How to Make a Gallon of Slow Cooker Yogurt

Last week as we shopped at our new local Aldi, a sweet elderly woman, seeing me grab a container of Greek yogurt, exclaimed she loved Greek yogurt but not the price. I told her that I make a gallon at a time at home for a fraction of the price. We had a mini tutorial right there in the store and she was so openly amazed that this could be done.

I realize that many people shy away from cultured or fermented foods because they seem weird or immoral. But they’re so not that is feels right to share it here with you all.

Milk and yogurt are the only two ingredients that you need here.

I choose whole milk and Greek yogurt for the culture because we found we prefer the finished product over using reduced fat and regular yogurt. So, whole milk and Greek yogurt, okay?

The current cost of 32 oz. plain Greek yogurt is $3.49 and a gallon of whole milk is $1.49. I dug this crumpled receipt out of my purse for proof:

Here’s what you need to make yogurt in the slow cooker:

1 gallon of milk

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

Slow cooker

Measuring cup


Meat Thermometer


A word about metal in cultured and fermented stuff – it’s not recommended. I have used metal utensils, but not metal containers. I am going to back up the scientific community not because I know what they’re talking about, rather because having a spoiled product after all the work and money spent is terribly disappointing. For the sake of such things, proceed with nonmetal containers and utensils.

SLOWLY pour the milk into your slow cooker. I emphasized slowly because if you are in a hurry and create a vacuum in the jug, you will have milk splashed all over. Slowly. Put the lid on and turn the setting on low for a few hours, checking it with your meat thermometer until it reaches 180 degrees.

While that is warming, measure 1 cup of Greek yogurt out and leave it out to reach room temperature.

Now you have some time to have a cuppa, check our Facebook page, take a nap or luxurious bubble bath, read an entire book or perhaps some other entries in my blog. You know, whatever is more likely to happen…

When the milk is at 180, turn the slow cooker off and let the temp come down to 110-115. Why wait for the temperature come down? Because any higher will kill the cultures in the yogurt – the yogurt that you are going to stir in with your nonmetal spoon.

Put that lid back on but leave the slow cooker off. Do not turn the slow cooker back on. Just don’t. You will hate me, I will hate me and we’ll both hate your yogurt. Cover lid with a dishtowel to maintain that temperature as long as you can.

And now we wait. You can let it be for 12 hours or, like, 36… We wait 36 not only because I forget all about it but also because it then reaches the consistency that we like. It should look kinda like this:

There will be a weird yellowish liquid on the top, which is whey and can be used in smoothies, marinades, baked goods, at the very least, it’s a superfood for your animals. Don’t toss it – use it!

Strain the whey from the yogurt with cloth until it’s thick and you have Greek yogurt. Or let’s say you just don’t have the time or desire to strain the yogurt. You can simply pour off the extra whey on the top and use it as is. It’ll be plain yogurt, which is said to have less protein, but still delicious.

Ready for the cost breakdown?

8 oz. is 1/4th of 32 oz. Greek yogurt for $3.49 = $.8725

1 gallon whole milk $1.49

Therefore, $1.49 + $.8725 = $2.3625


Pretty incredible, right?

ETA: Yesterday, one of my Iron Heart besties sent a text to all the Iron Heart mamas saying that the competing Walmart had their milk down to $1.02! That takes this week’s batch down to $1.89. $1.89!!!! So great a price that it feels wrong. Not that that stopped me from getting 6 gallons… 


Slow Cooker Yogurt

Servings 20 approx
Author Katie


  • 1 gallon whole milk
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt


  1. Slowly pour milk into slow cooker and set on low until milk reaches 180 degrees. Turn off and let cool to 100-115 degrees.

  2. Into the cooled milk, stir 1 cup of room temperature Greek yogurt. Cover top of slow cooker with a towel to maintain the warmth.

Allow yogurt to culture for 12 to 36 hours, depending on taste.


Recipe Notes

For Greek yogurt - strain whey from yogurt with cheese cloth.

For plain yogurt, simply pour off separated whey and use as is.

In the next post, I’ll share how I make easy-to-grab, sugar free, yogurt with fruit cups for my beasties!






Do you prefer Greek or regular yogurt? How do you use it?


Author: Katie

Welcome! I'm Katie. Here at Forging Iron Hearts, I will be sharing the experiences of our family here in our intentional community in East Texas. You will likely see occasional posts from my wonderful husband Kevin and the other Iron Heart families, as well.

4 thoughts on “How to Make a Gallon of Slow Cooker Yogurt”

Comments are closed.