a gallon of milk in the crock on low til it reaches 185 degrees (2 hours 45 min with my crock) then turn it off and let it cool down to 110 degrees (about 3 hours). Stir in a yogurt with cultures and wrap crockpot in a thick blanket or towel. Leave overnight and the next morning you have thick creamy yogurt.

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      I love this idea. Questions- do you leave a thermometer in the slow cooker or do you just check the temps periodically? Also, when you leave it overnight do you turn the slow cooker off?

  • Susan

    When I make cheese, I use the leftover whey in soups and baking. Is this the same?

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      I think so but I’ve never tried using it. So I’m just guessing!

  • Lacey

    I made my first batch of homemade greek yogurt last night into today. I used whole milk, I did not use the dry milk powder. The greek yogurt I made has a great thick texture. BUT – it smells and tastes like cigarette smoke!! Any ideas as to what went wrong?! I’m so disappointed.

    When the milk was heating there was a funny smell coming from the pot. I have no idea if this was coincidence or a sign of a problem. I let the yogurt sit in the oven overnight – about 11 hours. I strained the yogurt while I was at work today – a little over 8 hours.

    Any insight??

    • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

      Has a smoker ever used your pot for an ashtray?

      • Lacey

        No. Lol.

        • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

          I am thinking something is wrong with your pot if there was a funny smell while you were heating the milk. I’d try cleaning it very thoroughly or using a different one next time. Sorry that’s not more helpful! I have absolutely no idea what would have caused that. Don’t worry about the duplicate comment, I’ll remove it :)

          Feel free to email me if you have any other questions about the recipe. Such a weird thing!

        • Lacey

          So is the milk supposed to smell when being heated?

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/116899699259024089659/posts Jennifer Farley

            It definitely shouldn’t smell like anything other than warm milk. If it does that’s an indication that the milk may be sour or the pot has residue of some sort.

  • Anne L

    Do I have to use stainless steel bowls or can I use my glass bowls?

    • Jennifer Farley

      That should work!

  • RC

    I haven’t made viili yogurt in my house in over a year, yet that’s what I ended up with while trying to make Greek yogurt. I’m ok with that since viili has always been my favorite strain, but how do I keep viili out when/if I want Greek? I sterilized all of my equipment before this attempt at making Greek yogurt. Would incubating outside of the mesophilic temperature range help keep the viili from taking over?

    • http://www.savorysimple.net Savory Simple

      I’m sorry I’m not more helpful, but I’ve never made viili so I just don’t know. I had to Google the term! My recipe has definitely never had those results when I make it. It sounds tasty, though.