This Easy Instant Pot Coconut Milk Yogurt is a perfect dairy-free alternative for those of us who can’t have cow’s milk. It’s smooth and tangy, yet you control the amount of sweetness added. This is a simple recipe that can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways!
I am SO incredible happy to be posting this recipe for Easy Instant Pot Coconut Milk Yogurt! In all of my years of being dairy-free, this is the first time I’ve successfully been able to make dairy-free yogurt. And it’s SO easy! A lot easier than I ever thought it would be, actually.
That said, there’s a few tips and things we need to chat about before you dive in head-first straight to the recipe.
In order to achieve delicious coconut milk yogurt, you have to start with really good-tasting, high-quality canned coconut milk. I prefer the Aroy-D brand because it’s not only preservative and gum free, but it tastes outstanding (if we’re being honest, I could drink it straight from the can). If you start out using canned coconut milk that you don’t like the taste of, or is gritty in texture (some of the organic brands are), I can assure you, you won’t end up liking the end result of your yogurt. Quality is key.
Dairy-free yogurt needs a thickener, it doesn’t thicken on its own like cow’s milk dairy yogurt will, which is why I call for gelatin in my recipe. If you do not use a thickener, the yogurt will still taste delicious, it will just be more of a kefir-like (runny) consistency.
If you can’t use gelatin due to allergies, or are vegan, you definitely can try an alternative thickener like chia seeds (so it would be like a chia seed pudding, but with yogurt). I’d start out by using 4 tablespoons of chia seeds. Add them after the yogurt has fermented in the Instant Pot. Place the jar of still-warm yogurt into a blender with the chia seeds and gently blend, not to grind the chia seeds, but blend just enough to evenly distribute the chia seeds throughout the yogurt. Pour the yogurt back into a larger container with a lid (the air bubbles from the blender may cause the yogurt to expand and overflow if you try putting it back into the pint-sized canning jar) and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or until completely chilled. Check the yogurt 30-60 minutes after placing it in the refrigerator to chill. If it has separated at all, give the mixture a quick stir to blend everything back together.
You might prefer a thicker or thinner consistency using this method, so start with 4 tablespoons of chia seeds, and then adjust as necessary. To your next batch of yogurt, add more chia seeds for an even thicker consistency, or reduce the amount of chia seeds for a thinner consistency.
I have many readers who are unable to have/use gelatin, so I also tested a batch of yogurt using agar powder in place of it. This batch did not thicken at all. I used a teaspoon of agar powder and added it to the yogurt at the same time I would normally add the gelatin. I’m not sure if it wasn’t enough agar powder, or if I was using it incorrectly? I obviously haven’t used agar powder enough to know why it failed, so if any of you can shed some light on that, I would love help figuring it out.
Some of you might be wondering, “Can I use coconut cream instead of coconut milk to get an even thicker consistency?” The answer is absolutely! When I was developing this recipe, I wanted a recipe everyone could make. Canned coconut cream isn’t always easily accessible (or some don’t like wasting half of a can of coconut milk just to use the thick cream on top after it separates from the thinner liquid), but if you can get your hands on some coconut cream (and it’s a good quality one), feel free to swap it out for the canned coconut milk. I’d love to know what brand you used and what you thought of the end result.
Do you have access to fresh young coconuts? I would LOVE to hear of your experiences using those in this Easy Instant Pot Coconut Milk Yogurt recipe. I bet you could create a nice thick coconut milk yogurt without using gelatin. I *think* I might be able to find some at a store over an hour away from my house, but I haven’t made it there to check yet (stay tuned, I’ll make it there eventually).
Many other Instant Pot and non-Instant Pot coconut milk yogurt recipes call for one to heat the coconut milk up to boiling, cool to about 100 degrees, and then add a starter of some kind. You do not need to do this when working with canned coconut milk, because it has already been sterilized prior to canning.
Other helpful tips:
Make sure you use fresh probiotics that have been properly refrigerated to maintain their potency.
If you make 2-3 jars of yogurt at one time (which you totally can), you might want to remove the handles from the stainless steel steam rack that came with the Instant Pot (I had my sweet hubby do this for me). Otherwise the jars won’t all fit on the rack with the handles in the way.
Always, always use clean, sterilized canning jars. You don’t want anything funky growing in your yogurt. Eww.
Other methods to try if you don’t own an Instant Pot:
Wrap the jar (with coconut milk + probiotics) in a towel, and place the jar in a turned off oven. Turn on the oven light, which should provide just enough heat to ferment the yogurt. The exact time needed will vary from 4 hours to possibly overnight.
Use a yogurt maker.
If you have a dehydrator with temperature control, set it at about 110-115 degrees (F) and place the jar inside the dehydrator. The exact time needed for the yogurt to ferment could vary between 4 hours to possibly overnight.
I hesitate to suggest a crock pot, but if you have one with a “WARM” setting, that could possibly work for making yogurt. I think a crock pot on a “LOW” setting would be too hot and could kill the probiotics instead of encouraging them to ferment. The exact time needed for the yogurt to ferment could vary between 4 hours to possibly overnight.
A heating pad if it doesn’t have an auto shut off (Disclaimer: caution, this could be a fire hazard, proceed at your own risk). Wrap the jar up in the heating pad and place on a heat-safe surface. Turn the heating pad to the lowest setting.The exact time needed for the yogurt to ferment could vary between 4 hours to possibly overnight.
- 14 ounces Aroy-D Canned Coconut Milk (roughly 1 3/4 cups), at room temperature
- 2 probiotic capsules (I use NOW Probiotic-10, they are gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy-free & vegan)
- 1 teaspoon gelatin, **OPTIONAL, see post above for vegan substitute ideas
- sweetener to taste (honey, maple syrup, palm sugar, stevia, etc.)
- Add the Aroy-D Canned Coconut Milk to a sterilized pint-sized canning jar.
- Break open the probiotic capsules and sprinkle the inside contents on top of the coconut milk; discard the empty capsules. Use the back of a wooden spoon (or another non-reactive material spoon) to push the probiotic clumps up against the side of the jar to break them up and stir them into the coconut milk. When completed, there will still be very small clumps, but this is okay.
- Place a lid on top of the jar, without the outer ring to screw it down. This lid is only used to keep condensation/moisture out of the jar.
- To the bowl of the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water, and then place the stainless steel steam rack (that came with your Instant Pot) inside. Plug in the Instant Pot.
- Carefully place the canning jar on the steam rack and lock the Instant Pot lid in place. Move the vent to seal.
- Push the "yogurt" button, and adjust the time to 8 to 10 hours (8 hours if you prefer you're yogurt less tart/sour, and 9 to 10 hours if you prefer it more tart/sour). The Instant Pot will begin counting up to the time programmed (instead of counting down).
- When the Instant Pot is done, it will beep several times. Unplug it, then immediately remove the canning jar. Remove the canning jar lid, and stir the yogurt. If it has separated at all, this is completely normal. Taste the yogurt. If it's not tart/sour enough, you can put it back in the Instant Pot for another 1-2 hours of time (on the yogurt setting).
- To thicken the yogurt, place the still warm yogurt into a blender, along with the gelatin. Blend until smooth.
- Sweeten to taste using preferred sweetener (we like to use raw local honey). Pour the yogurt back into a larger container (the air bubbles from the blender may cause the yogurt to expand and overflow if you try putting it back into the pint-sized canning jar) and refrigerate for 6-8 hours, or until completely chilled. Check the yogurt 30-60 minutes after placing it in the refrigerator to chill. If it's separated at all, give the mixture a quick stir to blend everything back together (otherwise, it will solidify separated, which you want to avoid if possible).
You can make 1 jar of this recipe, or up to 3 jars at a time (in the 6 quart Instant Pot, you *might* be able to do 4 jars in the 8 quart Instant Pot). For the sake of clarity, I simply wrote the recipe for 1 jar of yogurt.
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