instant pot lactose-free yoghurt

Creamy Bliss Without the Fuss: Instant Pot Lactose-Free Yoghurt

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Updated on March 23, 2024

Love yoghurt, but are lactose intolerant? Don’t worry; you can still enjoy this creamy, probiotic-rich treat! Making instant pot lactose-free yoghurt is surprisingly simple and allows you full control over the ingredients.

The Instant Pot, your trusty kitchen companion, can turn this dream into reality. Not only is making lactose-free yoghurt at home incredibly easy, but it’s also cost-effective and allows you complete control over the ingredients. 

From organic milk to the perfect level of sweetness, you get to customise every step. So ditch the frustration and ditch the store-bought stuff—let’s whip up a batch of healthy, delicious yoghurt that’s kind to your tummy and your taste buds!

Choosing Your Lactose-Free Milk Canvas: A Breakdown of Options

instant pot lactose-free yoghurt
instant pot lactose-free yoghurt

The world of lactose-free milk offers many exciting possibilities for crafting homemade yoghurt. But with so many options on the shelf, how do you pick the perfect one? 

Let’s explore some popular lactose-free milk choices and how they can influence your final yoghurt creation.

Almond Milk

A popular dairy-free choice, almond milk boasts a mild, nutty flavour that can add a subtle depth to your yoghurt. 

Here’s what to consider with almond milk:


Almond milk naturally has a thinner consistency than cow’s milk. This can result in a looser-set yoghurt, but using a thicker variety of almond milk or adding thickeners like chia seeds can help achieve a creamier texture.


The subtle nuttiness of almond milk pairs beautifully with fruits, spices like cinnamon, or even a hint of vanilla extract.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk’s rich, creamy texture and naturally sweet flavour make it a fantastic base for a tropical-inspired yoghurt.

Here’s how coconut milk can influence your creation:


Coconut milk has a distinct sweetness that can be overpowering for some. You can balance this by using unsweetened coconut milk and separately adding your preferred sweetener level.


Coconut milk naturally lends itself to a thicker yoghurt compared to other options. If you prefer a looser consistency, you can dilute the coconut milk with some water before culturing.

Cashew Milk

With its smooth, slightly sweet taste, cashew milk offers a versatile base for lactose-free yoghurt creations. 

Here’s a breakdown of what to expect with cashew milk:

Neutral Flavor

Cashew milk boasts a very neutral flavour profile, making it a blank canvas for bolder flavour combinations. Consider adding fruit purees, chocolate shavings, or even a swirl of nut butter for exciting variations.

Creamy Texture

After culturing, cashew milk naturally has a creamy consistency, translating to luxuriously thick and smooth yoghurt.

Making Instant Pot Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge of the milk options let’s dive into the exciting world of creating your very own lactose-free yogurt masterpiece! 

This recipe provides a simple foundation, but feel free to customise it to your taste preferences.


  • 4 cups lactose-free milk (see section 3 for milk choice considerations)
  • 1/4 cup plain lactose-free yoghurt with live and active cultures (starter)
  • Sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, etc.) – optional
  • Flavourings (fruits, extracts) – optional


  1. Milk Preparation:  Pour your chosen lactose-free milk into the Instant Pot liner. If using unsweetened milk and desiring a sweeter yoghurt, add your preferred sweetener at this stage. Heat the milk on the “Saute” setting, stirring occasionally, until just simmering (around 180°F). Do not let the milk boil.
  2. Cooling and Inoculation:  Turn off the Instant Pot and let the heated milk cool down to between 110°F and 115°F. This temperature range is crucial for optimal bacterial growth in the yoghurt starter. You can use a thermometer to ensure precise temperature measurement. Once cool enough, whisk in the lactose-free yoghurt starter with live and active cultures. Mix well to distribute the starter evenly throughout the milk.
  3.  Culturing with the Instant Pot:  Press the “Yogurt” button on your Instant Pot (if available) or use the “Manual” setting and set the time for 8 hours. Close the lid and ensure the pressure valve is set to “Sealing.” The Instant Pot will automatically maintain the ideal temperature for culturing the yoghurt.
  4. Setting and Chilling: The yoghurt should be thickened and set after the incubation period. You can check for doneness by gently tilting the pot – the yoghurt should hold its shape. If it appears too runny, allow for additional culturing time in 30-minute increments. Once set, turn off the Instant Pot and allow the yoghurt to cool naturally inside the pot with the lid on for a couple of hours. Then, refrigerate the yoghurt for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, to allow the flavours to develop and achieve the perfect chilled texture.

Flavor Variations and Customization

This recipe offers a base for plain lactose-free yoghurt. Here’s how to personalise your creation:


Adjust the amount of sweetener to your taste preference. For more control, you can add it during the initial heating of the milk or after culturing.


Get creative! Once the yoghurt has chilled, gently fold in your favourite mix-ins like chopped fruits, jams, granola, chocolate chips, or even a drizzle of honey.

The Science Behind the Instant Pot Yogurt Setting

The “Yogurt” setting on your Instant Pot might seem like a simple button press, but there’s some fascinating science happening behind the scenes! 

Let’s delve into the magic of this function and how it fosters the perfect environment for culturing your lactose-free yoghurt.


The Power of Precise Temperature Control

Unlike traditional methods that rely on maintaining a consistent temperature with towels or ovens, the Instant Pot excels at precise temperature regulation. 

Here’s how this benefits your yoghurt:

Optimal Culturing Environment

The “Yogurt” setting heats the milk to a specific temperature range (around 110°F – 115°F) and then maintains it for a prolonged period (typically 8 hours). 

This is the sweet spot for the start’s live and active cultures to thrive and multiply, converting the lactose in the milk (even trace amounts in lactose-free milk) into lactic acid. Lactic acid is what gives yoghurt its signature tangy flavour and thickens the consistency.

Consistency Throughout

Consistent temperature control ensures even culturing throughout the milk, resulting in a smooth and evenly set yoghurt without any hot spots or cold zones.

The Importance of Incubation

The extended incubation period facilitated by the “Yogurt” setting plays a crucial role in the yoghurt-making process. Here’s why:

Multiplication of Cultures

The warm and stable environment within the Instant Pot allows the live and active cultures in the starter to multiply rapidly. This process is essential for converting lactose into lactic acid and thickening the yoghurt.

Flavor Development

As the cultures multiply and consume the lactose, they also produce lactic acid and other byproducts. This contributes to the tangy flavour and characteristic aroma associated with yoghurt. 

The extended incubation period allows for deeper flavour development, resulting in a more complex and satisfying yoghurt experience.


Tips for the Perfect Texture

The quest for the ideal yoghurt texture – luxuriously creamy and perfectly set – can feel elusive at times. But fear not, yoghurt enthusiasts! Here are some valuable tips to help you achieve yoghurt nirvana in your Instant Pot:

Understanding Texture Variations

Several factors can influence the final texture of your lactose-free yoghurt. Knowing these factors empowers you to achieve your desired consistency:

As explored earlier, different lactose-free milk options have varying natural thicknesses. Almond milk, for example, might result in a looser set of yoghurt compared to cashew milk.

The longer you culture your yoghurt, the thicker it will become. If you prefer a very thick and spoonable yoghurt, experiment by extending the culturing time in your Instant Pot by 1-2 hours.

Achieving the Perfect Set

There are a couple of techniques you can employ to achieve the perfect set for your lactose-free yoghurt:

After culturing, allowing your yoghurt to cool at room temperature for a few hours before chilling it in the refrigerator is crucial. This initial cool-down period helps the yoghurt set further.

You can optionally strain your yoghurt after culturing for an even thicker, Greek yoghurt-style consistency. Line a fine-mesh sieve with cheesecloth and place it over a bowl. Gently pour your yoghurt mixture into the sieve and allow the whey (liquid) to drain for several hours or overnight for an ultra-thick result.

A World of Flavorful Yogurt Toppings and Variations

instant pot lactose-free yoghurt
instant pot lactose-free yoghurt

Plain lactose-free yoghurt is a delicious and healthy canvas, but the real magic happens when you unleash your creativity with toppings and flavour variations! Here are some inspiring ideas to transform your homemade yoghurt into a taste bud sensation:

Fruity Delights

Fresh fruits are a classic and universally loved pairing for yoghurt. Here’s how to elevate your fruit toppings:

Embrace the bounty of each season! In summer, top your yoghurt with fresh berries, stone fruits, or a tropical mango medley. Winter offers cosy options like chopped apples, pears, or a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds.

Don’t limit yourself to fresh fruit! Try incorporating homemade fruit compote, jams (choose low-sugar options for added control), or even a dollop of frozen fruit puree for a burst of sweetness and vibrant colour.

Granola, Nut Butter, and the Power of Crunch

Adding a layer of texture and healthy fats can take your yoghurt to the next level. Here are some ideas to explore:

Homemade Granola

Craft your own granola batch using rolled oats, nuts, seeds, and a touch of honey or maple syrup for a perfectly customised topping.

Nut Butter Love

A spoonful of creamy almond, peanut, or cashew butter adds a delightful richness and protein boost. Drizzle it over your yoghurt or swirl it in for a marbled effect.

Seed Sensations

Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds – the options are endless! These tiny powerhouses add a satisfying crunch, healthy fats, and a touch of visual appeal.

Spice Up Your Life (Literally)

For those who like a little adventure on their taste buds, explore the world of spices and extracts:

A sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg, or even a pinch of cardamom can add a warm and comforting touch to your yoghurt.

A touch of vanilla extract is a classic for a reason! It beautifully complements a variety of fruits and other flavours.

Don’t be afraid to experiment! A hint of ginger, a pinch of matcha powder, or even a drizzle of chocolate sauce can create surprisingly delightful flavour combinations.

Benefits of Lactose-Free Yogurt

Lactose-free yoghurt offers many of the same benefits as traditional yoghurt but without lactose. This makes it a great option for people who are lactose intolerant or who simply want to avoid lactose in their diet.

Here are some of the key benefits of lactose-free yoghurt:

Suitable for Lactose Intolerant People

Lactose intolerance is a condition in which the body has difficulty digesting lactose, the sugar found in milk. Lactose-free yoghurt is made with milk that has had the lactose broken down into simpler sugars, making it easier for people with lactose intolerance to digest.

Provides Essential Nutrients

Lactose-free yoghurt is a good protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients source. Protein helps build and repair tissues, while calcium is important for strong bones and teeth. 

Lactose-free yoghurt can also be a good source of probiotics, which are live bacteria that can benefit gut health.

May Aid Digestion

The probiotics in lactose-free yoghurt may help improve digestion and reduce symptoms of digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Supports a Healthy Immune System

Some studies suggest that the probiotics in yoghurt may help boost the immune system and protect against illness.

Good Source of Protein

Lactose-free yoghurt is a good source of protein, which can help you feel full and satisfied after eating. This can be helpful for weight management.

Versatile and Delicious

Lactose-free yoghurt can be enjoyed on its own or used in various recipes. It can be added to smoothies, parfaits, dips, and sauces. You can also use it as a healthy topping for cereal or fruit.


Making lactose-free yoghurt in an Instant Pot is a simple and delicious option for lactose-intolerant people. With just a few ingredients and easy instructions, you can enjoy the benefits of probiotics and nutrients in yoghurt without discomfort. So go ahead, give it a try, and enjoy this dairy-free alternative!

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