Homemade Plain Greek Yogurt


Learning how to make Greek yogurt at home is simple with this easy recipe. Start by making homemade yogurt; heating milk, combining with a little bit of already-cultured yogurt and letting it sit in a warm spot until the milk turns into yogurt. Making protein-rich Greek yogurt takes one more step than making regular yogurt: straining the yogurt to thicken it. You can add the leftover liquid—also known as whey—to smoothies, or you can use it in place of buttermilk in baking.

Active Time:
40 mins
Additional Time:
17 hrs 20 mins
Total Time:
18 hrs
2 servings

What You'll Need to Make Greek Yogurt

Making your own yogurt is easier than you might expect. For this recipe, you'll need: 4 cups of low-fat or nonfat milk and 1/4 cup low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Your homemade yogurt will take on the flavor of the plain yogurt you use in the recipe, so make sure it's one you like! You will also need a 5- to 8-cup container with a lid, a thermometer, a large fine-mesh sieve and cheesecloth.

How to Keep Your Yogurt Warm for Fermenting

In order for the live active cultures (bacteria) to multiply and transform the milk to yogurt, you will need to keep the mixture in a warm environment (about 110°F) for 8-12 hours before it hits the fridge. There are a few ways to do this:

Oven Method

Turn your oven on to 200° for about 5 minutes, then turn it off. Add the towel-wrapped container of yogurt and if you have an oven light, turn it on for added warmth.

Cooler Method

Place a hot water bottle (or other small container) filled with very hot water alongside the towel-wrapped container in a small cooler.

Heating Pad Method

Wrap a heating pad set to High around the towel-wrapped container.

How to Thicken Yogurt

Greek-style yogurt is typically thicker than regular yogurt. To get that texture, liquid (the whey) is removed by straining it out using a fine mesh sieve and cheesecloth. The less liquid there is, the thicker the yogurt becomes. It will take a minimum of 8 hours to strain enough whey out of the yogurt to get a thicker texture, but you can strain it for up to 24 hours if you like your yogurt very thick.

How Long Does Homemade Greek Yogurt Last?

Refrigerate yogurt in a covered container for up to 1 week.

Additional reporting by Hilary Meyer


  • 4 cups nonfat or low-fat milk

  • ¼ cup nonfat or low-fat plain yogurt


  1. Heat milk in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until it is steaming, barely bubbling and registers 180 degrees F on an instant-read or candy thermometer. (Do not leave unattended—it can boil over very quickly.)

  2. Carefully pour the milk into a clean, heat-safe 5- to 8-cup container. Let stand, stirring frequently, until cooled to 110 degrees F. Combine yogurt with 1/2 cup of the 110 degrees milk in a small bowl, then stir the mixture back into the warm milk.

  3. Cover the container and wrap in a clean kitchen towel to help keep it warm. Place in a very warm place and let stand, undisturbed, until thickened and tangy, at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours. Refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours. The yogurt will thicken a bit more in the refrigerator.

  4. Line a large fine-mesh sieve with 2 layers of cheesecloth and place over a large bowl. Spoon the cooled yogurt into the cheesecloth, then cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours, depending on how thick you want it.


Nutrition Facts (per serving)

184 Calories
0g Fat
27g Carbs
18g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 2
Serving Size 1 cup
Calories 184
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 27g 10%
Total Sugars 27g
Protein 18g 37%
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 10mg 3%
Vitamin A 76IU 2%
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Folate 28mcg 7%
Sodium 229mg 10%
Calcium 659mg 51%
Iron 0mg 1%
Magnesium 60mg 14%
Potassium 843mg 18%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

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