This Cold Start Instant Pot Greek Yogurt Recipe is an easy and budget-friendly choice for a healthy Instant Pot recipe for breakfast.
When I bought my Instant Pot, I didn’t open the box for 3 months.
We didn’t grow up with a pressure cooker and I had never used a pressure cooker myself, so I was majorly intimidated.
After the first few recipes, I was an Instant Pot convert (especially with the crazy-easy-to-peel hard-boiled eggs).
When I started seeing the yogurt recipes pop up, I was majorly intimidated again. I’m a fairly adventurous cook, but homemade yogurt had never been on my radar.
I tried the boil method first. So many people love it and swear by it. The yogurt tasted amazing, but the process itself? With the boiling and cooling and straining (I like thicker Greek yogurt), it was messy and time-consuming and I knew I wouldn’t repeat it regularly.
Then I tried the beautifully simple cold start method.
Now it’s my favorite healthy make-ahead breakfast recipe!
- 3 ingredients
- just a few minutes of prep
It tastes incredible and I am able to make a batch of Cold Start Instant Pot Yogurt for $4.90.
Of course, prices vary by area, but here in Northern Colorado if I watch for sales, I get the ingredients for:
- 52oz Fairlife 2% Milk for $3.50
- 16oz Natural Bliss Creamer for $2.79 (this lasts me 2 recipes)
- 2 Tbs of starter (I used plain Chobani to make my first batch, but have used starter from my previous batch every time since)
I can get a 5.3 oz container of Chobani for $1, which comes out to $0.18 per ounce while the Cold Start Instant Pot Yogurt is only $0.08 per ounce.
My husband and I love having a small (4oz) jar of yogurt with a piece of whole wheat peanut butter toast for breakfast. It’s our go-to, so I have been making a batch of this yogurt about every other week to make sure we always have some on-hand.
Instant Pot Greek Yogurt Recipe
First, gather your materials.
Can I Use A Different Kind Of Coffee Creamer?
The reason I used Natural Bliss coffee creamer is because it’s made with milk. For the cold start method, you have to be really careful about the ingredients to make sure the cultures will grow properly to make yogurt.
I know some people use sweetened condensed milk, but I prefer the Natural Bliss.
My husband has a major sweet tooth, so I wasn’t sure if I could get away with only using half a container of the creamer (some people use the full container), but we both love it with just one cup of sweetener. It’s not overly sweet, but it has great flavor (and we often eat it with fruit, which also adds sweetness).
We use the vanilla flavor most often, but I have a salted caramel batch in my pot right now for the first time and I have a bottle of the pumpkin spice flavor in my fridge to try next!
*Note – You can leave the creamer out altogether if you’d like to make plain yogurt. Less sugar is always healthier, but the sweetness in the creamer makes it much more enjoyable for us.
Why Do I Need To Use Ultra Pasteurized Milk?
Regular milk has some bacteria in it that needs to be removed before you make yogurt. You can use regular milk for the boil method, but not for cold start yogurt! The ultra-pasteurized milk goes through a heating process that kills all of that bacteria, so it’s ready to use without needing to be boiled first.
How to Make The Yogurt
Pour the milk, creamer, and starter into the pitcher and shake it up well so that its’ all combined.
Pour a cup of water into the insert of your Instant Pot.
Then carefully place your first layer of jars into your pot.
*Note – I used to only put the small jars on the bottom, but I found every once and a while, a large jar or two wouldn’t set in a batch (which is still kind of a mystery to me!). Now, I place my 4 large jars on the bottom later and that seems to have helped!
Then place the rest of the jars on top of the first layer with the jars resting on the rims of the jars below.
*Important note – Make sure you place the 8oz jars at the front of your Instant Pot. If you place them around the back, the lid might not close because they bump into the bottom of the pressure valve.
Since this recipe doesn’t use pressure, you can also use a glass lid if you have one!
***UPDATE*** I’ve found that the larger jars set better when I put them on the bottom, so I have a new stacking method to get them all to fit.
Aside from putting the 4 large jars on the bottom layer, I also twist the metal rings onto the 3 smaller jars and stack the top jars directly on top of those three. See the images below.
How Long Do I Cook It?
Press the yogurt button and set the timer.
The amount of time you choose affects the tartness of your yogurt.
8 hours will make your yogurt less tart.
10 hours will make your yogurt more tart (some people even swear by 12 hours!).
I’ve found that either 8 1/2 or 9 hours works best to create the taste and texture we love.
*Note – Sometimes one or more of the larger (8oz) jars don’t set for some reason when the whole rest of the batch is perfect (including some of the large jars).
When the cooking cycle is done, you simply remove the Instant Pot lid, cover your jars and move them to the refrigerate to set overnight (don’t skip that part!).
Some people cover their containers with foil to avoid the condensation, but I’ve never had a problem with it. If you’d like, you can pour off any extra condensation before you refrigerate it. There’s never been enough condensation for me to worry about that step, though!
Aside from the waiting during the cooking and cooling, this recipe only takes about 10 minutes of actual time to mix, pour, and move the jars to the refrigerator.
That thick texture is the best part of all! No straining necessary.
*Fun Fact – Did you know Greek yogurt is just like regular yogurt, but with some of the whey removed? That means Greek yogurt is thicker, more concentrated, and has more protein while regular yogurt is thinner but has more calcium and carbs.
- 1 (52 oz) container Fairlife 2% milk
- 1 cup Natural Bliss coffee creamer (any flavor)
- 2-3 Tbs yogurt starter (either plain store-bought yogurt like Chobani or from a previous batch)
- 1 cup water
- Mix together milk, creamer, and starter in a large container.
- Pour into mason jars.
- Pour 1 cup water into Instant Pot insert.
- Gently stack mason jars in pot.
- Close lid, press yogurt button, and set time for 8-10 hours (8 1/2 hours is our favorite).
- When yogurt cycle is complete, remove jars, cover with lids, and move to the fridge for yogurt to set overnight.
*The milk MUST be ultra-pasteurized to work with this method and the yogurt needs to be made with milk and live and active cultures are a must. Plain Chobani, Oikos, and Fage work well.
**Adapted from this recipe by Frieda Loves Bread, the creator of the Cold Start method.
Weight Watchers/WW Freestyle – 6 smart points
I calculated the nutrition facts to show about the same serving size as a 5.3oz storebought yogurt container, but we obviously get more servings out of this recipe since we use the 4oz jars.
It’s perfect for us, but feel free to adjust this for your family. I calculated the nutrition facts using My Fitness Pal, which was especially easy for this recipe, seeing as there were only 3 ingredients!
*Note – You can use reduced fat Fairlife milk, but know that it will affect the texture. Your yogurt will be much thinner and will not have the thick, Greek yogurt texture as shown in the picture above.
If you are following Weight Watchers, each serving is 6 WW Freestyle smart points.