Making Instant Pot Coconut Yogurt is fool-proof and way cheaper than buying yogurt at the store. Plus, you have full control over the thickness, flavor, and probiotic levels!
- 1 quart of full fat canned or boxed coconut milk (I get best results from this coconut cream, but any full fat coconut milk will work)
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (do not sub in honey—it has its own bacteria that will fight the yogurt culture)
- 3 tablespoons plain yogurt with live active cultures (dairy, soy, coconut, almond—all fine) OR one packet of freeze dried yogurt culture (I like this one)
- OPTIONAL THICKENER: 1 to 2 teaspoons unflavored grass-fed beef gelatin OR 1/2 to 1 teaspoon powdered agar agar
- Pour the coconut milk and maple syrup into the pot of the Instant Pot. Whisk well, then press the “Yogurt” button, and then adjust the setting until you see “boil.” Let the Instant Pot run through the process (it’s getting the milk up to a temperature of around 185°), whisking occasionally. No need to place the lid on the Instant Pot during this stage.
- When the Instant Pot beeps that it is finished, allow the milk to cool until it is between 100º and 110º. This can take upwards of an hour.
- If using starter yogurt: When the milk is at the correct temperature, ladle out about 1/2 cup of the warm milk into a small bowl, and whisk with the 3 tablespoons plain starter yogurt until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the Instant Pot and whisk well.
- If using freeze-dried yogurt culture: When the milk is at the correct temperature, sprinkle on one packet of the starter culture and then whisk very well to combine.
- If using a thickener, sprinkle on top of the warm milk, and then whisk very well to combine.
- Close the lid of the Instant Pot (no need to seal), and press the “Yogurt” button. Adjust the setting until you see the time display. Set for the desired amount of fermentation time. Eight hours is bare minimum, but I *much* prefer yogurt that has been fermented closer to 24-36 hours. This results in a naturally thick and tangy yogurt—very like regular Greek yogurt. Plus, it has more probiotics!
- When the fermenting time is up, transfer the yogurt to a glass storage container (I use a wide mouth quart jar) and keep in the fridge. It will thicken up considerably as it cools.
If you like thicker, Greek-style yogurt, I recommend using either the gelatin or the agar agar. However, if you want to leave those our, the longer you ferment, the thicker the yogurt gets naturally.
If you do use the thickeners, the upper range will get you a thicker, Greek-style yogurt, while the lower will just thicken to a “normal” yogurt consistency.
Since coconut milk doesn’t have the same kind of sugars that cow’s milk has, the added maple syrup is to give the bacteria a jump-start meal—they eat almost all the sugars and the resulting yogurt isn’t sweetened at all.
Some people recommend using opened probiotic capsules as yogurt starter, and it can work—depending on your probiotic. Proceed with caution though, as some can make yogurt taste really not good.
When you spoon your yogurt into a container for storage, make sure to reserve a little bit for the next batch of yogurt in a small jar (I just fill one of these quarter-pints). That way, you’ll never be without yogurt starter.
I love my Thermapen for yogurt-making (and honestly, everything else in the kitchen), but if you don’t have a thermometer, it’s not a big deal. Another trick is to place a (clean!) finger in the milk—when you can hold your finger in the milk while counting to ten, it’s cool enough to pitch in the yogurt starter.