Are you eating plant-based but missing good-for-you, probiotic-rich yogurt? This vegan coconut yogurt made from coconut milk is entirely vegan and just as creamy and delicious as dairy yogurt. Use it in place of traditional yogurt in recipes, add it to a smoothie or layer it into a fruit parfait.

Source: EatingWell.com, June 2018

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Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

active:
20 mins
total:
1 day 12 hrs
Servings:
4
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Don't do dairy—or just looking to take a break from it? There's no need to miss out on parfaits, smoothies or any of your favorite yogurt-based treats. Our Vegan Coconut Yogurt recipe is made in much the same way as traditional Homemade Plain Yogurt and the results are a super-rich-tasting and creamy treat even nonvegans will love. And, just like regular yogurt, our vegan yogurt is made with probiotics-friendly bacteria that may boost your immunity and contribute to better gut health.

Tips for Making Vegan Coconut Yogurt

yogurt bowl with fruit and seeds from above

1. Gather Your Ingredients and Equipment

Our vegan coconut yogurt is made with whole coconut milk, tapioca starch, sugar and the contents of probiotics capsules—you can buy these at health-food stores, many grocery stores and online. You'll also need a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer and four 8-ounce jars with lids.

hands putting a lid on a glass jar filled with yogurt

2. Sanitize Your Jars and Tools

Just like when you make regular yogurt from cow's milk, the first step in making vegan yogurt is to sanitize all of the tools and jars you'll be using to incubate your yogurt. You can sterilize your equipment in boiling water or run it through the dishwasher (use the sanitize setting if your dishwasher has one).

close up of hands wisking yogurt mix

3. Make the Yogurt Mixture

Our vegan coconut yogurt is made with full-fat coconut milk thickened with tapioca starch. Start by pouring it into a saucepan and whisking well to break up any lumps. Then transfer about a half-cup of the coconut milk to a small bowl and whisk in the tapioca starch, then whisk that mixture back into the saucepan (whisking the starch into a smaller amount of the coconut milk helps to eliminate lumps). Finally, add a bit of sugar to the mixture. Don't skip the sugar—it's added not for sweetness but to give the probiotics something to eat so they can multiply!

hands using thermometer to check the temperature of liquid in pot

4. Heat the Mixture

Before adding the probiotics, it's necessary to heat the coconut milk mixture to kill any harmful bacteria. Heat the mixture until it's hot but not boiling, about 180°F (boiling is 212°F). Use a candy thermometer or instant-read thermometer to monitor the temperature.

5. Add the Probiotics

Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool, stirring it occasionally, until the temperature has dropped to 100°F before adding the probiotics. If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the active probiotics. Once the mixture is cool, break open the capsules and add the contents to the mixture in the saucepan, whisking well to combine.

pouring yogurt liquid into small jars

6. Incubate the Yogurt

Next up, divide the yogurt mixture among the jars and incubate it. Incubating just involves keeping the mixture warm (between 105°F and 110°F), and you can do it lots of different ways. You can keep the yogurt warm using your favorite yogurt maker, a dehydrator set to 110°F, in an Instant Pot or even in an oven with the light on. (If using the oven, wrap the jars in a towel to help insulate them.) Let the yogurt rest and incubate for 12 to 14 hours—the longer it rests, the tangier it will be. After incubating the yogurt, transfer it to the refrigerator and give it 24 hours to cool and thicken before eating (it will keep for a week in the fridge). Then all that's left is to serve and enjoy!

Check Your Wallet: Traditional Yogurt vs. Vegan Yogurt

For a look at the price difference between traditional and vegan yogurt, we turned to vegan chef Jenné Claiborne (@sweetpotatosoul). While prices for store-bought yogurt vary, Claiborne notes that making a batch of our vegan coconut yogurt costs about $2 more than buying a 32-ounce container of organic whole-milk cow's yogurt. That's about 50 cents per serving—well worth it for this creamy yogurt, as Claiborne says.

Environmental Impact: Traditional Yogurt vs. Vegan Yogurt

Dairy actually has a bigger environmental impact than poultry or pork, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions per gram of protein, according to research from the World Resources Institute, so making vegan yogurt could help lighten your personal environmental load. "Making yogurt at home also cuts down on single-use plastics," Claiborne notes. "If you do buy yogurt, buy it in bigger containers and portion out single servings at home in reusable jars," she adds.

Nutritional Comparison: Traditional Cheesecake vs. Vegan Cheesecake

In terms of nutritional differences, this vegan yogurt is made with creamy full-fat coconut milk, so it's not a shock that it's higher in calories than traditional dairy yogurt. You get 164 more calories per cup from our vegan coconut yogurt than from whole-milk vanilla yogurt. But it's also lactose-free and has 9 fewer grams of carbohydrates than vanilla yogurt. The other big nutritional difference is that this vegan yogurt has 0 grams of protein. Dairy yogurt is actually a great vegetarian source of protein. Regular yogurt typically has about 7 grams protein and Greek yogurt has about 19 grams per cup.

Vegan coconut yogurt can stand in for traditional yogurt in many dishes. We like to serve it in a tropical smoothie bowl with sliced banana, pineapple, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, sliced almonds, dried cranberries and toasted coconut. Or try it with any fruit that's in season—it's lovely with berries, peaches and apples.

Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Before beginning, sterilize all tools and jars you will use for making the yogurt.

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  • Pour coconut milk into a medium saucepan and whisk well to incorporate. (If the cream part of the coconut milk is thick, transfer the coconut milk to a blender and puree until smooth.) Transfer 1/2 cup to a small bowl. Add tapioca starch to the bowl and whisk until well incorporated. Stir the mixture back into the pan and add sugar. Heat until scalding (180 degrees F).

  • Remove from heat and let cool, stirring occasionally, until the temperature has dropped to 100 degrees F. Add the contents of the probiotic capsules and whisk to combine. Divide the mixture among 4 sterilized 8-ounce jars and cover with lids.

  • Keep the yogurt warm using your preferred method: yogurt maker, dehydrator set to 110 degrees F, or in an oven that's about 105 degrees F (leave the oven light on until this temperature is reached). If using the oven, wrap the jars in a towel to help insulate them. Let it rest for 12 to 24 hours. (The longer it rests, the tangier it will be.)

  • Transfer the yogurt to the refrigerator and wait 24 hours for it to cool and thicken before eating.

Tips

To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Equipment: Four 8-oz. jars with lids

Learn more about how to make this vegan yogurt.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup
364 calories; carbohydrates 16.9g; sugars 12g; fat 30.9g; saturated fat 25.7g; calcium 0.1mg; iron 0.1mg; potassium 0.2mg; sodium 38.7mg; added sugar 10g.

7 fat, 1/2 other carbohydrate

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