The Life Changing Magic of Homemade Soy Yogurt (no really, I swear!)

Finished jars of Vegan Yogurt and Whey
Vegan yogurt for dips, sauces and dressings PLUS vegan whey for baking!

I wanted to go vegan a few years before I actually made the transition because I couldn't imagine going without dairy. Fortunately, there is really good coconut milk ice cream like this.

Trader Joe's Non Dairy Chocolate Frozen Dessert

Violife Vegan Provolone

There are even some decent vegan cheeses like this.

What I have yet to find commercially, though, is good vegan sour cream. And while there are a lot of vegan yogurt options, most have added flavorings or stabilizers, so they don't work in other recipes.

Enter my friend Dawn who introduced me to...

The Life Changing Magic 
of Homemade Soy Yogurt

I kid you not. This stuff is the BOMB. Here is a partial list of ways I use this magical mixture every single week:
  • vegan ranch dressing
  • vegan onion dip
  • vegan Alfredo sauce
  • creamy vegan grits
  • vegan crema for Mexican food

And if it matters to you, all this deliciousness comes with no cholesterol and a boost of soy isoflavones, helpful for women like me... of a certain age.

Another great thing about this recipe is that it's a two for one! When you strain the yogurt, it becomes thick enough to spread on a bagel like cream cheese. The liquid "whey" left over is like buttermilk. You can use it straight up in pancakes. I've been using it in vegan baked goods like this amazing sourdough bread. The whey acts a bit like eggs, giving vegan cakes a springiness and moistness that's hard to achieve otherwise.

So, without further ado, here is a video tutorial on making Homemade Soy Yogurt (recipe follows).



  • Yogurt maker or Instant Pot (or another cooker that will hold a consistent temperature for 8+ hours)**
  • Accurate digital thermometer (I use a ThermoPro)
  • Deep bowl and strainer
  • 3 ply, 100% cotton cloth diaper (or folded cheese cloth)
  • 2 containers, one to store yogurt and one for whey
  1. Have all your tools and ingredients ready to go. Make sure everything is very clean. You can wipe down surfaces with vodka for an added measure of sterilization.
  2. Both the Instant Pot and the Yogurt Culture say to bring the milk up to 180º to kill any pathogens, and then cool it down to 108-112º. (I cheat and heat the milk to 111-ish, but I may end up sick or dead one day).
  3. While the milk is heating up/cooling down, mix the yogurt culture with a tablespoon cold, filtered or bottled water (most tap water is treated with chlorine which can kill the live cultures).
  4. Once the milk is in the range of 108-111º, remove the inner liner of your Instant Pot, and mix in the culture+water (if you're using a yogurt maker, follow the manufacturer's instructions).
  5. Give the milk and culture a swirl to mix. This way you don't have to sterilize a mixing spoon. Your inner critic may say this is lazy, but we know it's just being efficient.
  6. Put the inner liner back in the Instant Pot. Cover. Set the timer to 8 hours for a sour cream level of tartness. If you want a more sour yogurt, set the timer for 12 hours or more. The longer the inoculation, the more sour.

    If you do this at night, you can sleep while the culture does all the work. Really. The active part of this only takes 10 minutes if you cheat and heat the milk directly to 111º. It will take longer if you go to 180º and then wait for the milk to cool.
  7. After eight hours, your yogurt will be done, but it will be thin (see video). Put a strainer over a deep bowl. Line it with a cloth diaper (see link above for the type) or cheese cloth folded 4-5 times.
  8. Let the yogurt drain in the fridge. I usually go 4-6 hours to get a sour cream consistency. Do less for thinner yogurt, more for thicker.
  9. I store both the yogurt and the whey in glass jars because I'm trying to put less plastic in the world. But you do you. Both will keep for a week (if they last that long).

* Once you make a batch of yogurt, you can use a Tbsp of yogurt to culture the next batch and so on and so on. 

**Since creating this post I have switched from using the Instant Pot to using this Proctor Silex yogurt maker. It goes on sale periodically - most recently at Macys. It is WAY easier to use than the Instant Pot.


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