How to Make Homemade Yogurt from Powdered Milk

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Almost no one likes drinking reconstituted powdered milk, so what to do with it, other than baking? Make homemade yogurt!!!  | via www.TheSurvivalMom.comWe must, all of us, be honest. How many of you really enjoy drinking reconstituted powdered milk? Not me!

On the occasions when I have had to drink it, it was with the deepest loathing. It has that stale “powdered milk” taste, and leaves the uncomfortable feeling I am really drinking white water. I think I speak for the majority of us when I say, Ick!

I have a much better use for powdered milk, turning it into homemade yogurt!

I bet some of you are thinking, “Ugh, that sounds pretty complicated. I’m sure it’s not for me.” Don’t despair! While some advocate carefully monitoring the temperature of your milk through the whole process, using special equipment, I am much more laid back. I have been making yogurt on a regular basis for a few years now and have had great success.

The end product is smooth, tasty and completely devoid of all the characteristics I so hate about powdered milk. Once you try this, you will want to make it all the time! This recipe makes eight cups.


You will need:

1/2 cup yogurt (your “starter”) – This needs to be yogurt with LIVE bacterial cultures. It can be plain grocery store yogurt or 1/2 cup of yogurt from your own last batch. If using your own yogurt, it will have to be less than two weeks old. Any older than that and the cultures die off and the old yogurt will not properly inoculate your milk to turn it into new yogurt. As an alternative to actual yogurt, cheese supply companies sell powdered bacterial cultures that are specifically formulated for yogurt-making. These will keep in your freezer for up to a year.

powderedmilktextureEnough milk powder to make eight cups when reconstituted – A quick word here about what kind of powdered milk to use: There are many different brands on the market. I’ve tried several different kinds and some work better than others.

To make sure your yogurt is smooth and creamy instead of grainy or chunky, use a brand that is smooth and fine in texture while it is still in powdered form, similar to powdered sugar or white flour. Grainy milk powder will make grainy yogurt. I use a non-name brand that says to use 3 Tbsp of powder for every cup of water. When making yogurt, I round it up a bit and use 1 1/2 cups of powder for my yogurt recipe.

Eight cups of water

A crock pot – If you have a yogurt maker, you can also use it. You may also be able to find online tutorials that use an electric heating pad or a dehydrator. I understand that these methods also work well. I have always used a crock pot and have never gone wrong, so this tutorial will discuss that method.

A whisk

A food thermometer


1) Put eight cups of water in your crock pot and then add your milk powder and whisk it vigorously until all lumps are gone. If you miss a teeny little lump or two, it’s not a big deal. Put the cover on your crock pot and leave it on low heat for three hours, after which your milk should be in the neighborhood of 180 degrees F.

2) When your milk has come up to temperature and /or has spent the appropriate amount of time in your crock pot, turn off the heat and unplug it. (Unplugging it is very important if you live in a house with little children who live for toggling knobs and pushing buttons that should not be pushed.) Leave it to cool down for about 2 hrs and 45 minutes, when it is at around 110 degrees. Do use a food thermometer at each step to make sure it’s at the correct temperature.

3) Now, take one cup of warm milk from your crock pot and put it in a bowl with your yogurt starter, to temper your inoculant. Whisk it together until it is smooth, pour it all back into the crock pot and stir it together.

4) Cover the crock pot with a beach towel to hold in the heat and let it sit for about 6-8 hours. You might think that a measly little towel isn’t enough to keep it warm – trust me, it is. If you peek under the crock pot lid after a couple of hours, you will be greeted by a warm, slightly sour yogurty smell that will tell you that the live bacteria are doing their little microscopic jobs.

5) After your yogurt has sat on the counter under the towel for the prescribed amount of time, move the crock into the fridge overnight. You might be tempted to stir it a bit at this point, but this is not recommended. In fact, this is a good way to get grainy yogurt. For best results, don’t disturb the gel until it has completely cooled.

Great! Now What Do I Do With Half A Gallon Of Homemade Yogurt?

My children love this stuff and have been known to go through a whole batch in less than four days. One of my sons prefers it with homemade jam, and the other likes it with a bit of vanilla extract and some sugar for sweetening. I also use it to make naan, a variety of Indian flat bread. It can be drained in cheesecloth to make Greek yogurt or even yogurt cheese.

I want to emphasize that none of these instructions are hard and fast rules. I have sometimes left the milk warming in the crock pot for four hours instead of three, and one more than one occasion I have left the crock pot on the counter overnight! It still has turned out fine.

I hope all of you will try it, and let me know how you liked it! What suggestions do you have for using homemade yogurt?

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Beth Buck lives in Utah with her husband and three children. She has a degree in Middle Eastern Studies/ Arabic, a black belt in Karate, a spinning wheel, and a list of hobbies that is too long to list here.

28 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Yogurt from Powdered Milk”

  1. I’ll definitely try this; but a word about powdered milk:
    It is non-fat and is therefore only slightly more ooggie than fresh non-fat milk. I mean, who drinks non-fat milk for PLEASURE? Nobody. Now don’t get me wrong, I find whole milk very heavy and only use it for pudding and pastry cream, but even 1% is a world away from “white-water”, so comparison is unfair.

    Powdered WHOLE milk (sorry about the caps, I can’t figure out how to italicize on my iPad. Tips?) is available from several online food storage sites and at any Walmart in a Hispanic-heavy neighborhood. I mix it with ooggie powder to get 1 or 2%. A single drop of vanilla per quart also helps a lot.

  2. Thanks for this recipe. I have been wondering how to make my own yogurt as I’m always buying it at the store. Can fruit be added to it and if so, when during the process could it be added? I have dehydrated fruit and was wondering if that would be good.

  3. Kathy, I would not add fruit until you are ready to eat it. Adding fruit ealier in the process would affect the bacteria’s metabolic processes; fruit has all kinds of sugars and some has yeast on the skins. Introducing bacteria other than the kind you want to cultivate in your yogurt (specifically Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacillus bulgaricus) could spell disaster. For this same reason, the yogurt will keep for longer in your fridge if you store it plain

  4. Nancy Zierler

    I also use powered milk for my yogurt. I mix it as for milk, but a little thicker, using very hot tap water…then I pour into a wide mouth quart Thermos (‘soup’ type) and leave on counter for 24 hours. No electricity, perfect yogurt!

  5. Thank you for sharing this recipe! This was my very first batch of yogurt and I’m excited that I got anything solid at all; it feels like something magical happened in the crock pot last night! But the consistency is actually more like ricotta cheese, not smooth & silky. Could that be because I used the wrong kind of powdered milk? The only way I varied from your recipe was by adding half a cup of kefir in addition to the store-bought yogurt, which I did because I figured more cultures would be better.

    Also, there were roughly two inches of liquid sitting on top of only about half an inch of solid. Is that normal? If so, I’d like to double the recipe in the future so we can get more yogurt. This is tasty but won’t last long. Thanks to anyone who can offer some insight!

    1. Well, Martha, there are many reasons why your yogurt may have been grainy. I don’t have very much experience with kefir, but sometimes more cultures is NOT better. Yogurt requires two specific species of bacteria; it would be risky to introduce others, beneficial or no. The problem could have also lain with your starter yogurt, the milk powder you used, or the temperature being too high. The only way to really figure it out is to experiment. Good luck!

  6. Yogurt makes an excellent addition to biscuit batter. Simply use a like amount of yogurt, or buttermilk, to your biscuit recipe, instead of milk. It makes wonderfully tender, high-rising morsels of tastiness.

    1. I use yogurt instead of buttermilk, too! It’s difficult to find real cultured buttermilk unless you live in the American South, and even then it’s a lot pricier than plain yogurt. I used to curdle my own milk with vinegar or lemon juice, but I didn’t like the slight vinegary/ lemony taste it would impart to my baked goods. Yogurt has been my solution, and it has worked very well for me.

  7. Hi Beth! I just saw this article today (reading through recent comments) and since you’re commenting on this older article as recently as today, I’ll chance asking a clarifying question. In the photos of the powdered milk texture, the one that says “NO” looks a lot finer/smoother/like sugar or flour to me than the one that says “YES”. Am I somehow misunderstanding this? Do we want the powdered milk to look like the YES or like the NO in the picture? Thanks so much!

    1. Hello, Anne Marie!

      Yes, you DO want powdered milk that is like the “YES” in the photo. Like powdered sugar, ultra-fine powdered milk tends to take on a clumpy appearance. You’ll also find this with flour; white flour tends to clump up a bit more than home-ground whole wheat flour. The “No” powdered milk appears to have finer particles because there are no clumps, but that is actually because it has a coarser texture.

  8. Hi Beth,
    I made a batch of yogurt yesterday from powdered milk and the only thing I didn’t like about it was it could have set up a bit firmer, but it was good. My first try didn’t work out because I think my powdered milk was too old, so I bought some fresh. I did add a little sugar to one container and some strawberry preserves to another and they were both very good. I used 1-1/2 c of powder even though the directions on the package called for 2-2/3c to reconstitute. Would adding more powdered milk help with the set up? Thank you. Think I’ll be making more of this since I do eat a lot of it.

    1. Kathy, I would definitely add more powder to improve the set; not all powdered milk is the same, so when it doubt, follow the directions on the package. The brand of powdered milk that I use only needs 1 1/2 c powder for 1/2 gallon, but if the brand you are using says to add 2-3 c for the same amount, you should do that.

      For what it’s worth, Alton Brown’s yogurt recipe says to use 1% milk with an extra 1/2 c of powdered milk.

  9. Hi, I found your Website a few days ago and today I decided to, finally, make yogurt from powdered milk. I eat approximately a quart of yogurt every week and often cook with it. I get 25.6 ounce bag of instant dry nonfat milk a month. According to the package instructions it takes 1 1/3 cups of milk added to 3 3/4 cups cold water. I decided to 3 1/2 cups of powdered milk and 2 quarts of water. It took 2 hours in my crockpot to reach 180 degrees, I put the crock in a sink of cold water and cooled the milk to 110. I inoculated the cooked milk with 1/2 cup of store bought yogurt. When I checked the temp it went down to 99 degrees. I turned the crockpot on low. My plan is to heat it to 110 degrees, unplug the crockpot and wrap it in towels and let it set for 8 hours. Since it will be about 2 in the morning I’m planning on sitting the crock in the frig until the morning. Do you think I’ve done this correctly? Did I use enough powdered milk? I really want this to work and any help from you would be much appreciated. Thanks…..

    1. Hi, Vicki,

      Well, the only real way to find out if it was done correctly is to see if you’ve made yogurt at the end! It sounds as though you’ve thought it out, so my opinion is that you have reason for optimism.

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  11. I’ve been trying this & I’ve found you don’t even have to sterilize the powdered milk first, I’ve just mixed it up with cold water and the yogurt’s been just as good, just as solid, as when I’ve sterilized. Powdered milk is dried out “pasterised” milk so that means it’s only been heated to 60C/140F but I’m guessing the drying out may kill the bacteria?

    But I do use a hot water method for setting. Placing an inch or two of boiling water in a plastic 6-pack cooler with the yogurt container raised above the water on an upturned ceramic bowl.

    2 cups of full-fat powder per quart makes the most delicious greek-style yogurt that’s just as good as shop bought.

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  13. Hi) I found your site today and am hoping that you are still checking it. Have you tried the powdered milk from the LDS Storehouse to make yogurt? What brands have you found to be the best?

  14. I have tried two different whole milk powdered milk and do like the rich taste.

    I would like to make yogurt using the powdered whole milk. I have a pressure cooker, Instant Pot, that has a Yogurt setting.

    Does powdered milk need to heat to 180 degrees first or can it be done the “cold start” method: milk and yogurt starter for 8 hours (no boil)?

  15. Michelle Smith

    I’ve been using your recipe for several months. I use a powdered milk from Walmart Canada. It looks like the NO milk powder but it works fine. Perfect yogurt every time.

  16. La June Davis McKee

    I just saw this Sunday. I tried it, and have my yogurt today. It is fantastic! I added water from my machine to the powdered milk. Let it warm to the touch on my wrist like testing a baby bottle. Once it came down to temp, I added regular Greek yogurt. Mixing it with some of the powdered milk first. It worked great! No refrigeration needed until it’s done. Thank you so much for this great economical solution.

  17. my gas range has a “bread proof” setting which works really well for my sourdough. It maintains the temp at around 100° as I understand it. Do you think this is a reasonable alternative to the beach towel? It’s cold here in Connecticut ;~)

    1. Cindy, we have to run our air conditioner several months out of the year because we have a lot of humidity and it removes the moisture from the air. Consequently, I have a heck of a time finding a warm place in the house when I want to start a batch of yeast. I think that setting on your stove should work perfectly for this purpose.

      1. OMG! This recipe worked BEAUTIFULLY the first time! I’m delighted. I’m a big fan of efforts that take a small amount of prep while the good stuff effortlessly happens over TIME. I work from home so I can manage the brief steps required at various intervals.
        For this yogurt, I used store-brand powdered milk. We happened to visit a local dairy to buy some fresh plain yogurt so I used that as a starter.
        I was making a sponge for sourdough pancakes anyway so I left the yogurt in the proofing oven along with the sourdough.
        I can’t stand powdered milk so I am delighted to find that this recipe is perfect. Good flavor, good yogurt consistancy. I will continue to use it. Thank you!

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