MoneySaving in the kitchen: How to make your own yogurt

Save up to 69% by making your own soy yogurt at home

With the price of, well, everything rising it can be worth it to save money where you can. Recently, I've started to wonder about the cost of a breakfast staple, yogurt, and how much money I could potentially save making it myself. Will it work? Will I get food poisoning? Will it cost more than I could buy it for?

I eat soy yogurt for breakfast with homemade muesli every day. And soy yogurt tends to costs more than dairy yogurt, partly due to plant-based products not qualifying for dairy industry subsidies. To illustrate this...

  • Tesco own-brand dairy Greek yogurt is £1.10 for 500g 
  • Tesco own-brand soy milk Greek yogurt £1.45... for a cheeky 400g
  • Alpro soy yogurt at Tesco is £2.10 for 500g 

As dairy isn't an option for me, I set about trying to find out whether I could save money by making yogurt at home – and indeed to find out whether it was even possible. 

How I made my soy yogurt

So the first rule of yogurt making is... you actually do have to buy a pot of yogurt. I know, I know, sounds like a scam already! But it works out cheaper than trying to buy packages of 'yogurt bacteria' online, especially ones that don't contain dairy (normally costing between £5 to £10), or aren't derived from animals. So what's the point?

Well, you can turn 50-200ml of yogurt (I usually use about half of the tub) into about 1,500ml – think of it as a buy-one-get-two-free offer... with extra steps. 

In order to make the yogurt, I normally buy:

  • 500g of Tesco Plant Chef plain yogurt for £1.45
  • 1L of soy milk for 50p

And that's it. So, a total cost of £1.95.

If you're making yogurt this way, find a yogurt without too much sugar or other ingredients. Sometimes, especially with bigger brands, the yogurt fails completely... leaving me questioning whether it actually contains any 'friendly bacteria' (that make the milk go yogurt-y) at all!

Now you've got your ingredients, you need to make the yogurt. Luckily, my Crockpot version of an Instant Pot, bought many moons ago on Prime Day (for a really good price!) actually has a yogurt setting, so it turns out I could just dump in the yogurt and milk, stir them, and set it to go for eight hours. Amazing! But... did I save money? And how would it taste?

If you don't have a Crockpot or Instant pot you can still make yogurt, I've never done this myself as I already had one, but you can mix ingredients in a bowl and leave them on the side in a warm area – much like you'd leave bread dough to rise – and come back later. Although, if you've a cat you may catch them red-handed (white-pawed?) with their paw in your yogurt so make sure to loosely cover the bowl with something like a pan lid or clean tea towel and elastic band.

Did I save money? (spoiler alert... you bet I did)

As the table shows, I saved between 55% and 69% off buying the equivalent amount of yogurt, comparing with shop-bought soy yogurts. 

Of course, if you don't already have a Crockpot, Instant Pot, or other brand of multicooker that has a yogurt function the biggest cost would be the outlay to buy the equipment. You can make yogurt without it, but as I already had one, (they're great to cook dry beans, another kitchen MoneySaving tip!) and it makes the process easy and automated, I used it.

You can make a thicker, more Greek-style yogurt by straining the yogurt after you've made it, however I don't do this as before I tried this, I ate the shop-bought yogurt with soy milk on my breakfast anyway.

Product Price Cost for 1.5L Saving vs store-bought
Tesco dairy Greek yogurt, 500g £1.10 £3.30 £1.35 (41%)
Tesco Plant Chef soy Greek yogurt, 400g £1.45 £5.44 £3.49 (64%)
Tesco Plant Chef soy yogurt, 500g £1.45 £4.35 £2.40 (55%)
Alpro soy yoghurt, 500g £2.10 £6.30 £4.35 (69%)
Home-made soy yogurt, ~1.5L £1.95 £1.95

So... did it work? And how DID it taste?

I haven't given myself food poisoning from making yogurt, but I have made slightly off-putting curry flavoured yogurt when I forgot to wash the seal in the lid after making curry – so watch out for that! Ultimately, saving nearly 70% on the cost of yogurt is worth it for me, even if the yogurt is a little runnier than store-bought as you're not adding any thickening agent.

The yogurt passed the first test... I didn't go blind (Simpsons quotes nobody gets any more)

Do you make your own yogurt to save money? What other kitchen MoneySaving hacks do you use? Let me know on Twitter.