Basics – Homemade Greek-Style Yoghurt

Making your own yoghurt is a very popular money-saving activity for thrifty cooks, but in this country we tend to stick to commercial thickening agents available on supermarket shelves to give us a home-made and cheaper alternative to the commercial yoghurts available.

Then I received an email from Lisa who describes the way her mother and grandmother routinely make their yoghurt and suddenly, I have done away with commercial yoghurts – and yoghurt-making premixed powders – for good.

And all for the cost of a litre of milk.

There’s all sorts of recipes out there – if such a thing as making yoghurt could be described as a recipe – and it can get as technical as you want, but blessedly Lisa has gone for the simple approach. There is no talk of thermometers here, no steaming or bottling, or any need for equipment that you don’t have.

There is some accumulated whey – the clear liquid that settles on top of yoghurt – that you can drain before eating or stir through as you want and it got me thinking about making ricotta, that twice cooked home-style cheese made from re-cooking the whey. Unfortunately, every reference I’ve looked at suggests the whey from making yoghurt is too acidic so doesn’t work. If anyone can tell me otherwise and supply a recipe I’d love to try it. My goodness, making your own yoghurt, making your own ricotta – what next, DIY mozzarella?

You never know.

Makes up to 3 cups of plain, thick, greek-style yoghurt

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  • 1 litre full-cream milk
  • 1½ tbsp full-fat greek yoghurt*

*Use full-fat milk and yoghurt, NOT skim or reduced fat, which will make a very watery yoghurt. Use probiotic yoghurt containing acidophilus, NOT yoghurt made with artificial thickeners – you will need to use a small amount just to get your first batch started, but after that, you can continue using the last of each homemade batch to make up some more.


Place milk in a wide heavy-based saucepan over medium heat and bring it to the boil without burning the bottom of the saucepan.

As soon as it comes to the boil, remove from the heat and allow the milk to cool in the saucepan. It has to cool to the temperature of a baby’s bottle. Simply put your little finger in the milk and count slowly to ten. The milk should be warm, not cool, and you should be able to rest your finger comfortably in the milk for the slow count.

By now a skin will have formed on the milk. Carefully skim this skin off with a little of the milk into a smaller bowl and add the yoghurt. Stir well and mix thoroughly to remove all lumps, then add it back to the remaining warm milk and stir it thoroughly to combine.

Pour the milk and yoghurt mixture into a glass or ceramic casserole dish which has a lid. Put the lid on top and then wrap the casserole tightly in a small blanket or very thick towel and leave it overnight or at least for 10 hours. Do not move it or disturb it.  It’s very important to leave the milk culture undisturbed and left to cool as slowly as possible.

The next morning, unwrap the casserole dish and transfer the yoghurt to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. You can either stir the whey which has accumulated on the top back through the yoghurt, or strain it off as you make a dish of Labneh.

Makes 2 – 3 cups plain, thickened yoghurt which you can then flavour with pureed or stewed fruit, honey, cinnamon or jam.

Yoghurt made this way will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use the last of the batch to make your next yoghurt overnight.


$2.00 for 750ml plain yoghurt

27 thoughts on “Basics – Homemade Greek-Style Yoghurt”

  1. Thanks Sandra. My mother used to make yoghurt this way but I never got the recipe from her. It was the best yoghurt. Now I can make it myself.

  2. I have the store bought powder-yoghurt maker. Would it be possible to put the home-made mixture into the store bought yoghurt making container instead of the casserole dish?

  3. Seeing as I enjoy reading through Sandra’s recipes and she has positively saved me with her Artisan bread recipe (which I make regularly after the demise of yet another expensive and stupid bread maker) I thought it would be great to share a little something with the yoghurt recipe. Very happy to ‘pay it forward’ :).
    This yoghurt is so damned easy to make and we go through at least 3 litres’ worth of milk into yoghurt every week. Double that in summer when the kids demand yoghurt and cucumber salad (another thing I grew up with). If I don’t have time, my husband makes it. No homemade yoghurt in this house would be like having no running water…enjoy!

    1. Lisa, thank you so much for this recipe, it’s fantastically easy and a life saver for the money-conscious. If you love the bread recipes here, you’re going to adore tomorrow’s recipe as well. Once again, many thanks xxx

  4. hi

    I was reading thru the comments, and notice Lisa’s comment about the Artisan bread recipe. Coud you please direct me to the recipe?

  5. I bought an Easiyo yoghurt maker, and at a start-up cost of all of twenty bucks from Big W, I can make a litre of yoghurt for about $1.80. I don’t use the Easiyo sachets, I just mix a Tb of plain yoghurt with a litre of full-cream UHT milk and maybe half a cup of full-cream milk powder to make it thicker, then fill the yoghurt-maker with boiling water and leave for 12 hours. Easy and foolproof. Since I make 1 to 2 batches a week, I’ve more than recouped my start-up money. Every ten batches or so I buy a fresh small yoghurt to start a fresh batch, as I’ve heard the culture starts to deteriorate after a lot of uses. Yes, it’s another single use item in my kitchen, but I don’t have to do any heating of milk or wrapping of dishes, or be too precious about moving the maker. I love it.

    1. I’ve found that adding powdered milk (or soy protein if i’m making it for my partner) helps thicken it up…

  6. Problem solved. Did it this time in a thermos to maintain the temp and absolutely perfect consistency (little tricky to get out though). Now to find one of those old wide mouth thermos I used to take my Heinze spaghetti to school in as a kid. Stoked though.

    1. I don’t think I am capable of making yoghurt!!!! Like the first time, I got about 1/3 cup of yoghurt out of the whole litre. It was sitting for 11 hours. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. I have followed your instructions to the t! I am going shopping tomorrow. Might try a yoghurt maker?!?!

      1. Did you get a yoghurt with the right bacteria? You probably did, but I know I stuffed up the first time and didn’t, and it was not a good result. Since I corrected that and seeded the first lot it’s been fine. The other thing I found was keeping the right temp was an issue. Using the thermos maintained the temp over night and I got a much better/thicker/tangier result. Bit of a pain to get it out is all.

  7. Mine failed as well – I used Greek style yoghurt to start and left it in the (slightly warmed) oven overnight as I have read other people do. And it is still pretty much just milk! I don’t really want to throw it all away though, is there any way to resurrect it? Add more yoghurt and try again?

    1. Made it last night and had exactly the same result as you Katrina :o(
      Not sure what I did wrong.
      Can the 1 1/2 tbls of yoghurt used be too old?
      The bottom of my saucepan had a layer of burnt milk but I did not stir any of it into the remaining milk but maybe this spoilt it?
      Any suggestions?

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