Make your own healthier yogurt

On Your Side: Save money and reduce your added sugars by making your own homemade yogurt

It’s surprising how much added sugars can lurk in our favorite foods, including the ones we think of as healthy. That’s especially true with many supermarket yogurts. So why not skip them altogether? Consumer Reports reveals the simple way to make homemade yogurt that offers all of the pros—that’s protein and probiotics—without the cons.

You can buy freeze-dried yogurt cultures online or at health food stores. But if you have a favorite brand of plain yogurt already, just save a few tablespoons of it and use that as a starter for your homemade yogurt.

After that, all you’ll need is milk and a food thermometer. You can use any type of pasteurized dairy milk, but avoid those labeled ultra-pasteurized because your yogurt won’t thicken up properly.

CR says that while making yogurt is easy, there are several steps you’ll need to follow carefully. Here’s the gist:

  • You’ll need to heat the milk to 185 degrees Fahrenheit and maintain that temperature for 10 minutes. Then, let your milk sit until it reaches 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Skim it, then add your starter. After that it will need to ferment up to 12 hours in your oven, with the light on and oven off.
  • Then it goes into the fridge to thicken for another 8 to 12 hours.

Consumer Reports also checked out two other ways to make homemade yogurt using the sous vide method and the Instant Pot.

The sous vide method delivered consistently excellent yogurt every time. Results from the Instant Pot were disappointing, even after fermenting the yogurt three times longer than the sous vide method.

CR says homemade yogurt is good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, but if you want to use some of it for a new batch, you should do that within a week. You can find a detailed DIY yogurt recipe on our website.

If you’d rather leave your yogurt to the pros, Consumer Reports says Fage TruBlend Low Fat Greek Yogurt is one of the healthier options at the grocery store. It has no added sugars, and CR’s taste testers said it has a thick, full-fat dairy texture.