Homemade vegan yogurt is easy to make. It’s especially easy if you have an electric pressure cooker with a yogurt setting. The Instant Pot is the perfect climate-controlled culturing chamber for yogurt. No worries if you don’t have one. People made yogurt long before the invention of electricity.
Why Homemade Vegan Yogurt
Reasons to make homemade vegan yogurt:
- It saves money.
- It’s environmentally friendly. No yogurt containers to recycle or throw out.
- It’s easy. Just 5 minutes of hands-on time.
- It contains beneficial probiotics. Probiotics have a beneficial effect on the immune system.
- It’s sugar-free. One 5.3 ounce container of commercial vegan yogurt typically contains 16 grams of sugar. Divide grams of sugar by 4 to translate it into teaspoons of sugar. That’s 4 teaspoons sugar in ⅔ cup (150 grams) of yogurt.
- It’s versatile–you can flavor it how you want. Eat it plain. Dollop it on granola. Add fruit. Or use it as a sour cream substitute on baked potatoes. The cashew-soy yogurt is especially good as a vegan sour cream.
How to Make Vegan Yogurt
It only takes two ingredients, plus time:
- plain, unsweetened non-dairy yogurt with active cultures
- plain, unsweetened room temperature soymilk (see Secrets for Vegan Yogurt below for tips)
Place a small amount of yogurt in two pint jars. Fill each jar about three-fourths full with milk. Stir well with a fork. Fill the jars with milk and stir again.
Place the jars in an electric pressure.
The yogurt pictured here is the Cashew-Soy Vegan Yogurt variation. It is foamy because of blending the cashews.
Secure the pressure cooker lid. Close the pressure release valve. Select the yogurt setting and set it for 12-14 hours.
When the yogurt has achieved the desired tartness and thickness, remove from the pressure cooker. Cover and refrigerate 2-6 hours for maximum thickness. Stir before serving. Keeps in the refrigerator for one week or longer.
Vegan Yogurt Variations:
- Cashew-Soy Yogurt: Rinse ½ cup raw cashews. Cover with water and bring to a boil in a small saucepan. Drain and rinse. Process in a blender with 1 cup soy milk until smooth. Add remaining soymilk and yogurt. Blend briefly until mixed. Pour into 3 jars.
- Coconut-Soy Yogurt: Substitute 1/3 cup coconut cream for an equal amount of soymilk. Wisk until smooth. Divide between the two jars.
- Probiotic Yogurt: Substitute 1 probiotic capsule for yogurt starter, about 25 billion CFU. Open the capsule and pour it into the milk container; close lid and shake. Pour into jars or containers for culturing. Save starter for the next batch. It will taste better and get thicker after making several batches.
- Greek Yogurt: Line a fine-mesh strainer with a thin kitchen towel, 3-4 layers of cheesecloth, or 3 basket-style paper coffee filters. Place a strainer over a bowl. Spoon the yogurt into the lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate until it until desired consistency, about 10-12 hours.
- Traditional Culture Method: Warm milk in a saucepan until it reaches 110°F. or until a few drops placed on your wrist feels slightly warm. Remove from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Pour into jars and cover lightly. Wrap in a kitchen towel. Place in a warm place, an insulated cooler, or an oven with the light on.
Secrets for Vegan Yogurt:
- Use soymilk that contains only soybeans and water. West Soy, Eden Soy, and Trader Joe’s are the most commonly available brands. Other types of soymilk with not thicken.
- Use a different recipe for other types of vegan yogurt. [Coming soon.] Nut milk and coconut yogurt needs a thickener. They do not contain the amount or type of protein that soymilk does and therefore react differently when cultured.
- Yogurt tends to separate. Stir before serving or drain off the watery whey that forms at the top.
- For thicker yogurt: scoop the thicker portion off and drain off the whey.
- The longer the yogurt cultures, the thicker and more tart it will become.
- Yogurt will thicken as it cools.
- Vegan yogurt starter is available from Cultures for Health.
- Reserve yogurt from each batch to use as the starter for the next batch.
- Use smaller or larger jars, if preferred.
- 2 tablespoons plain unsweetened non-dairy yogurt with active cultures (or ½ cup yogurt starter from your last batch)
- 4 cups plain unsweetened room temperature soymilk (without thickeners)
- Place two pint jars on the counter. Put one tablespoon yogurt in each jar. Fill jar about three-fourths full with milk. Stir well with a fork. Fill the jars with milk and stir again.
- Place the jars in an electric pressure. (Do not use the rack.) Lock the lid in place. Close the pressure release valve. Select the yogurt setting and set it for 12-14 hours.
- Cover and refrigerate 2-6 hours for maximum thickness. Stir before serving. Keeps in the refrigerator for one week or longer.
- Makes 4 cups yogurt.