Easy Lemon Yogurt Recipe Instant Pot

Lemon Yogurt Recipe

As a busy mom who loves feeding my family nutritious foods, I’m always looking for easy recipes that I can make in my Instant Pot. I recently discovered how simple it is to make delicious lemon yogurt using this versatile kitchen appliance. The tangy, creamy lemon yogurt recipe can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, adding a refreshing zing to everything from breakfast parfaits to chicken marinades.

I’ll walk you through each step of creating this easy lemon yogurt right in your Instant Pot. With just a few simple ingredients and the press of a button, you can have homemade yogurt ready in a couple hours with very little active effort. The method I use ensures your yogurt turns out thick and rich every time.

Let’s get started! I’ll provide you with my tried-and-true method, along with tips and substitutions to customize the yogurt to your taste.

What You Need to Get Started Lemon Yogurt Recipe

Making Instant Pot yogurt requires just a few ingredients and tools beyond your Instant Pot itself. I always have these yogurt-making staples on hand in my kitchen.


  • Milk – Whole milk works best, but you can use 2% reduced fat if you prefer. The higher fat content of whole milk produces a richer, creamier yogurt.
  • Plain yogurt with active cultures – This is the “starter yogurt” that contains the live cultures to ferment your milk into tangy yogurt. Make sure it lists “active cultures” on the label.
  • Lemon – Freshly squeezed juice and zest add that signature lemon yogurt tang.
  • Sugar or other sweetener (optional) – I prefer to sweeten naturally with vanilla or honey, but you can use regular sugar.


  • Instant Pot – My favorite for yogurt making is the 6-quart size, but other models can work too.
  • Yogurt starter culture (alternative to plain yogurt) – These packets contain freeze-dried cultures to inoculate your milk.
  • Whisk – Mix the milk and yogurt starter together thoroughly.
  • Oven or other heating source – To heat the milk safely up to temp before culturing.
  • Food thermometer (optional) – Allows precise temperature checks for food safety.
  • Glass jars or containers with lids – For storing the yogurt once it’s done fermenting.

Step-By-Step Instant Pot Lemon Yogurt Instructions

Now that you’ve got all the ingredients and tools ready, let’s go over the easy 6 steps to tangy DIY yogurt. I’ll explain each one in detail below:

1. Heat Milk to 180°F

Heat Milk to 180°F

Start by pouring your milk into your Instant Pot inner pot. I like to use 2 quarts for a standard 6-quart pot size, but you can adjust amounts as desired.

Turn your Instant Pot to the “Sauté” setting and let it heat the milk up to 180°F, stirring occasionally with your whisk to prevent scalding on the bottom as it warms. Using a thermometer helps ensure an accurate temp.

Pro Tip: You can also heat the milk in a pot on the stovetop or carefully in your microwave if needed before adding it to the Instant Pot.

2. Cool Milk to 110-115°F

Once your Instant Pot milk hits 180°F, press “Cancel” to turn off sauté mode. Let the warm milk sit for 5-10 minutes with the lid on to allow it to cool down to 110-115°F range before adding your starter culture. You want it hot enough to activate the yogurt cultures, but not so hot that it kills them.

3. Whisk in Starter Yogurt

Now comes the important culturing step! Open up your plain yogurt with active cultures and give it a few good stirs with a whisk or fork to break up any lumps. Add a heaping spoonful to the 110°F milk and whisk thoroughly to evenly distribute the cultures.

If using a yogurt starter packet instead, empty the contents into the milk as directed on the package. Mix it in the same way with your whisk until fully incorporated.

4. Incubate 6-12 Hours

Pour the inoculated milk from your Instant Pot insert into a clean glass jar or container with lids. Close them tightly.

Now we let the yogurt incubate undisturbed to allow the cultures to work their tangy fermenting magic!

Place jars into your electric Instant Pot and secure the lid. Make sure the steam valve is in the “Sealing” position with the pressure steam dial set to “Venting”.

Press the “Yogurt” button and use the “+” or “-” keys to set it to incubate for at least 8 hours. Then walk away! The Instant Pot will automatically maintain the ideal slightly above room temperature environment needed for the fermentation process.

Insider Tip: No “Yogurt” button? No worries! Just press “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” and set the time for 8-10 hours on “Low” pressure (don’t actually pressurize it). Same effect!

5. Chill and Flavor (Optional)

Once your timer goes off, use oven mitts or a thick towel when taking off the metal insert, as scalding steam will release.

Carefully remove yogurt jars, now filled with tangy fermented yogurt! Pop lids and stir gently – you should see it has reached a nice thick, creamy texture.

For a touch of natural sweetness, I love stirring in some lemon zest, vanilla extract, and a bit of honey at this point. Adding a spoonful of fruit jam is delicious too!

Tightly cover the flavored yogurt jars again and transfer to the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours up to a week. This “sets” the yogurt further and allows flavors to infuse.

And just like that – refreshing homemade lemon yogurt! It’s ready to enjoy plain or stirred into recipes.

6. Strain for Greek style (Optional)

If you prefer an ultra-thick, rich Greek yogurt texture, it just takes one more easy step.

Simply tie a double layer of cheesecloth over a sieve and set it over a deep bowl. Carefully spoon your chilled yogurt into the lined strainer, cover everything with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 more hours up to 48 total.

The whey liquids drain out, leaving luxuriously creamy Greek yogurt behind! Discard the liquid whey and transfer thick yogurt to airtight containers to store.

And there you have it – easy peasy lemon squeezy yogurt made right at home with your Instant Pot!

Now that you’ve mastered the basic method, check out my tips below for customizing flavors. Get creative with mix-ins to make your new favorite yogurt!

Tips for Customizing Your Tangy Lemon Yogurt

Part of the fun of DIY yogurt lies in experimenting with unique flavor combinations! Once you’ve tried the basic lemon yogurt recipe, here are some easy ways to put your own spin on custom blends…

Mix in Your Favorite Fruits

Mix in Your Favorite Fruits

Stirring juicy fruits like mashed berries, pineapple chunks, or swirled jam into your finished chilled yogurt creates vibrant swirling flavors. The options are endless!

Spice It Up

For a warming twist, blend in pumpkin pie spice, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, or cardamom. Sweetened rosewater makes for an aromatic Middle Eastern-style yogurt.

Go Herbal

Steep fresh mint, basil, lemon verbena, or lavender in the hot milk as it’s heating up to infuse herbaceous flavors into your yogurt. Unique and refreshing!

Swap out the Milk

Substitute milk with coconut milk or nut-based milk to make dairy-free yogurts. Just be aware the texture may turn out a bit thinner without the milk proteins.

Layer Parfaits

For an easy healthy breakfast or dessert, layer your tangy yogurt with homemade granola, nuts, seeds, and fresh fruit in a tall glass. Top with a drizzle of honey for contrasting sweet notes!

Troubleshooting Your Homemade Yogurt

While making Instant Pot yogurt is generally foolproof, issues can come up if conditions aren’t quite right for those healthy probiotic cultures. Here are some common problems and how to avoid them:

Yogurt Never Set Up Thick

This usually occurs if yogurt doesn’t incubate long enough or at too low of temperature. Make sure to incubate at least 8 full hours. The full 12 hours ensures maximum thickness.

Tart, Vinegary Flavor

If it tastes unpleasantly sour, that means the yogurt is over-fermented. Next batch, try checking yogurt at fewer time increments, such as 7 hours instead of the full 8.

A watery Layer on Top

Clear whey separation on top is normal for homemade yogurt and easily strained out for Greek style. But if your yogurt seems extra thin overall, the milk may have overheated or cooled too quickly when adding cultures.

Grainy, Curdled Texture

This indicates the milk overheated, causing proteins to denature. Heat milk more gently next time. Also, whisk in starter yogurt extra slowly to prevent shocking temperature shifts.

Thankfully, troubleshooting just takes a bit of tweaking factors like time and temperature up or down to get that tangy thick homemade yogurt texture perfect next round!

Let’s Get Started on Our Tangy Yogurt Adventure!

Tangy Yogurt Adventure

There you have it – everything you need to start whipping up easy, healthy homemade yogurt right in your Instant Pot! From basic recipe instructions to troubleshooting tips and custom flavor ideas, you’re fully equipped with yogurt-making confidence.

I hope you’ll give this simple lemon yogurt recipe method a try soon. I guarantee this zesty, creamy treat will become a staple you’ll make again and again once you see how delicious DIY yogurt can be. Plus you’ll save money compared to store-bought.

So grab your Instant Pot, milk, and favorite mix-in, and let the sweet tanginess begin! Your family will be asking for this yogurt constantly. Before you know it, all the yogurt possibilities will have your head spinning with ideas.

Let me know how your yogurt creations turn out or if you have any other questions. Now if you’ll excuse me, my next yogurt experiment – maple cinnamon raisin – is waiting for me!


What milk fat % works best?

I recommend whole milk for the richest flavor and creamiest body. But 2% reduced fat milk can work too if you prefer less fat and calories.

Is plain Greek yogurt interchangeable with other yogurt starters?

Yes, as long as it lists active and live cultures, plain Greek yogurt can inoculate milk the same as regular yogurt. Just note texture may vary.

Can I use this yogurt to inoculate the next batches?

You sure can! Save a few spoonfuls to whisk into your next milk base as a starter. Just make sure yogurt looks freshly thick with no mold or whey separation before using.

How long does homemade yogurt last refrigerated?

About 1-2 weeks is the average refrigerated life. The higher fermented probiotics can start to degrade over time, unlike commercial yogurts with preservatives added. So ideal to enjoy your homemade batch within 10-14 days for peak nutrition.

What if I don’t have an Instant Pot, can I still make yogurt?

No problem! As long as you have a way to gently heat and then temper the milk before adding starter yogurt, you can then transfer it to any oven-safe jars covered loosely with foil to incubate. Place those jars into a warm oven held at 110°F overnight with the oven light on. Just monitor the temperature to stay in the ideal range for fermenting without killing cultures.

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