Nonfat Yogurt

ice above

Prep time: 1 hour (mostly inactive!)
“Cook” time: 10-14 hours

I love yogurt. Its delicious on its own, and it makes a great base for sauces, baked goods, and of course, smoothies. Its also gives back – yogurt is a nutrient rich food that you can feel good about eating.

Homemade yogurt is super easy. As with everything in life, it gets better as you do it more and more. My first batch wasn’t flawless – the texture was not thick enough. It was still delicious. You can decide whether to make regular or Greek yogurt. The only difference is that Greek yogurt is strained to remove whey. That’s what makes it so thick. The only downside is that by straining it you end up with less yogurt. An easy fix is to simply double the recipe!

This recipe is especially appealing to me because its far cheaper to make than the organic yogurt I buy at the store for $8 (mine is about $4, and its still organic). Since readers have different preferences and budgets, I never specifically note that my ingredients are organic – although my ingredients usually are.

1 Qt nonfat milk
1 ½ tsp nonfat Greek yogurt
Food thermometer


  1. Heat milk to 175°-180° (use microwave or stove).
  2. Remove hot milk from heat source and allow to cool until the milk reaches 110°-115°. This will take quite some time, anywhere from 35-50 minutes.
  3. Once milk is cooled, whisk in 1 ½ tsp yogurt. This is referred to as the “starter.” You should use your own yogurt that is less than a week old, or store yogurt that specifically lists “live cultures” in its ingredients. I use Stonyfield Farms nonfat Greek yogurt as a starter.
  4. Heat your gas oven to 350 for 1 minute, then switch off. Turn on oven light.
  5. Place mixture in the oven after it has been turned off (light should be on). Cover the milk with a plate, then cover the top and sides with dish towels.
  6. Allow milk to “incubate” in warm oven for 10-14 hours. This will depend on a number of factors. 12 is the magic number in my kitchen. If you need to, pull out milk/yogurt and reheat the oven for 1 minute. Then set  covered milk/yogurt in for a few more hours.
  7. You will know when the yogurt is done because the texture will be gelatinous, yet creamy. Continue reading the next section to make Greek yogurt. This is the last step f you like regular, non-Greek yogurt. Spoon the yogurt into a container and refrigerate. The yogurt is good for approximately 3 weeks – but use common sense to determine whether its still good to eat (this approximation may also differ if you did not use organic products).
 oven  post incubation

Left: If you are short on time, place the hot milk in a bowl of ice to reduce the heat quicker (though I think this affects the final texture); Center: Milk incubating in oven; Right: My first batch was a little thin, but you can see how after 11 hours, I successfully made yogurt!

in jars

Greek Yogurt

  1. Line a sieve with two layers of cheese cloth. Place this over a deep bowl.
  2. Spoon 3-4 portions of the yogurt into the sieve. If you pour it all at once, the weight will push the yogurt through the strainer and you will have a mess on your hands. Don’t ask me how I know that.
  3. After spooning 3-4 portions, carefully pour the rest of the yogurt into the sieve.
  4. Let yogurt strain for about 40 minutes. You should have a cup or so of whey sitting in the bowl under the sieve. If you see whey (which looks like yellowish water) on the top of the sieve, gently stir or shake the sieve.
  5. After the whey has been strained, pour the Greek yogurt into a container. It will thicken after a few hours in the refrigerator. You can discard the way or store it separately to use in smoothies. Learn more about whey here.




Left: you should use a bowl that fits your sieve; Center: Let the yogurt strain until the whey is removed; Right: Strained whey. Apparently good for many things.

There it is! Easy peasy. I try to start the recipe on a weekend evening. Then I let the yogurt incubate overnight, and strain in the morning. Do I have any suggestions about how to use said yogurt? Heck yes!

1. Flavored yogurt! Just add any flavoring you like. Pureed fruit, perhaps nuts? A friend of mine loves honey vanilla, which sounds mouth-watering good. Those two fresh flavors really up the ante on this timeless classic.

2. Breakfast smoothie – super healthy and you can’t taste any of the veggies. I make this several times per week. You may need to vary the amount of liquid. Blend and voila!

  • 1 kiwi (skin on – hello nutrients!)
  • ¾ C frozen blueberries
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 1 C chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 C yogurt
  • ½ C nonfat milk
  • 3-4 ice cubes

3. Cucumber raita – a delicious dipping sauces for meat dishes. See this LawyerintheKitchen recipe here.

Tell me how you enjoy yogurt in the comments section below. Hungry for more recipes? Explore more at LawyerintheKitchen!

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