You only need two ingredients to turn soy milk into Instant Pot yogurt. 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!
Y'all, 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.
Why make Instant Pot soy yogurt?
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 bit sweet to tooth-meltingly sugary.
When you make your own soy yogurt from scratch, it can be truly unsweetened, so you have a lot more control over the sweetness when you're cooking with it.
About this recipe
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 two variations:
- a variation from my friend Erin at Kitchen Gadget Vegan. She does a soy-coconut mix that her family loves.
- instructions for how to make this with probiotic capsules instead of store-bought yogurt
Choose the right soy milk
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 (sweetener and salt are okay). 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 Westsoy. I have some ethical issues with Eden Foods, so I go for Westsoy Organic, and it works like a charm. If you can't find it in the store, you can order online.
The great thing about Westsoy is that it doesn't need to be refrigerated, because of how it's packaged.
Trader Joe's also stocks thickener-free soy milk. It comes in shelf-stable boxes and is very affordable.
A yogurt starter is just what you use to get probiotics into your soy milk. For this recipe, you have two options:
- a small amount of vegan yogurt
- probiotic capsules.
If you're using vegan yogurt, I recommend choosing plain or vanilla. Sometimes, fruity flavors can come through in your finished batch, even though you're only using a couple of tablespoons as your starter.
Prefer probiotic capsules? Easy peasy. Just make sure that you use vegetarian or vegan gelcaps.
You want the kind of probiotic capsules that you can open up and pour powder out of. Solid pills that would need to be crushed up won't work well in this recipe.
I've had great success using Jarro-Dophilus EPS capsules in this recipe. I made the yogurt in the new photos using these capsules, and my seven-year-old loves it!
When you stir the probiotic powder in, it's not going to fully dissolve, and that's okay! See the photo below -- lots of powder floating on top of my jars before they went into the pot. The yogurt turns out just fine.
One 32 ounce box of soy milk makes two pints of soy yogurt in the Instant Pot. The Westsoy 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 24. 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 Instant Pot yogurt. You can go as low as 10 hours, but for that perfectly-tangy soy yogurt that's thick enough to eat with a spoon, 14 is ideal.
If you're using probiotic capsules, I'd say 14 to 16 hours is a good range, depending on how tangy you like it.
Timing is everything!
There's nothing instant about making Instant Pot yogurt.
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 more instant.
Thickening homemade soy yogurt
Homemade soy yogurt with no added thickeners is not going to be as thick as the soy yogurts that you're used to eating. 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. Jill 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.
How to Make Soy Yogurt in the Instant Pot
- 1 32 ounce box soy milk - Choose a brand that’s ONLY soybeans and water – see above.
- 2 tablespoons plain vegan yogurt of your choice - Don’t worry – the small amount of gums in this won’t mess with the final yogurt’s texture! (see note for probiotic capsules option)
- Divide the soy milk between two wide mouth pint jars. Add a tablespoon of yogurt into each jar, stirring well.
- Carefully place the jars into the bottom of your Instant Pot (not on the rack – for some reason, it won’t make yogurt if you do that). Lock the lid, make sure the vent is sealed, and press the Yogurt button. Set it for 14 hours.
- In the morning, you’ll have yogurt! Stir before serving, since it does tend to separate. Your soy yogurt will keep for about 5 days in the fridge.
- If you're rather use probiotic capsules, no problem! Divide the soy milk between two large jars -- I used .5 liter Weck jars -- and break two probiotic capsules into each jar. Stir the powder using a plastic or wooden spoon (not metal!), then follow steps 2 and 3 of the recipe above. I have had great results using Jarro-Dophilus EPS capsules.
- You can also use a mix of coconut cream and soy yogurt. Erin Glasser-Devore from Kitchen Gadget Vegan perfected this variation on the recipe below. She divides a 5.5 oz can of coconut cream between the two jars, then adds the yogurt, then tops off with soy milk. Stir well, and cook for 14 hours.
- 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.