You only need two ingredients to make soy yogurt in the Instant Pot. It could not be easier. Join me, as I spill all of my yogurt-making tricks!
When I got my Instant Pot last year, one thing I was sure I’d never use was the yogurt function. We have so many good vegan yogurts on store shelves, why bother making my own? Oh how wrong I was! You guys, I make soy yogurt on a weekly basis now. It is SO much cheaper than store-bought, and my homemade soy yogurt is free of additives. But my favorite thing about it is that it’s unsweetened.
Store-bought soy yogurts – even most marked “plain” – are all so sweet. I can’t handle it. And I like sweet food! But when you’re cooking with yogurt, maybe you’re trying to make something savory or maybe you just want to mix in some strawberry jam without turning your breakfast bowl from a little too sweet to tooth-meltingly sugary. When you make your own, it’s unsweetened, so you have a lot more control over the sweetness when you’re cooking with it.
My recipe is based on my adventures with the soy yogurt recipe in Vegan Under Pressure by Jill Nussinow. At first, I was hesitant to post my recipe, since in some ways it’s so much like the one in the book. But after answering tons of questions from friends, family, and readers about how to make yogurt in the Instant Pot, I felt like it might be worthwhile to share what I’d learned.
There are dozens of amazing pressure cooker recipes in Vegan Under Pressure, and I encourage you to grab a copy. I refer to it several times a week for full recipes and for her bean, grain, and veggie cooking times, which are way more accurate than the booklet that came with my Instant Pot.
The recipe below is what I landed on after a lot of tinkering with cooking times and some technique changes that make it less messy. I’ve also included a variation from my friend Erin at Kitchen Gadget Vegan. She does a soy-coconut mix that her family loves.
Making Soy Yogurt in the Instant Pot: What You Need to Know
The key to making soy yogurt in the Instant Pot is exactly what Nussinow says in her book: you have got to use soy milk that’s only soybeans and water. No gums. No gels. No thickeners. Trust me.
I didn’t believe this at first, and I tried using the gum-thickener-gel-ful soy milk from our fridge, and the yogurt it produced was sticky a nightmare floating in a jar of water. I don’t throw food away lightly, and I threw this out after just a couple of bites. There was no way to stir the floaty part and watery part together. It was a total lost cause.
There are two common brands that fit the bill: Eden Foods and West Soy. I have some ethical issues with Eden Foods, so I go for West Soy Organic, and it works like a charm. If you can’t find it in the store, you can order online. The great thing about West Soy is that it doesn’t need to be refrigerated, because of how it’s packaged.
One 32 ounce box of soy milk makes two pints of soy yogurt in the Instant Pot. The West Soy that I linked to shakes out to about $4 per box. That’s $2 per pint of homemade, additive free, organic, unsweetened soy yogurt. See? Worth it!
I’ve seen cooking times for Instant Pot yogurt that vary anywhere from 8 hours to 18. That’s a big range, and it took me a lot of batches to hone in on the ideal time. Fourteen hours seems to be the magic time for making soy yogurt in the Instant Pot. You can go as low as 12 hours, but for that perfectly tangy soy yogurt that’s thick enough to eat with a spoon, 14 is ideal.
14 Hours is Forever
There’s nothing instant about making soy yogurt in the Instant Pot. Making that 14 hour cooking time work for you is all about planning. Don’t make the mistake I did a few times, starting your batch of yogurt in the morning. If you do that, your Instant Pot will be tied up all day. It won’t be there for you when you want to make rice and steam broccoli for your supper.
Instead, start your yogurt in the evening, so it will be ready for the morning. If you normally get up and have breakfast at 7am, start that yogurt at 5pm. Fourteen hours later, it’s ready for breakfast, like magic! There’s nothing like starting the day with a bowl of fresh yogurt that you made yourself. And since most of the cooking happens while you’re asleep, it makes the 14 hours seem a little bit less ridiculous.
Eating Homemade Soy Yogurt
Homemade soy yogurt with no added thickeners is not going to be as thick as you expect yogurt to be. That’s just science. You have three options:
- Add a thickener. I do not like working with thickeners, so if that’s what you want to do, I’d suggest looking at the Vegan Under Pressure recipe. She has directions there, if you want to go that route.
- Strain it. You can strain the yogurt through a few layers of cheesecloth to get rid of some excess whey and make a thicker yogurt. This takes longer, and you end up with a little more than half of what you started with, so I don’t do it. But you can!
- Embrace it. This yogurt isn’t Greek yogurt, but it is freaking delicious. You can eat it with a spoon or treat it like a thick yogurt drink.
My favorite way to eat it is with strawberry jam mixed in. Darrol Henry prefers his with maple syrup. It’s also great in any recipe that calls for yogurt. Or as a replacement for sour cream.