In this post, and accompanying video, I show you how easy it is to make your own soy-based yogurt at home in just a matter of hours. With just two ingredients, a mason jar (or two), and an Instant Pot with a “yogurt” setting, you’re on your way to a fresh and inexpensive homemade yogurt.
Before you get too far into this recipe, let me just reiterate the title, and tell you that this particular recipe does require an Instant Pot or multi-cooker with a “yogurt” setting. I have tried making this by just leaving the soy milk with probiotics on the counter, or in my oven overnight, but I have not had even remotely similar results.
The act of making yogurt often requires you to heat milk to a certain temperature and then cool it to a certain temperature, and then add your probiotics or yogurt cultures to the warm milk before leaving it to culture at a specific temperature.
This is not that recipe.
You put the ingredients in the IP, set it, and forget it. If you do not have an Instant Pot or similar multi-cooker with a “yogurt” setting, then I don’t think this particular article and accompanying recipe is going to help you.
Since this yogurt is so easy to make, I pretty much always have a jar of it in my fridge, and I’m always finding new ways to use it.
Honestly, in my pre-vegan days, I wasn’t much of a yogurt person. Sure, I loved the dessert flavored Dannon cups as a kid, and I did buy a few fancy containers of Greek style yogurt as a young adult, but yogurt was never something that I couldn’t live without. If I had it, I ate it. If I didn’t, I didn’t go out of my way to acquire it.
As a vegan, I have purchased a few brands of store-bought vegan yogurt, and they’re not bad. If you can even find them in your local supermarket, they are crazy expensive, and if you’re lucky enough to find a grocery store besides Whole Foods that even carries vegan yogurt, they probably only have blueberry or strawberry flavor, with no “plain” in sight.
Normally they are pre-sweetened and pre-flavored, which is great for a snack on-the-go, but chances are that if I’m seeking out vegan yogurt, its to use in a recipe. I prefer to use plain vegan yogurt over store-bought vegan sour cream since the more ubiquitous brands lack the acidity and tang that “sour” cream is known for.
The yogurt button on my Instant Pot was left untouched two years of my ownership of the machine, but on a whim, I decided to see if I could use that setting to make vegan yogurt. Some shallow research revealed that in fact you can use that yogurt function to make vegan yogurt, and it takes little more than a plant milk and probiotic to get it done.
So, let’s start with the milk. You could easily make your own soy milk. In fact, I have a recipe for homemade soy milk right HERE. But it’s even easier if just buy soy milk already made. Most store-bought plant milks, however, contain stabilizers and gums to help keep the product homogenized. Although those additives thicken the milk and prevent it from separating, it’s not good for making yogurt.
Most store-bought milks can be cultured, and you will get a “yogurty” tasting product, but if you want a truly thick, and passable vegan yogurt, then you do need to look for soy milks with only two ingredients: water and soy beans.
I have personally had great success with Westsoy brand unsweetened plain soy milk, Edensoy unsweetened soy milk, and Trader Joe’s brand organic unsweetened “soy beverage”.
If you purchase a product with anything other than water and soy beans, I cannot vouch for the resulting yogurt.
But the soy milk is only half of the equation. We need something to culture it. You could essentially just use a store-bought plain yogurt to get it started, but then you’re having to buy yogurt to make yogurt, and that just feels counter-productive.
Instead, I recommend purchasing bottle of probiotic capsules from the refrigerated section of your natural foods or vitamin store. Probiotics aren’t exactly cheap, but the bottle I bought had 60 capsules for about $14. That means I could make 15 quarts of yogurt (minus the $2.50 for a quart of soy milk) for that price.
To ensure that your end-product is fully vegan, you want to make sure that your probiotic is certified vegan. You can probably find less expensive protoibitcs with similar cultures, but they might not specify where the bacteria was harvested from. If you aren’t so concerned with the pedigree of your cultures, then you can just buy whichever capsules are the least expensive, and they’ll probably work.
However, vegan probiotics are labeled as such, and they are normally just as easy to find as the non-specified versions. The brand I am currently having great success with is Jarrow-Dophilus “Allergen Free” (Affiliate link HERE), and although it is available online, I was able to find it at Sprouts. This is not the only brand of vegan probiotics, but it was the least expensive one on the day that I purchased it, so that’s what I went with.
Check out this video below to see how I set things up to make yogurt in my Instant Pot, and then scroll down for a printable, written recipe. I’ve also included a few other ideas below for things you can do with your soy yogurt other than just drizzling it with maple syrup and topping it with fresh fruits and crunchy granola.
Easily make homemade vegan yogurt at home in your Instant Pot for a fraction of the price.
- 1 quart soy milk*
- 4 vegan probiotic capsules**
Start with your soy milk at room temperature. Fill the quart jar up about halfway with soy milk, and then add the contents for four probiotic capsules. FIll up the remainder of the jar with soy milk, screw on the lid, and then lightly turn and agitate the jar to mix the probiotic powder into the milk.
If you don’t have 1 quart jar, you can use 2 pint jars, or 4 half-pint jars. Just make sure that there is enough room in your IP to fit all of the jars.
Prepare your instant pot, and make sure it’s set in a location that you can leave it alone for 12 hours. Place the jar of milk and probiotic into the jar, and loosen the lid on the jar so that it’s just sitting on top of the jar.
Plug in your Instant Pot, twist on the lid, press the “Yogurt” button, and then adjust the time using the “+” button until it reads 12 hours. When the machine is set, it will beep to tell you that the cycle has begun, and the time will begin to count up from zero.
After 12 hours, the Instant Pot display will read “yogt”. Remove the IP lid, tighten the lid on your jar, and place your yogurt the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill, or until you’re ready to eat.
*Make sure your soy milk has only water and soy beans listed in the ingredients. Westsoy, Edensoy, Trader Joe’s all have plain, unsweetened soy milks with only those 2 ingredients.
**I use Jarrow brand Jarrow-Dophilus “Allergen Free” capsules (affiliate link HERE), which I found at Sprouts.
This yogurt is amazing by itself, used in recipes, used as a breakfast, but one of the true glories of this recipe is being able to use the yogurt to make incredible Vegan Labneh, or Soy Yogurt Cheese
Easy vegan yogurt cheese that's perfect for snacking, spreading, or dipping.
- 1 to 2 cups soy yogurt (recipe above)
I prefer to use a stainless steel coffee filter, but you can use any VERY clean metal mesh or paper coffee filter.
Pour the soy yogurt into a coffee filter, cover, and allow to drain in the refrigerator for several hours: 6 to 8 is good, overnight is good, too.
When the labneh has drained, scoop it into an airtight container and store for up to a week.
The coffee filter I used for making my labneh at home was THIS ONE from Ikea.
I also used the yogurt to make an amazing dill sauce for some roasted veggies. The full recipe is linked HERE