How to Make Yogurt

Yogurt Varieties

With variations on the basic recipe, you can make yogurt to meet your culinary needs.
With variations on the basic recipe, you can make yogurt to meet your culinary needs.

­There are lots of recipes out there for different styles of yogurt, including custard-style, traditional Middle Eastern and drinkable. You just have to do a quick Internet search or look in a recipe book. The process we've described in this article is a great starting point, though -- and if you like plain yogurt, which is nice and tart (and great combined with the sweetness of granola or berries), you're all set. This is also where you stop if you use your yogurt in baking (like for lemon yogurt cake), or in savory Middle Eastern style dishes like chilled cucumber-yogurt soup or traditional Indian dishes like tandoori chicken.

But lots of people prefer sweeter yogurt. If you're one of them, you can simply add some sugar or honey to the milk before heating it in Step 3. For thicker yogurt (many commercial brands are thicker), just add some gelatin powder to the milk before you start -- sprinkle some onto the milk and let it sit a few minutes before you start heating it. Other ways to go include adding vanilla, coffee, maple syrup or chocolate. On the next page, you'll find a link to yogurt recipes where you can experiment with different additives.

And of course, who can forget the "fruit on the bottom" variety? For your own special fruity yogurt concoction, cut up some of your favorite fruit and stir it into the yogurt when you refrigerate it. Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries work well to sweeten and texturize your finished product. You can also add vanilla, coffee or even chocolate. That's the best part of making your own -- no constraints!

For more information on yogurt and related topics, look over the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Fankhauser, David B., Ph.D. "Yogurt Making Illustrated." U.C. Clermont College.
  • Koenig, Vicki, MS, RD, CDN. "Yogurt's History and Folklore." Stonyfield Yogurt.
  • Reeps, Michael W. "How to Make Yogurt." MakeYourOwnYogurt.
  • Willenberg, Barbara J., Karla Vollmar Hughes, Lyn Konstant. "Making Yogurt at Home." Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Missouri-Columbia.