Instant pot Cold Start Yogurt in Mason Jars

Easy peasy Cold Start yogurt in Instant pot

Make Homemade yogurt in a no-fail method using Instant pot Cold start or No-boil method. Its so easy and affordable to make yogurt, Greek yogurt and flavored yogurt at home using an Instant pot. I promise you wont buy store-bought yogurt anymore!

Instant pot homemade yogurt in mason jars.

Why make homemade yogurt when its easily available in stores?

Yes, Yogurt in different flavors and styles is easily available in stores but the convenience of making homemade yogurt is entirely different. I have spent several winters buying store-bought yogurt because it was too hard to make yogurt in Seattle, but Instant pot changed my life and has always delivered great results. Here are a few reasons why you should make homemade yogurt:

  • You can strain it and make your own Greek yogurt.
  • Add your favorite topping and sweeteners to make it your own. Store-bought yogurts have sugar or artificial sweeteners and are often too sweet to my taste. With homemade yogurt, I add clean sweeteners like raw honey or maple syrup, so its much better for you. I also make spicy Mint yogurt drink with this.. So delicious!
  • There are no extra additives added like pectin, gelatin, locust bean gum, natural flavors(who knows what those are!) etc. Its clean and perfect!
  • And the last reason is, its so easy and anyone can do it!

How to make Yogurt in Instant pot?

There are two ways to make yogurt in Instant pot using Yogurt mode.

  • One is a hot start method, where we boil the milk to 180F and then cooled to 110F. Then the yogurt is incubated with live cultures and set to yogurt mode for 8-10 hours. Its a bit of a hassle as you need to monitor the yogurt very closely to come to a certain temperature and then add the starter.
  • Second is a Cold start method, where the yogurt and the culture/starter are whisked in together and then set in yogurt mode for 8-10 hours. This is a fool-proof method and you will have perfect results every time.

Why use Instant pot Cold Start method to make Yogurt?

As I said, its fool-proof and a no-fail method. You cannot go wrong in this method. The yogurt mode in Instant pot maintains an steady temperature to set the yogurt. You can skip the whole ordeal of boiling and cooling down to certain temperature process. Its so easy!

The only one important thing is to use a Ultra pasteurized milk. Ultra pasteurized milk is heated to high temperature and cooled down rapidly killing all the bacteria. There is no other bacteria to compete with the yogurt making process except for the lactobacillus bulgaricus (The bacteria in yogurt) and it grows during the incubation period. If you like to use regular or pasteurized milk, use the traditional boil method/ Hot-start method.

Ultra filtered milk is ultra pasteurized too. Ultra filtered milk like Fairlife will produce the thickest yogurt, almost like a Greek yogurt. If you are using regular ultra pasteurized milk, Make sure to strain it to make Greek yogurt.

Yogurt in a bowl with strawberries and granola.

Why use mason jars?

Its for the ease and its purely personal. I feel the molecular composition of the yogurt changes when its changed from one container to another. We have to switch it to storage containers once the yogurt is set anyway, so I prefer to set in mason jars and they go straight into refrigerator. I use the yogurt as is for different purposes like marinating for biryani, lassi, yogurt drinks, etc. But, if you are straining the yogurt, feel free to make it directly in the pot.

How to make the Instant pot Cold Start Yogurt in Mason Jars?

  • First, let’s gather all the ingredients. I am using two types of milk here, Ultra pasteurized and Ultra filtered (Fairlife) milk, Some sterilized or cleaned Half-pint size mason jars( 8 oz. or 240 ml) and a starter whole milk yogurt like Chobani or Fage. Try to use a starter which has no preservatives or additives or sweeteners and a fresh one. I also use a 3 day old homemade yogurt as starter and that works wonderfully as well.
Ingredients and jars used for Instant pot yogurt.
  • Fill the mason jars almost to the rim with cold milk. Half pint jars hold about a cup(8 Oz or 240 ml) of milk.
  • Add a teaspoon of cold yogurt into each jar. To make it super simple, one cup of milk needs one teaspoon of Yogurt.
  • Mix the yogurt into milk thoroughly.
  • Place the trivet in your Instant pot and add 1 cup water.
Instant pot yogurt in mason jars process.
  • Close the mason jars with the lids and shake it really well. Repeat the process with all the jars.
  • Place the mason jars on the trivet and set the YOGURT mode on normal for 8-10 hours. I like my yogurt a little tart, so I set it to 10 hours.
  • Place the lid with the valve in Venting position or use a normal glass lid.
  • Once the timer is done, place the yogurt in the refrigerator. This helps the yogurt set more and become thicker. It also stops over fermenting of yogurt.
Making Instant pot yogurt in mason jars.

A few important tips and tricks for making Instant pot Cold Start Yogurt:

What mode to use if I have no yogurt button on my Instant pot?

Yogurt button makes life so easy, but just in case you don’t have Yogurt button on your pot, you can still make yogurt. Unfortunately, Cold start method doesn’t work with no yogurt button. So, boil your milk in Sauté mode(normal) to 185F, turn it OFF and then cool it down to 110F. Add the starter yogurt and whisk it thoroughly. Close the lid, unplug the Instant pot and Wrap the whole Instant pot(Its still turned OFF) in a towel and keep in warm place for 8-10 hours.

Which is better? Hot start or cold start method to make Yogurt?

Hot start and Cold start method are both great methods to make homemade yogurt and there is also slight unnoticeable difference in taste. I prefer the cold start because its super easy, the yogurt is nice and thick and there is no hassle of boiling and cooling the milk.

Can I heat up the milk in cold start method?

No, there is no need to heat up the milk. The yogurt mode on the Instant pot maintains an optimum temperature to make the yogurt.Instant pot homemade yogurt in mason jars.

Which milk works best for Cold Start Yogurt and why?

Using Ultra pasteurized is the best option to make Cold Start Yogurt. Ultra pasteurized milk is heated to high temperature and cooled down rapidly killing all the bacteria. There is no other bacteria to compete with the yogurt making process except for the bacteria in yogurt and it grows during the incubation period. If you like to use regular or pasteurized milk, use the traditional boil method/ Hot-start method.
Ultra filtered milk (and ultra pasteurized) like Fairlife will produce the thickest yogurt, almost like a Greek yogurt. It has highly concentrated protein and calcium levels and less sugars which help with a fool-proof yogurt making process. If you are using ultra pasteurized milk, Make sure to strain it to make Greek yogurt.

Tried and tested milks(from my friends and readers) that make the best yogurt:

Fairlife 2%, Organic valley Grass milk (2% and fat free), Maple hill organic ultra filtered 2% and Maple hill Grass-fed Ultra pasteurized milk. The starters used were Chobani whole milk yogurt and Grace harbor Creamery Plain yogurt and then, the homemade yogurt as starter for the next batches of yogurt.

How many hours is ideal for making yogurt in Instant pot?

8-10 hours is the ideal time. I set my yogurt for 10 hours in winters and 8 hours in summer. It also depends on how tart or sweet you like your yogurt. Set the yogurt mode on normal for 10 hours for a tart yogurt.

How soon do I need to refrigerate the yogurt after the yogurt cycle is done?

Typically, as soon as you can! I transfer the yogurt jars to my refrigerator immediately after the yogurt is done. But, its okay to leave it in the instant pot for a couple hours after the cycle ends. Yogurt is a form of preservation of milk in olden days, so its totally okay to leave it at room temperature for a few hours. Yogurt in a mason jar with a spoon.

How long does the yogurt last in the refrigerator?

Yogurt will last for up to a week in the refrigerator. After that, the bacteria starts to weaken, so do not use a week old yogurt as a starter. You will know your yogurt has gone bad if it smells sour or develops pink mold on top.

How to make the yogurt thick like Greek yogurt?

Strain it using a cheesecloth or muslin cloth or yogurt strainer after its completely set in the refrigerator.

How to make flavored yogurt with plain yogurt?

I make flavored yogurt for my kids all the time. Just mix in honey/maple syrup and your favorite fruit puree. We like mango, strawberry and peach flavored yogurts.

Why is my yogurt not set?

Yogurt doesn’t set sometimes because the starter might have been weak, Try to use a fresh starter or 2-3 day old homemade yogurt starter. Another reason could be that the yogurt cycle is shorter, try to ferment it for couple more hours. Add more fresh yogurt and set the yogurt mode for 3-4 more hours.

Why is my yogurt sour?

Your yogurt is sour because you might have left in yogurt mode a bit longer than needed. Or added more starter than needed. You can always save it next time by adding less starter and fermenting it for less time.

Can I use a glass or Instant pot safe bowl instead of Mason jars for Yogurt?

Yes! You can use any sterilized Instant pot safe bowl like a pyrex bowl and make yogurt using cold start method. This method is fool proof.

Yield: Half pint or 1 cup Yogurt

Instant pot Cold Start Yogurt

Yogurt in a mason jar.

Easy peasy Cold Start yogurt in Instant pot.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Yogurt mode 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Ultra pasteurized whole milk (8 ounce or 240 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon Whole milk Greek yogurt (with live cultures) or 1 teaspoon homemade yogurt from your last batch

Instructions

  1. Fill the half pint mason jar almost to the rim with cold milk.
  2. Add a teaspoon of cold yogurt to your milk. Mix the yogurt into milk thoroughly (seal the jar properly and shake it thoroughly).
  3. Place the trivet in your Instant pot and add 1 cup water. Place the mason jar on the trivet and set the YOGURT mode on normal for 8-10 hours.
  4. Place the lid with the valve in Venting position or use a normal glass lid.
  5. Once the timer is done, place the yogurt in the refrigerator. You can strain the yogurt for a more thicker yogurt and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Notes

  • The ingredients above are for 1 cup of yogurt only. Use as many mason jars as you like and can fit in your Instant pot.
  • Ultra pasteurized and Ultra filtered (Fairlife) milk work the best for cold start yogurt. If you like to use regular or pasteurized milk, use the traditional boil method/ Hot-start method.
  • Try to use a starter which has no preservatives or additives or sweeteners and a fresh one. I also use a 3 day old homemade yogurt as starter and that works wonderfully as well.
  • If your yogurt is not set in 8 hours, set it for couple more hours.
  • Do not add any sweeteners or fruit preserves to your milk before making yogurt. I prefer to add them later after the yogurt is set.
  • Strain the yogurt using a cheesecloth or muslin cloth or yogurt strainer after its completely set in the refrigerator.
  • I added lots of tips and tricks to make easy yogurt in my post above. Please refer above if you have any questions.

Did you make this recipe?

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I tried to cover all the questions I could think of, please refer above for all the tips and tricks. If you still have questions, leave a comment below or shoot me an email at blissfulbitesbytay@gmail.com, I am happy to help!

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