What Are the Best Tips to Make Greek Yogurt?

Amanda R. Bell

Greek yogurt can make a healthy, filling meal on its own or work as an ingredient in a variety of dishes; however, purchasing Greek yogurt from the store can get expensive depending on where you live. Some of the best tips for making this thick, rich yogurt at home include avoiding any metal utensils or containers and not letting the yogurt sit for more than 12 hours. Saving a small amount of yogurt for your next batch can enable you to make Greek yogurt with ingredients that you already have on hand. If you do not have a lot of time, a good tip for making this dish is to strain pre-made, plain yogurt so it is the consistency of Greek yogurt.

A bowl of Greek yogurt.
A bowl of Greek yogurt.

One of the most important tips to make Greek yogurt is to pay close attention to the type of pot, utensils, and bowls that you use during the cooking process. While a stainless steel pot is generally okay for scalding the milk, the first step to make Greek yogurt, metal utensils and bowls should be avoided. Yogurt is made by creating live cultures that ferment the milk, giving the dish its taste, texture, and health benefits. Metal can interfere with the development of these cultures, ruining the yogurt.

Man making Greek yogurt.
Man making Greek yogurt.

The sitting stage that occurs after the milk has cooled and been added to the other ingredients is what causes the live cultures to grow, turning plain milk into Greek yogurt. Therefore, the longer the yogurt sits out at room temperature, the more flavorful it will become. One of the best tips to make Greek yogurt is not to allow it to sit out for more than 12 hours, as anything over this time will typically produce an undesirable flavor. If you want an even milder yogurt, eight hours is usually advised.

A glass bowl is needed to make homemade yogurt.
A glass bowl is needed to make homemade yogurt.

Another good tip for making this type of yogurt is to plan ahead for the next time that you want to make it, and set aside a small amount of your homemade Greek yogurt for the batch. The first time that you make Greek yogurt at home, you will likely have to use a small amount of pre-made yogurt to introduce live cultures into the scalded milk. After this initial batch, however, you can make it whenever you want with milk and a small amount of yogurt from your last batch.

If you are short on time or simply do not want to go through the trouble of making Greek yogurt from scratch, a good tip is to strain regular, plain yogurt to achieve the same texture. Placing plain yogurt in a fine mesh colander over a glass bowl and putting it in the fridge overnight will allow most of the moisture to drain out. The solids left in the strainer will provide you with a relatively quick alternative to making Greek yogurt from scratch.

Greek yogurt has a high protein content that is roughly double that of traditional yogurt.
Greek yogurt has a high protein content that is roughly double that of traditional yogurt.

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Discussion Comments


@Scrbblchick -- I can't imagine trying to make my own yogurt. For me, that would be an accident waiting to happen.

With all the Greek yogurt brands available in grocery stores these days, there's really not much need to make your own. I've had the Greek yogurt brands and I liked them. If you still think they're not thick enough I guess you can get some Greek yogurt and strain it overnight through some cheesecloth. That should make a really thick end result.

I like Greek yogurt in the traditional way: with a spoonful of honey and walnuts or almonds. Or pecans, if they're in season. Dried cranberries are also good with it.


I have a friend who is into whole foods, clean eating, etc. She tried making yogurt from soymilk and it didn't turn out well. It turned pink and fizzy, which is very bad. So I don't know that I'd try to do yogurt from scratch, all by myself.

Cheese is a different story altogether, since you're separating the curds from the whey, not doing anything to alter the bacteria. That's where you get into trouble with yogurt. Everything has to be sterile, so you don't introduce bad bacteria into the mix. You have to be very, very careful.

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