Best Lactose-Free Yoghurt Recipe With/Without Yoghurt Maker

Best Lactose-Free Yoghurt Recipe With/Without Yoghurt Maker

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Updated on May 9, 2024

Are you ready to discover the joy of creamy, delicious yoghurt without the worry of lactose intolerance? Lactose-free yoghurt is a gut-friendly solution that lets you enjoy the probiotic perks and protein power of yoghurt without the discomfort.

This comprehensive guide unlocks the secrets to crafting homemade lactose-free yoghurt with or without a yoghurt maker, explores flavour variations and topping ideas to tantalise your taste buds, and equips you with expert tips to achieve the perfect texture every time. So, let’s master the art of a lactose-free yoghurt and learn why it’s a fantastic alternative for those seeking lactose-free options.

Understanding Lactose-Free Yoghurt

What is Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Lactose-free yoghurt is a versatile and nutritious alternative to traditional yoghurt, perfect for individuals who are lactose intolerant or follow a lactose-free diet (or even a dairy-free diet!)

Regular Yoghurt vs Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Regular yoghurt is a fermented dairy product made by introducing live and active cultures (bacteria) to milk. These cultures break down lactose, the natural sugar found in milk, into lactic acid. This process not only gives yoghurt its characteristic tangy flavour but also makes it easier for some people to digest. 

However, for individuals with lactose intolerance, the body struggles to produce enough lactase, the enzyme needed to break down lactose. This can lead to unpleasant digestive symptoms after consuming dairy products. Lactose-free yoghurt comes to the rescue by offering a solution for those who love yoghurt but can’t tolerate lactose. 

How is Lactose-Free Yoghurt Produced?

There are two main ways lactose-free yoghurt is produced:

  1. Using lactose-free milk: Manufacturers start with cow’s milk that has already undergone a process to remove the lactose. Live and active cultures are then introduced to this lactose-free milk, resulting in yoghurt with the same creamy texture and delightful tang as regular yoghurt but without the lactose.
  2. Adding lactase enzyme: Another method involves using regular milk and adding lactase enzyme during the yoghurt-making process. This enzyme acts just like the lactase naturally produced in our bodies, breaking down lactose into simpler sugars that are easier to digest.

Benefits of Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Benefits of Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Lactose-free yoghurt isn’t just a delicious alternative for those with lactose intolerance; it boasts a range of impressive health benefits that can contribute to a well-balanced diet for everyone. 

1. Supporting Gut Health

The probiotic cultures found in lactose-free yoghurt, including Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, are friendly bacteria that reside in your gut and play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system. They help break down food, promote nutrient absorption, and even crowd out harmful bacteria that can cause digestive issues. 

2. Protein Source

Yoghurt, both regular and lactose-free, is an excellent source of high-quality protein. Protein is essential for building and repairing tissues, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, and even aiding in weight management. 

3. Fortified with Calcium

Lactose intolerance can sometimes lead to a decreased intake of calcium-rich foods like dairy. However, many lactose-free yoghurts are fortified with calcium, a crucial mineral for strong bones and teeth. It also plays a vital role in muscle function and nerve transmission. 

4. Dietary Diversity

For those following a vegan or vegetarian diet, lactose-free yoghurt made with alternative milk sources can be a valuable source of calcium and protein that might otherwise be lacking. It also caters to individuals with lactose intolerance who may struggle to find suitable alternatives for dairy-based yoghurts in recipes or enjoy a yoghurt parfait without discomfort.

Basic Lactose-Free Yoghurt Recipe

Basic Lactose-Free Yoghurt Recipe

Creating your own creamy and delicious yoghurt that’s free from lactose at home is easier than you think! Follow this simple lactose-free yoghurt recipe to enjoy homemade yoghurt that’s perfect for your lactose-free lifestyle.


  • 1 litre lactose-free milk (or non-dairy milk alternative)
  • 1 tablespoon live and active culture starter (options include store-bought yoghurt with live cultures or commercially available starter cultures)


  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Using a thermometer, aim to reach a temperature between 82°C (180°F) and 85°C (185°F). Avoid letting the milk boil.
  2. Once heated, remove the milk from the heat source and allow it to cool to between 40°C (105°F) and 46°C (115°F). This is a crucial step, as excessively hot milk can deactivate the live cultures in the starter.
  3. Using a whisk that has been sterilised with boiling water, gently stir in the live and active culture starter. Ensure it is evenly distributed throughout the lukewarm milk.
  4. Here are two methods for incubating your yoghurt, allowing the cultures to work their magic:
  • Method 1: Yoghurt Maker: If you have a yoghurt maker, simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions for incubation time and temperature. This typically involves pouring the inoculated milk into individual yoghurt containers and incubating for 8-12 hours, depending on your desired level of thickness and tanginess.
  • Method 2: DIY Incubation: Pour the inoculated milk into a sterilised glass jar or container with a lid. Wrap the jar in a clean towel or tea towel to insulate it, then place it in a warm location, such as a preheated oven turned off with just the light on or a cooler filled with hot water (around 40°C). Maintain this warm environment for 8-12 hours.

After incubation, your yoghurt should be thickened and have a slightly tangy aroma. Refrigerate it for at least 4 hours (ideally overnight) to allow the flavours to develop further and achieve a chilled and creamy texture.

Flavour Variations and Topping Ideas for Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Flavour Variations and Topping Ideas for Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Enhance the enjoyment of your homemade lactose-free yoghurt with delicious flavour variations and creative topping ideas. Here are some exciting options to try.

Flavour Variations

  • Fresh or Frozen Fruit: Berries, mango, pineapple, or peaches, for example, add a burst of sweetness and vitamins to your yoghurt. You can also try pureed fruits or fruit compotes for a thicker consistency.
  • Honey or Maple Syrup: A drizzle of honey or maple syrup adds a touch of natural sweetness and complements the tanginess of the yoghurt perfectly.
  • Spices: Ground cinnamon or a sprinkle of chai spice blend can add a warm and inviting flavour profile to your yoghurt.
  • Vanilla Bean: A touch of vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste infuses a classic and comforting vanilla flavour into your yoghurt.
  • Coffee: Stir in a shot of espresso or instant coffee powder for a delicious and energising twist.
  • Citrus Zest: Grate the zest of lemon, lime, or orange into your yoghurt for a bright and refreshing twist.
  • Chocolate: Mix in dairy-free cocoa powder or melted dairy-free chocolate for a rich and indulgent treat.

Topping Ideas

  1. Coconut Flakes: Sprinkle toasted coconut flakes on top of your lactose-free yoghurt to add tropical flair and a hint of nuttiness.
  2. Crunchy Granola: Sprinkle granola clusters, toasted nuts, or seeds over your yoghurt for added texture and a satisfying crunch.
  3. Nut Butter Drizzle: Swirl creamy almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter into your yoghurt for a decadent and protein-packed topping.
  4. Honey or Agave Nectar: Drizzle a swirl of natural sweeteners like honey or agave nectar over your yoghurt for a touch of sweetness.
  5. Fresh Fruit: Top your yoghurt with sliced strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, or any seasonal fruit for a colourful and nutritious boost.
  6. Whipped Cream or Caramel: A dollop of whipped cream or a drizzle of caramel sauce can transform your yoghurt into a decadent dessert.

Tips for Achieving Perfect Lactose-Free Yoghurt 

Tips for Achieving Perfect Lactose-Free Yoghurt 

While the basic lactose-free yoghurt recipe is straightforward, there can be a few factors influencing the final texture and taste of the yoghurt. Here are some helpful tips to ensure your yoghurt turns out creamy, tangy, and delicious every time.

Factors Affecting Texture and Taste

  1. Milk Type: While lactose-free cow’s milk is a common choice, using alternative non-dairy milk sources can result in a thinner yoghurt consistency. These milk sources naturally contain less protein and fat compared to cow’s milk, which contributes to a thicker texture. If using alternative milk, consider adding thickeners like gelatin or xanthan gum (following package instructions) to achieve a creamier consistency.
  2. Starter Culture: Different starter cultures can produce varying levels of tartness in your yoghurt. Experiment with different brands or types of starter cultures to find one that suits your taste preference. Some cultures may also set faster than others, affecting the incubation time.
  3. Incubation Time: The longer your yoghurt incubates, the thicker and tangier it will become. If your yoghurt seems too thin after the recommended incubation period, consider extending the incubation time for a few additional hours. However, be mindful that excessively long incubation can lead to a very tart or sour flavour.

Tips for the Best Results

  1. Use sterilised equipment to prevent unwanted bacteria from interfering with the culturing process. Wash and sterilise your pot, whisk, and yoghurt container with boiling water before using them.
  2. Pay close attention to the recommended temperatures for heating and cooling the milk. Overheating can kill the live cultures, while insufficient heating might prevent proper culturing.
  3. Avoid disturbing the yoghurt while incubating or opening the container, as this can disrupt the culturing process and affect the final texture.
  4. Ferment the yoghurt for a minimum of 8 hours, up to 12 hours, to allow the beneficial bacteria to fully culture the milk and develop a tangy flavour. Longer fermentation times can result in thicker and tangier yoghurt.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Yoghurt Too Thin: If the yoghurt is too thin after fermentation, strain it through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve to achieve a thicker consistency. This process creates Greek-style yoghurt by removing excess whey.
  • Yoghurt Not Setting Properly: Ensure you follow the recipe steps precisely, especially regarding heating and cooling temperatures. Did the milk reach the correct temperature for incubation? Was the starter culture properly incorporated? 
  • Yoghurt Tasting Too Tart: If your yoghurt ends up a bit too tart for your liking, there are a couple of solutions. First, consider shortening the incubation time. Alternatively, you can try sweetening your yoghurt after refrigeration with a touch of honey, maple syrup, or fresh fruit.

Shelf Life of Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Shelf Life of Lactose-Free Yoghurt

Understanding the shelf life of lactose-free yoghurt is essential for ensuring freshness and optimal quality. Here’s what you need to know about storing and maintaining your homemade lactose-free yoghurt.

Storage Time

Homemade lactose-free yoghurt typically stays fresh for 7-10 days when stored correctly in the refrigerator. The live and active cultures in the yoghurt continue to be active during this period, potentially increasing the tartness slightly over time.

Proper Storage Practices

  • Once your yoghurt has chilled thoroughly, transfer it from the incubation container to an airtight container suitable for refrigerator storage. This will prevent contamination and help preserve the yoghurt’s flavour and texture. 
  • Store your lactose-free yoghurt on a shelf towards the back of your refrigerator, where the temperature is the most consistent and coldest. Avoid storing it near the door, where fluctuating temperatures can occur.
  • Keep an eye out for signs of spoilage, such as a sour or off-flavour, unusual texture (grainy or slimy), or mould growth on the surface. If you notice any of these signs, discard the yoghurt to avoid consuming spoilt food.

Final Notes & Further Inspiration

By opting for lactose-free yoghurt, you can enjoy all the creamy goodness of traditional yoghurt without the discomfort of lactose intolerance. With a little practice, you’ll be making delicious homemade yoghurt that rivals store-bought versions. Check out how to make lactose-free yoghurt in the Instant Pot for further experimentation!

For even more lactose-free inspiration, explore our website’s treasure trove of delicious recipes! Craving a creamy and decadent dessert? Check out our lactose-free cheesecake recipe guide. Feeling a hankering for comfort food? Our lactose-free mac and cheese recipe is guaranteed to hit the spot. The possibilities are endless!

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