Yogurt was a favorite food of mine. It was perfect for breakfast, lunch or just a snack. When I became vegan, I tried dairy-free yogurt and it was horrible. I thought yogurt was a thing of the past for me. That made me sad because yogurt is a healthy cultured food that offers lots of probiotics.
Luckily, dairy-free yogurts have come a long way and there are a few brands out there that are really good. Read How to Choose the Best Non-Dairy Yogurt for tips on picking the best ones for you and avoiding those with added sugars and fillers. Another option is to make your own dairy-free yogurt. Trust me, it’s not as complicated as it sounds. It’s actually very easy and you get to choose the ingredients, flavors, and add-ins.
Here’ how to make your own dairy-free yogurt at home.
1. Choose the Non-Dairy Milk
Yogurt can be made with any non-dairy milk. Soy, cashew, and coconut are most popular because they are thick and have natural fats. Choose whichever milk is your favorite or use our guide: Which Milk for What Recipe: A Non-Dairy Milk Guide for All Your Cooking and Baking Needs. You can keep the yogurt raw by preparing it in a blender or you can make it in a saucepan over low heat.
2. Add a Thickener
To make the yogurt thick enough to eat with a spoon, you can add a thickening agent. Agar agar and tapioca starch are both good choices as they are readily available and easy to use. Some people choose not to use a thickener. If you’re making coconut yogurt, you can add coconut meat to thicken the mixture as in this Homemade Coconut Yogurt and this Raw Coconut Yogurt. Another option is to use the coconut cream that rises to the top of a chilled can of coconut milk. A third way to make the yogurt thick is to strain it through cheesecloth overnight.
3. Add Cultures
One of the best things about yogurt is how healthy it is because it’s filled with probiotics. You can add probiotic powder or liquid to your homemade yogurt. Make sure the probiotics you buy are vegan and gluten-free, if necessary. Check out What to Look For in a Probiotic for shopping tips. If you take probiotics in capsule form, you can simply empty a couple of capsules into your mixture as in this Homemade Probiotic Cashew Yogurt.
4. Add Flavors
You can add flavors to your yogurt to get some variety. Make vanilla yogurt by adding a little vanilla bean powder, add some warm cinnamon or make chocolate-flavored yogurt with a bit of cacao. If you want your yogurt sweeter, add maple syrup, stevia or whatever type of sweetener you like to use. Try this delicious Cinnamon Coconut Yogurt and this Banana Buckwheat Yogurt.
4. Fermentation and Chilling
Now the yogurt needs to ferment. Transfer the yogurt into a bowl and cover it. Allow it to sit in a warm, dark place for up to 48 hours. It should start to taste tart after 24 hours. How tart you want it is up to you. After 48 hours, the yogurt will taste sour. The yogurt can also ferment in a dehydrator for several hours at about 100 degrees. For detailed instructions, see How to Make Coconut Yogurt in a Dehydrator. When the yogurt is done fermenting, transfer it to the fridge and keep chilled until you’re ready to eat it.
5. Enjoy Your Yogurt
Now that your yogurt is ready to eat, it’s time to get creative. Add in bananas, nuts, berries, granola, cacao nibs or whatever you like. Use your yogurt to make Coconut Yogurt Tzatziki for your falafel salad. Turn your homemade yogurt into this delicious Frozen Berry Yogurt Bark and Lemon Lavender Yogurt Cake. Enjoy it in this Papaya and Coconut Yogurt Breakfast and this Cherry Chocolate Stovetop Granola with Toasted Cashew Banana Yogurt.
It’s amazing how easy it is to make your own yogurt. There’s nothing like getting to choose and control the ingredients in your food. Have fun playing with all the different types and flavors of yogurt you can make!
Lead image source: Cherry Chocolate Stovetop Granola with Toasted Cashew Banana Yogurt