Tricia’s Savings with Slow Cooker Yogurt

by Tricia H on August 25, 2011

With seven in our household it seems we are always out of something. Especially with the two eldest children constantly grazing. However, since I replaced store-bought yogurt with homemade slow cooker yogurt, I don’t have to ration yogurt cups. I can say yes, please have some yogurt.

Slow cooker yogurt is so easy to make. The recipe is simple – just two ingredients. It also feeds a bunch for so little money. And, did I mention it is good for you? The last several times I’ve timed the making of the yogurt so it is our breakfast the next day. Might as well make a meal of it!

I used this recipe from Stephanie O’Dea’s A Year of Slow Cooking site: You Can Make Yogurt in Your Crockpot.

Now, the consistency is more like a drink, not like store-bought. So, we think of it as frugal GoGurt without all the sugar.

No, it isn’t as portable as store-bought yogurt, so we save pimento jars (from making pimento cheese) and other small containers so we can tuck some in Dad’s lunchbox or have just-right portions for snacks.

Other benefits:

  • Mix in some strawberry jelly.
  • Add fresh fruit, a pinch of sugar, a sprinkle of artificial sweetener or none at all.
  • One child loves a splash of vanilla flavoring.
  • Me? Oh a SunButter smoothie is the way to start the day!
  • Use it as a dressing.
  • Drink it straight up. Love you acidophilus!

The savings! We were paying around $8 for a big box of yogurt from the warehouse club. And we were buying at least two boxes. The cost of milk for making slow cooker yogurt is well less than half the cost of one store-bought box. Our yogurt costs are now a third of what they were. But the supply has been doubled! Multiply the savings over a year and you have saved some pretty big bucks.

There’s always enough. I’ve started doubling the yogurt recipe to keep up with the demand in our home. Love me some slow cooker batch cooking!

Slow cooker. Simple. Satisfying. Savings. Super!

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. R. August 25, 2011 at 6:44 pm

This is great! Thank you so much!

I think I finally have my nerve up to get started making this—and savings LOTS, from what we’ve heard and what you’ve said.

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Tricia H August 25, 2011 at 8:28 pm

I had heard about it for a while and was so pleasantly surprised at how easy it is. And absolutely thrilled with how far it goes for less money. Let me know how you like it!

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L2L August 25, 2011 at 7:36 pm

promise you, I was just telling my hubby that I needed to start making our yougurt. My kids love it with the homemade granola I make!!!!! So excited to try this next week!!!!

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Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom August 25, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Perfect!!! Love it when the “recipe stars” align ;)

Erin

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Tricia H August 25, 2011 at 8:29 pm

I adore all the variations that naturally appear with this yogurt. Now we need to toss in some granola. Thanks!

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Donna Dodd August 25, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Just a few days ago my cousin was just telling me that she makes this all the time! Since then I’ve been looking for recipes. My husband & I, our 2 kids, and the 2 kids we babysit all love it but its getting so expensive.

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Tricia H August 25, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Donna, you will love the ease of this. And you can tailor the taste to each child :)

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JenniMom August 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

I drain/ strain mine using a non terry dishcloth and my colander and make Greek yogurt! Talk about a good deal! It makes less than the gallon of milk I put into it, but considering Greek yogurt is very expensive and organic yogurt will cost you a mint and eating it daily will fill a landfill with little containers, I feel like making mine is a great alternative. If you flavor with honey and vanilla during the making process, you can make it thick. After the overnight anything you mix in to flavor it thins it. Mine comes out plain, but good enough to eat that way!

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Tricia H August 25, 2011 at 8:32 pm

I have a good friend that has told me the same thing! She was telling me to strain it to make cream cheese. I agree with you on Greek yogurt and the waste of containers. I’ve even recently seen those little ‘gogurt’ containers to freeze homemade yogurt for later use. Oh so many fun things to try with this! Thank you for the tips JenniMom!

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J.C. August 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

I’ve been making crockpot yogurt for about 6 months or so, & mine usually comes out pretty thick. Not quite as thick as the store-bought ones with gelatin, but definitely thick enough you need a spoon rather than drink it. For the 1/2gal milk (even 1%), I add about 1c starter (my previous batch) & about 1c non-fat dry milk. Sometimes I add a splash of vanilla, but other times I just make ‘fruit on the bottom’ yogurt with whatever fruit we have on hand that I puree & put at the bottom of our old toddler travel bowls (the old take & toss bowls are a perfect single serving size & have lasted us almost 5 years!). Yum!

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Kristin August 26, 2011 at 12:07 am

Mine too! I do usually use whole milk, though, which I know makes thicker yogurt. I don’t add dry milk. :)

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Angie Atchley August 25, 2011 at 11:44 pm

This is perfect! We go through yogurt like water!!

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Tricia H August 28, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Yes, I understand, fellow mama of five :) You will love it!

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Sally { with eager hands } August 26, 2011 at 5:24 am

I echo JenniMom — I really prefer my yogurt, yogurty but everywhere I read said to ad gelatin. Not really what I wanted, though, but a friend said she simple drip-drained hers — like when we make cream cheese! How simple! And you can use the drippings for other things. Love yogurt!! Thanks for your post!

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Keri @Growing in His Glory August 26, 2011 at 7:11 am

I use this recipe too and we love it. I’m wondering, if you double your recipe, how long will the yogurt last? I would like to do this but don’t want to waste yogurt.

Thanks!

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Tricia H August 26, 2011 at 8:04 am

Keri – in our family it lasts a full week! Which is a long time around here :) We have 7 at Hodgepodge. And when I make it with the gallon (doubling the recipe) the slow cooker is filled to the brim. With that much, we feel free to make smoothies galore and I use it as dressing on my salads almost daily now. Hope that helps some?
I so appreciate all your comments, folks. Love the variations!

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mary w August 26, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Keri – When I make yogurt it lasts a couple of weeks before I run out. The yogurt itself should last longer than that.It was originally a way to extend the life of milk so I wouldn’t worry. Anyway, milk is pretty easy to tell if it’s “off”.

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Janet August 26, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I generally make a gallon of yogurt every week and have been doing so for years. This is what I have found:
Straining the yogurt is a sure fire way to get it the thickness you want. If it’s too thick, add a little of the whey back in. No mater how you like it, be sure to blend it so it is silky smooth! If flavoring it, do so after it has set.
Use a few TBS. as starter and no need to add the powdered milk ( I don’t care for all the additives). You may have a challenge with some organic, ultrapasturized milk as that process affects the enzymes in the milk itself.
This is eeasy and healthy and quite frugal :)

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Tricia H August 27, 2011 at 5:57 am

Thank you Janet!

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Wanda August 26, 2011 at 2:34 pm

My daughter and I love, love, love yogurt.! Her new thing is the Splitz yogurt which are pricey and you only get 4 ( I only buy with a coupon)! I will be trying this tonight for sure…can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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Ben the Crock Pot King August 26, 2011 at 8:32 pm

Hi,
Love the article, please keep it up. Because you have 5 children have you ever looked into freezer cooking? or Once a month cooking. Stop by crockpotking.com I definitely think there’s some solutions you would like.

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Mary Kate August 26, 2011 at 10:41 pm

I was just wondering if I would be able to freeze this. I usually put the “Tuberz” that we buy in the freezer and then the kids can either have a great cold snack..or it keeps great in the cooler when we go on trips.

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Tricia H August 27, 2011 at 6:00 am

@Wanda – let me know how you like it! @Ben – thanks for the link to your site – yes, doing lots of freezer and once a month cooking (which I call a ‘big cook’ :) ). @Mary Kate – Yes! from everything I’ve read, you can freeze the homemade yogurt with great success. Hoping to have enough left over to do that here at our house soon. How awesome – frugal, portable, good for you and freezable!

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Michelle h August 28, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I made my first batch this weekend. I have been spending 12 bucks a week on Oikos. I just strained it and it is perfect! Also, I froze the whey in an ice cube tray and use it to make protein shakes…that saves another 20 bucks on protein powder!

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Tricia H August 28, 2011 at 9:55 pm

Michelle! I love hearing deliciously successful savings stories! Thanks for letting me know :)

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natalie January 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm

place a coffee filter inside of a strainer on top of a bowl. Place the yogurt inside the coffee filter and let drip. You will soon have thick and creamy Greek style yogurt. Use the whey in the place of milk in breads or as a thickening agent or in the summer/ spring you can ferment (pickle) using whey and salt!

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Mary B. February 12, 2012 at 10:35 am

Invest in a food thermometer. I tried making yogurt twice by just timing it in the crockpot, and although it made a delicious yogurt drink, it never “jelled” — even when I added gelatin. Then, after reading that the milk has to be raised to a certain temperature to break down the proteins, I bought a thermometer, heated the milk to 175-180 degrees, and cooled it to 115-120 degrees before adding the store-bought yogurt. After wrapping the pot and waiting, I was amazed to see real yogurt, surrounded by whey . . . no extra powdered milk, no gelatin, and I used 2% milk. Real, scoopable, firm yogurt. And all because the temperature was right. Using the timing method the milk was not getting hot enough — there was a real difference in the smell, it’s just short of scalding. If you want firmer yogurt, it’s well worth the $7 spent for a good thermometer, which has so many other uses anyway!

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Tricia February 12, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Natalie and Mary B. – brilliant! Natalie – I had heard of using the coffee filter but haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for the reminder. Mary – sounds like a wise investment indeed.

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Cheri A. February 22, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I really would like try my own yogurt. We are reintroducing milk to my dd, though, and have been trying the lactose-free milk. Has anyone had success with lactose-free milk or even soy milk? I am seeing a few things that make me think that the cow milk is still not working for her.

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mabel doege July 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Tricia Thank you so-o-o much for the yogurt recipe .made in slow cooker!! I’ve been making home made yogurt for years [the way my mother made it]She was from Palestine Where it was made for centuries that way, on the stove,but I love to use my crock a lot.Your yogurt recipe is great!!! There is an easier way to thicken you can buy special strainers for yogurt at ethnic stores . I’m going to try to find one on computer, as mine is worn out. They are great and yogurt is as thick as store bought. wish I could meet you you sound like fun and a cook junkie like me. Love reading and collecting new recipes. I live in Mich. Abouit 25 miles from Detroit Mabel

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