Homemade Greek Yogurt: A Cheat Sheet and a Cookies and Cream Treat

cookies and cream yogurt.jpg

Cookies and Cream Greek Yogurt–it’ll make you forget about ice cream.

You can buy Cookies and Cream Yogurt in the grocery store but I wanted to make it myself with my own homemade yogurt. My first attempts weren’t so good. The tanginess of yogurt didn’t seem to dance well with the sweetness and crunchiness of Oreo Cookies. I finally figured it out; more on that in a minute. But first, I have a promise to keep.

Susie is my daughter-in-law, and she recently learned how to make Greek yogurt from the instructions on this blog.  She requested a cheat sheet, and several of you agreed you could use the same.

Homemade Nonfat Greek yogurt

Susie shows off her first successful batch of Greek yogurt.

Here is a quick summary.  If you have any questions, need more pictures, or want to read the details, see the original post and be sure to watch my video.




1. Fill a 2-quart heatproof glass bowl with nonfat milk.

2. Heat to 170 degrees F. in the microwave. (This takes 17 minutes in my microwave. Yours may be different.)

3. Allow to cool down below 120 degrees F. 105-110 is ideal.

4. Whisk in 2-3 teaspoons fresh yogurt as a starter. Cover loosely.

5. Incubate at a steady 100 degrees F. for 4-8 hours.

6. When yogurt has thickened, pour into an extremely-fine mesh strainer to drain off whey. If you don’t have one, use a cheesecloth, a tea towel, or a old-but-clean t-shirt to line your strainer. Time for this will depend on the thickness of your yogurt and your straining method. Set aside or discard the whey.

7. Dump drained yogurt back into the original bowl and WHISK FURIOUSLY until yogurt is smooth and shiny.

8. Add flavorings and/or sweeteners, if desired.  You may also whisk in additional milk if yogurt is too thick for your tastes.

9. Chill.

Now back to the Cookies and Cream Yogurt:  I discovered the best way to make it is to stir about a tablespoon, and ONLY a tablespoon, of cookies and cream frosting into 6 ounces of sweetened (to your taste) and vanilla-flavored Greek yogurt.  The frosting recipe comes from my Cookies and Cream Brownies. (Incidentally, this frosting will also turn a store-bought chocolate graham cracker into a gourmet dessert.)

This method seems to work better than just crumbling a cookie into the yogurt. Maybe it’s the additional sugar and butter in the frosting, or maybe it’s because the crumbled cookies become slightly soft after marinating in all that butter and sugar. Either way, yogurt done this way is positively addicting. It fully satisfies the ice cream cravings that so often taunt me.

Related Posts:

Healthy Homemade Greek Yogurt (Fat-Free)
A Cheat Sheet for Making Homemade Yogurt
Don’t Fear the Homemade Yogurt
How to Strain Yogurt the Easy Way
Answers to Your Questions About Making Homemade Yogurt
More Than Six Ways to Incubate Yogurt Without a Yogurt Maker
A Discussion About Protein in Greek Yogurt
18 Ways to Use Whey–a By-Product of Greek Yogurt

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathi June 23, 2017 at 10:52 am

I just started making yogart a month ago and now I’m really confused. I use a yogart maker.I heat milk in a pan not to a boil then let it cool. I line my jars up and and put one teaspoon of starter in containers put the whole milk in shake it up and put in yogart maker I have never had the yogart come out the same I like my yogart not sour and creamy. What am I Doing wrong? Help in Edgewater Fl


Paula June 23, 2017 at 2:38 pm

Making yogurt is not an exact science with a precise recipe so you will always have slight variations in your batches. There are SO MANY variables I can’t begin to list them all. If you do not like your yogurt sour, that means you should go for a shorter incubation period. How long do you incubate now? I normally like 5 hrs (because I also like my yogurt to be mild) but sometimes it may take a little longer. Also, the starter you use can make a big difference as well as the brand of milk. Making yogurt with a yogurt maker is kinda like riding a bike with training wheels. It’s an easier way to ride for beginners. But as you gain confidence, you will find those little jars quite limiting and a lot of trouble. When you get to that point, I have written several helpful posts on this blog about making yogurt–and more specifically, Greek yogurt. See here. http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/making-homemade-yogurt

One word of caution. You can find a million different ways to make yogurt, especially on the internet, but I would encourage you to find one that works for you and stick with it. Trying to combine directions from 10 different sources can be very confusing and discouraging. Good luck! paula


Sharon January 27, 2015 at 8:54 am

Can I use this recipe using raw goat milk and store bought plain yogurt for a starter?


Paula January 27, 2015 at 10:05 am

Sharon, I have not tried goat milk myself so can’t say for sure. In general, raw milk makes a thinner yogurt but I’m sure that varies just like everything else involved with making yogurt.


Maria September 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

I was hating the incubating in the oven method. The babysitting to keep it around 100 degrees was giving me sleepless nights. Plus, any use of our stove drove the heat in the oven sky high so I had to have it out by 5:30 for hubby’s morning oatmeal. Thus, I broke down, coughed up $149 and bought a Brod & Taylor Proofing Box though Amazon. ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FCZMU6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1411838512&sr=8-1&keywords=bread+proofer ) It’s great. You set the temperature, out your incubating container of choice in and take it out for your desired level of tartness. We like very tart so I go with 12 hours, strain in chinois for 90 minutes gently using a spatula from time to time to move the more solid yogurt away from the sides towards the center so the more liquid can escape, then gently whisk (not furiously as I find that breaks it down) and refrigerate 4 hours. We love it. Makes great gifts put in pretty wide mouth mason jars. Thanks!!


Paula September 27, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Wow Maria! Great solution if you have the space. Thanks for sharing your method.


Zana April 14, 2014 at 5:28 pm

I would love to hear suggestions about finding a way to keep the temperature at 100 degrees for 4-8 hours. This is where my recipe fails every time. Sad to waste so much product.


Paula April 14, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Have you seen this post? It has several ideas for you to consider. The comment section contains even more ideas.


Stephanie March 21, 2014 at 11:07 am

It’s been awhile since I made your yogurt, so I came back to check the starter amount- and boy you’ve been busy with the yogurt tips!

I usually use the method of the heating pad in the cooler but I decided to try the warm oven overnight this time, since I didn’t get started until late in the day and I was doing a full gallon, more than my cooler will fit.

After 12 hours it was jiggly but the whey hadn’t seperated yet. And the temp was only 82 degrees. ;( I’ve finally slowly reheated my oven to get the yogurt temp to 100 degrees and I’m hoping I didn’t botch this batch of yogurt with temps beneficial to other non-yogurt bugs. I use a wired probe constantly while doing this so I don’t have to mess with it much during the process. I’m hoping that my reading of other people on the internet using no temps and 24 hour incubation that I’m worrying for nothing.

Keep up the good work! It’s been great reading all the new recipes and tips!


Tammy B. February 20, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Thanks for the tip on whisking the yogurt. I’ve been doing this for a while now, so smooth and creamy!

I use a devoted-only-to-this-task plain, white flour sack towel for draining–they are about $2 for a 2-pack at Wal-Mart. Drape the towel in one layer over a large colander positioned over a bowl. Add yogurt. Gather the edges up and lay them over the top. I put the whole thing it in the fridge to drain. When I am done, the flour sack towel gets washed in plain, hot water (maybe a little vinegar or baking soda if I’m thinking about it) in the washing machine, by itself. Air dry, ready reuse for next batch.


Nan February 14, 2014 at 4:31 pm

Discard the whey? It’s incredibly nutritious! And can be used to make the worlds best pancakes and biscuits! The whey has as many beneficial microbes as the strained yogurt. If you search for “How to use whey in recipes”, a ton of information will come up. Your pictures are great and your “cheat sheet” is very informative! And the Cookies and Cream yogurt looks very tasty!


sydney November 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm

just found your blog.. I have been making yogurt for months.. I usually use 1/2 gal of 1/2% once a week, sometimes twice. I had looked at and tried a number of recipes. I settled on this one… few steps…

1/2 gal milk in low crock pot for 3 hrs, I add 4 cups of powdered milk…
cool for 2 hrs, (I use to try to ck temp and gave up, finding 2 hrs worked for me) take out a cup and mix it with starter, whisk that in with 1 Tbs of vanilla and 1 cup of sweetner.
wrap it in a towel and put it in a cold oven, light off, over night.. about 12-14 hrs.

I started with less powdered milk but preferred to add another cup to soak up the remaining whey. I don’t find it chalky, it makes more (5 32 oz store bought yogurt containers) as I don’t have to deal with the whey.

I put frozen raspberries or blueberries (I freeze them on plates then bag them) on the bottom of a serving and let them defrost before serving. Too good!

Use an apple wedger, put wedges of 2 apples in pyrex with cinnamon, cover with plastic, microwave high for 4 min. when cool scrape the apple off the skin. Eat the skins while you mash the pulp, add apple/cinnamon juice from pan and apples to vanilla yogurt. Crazy good !!

And my very favorite, lightly whisk baking cocoa into vanilla yogurt for chocolate yogurt. Some baking cocoas are better, give a richer chocolate flavor and require less.

The unfortunate thing is, if I don’t portion out some into a mug or bowl, I eat the entire 32 oz container in one sitting… then I have to make more…

For a smoothie.. frozen strawberries, yogurt and a little milk (or none) and a plunger blender.. I make them in a large jelly jar glass, the plunger fits to the bottom just fine.

Saw some of your postings and understand adding powdered milk, sugar and vanilla is a ‘taste’ thing. This is what tastes good to me.


Liji September 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Paula, This is wonderful recipe. I have made yogurt before but never knew why it worked the way it did. I also was not sure what temperature to heat it up to and what temperature to cool it down too, kinda went it my gut and that never works when you try to teach someone else how to do it. Having the specific temperature ranges for heating and cooling is very helpful to me. What type of thermometer do you use to check…is it a candy thermometer?
An excellent point you made is about the incubation of the yogurt and it requiring a low but steady temperature. I never owned an oven that has a “warm setting” or could be set to 100 degrees F. I use a heavy bottomed stainless steel dutch oven to heat up milk on a gas stovetop and always place the fresh (5-7 days) old starter from the fridge (measured out) on the glass gas stove top, so it gets to room temperature by the time the milk heats then cools down. That has always worked for me so I thought I can share that tip to others who are in the same scenario.


Paula September 20, 2013 at 8:58 am
Mariepier August 15, 2013 at 6:25 pm

To night I was revisiting the recipe and thought that I have to tell you that I have been making Greek yogurt from your site for almost 2 years , you made a believer out of me I have to make my own I still like the Okios one but the price is killing me. I make 2 batches a week with 4litres of 0% milk, for 2 people.
Thank you so much for showing us so many good things .
Btw I do salad in a jar too and we eat a lot more salad that way DH uses it in his lunch all the time , it’s there ready yum..yum…..!!.


barbara October 6, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I make the raw milk yogurt all the time, it’s great and easy to make.


tammy July 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

Thanks for that tip on the frosting. I have used 1 tbsp. of fruit jams or jellies to add flavor to mine but now will try the frosting.


Vickie June 24, 2012 at 9:47 am

Hi Paula: I was reading today’s blog when I noticed that you had posted a cheat sheet for making yogurt so I immediately came to this page. Thanks for helping those of us who are making yogurt for the first time. I was also glad to read your respose above to Doreen about the tartness. We happen to like a tart flavor and now you’ve resolved that issue for us. The lid attachment for my FoodSaver should be here tomorrow and do I ever have plans for it. I’m so glad I found your wonderful blog! Many thanks.


Paula June 24, 2012 at 9:41 pm

So glad you wrote. I can’t wait to hear how the vacuum-packing go for you.


Doreen June 7, 2012 at 8:19 am

I have been making Greek yogurt every few days ever since I found your site a few months ago. It’s been wonderful! Thank you! Thank you! You! Increased my calcium intake and I’ve lost a few pounds along the way because this nicely fills me up with few calories. My 7 1/2 year old even loves it with just with a little honey. Last night I left it in the oven and forgot to strain. It’s now been in there for almost 24 hours. Is there a point where the active live cultures are no longer “active and live”?


Paula June 7, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi Doreen, 

I have done the same thing–more than once. If it smells fine, I refrigerate and eat it. The longer yogurt incubates, the more tart it becomes. I’m sure the little microbes run out of sugar to eat at some point (making it more tart) but I’m not sure when that is. If you don’t care for tart, I suggest you let it drain for a LONG time and then add milk back to get the consistency you like. 

Sent from my iPhone


Corrie Stone June 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Thanks for the great hints for making Greek yogurt! I love it. My 2 year old grandson comes to my house and asks if he could have some of my yogurt. He loves it plain!


Natasha McEachron May 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I’ll have to try this recipe it would be great for fruit and yogurt parfaits and smoothies. Thanks for sharing!


Julia May 17, 2012 at 8:35 am

With this cheat sheet I just may be able to make some and discover why! Thanks for the mouthwatering post.


Claire May 16, 2012 at 5:06 am

Im enjoying the best yogurt in the world thanks to you. I was pretty scared. Everyone loves it! It is super creamy it has no tartness at all!


Paula May 16, 2012 at 9:35 pm

So glad to hear it. Thanks for writing. pr


Paula May 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Seems everyone is raving about Greek Yogurt. With this cheat sheet I just may be able to make some and discover why!


Fran Noerr May 14, 2012 at 7:58 am

Thanks for your fantastic blog! Im enjoying the best yogurt in the world thanks to you. I was pretty scared. I purchased the boullion strainer and a really good thermometer ( both were pretty pricey) I almost backed out. Good thing I didn’t! Everyone loves it! It is super creamy it has no tartness at all! Today salads in a jar. To any one out there thinking about making Greek yogurt this website has the best easiest directions and they work!


Paula May 14, 2012 at 1:25 pm


Thanks so much for your endorsement. The check is in the mail. (just kidding, of course)


Kori May 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

I recognize your daughter-in-laws’ shirt! I went to HU from 94-Dec 98. 🙂
Found your site a while back and have made the yogurt a few times. Love it. I like to simmer it with a vanilla bean and add some sweetener to make french vanilla flavor. 🙂 I also just got in my jar sealer attachment and am ready to try some salad in a jar!


Paula May 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Hi Kori,
Small world! French vanilla yogurt sounds wonderful. Wish I had some right now. Good luck with your salad.


Laurie May 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Hi Paula,
I learnt to make yoghurt from your website about six months ago and now have it down pat. I have a couple of tips that may help others. I use a wide mouth thermos flask as the incubator. Works great. Also I use cheese cloth doubled up and placed over a metal strainer. Found it was a bit messy at first but if you place it in the fridge overnight the yoghurt thickens a lot more and then you just tease the yoghurt from the sides of the cheese cloth by just lifting it and shaking it. After the edge of the yoghurt on the cheesecloth comes away (you may have to scrape a little) you will find the bulk of the yoghurt in the middle of the cheescloth will just slide into another bowl with very little left on the cheesecloth. You then just soak cheese cloth in hot water and rinse. I keep a little of the whey in case I need to add it back to the yoghurt to get the required consistency. Also adding frozen blueberries or raspberries after you defrost them makes a tasty and healthy flavouring. BTW the longer you leave the yoghurt in the thermos the thicker it becomes.


Paula May 14, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Laurie, thanks for taking the time to share. You never know how your method might give someone else an idea.


Melissa B May 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Love your post!
Have a wonderful Mothers Day! =)


Paula May 14, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Thanks Melissa,
Hope you also had a good Mother’s Day. pr


Jan May 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

Paula, I have had great luck lining my over the sink wide strainer with 2-3 layers of Bounty paper towel and then pouring in the yogurt to strain. Easy cleanup, and the yogurt easily drains through the paper towel.

Happy Mother’s Day

XX ~ jan


Paula May 12, 2012 at 9:44 pm

Jan, Thanks for the tip. Always good to hear the different “systems” people use according to what they have available. Happy Mother’s Day to you also. pr


Tammy August 10, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Thanks for this comment. I went and bought cheesecloth, but it is not cheap and I have learned that it is complicated to wash and reuse.. I have tonnes of paper towel though… 🙂 Tonite is my first night making the yogurt… How much does 2 quarts make?


Paula August 11, 2012 at 8:28 am

Hi Tammy,

I don’t like cheesecloth either. Or paper towels. That’s why I buy a very fine mesh strainer (large so you don’t have to strain in batches) and then you don’t need either.

How much Greek yogurt you get from 2 quarts of milk depends on the type of milk you use and how long you strain it. It will likely reduce by at least half, maybe more.


Lorraine May 12, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Paula, John and I have been planning to make your recipe for Greek Yogurt. He even read through your directions. We have been super busy with yard work (achy right now as we spent hours working today) but making your yogurt is high up on our to-do list. Appreciate this post too!


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