Basic Kitchen Recipe: Homemade Microwave Yogurt!

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homemade microwave yogurt

It never fails.  Every time I do a post about something other than *traditional* couponing (match-ups, etc.), I get a mountain of e-mails about how much you love them.   Apparently, you all really need/want to save money everywhere as much as I do!

So this week, a few of our regular girls and I were talking about homemade yogurt – crockpot, stove top, etc.  I said I make mine in the microwave.  This is irregular, and unheard of, I am told.  Ohhh-kay, I was not aware of that fact.  So, good and fabulous friend that I am (wink wink),  I passed along my quick instructions for microwave yogurt.  Michelle gave it a whirl and thought it was so fabulous (you know, my favorite word) that I HAD to post about it.  Whatev.  Here I am.

That’s it?  That’s my back story?   Yep.  OK, here’s some more information for you.  I didn’t exactly stumble across this recipe.   You know how relatively unskilled I am at coming up with something original.   As many of you know, I live in Michigan.  That said, we have a large Middle Eastern population.  YEARS ago, I was taught this method by a good college friend of mine and her Lebanese mother.  There.   Better story?  Probably. All right, so here is my super easy recipe for Microwave Yogurt.

homemade microwave yogurt


What You’ll Need:

  • CorningWare Dish w/Lid (like one above or something comparable)  You don’t want to use an oval bowl because it won’t heat evenly.  Use a  round bowl if you can.
  • 1/2 Gallon Milk – Skim or 2%
  • 2 (generous) Tablespoons Dannon plain yogurt  – make sure you buy some that isn’t getting ready to expire in 5 minutes.
  • Bath Towel


  • Pour milk into your CorningWare bowl.  Heat on high in the microwave for about 15-20 minutes.  This will vary microwave-to-microwave.  You’ll want it to be so hot that you have to skim it, but not super heated.  Yikes!
  • Carefully remove it from the microwave and place it, covered, on the towel to cool to 110-115 degrees.  The towel prevents the cold counter from cooling the bottom of the milk faster than the top and ruining your batch.  Skim it periodically.  Now, I don’t have a thermometer to reach this temperature.  I just wait until it gets hotter than lukewarm.  Vague?  Probably, but you’ll recall I’m a Biology Major/Chem. Minor.   It should be hot to the touch, but not intolerable.  Definitely not lukewarm.  If you have a thermometer, you’re better off than I.  I’m too frugal to buy one, and I manage fine without it.  🙂  The bottom line?  Just make sure you don’t kill the bacteria in the yogurt, but make sure it’s warm enough to multiply.
  • Remove around 1/4 cup of the heated milk and mix your 2 tablespoons of yogurt.  Then return the mixture to the milk and stir thoroughly  to mix.
  • Cover your dish again and wrap well with a towel or blanket to preserve the heat.
  • I keep mine on the counter for about 6 hours or so.  Yes, six.
  • Unwrap and remove the lid after 6 hours for around 15-20 minutes.
  • Refrigerate.

Now, my fabulous friends do all sorts of things with this concoction to thicken it and haven’t gotten sick yet.  I’m just passing this along because I’ve done it (despite my overwhelming fear of germs) and am still here to write this post.  I’m sure there are other ways to thicken this – like straining, but I don’t like to mess with that.


Thicker Yogurt: When it is completely cooled, cover the yogurt with a piece of paper towel or cheesecloth.  On top of the paper towel, place a clean cloth used ONLY for food related preparation like this.  You know, definitely not one you wash in the washing machine with fabric softener and all of the other blechity blech-blech’s you wouldn’t want to eat.  As the liquid (whey) is absorbed into the cloth, wring it out periodically until your yogurt reaches the desired consistency.  Remove the paper towel.


Organic Option: You can easily substitute organic milk and Stonyfield plain for both ingredients.  I have done it and do it often.  For me, it really depends on coupons and pricing of regular milk and Dannon vs. the organic options.  Generally, no matter which way I slice it, organic yogurt is cheaper to make than purchasing it, so it’s a win-win.


Stir-Ins: My favorites are homemade strawberry jam, granola and honey.


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  1. says

    I enjoy making this and actually use a container called Easiyo, which is a one liter container which then sits inside a large thermos-like thing which you fill with almost boiling water and then seal the lid. It rests on the counter as the warm water insulates it. I like to use a combo of 2% milk, evaporated milk and sometimes dry milk powder. And goat’s milk from refrig, dry powder or can is great blended with cow’s milk.If you only have access to UHT milk there is no need to heat to 182, simply bring to 100F and add your yogurt. Do NOT add flavoring until it is set for at least six hours in refrig, but remember to remove a few tbsp of plain, chilled for at least six hours starter for your next batch The chill time in refrig allows for proteins to set and bonds to form. You can strain, if you want to, after it chills–just keep the whey, make lactofermented sodas/veggies or ricotta cheese, hair rinse, add to smoothies, etc.. Try to start a new batch at least every seven days. Oh, you can alsofill ice cube trays with the plain but six hour chilled yogurt and then freeze them so you have backup starter–just use it within 3 months and keep them in airtight container in freezer. One cube per quart.Adding more culture in hopes of faster turnaround is not a good thing.Yes, I am addicted to all cultured milk products!

  2. Kodalu says

    My mother-in-law is from India, and they eat yogurt with almost every meal – this is how she taught me to make it, except that she doesn’t skim it (and there’s never a problem with a skin, so I’m not sure why that is) and she just takes the starter (spoonful of yogurt) and mixes it in to the big bowl without separating out 1/4 cupful.. Also, she doesn’t wrap it in towels, she just leaves it covered on the counter overnight before refrigerating. You can use any yogurt that has live cultures, it doesn’t have to be Dannon … if you make this a lot there’s never any reason to buy yogurt again, just save a spoonful of your previous batch to add to the new batch.

  3. Karen says

    I tried the crockpot method several times, with no luck. This worked for me the first time. I think the important things were that I used Reiter 2% milk with no hormones, etc, and Cabot yogurt starter. The questions that I have are: How long to refrigerate it before separating it into individual containers? Is it ready to eat as soon as it is refrigerated?

    • Melissa says

      It sounds like yours set pretty well before refrigeration! I usually have to refrigerate mine until it’s cold and gelled before I separate it. If yours is set, you can separate it immediately since it’s well blended. And yes, you can eat it as soon as it’s refrigerated.