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Homemade Indian Yogurt with Tips

by Sonia on October 5, 2012

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Update on 25/07/2014: If you’re still struggling, I have found another great solution for making homemade yogurt.

I did a *happy dance* when I found my yogurt is set. Yes! I did, indeed! For this you don’t need any yogurt maker, dried culture powder or anything but only a live yogurt culture. I didn’t even used dry milk powder. You can if you wish.

I’m sucker for yogurt and buttermilk. I really love to have a full glass of buttermilk with my lunch/dinner, almost everyday. Who cares the season? I was after making homemade yogurt since few years like a lab scientist with failures.

It’s one of colder days of July, I saw my tiny bowl, in that my yogurt has set but I checked it tentatively. I swirled the bowl around but the yogurt didn’t move. I even checked it with turned the bowl upside down. I screamed…my husband threw me a startled look to check if I’m alright :D

Making yogurt in India is so easy task as any one could do it even who has not stepped in kitchen ever! In every Indian home, people make their yogurt almost everyday, before going to bed my mom stir a spoonful of yogurt in lukewarm milk. Voila! your fresh yogurt is ready by next morning! How easy! I never have seen my mom using any special equipment or anything that I need here. Unlike India, in foreign countries it’s almost impossible to get same texture and taste without putting some hard efforts. It’s like a dream! Well, at least for me. We ate store-bought yogurt for years. But, I wanted to make it home from scratch, anyhow.


All of you know that homemade yogurt is far better than store-bought. It’s quite cheaper with best taste. Few years ago, I tried to make it putting in oven (with light on), Microwave but nothing seemed worked out for me. Melbourne’s cool climate doesn’t allow to set my yogurt just as my mom do in India. So, I gave up my experiments and started to buy store-bought ones again.

What I’d been missing? Despite, I used best organic milk + store-bought yogurt culture I couldn’t success. And, I never wanted to spend any bucks for yogurt maker.

I also heard a lot hum about ‘dried powdered culture’ and probiotic capsules (available in health food stores)- these two were my last resorts to try. After some research on internet, two things are cleared in my mind.

For homemade yogurt two things are very crucial.

1) The live yogurt culture, and

2) warm environment for bacteria to grow up in yogurt

Hey, there was idea sprung up in my mind. What? Why you don’t bring yogurt culture from India. Cool! By chance, at that same time my friend F was in India and I asked her to smuggle some fresh yogurt culture for me. She did it! And I did it.

Rest is history! ;-) Since last July, I have made successful batch of homemade yogurt so far and will be making till my life. It might not a big deal for you but for me it is. I prepare 1-2 batch in a week and it will be ongoing.

Tips for homemade yogurt:

1. Bring your freshest yogurt culture from home country (if allowed) or ask your friend to bring for you. Or you could ask to any hindu temple or any friend or family who make their own yogurt at home. Here, the live culture is really important.

2. When you add yogurt culture to milk, milk should be lukewarm (about 43-44℃ -110-113℉)

3. The live yogurt culture should be not be cold or too hot but at room temperature.

4. The glass, ceramic, or terracotta containers or bowls are the best to setting yogurt. Better than plastics!

5. If milk thermometer is handy, please use it.

6. Sterilise the containers. I just wash with hot soapy water + rinse it thoroughly, let it dry completely, preferably under the sun.

7. If you live in colder countries it’s bit difficult to get the correct environment to set your yogurt. You could use either icebox (esky), chiller-bag, or electric blanket.

Homemade Indian Yogurt Recipe:

The Indian yogurt is kind of smooth, creamy and bit water-y than any other yogurt.


  • 3 cups full fat milk, preferably organic (I’ve not tried low-fat yet but you can try at your own risk)
  • about 1/2 cup homemade yogurt culture, at room temperature

Tools I use:

  • milk thermometer (optional)
  • Icebox (esky), chiller-bag or electric blanket

Disclaimer: This is not paid review or affiliated to Willow. I purchased this at my cost.


My Willow ice-box, my best buy for yogurt making process. (iPhone)

How to:

1. Heat milk in a medium sauce pan till one boil. Let it come down to cool, about 43-44℃ /110-113℉.

2. When you milk is cooled down, prepare your ice-box (esky) if using. Fill it with medium-hot water. The level of water should touch up-to ¾ level of your jar but not completely submerged into water.

2. Be sure your yogurt culture is at room temperature. Check milk with your little finger; if you could hold your finger in milk for a minute or so. It should be still lukewarm.

3. Take few tablespoons of milk (same milk that you’ve heated and cooled down) in yogurt culture bowl and mix well. Add into milk now and stir well.

4. Pour into clean glass jar carefully. Cover (not too tight) with a lid or plastic wrap and put it in hot water filled ice-box or chiller bag or wrap it in electric blanket (with minimum heat level setting).

5. Let it rest uninterrupted for at least 5-6 hours. It really depends on your room temperature. If your yogurt culture is fresh and alive it would set faster. I find mine would set in just 5-6 hours.

6. Check it after 5-6 hours; if it’s done put it refrigerator to chill. If it’s not change the water of ice-box if it’s cooled down and fill up with hot water again. After 1-2 hours it should be done for sure. And, there your homemade yogurt is done! It’s rennet free, pectin free and all other preservatives. You should try it yourself and see the difference in taste, texture. And this way, it’s quite cheaper than store-bought ones.

And, don’t forget to reserve few tablespoons for next batch. Ha!

I’ve posted some recipes using yogurt, Gujarati Kadhi, Pakora Kadhi, delicious Indian sweet Shrikhand, and Zucchini Muthia and goes well other spicy flatbreads.

Did you know? 

(source: internet and some general knowledge)

  • In summer, the thin buttermilk made from fresh homemade yogurt is the best and effective to prevent from sunburn.
  • While cooking, if you or your family member burn him/herself, immediately apply some yogurt on affected skin, area. Yogurt will help to ease your burning pain and prevent from to form a blister. Try it! Seriously, this always work for me and using this idea since many years.
  • According to ancient Ayurveda, don’t mix or avoid milk or yogurt with sour or citrus fruits. And, yes, it means that yogurt with fruit would not be considered a healthy breakfast choice. Because the action of hydrochloric acid in the stomach causes the milk to curdle. For this reason Ayurveda advises against taking milk with sour fruits, yogurt, sour cream, cheese, and fish.
  • In Ayurveda, the only fruit that safely combines with yogurt is sweet ripe mango, hence the popular mango lassi in India.
  • If possible, use homemade fresh yogurt for daily use or make fresh batch once or twice in a week.
  • Now, again, fruit, yogurt and milk, all are good for you but their own way. But NOT when you chop up the fruit and stir it into yogurt and purée into a smoothies. If you really like adding yogurt in smoothies, once in a while is okay.

Thank goodness! We haven’t started to sip any smoothies yet. I can write pages and pages here but I am putting a full stop here.

P.S. The below image is just for food photography purpose only. I picked out the orange chunks and ate ’em and put back my yogurt in container.


  • Even I love home made curd,…:) thanks for the post

  • I always like home made yogurt.

  • Sonia

    Thank you everyone.

  • I love homemade yogurt, but… rennet free? Who puts rennet in the yogurt anyway? Rennet is for cheese making, not for yogurts. And pectin – what is wrong with the pectin, pectin as especially good for you – it comes from apples.

    • Sonia

      Hi Irina, you never know that some manufacturers use rennet to thicken up the yogurt. And we vegetarian don’t eat it. Here in Australia, I also found out that the gelatin is added in almost all variety of yogurt except some genuin and organic products. And you may aware about that we strict vegetarian don’t consume gelatin .

      Well, there are 2 types of rennet, animal rennet and the other one is made from vegetable sources. For cheese, I always read the label and make sure it’s made from non-animal rennet.

      Re pectin: I never said it’s not good but I wanted to make it the way we make in India, without adding any extra ingredients to thicken the yogurt. Hope it clear now. :-)

      • Mukta Joshi

        yes we dont add anything extra to make yogurt in India and it tastes heavenly..

    • Skyr is an Icelandic yogurt that traditionally uses rennet. Yes, you are correct that most yogurts, either traditional or commercial, do not use rennet. I think skyr may be the only exception.

  • When we visited India I had fresh homemade yogurt in a little ceramic dish almost every day for breakfast. So good! I’d made homemade yogurt before, but this experience made me want it again, and I made it myself for a few years after this. Right now I’m not eating much dairy, even yogurt, so I’m back to store-bought yogurt, this time the non-dairy kind.

  • Rajiv

    I searched and found your blog after few failed attempts to make home made curd in Melbourne. I used to throw it out when I see that the curd has not set after 1.5 days. This time, i kept it longer, kept the pot in a vessel of hot water, and added a spoonful of lemon juice on the second day.. The third day, the curd was set, the taste was perfectly sour and yummy.

    Note: I dint use culture from India. It was an Australian brand yogurt (Jalna), mixed with COLD milk.. Yeah, I forgot to warm the milk, but i kept in hot water for 2 additional days for the desired form! Thank you for the inspiration to continue with the experiment! :)

    • Hi Rajiv, thanks for your input. I cannot wait for 2 days to set my yogurt. Now I make my yogurt twice in a week using Aldi’s yogurt maker, that’s been best decision I have ever made 2 years back. Using Aldi’s yogurt maker my yogurt sets in flat 4 hours, Yes, only 4 hours!! I think I’ll update my blog post soon with my new found. It might help others as well.

      • Rajiv

        Thats good Sonia. Its electric rite. It really comes out in the sour Indian curd form?

        • No. It’s not electric but simple yogurt maker and it works like a charm for me and from my experience many of my friends bought it too. Now I must have to share my experience here on my blog SOON!

  • anil Reddy

    nice !

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