Sweetened vanilla yogurt is very easy to make.  I love having control of how much sugar is in the yogurt.

The recipe and steps are the same as basic Easy, Fail-Proof Yogurt recipe–with two simple changes.  They are indicated in bold in the steps below.

The overall process of making yogurt takes at least half a day, but the hands-on involvement is only about 20 minutes.

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If you like to save money, you’ll love this:  HOMEMADE vs STOREBOUGHT PRICE COMPARISON

Milk, gallon                               $2.00

Stoneyfield, individual cup    $1.00

Powdered milk                          $0.36

sugar, vanilla less than             $0.20


5 quarts homemade  =  $3.56        Stoneyfield from Walmart $25

one quart homemade     $0.71         Stoneyfield from Walmart $ 5

You can save even more by using your own starter.  Then it’s $2.56 for 5 qts. homemade–or .51/qt–about 1/10 the price!  I make 5 quarts of yogurt (vanilla and blueberry or raspberry) every other week for about .50/quart.   That’s a HUGE savings!  Woo-hoo!


There are several variations to this recipe(see below) and you can easily double, triple, or quadruple the recipe and/or variations with no more time investment than the original recipe.  Find links at the end of the post for: plain Easy, No-Fail Yogurt, Fruit Yogurt,   using powdered milk to make yogurt, several variations in one big batch, Yogurt Cheese, and Granola recipe and tutorial.     For a handy, PDF chart with all the steps and variations:


Are you ready for



First collect your ingredients:


Large saucepan, cooking thermometer, spoon, measuring cups and spoons, whisk, funnel.  Incubator (glass jars, hot pad, bowl, towel)


2-3 TB prepared yogurt*(this is your “starter yogurt”), quart of milk, ½ C milk powder, 1 tsp vanilla and up to 1/2 C white or brown sugar.


A couple of notes here:

  1. If you prefer a whiter yogurt, purchase clear or powdered vanilla.  Yes, it’s a thing!  🙂
  2. You can use store-bought OR homemade yogurt as your starter yogurt.  I’ve gone with the advice that the “healthier” the original yogurt—in terms of amount of beneficial cultures—the better the subsequent batches.
  3. There are many ways to incubate yogurt–in an unlit gas oven, in a cooler, in a crockpot, in special yogurt-making machine gadgets.  I’ve tried them with varied success.  This economical method  has been most consistently reliable for me for over a decade.  (If you really like the little cups that come with the yogurt machines, just make your yogurt in half pint jars.)
  4. Variations on the Basic recipe include sweetened vanilla yogurt, fruit yogurt and yogurt made entirely from powdered milk
  5. The batches of yogurt can easily be multiplied.


Put one quart of milk in a large saucepan.  You can use fat-free or whole or anything in between.



Using a whisk*, blend in ½ C of milk powder and the sugar.  (*You can also use a regular blender or an immersion blender.  I’ve done both, though sometimes with the immersion blender, I manage to splatter milk all over the stove and backsplash!)




Over medium heat, stirring frequently, heat milk to 180 degrees.  Keep a careful eye on the milk as it can easily scald, particularly as the temperature gets higher.  This could take around 10 minutes.



Remove from heat and cool to 115 degrees.   This will probably take at least half an hour.  You can “hurry” the process by setting the pan in a container of icy water, but it’s easiest to just let it sit.


Note:  You can use a candy thermometer (in the first picture) or a meat thermometer (immediately above) with equal success.

Scoop 2 heaping Tablespoons yogurt into a bowl.



Whisk in a little of the cooled milk.


Add the yogurt/milk mixture back into the pan.  Add 2 tsp. vanilla.  Whisk until smooth.


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To add other extracts like lemon, maybe increase the amount of extract to 1 TB.

Pour mixture into jars.  This is easiest to do if you use a funnel and start with a ladle.  Once the pot is less full, it’s easier to pour.  You can fill the jar almost to the top–for that last 1/2 inch or so, it’s easiest to see the volume without the funnel.

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Note: One quart of milk, plus the other ingredients, makes a little more than a quart of yogurt, so you will need a pint jar or extra jars in other sizes for each quart batch.

Put lids on jars.


Set jars on a heating pad set on “low”.


Cover jars with large inverted bowl or pan and then with a thick towel.



Incubate (meaning leave there) for 7-12 hours, depending on desired thickness of yogurt.  The longer you leave the yogurt, the thicker it will be.  The yogurt below was incubated for 8 hours and is quite thick (Greek style).  Yum!


Refrigerate. . .and enjoy!

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With a dollop of homemade mango-raspberry jam.

Serve plain, with added fruit or pie filling, sweetened with honey or jam, with a dash of cinnamon or nutmeg or layered with granola and other goodies for a yummy parfait.  Enjoy!

Links in red coming soon!

For a handy, PDF chart with all the steps and variations:


For plain Easy, No-Fail Yogurt, follow this tutorial.

To make Fruit Yogurt, follow this tutorial.

To make any of the yogurts using powdered milk, follow this tutorial.

To see how I make several variations in one big batch, follow this tutorial.

To make Yogurt Cheese, follow this tutorial.

For the Granola recipe and tutorial, click here.

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