How to Make Goat Milk Yogurt

I’m lucky enough to own three dairy goats. I have a constant supply of delicious raw goat milk, and, no, it’s not goaty tasting. It’s sweet and creamy. I make lots of cheese, ice cream, and yogurt. I love yogurt, and with the store bought good stuff costing $5 a quart, I save a lot of money.

Yogurt is very easy to make, but there are a few tips to making good goat milk yogurt since goat milk has different qualities than cow milk. I think our homemade yogurt is the most delicious yogurt I’ve ever tasted. I encourage you to try making your own yogurt whether you have access to raw goat milk or if you’re using store bought cow milk (I wouldn’t use store bought pasteurized goat milk). You’ll be surprised at how easy it is! I’ll give the basic instructions first, then go into detail about, well, the details.

Goat Milk Yogurt

Delicious Goat milk yogurt with strawberries, blueberries and a drizzle of maple syrup. My favorite summer breakfast. Yum!

Ingredients and Equipment for Two Quarts of Yogurt:

2 quarts of raw goat milk (or raw or pasteurized cow milk)
2 tablespoons high-quality yogurt or two frozen cubes of yogurt in a glass measuring cup or jar
2-quart saucepan
thermometer (optional)
Yogotherm or small cooler with 2 mason jars and lids

1. Heat milk to 180. Remove from heat and let cool to 115.
2. When milk has cooled, pour a little milk into the jar containing the starter yogurt and stir well.
3. Add the starter back to the cooled milk, stir well and immediately pour into the yogotherm container or into two-quart mason jars. Seal.
4. Put the yogotherm contain into the insulator and let sit for 8 hours. If using a cooler, put the jars in the cooler and fill with warm (not boiling hot) water to insulate the jars. Let sit for 8 hours. Then refrigerate. The yogurt will continue to solidify slightly overnight.


Starter Culture
You can purchase a starter culture. That works great. Bulgarian yogurt is my favorite starter, producing the thickest yogurt. However, it gets expensive, so I just purchase plain whole milk yogurt and freeze it in an ice cube tray and use one yogurt cube per quart of milk as a starter. I don’t bother defrosting the frozen yogurt before using. When the milk has cooled to about 120, I pour some milk over the cube to melt it. My favorite store bought starter yogurt is Dannon. I’ve tried all the organic, greek and Bulgarian yogurts as starters over the years, but here in Albuquerque, Dannon has proved to be the most lively starter. When I lived in New York, I would use Seven Stars Farm or Hawthorne Valley yogurt as a starter. Don’t use low/non-fat or flavored yogurts. There must be live cultures in the yogurt. Old yogurt with not so lively cultures will not produce good yogurt. It will make yogurt, but the flavor may be very tart or runny.


You need to keep your yogurt at a steady warm temperature (not over 115 degrees). Some people do this with towels and pilot lights. That’s too much for me. For a long time, I used a small Igloo cooler, pre-heating it with hot water, but I recently purchased a Yogotherm non-electric yogurt “maker,” and I love it. It just makes the process so much easier for me. My yogurt is much more consistent, and I’m more inclined to make it regularly with the Yogotherm. They cost around $30. And since I go through a few quarts of yogurt a week, it’s already more than paid for itself.

You don’t have to bring the milk to 180 if you want a “raw” yogurt. But your yogurt will be thin because the yogurt cultures have to compete with the naturally occurring bacteria in the milk. Bringing the milk to 180 doesn’t really pasteurize the milk, but it kills off enough of the natural bacteria so that the yogurt bacteria can culture the milk without competition. This is important if you want additive-free thicker yogurt.

Cooling the Milk

I fill a sink with cold water and frozen plastic water/soda bottles in order to cool the milk quickly. This saves me time and produces a sweeter yogurt in my experience. To let the milk cool from 180 to 115 would take hours in my hot kitchen. You don’t want the milk to cool down much below 110 (yes, you can make a thin, yogurt beverage by simply adding the culture to just warmed milk, but 110 to 115 is ideal).

Thick vs. Thin Yogurt

Goat milk yogurt is naturally more delicate and thinner than cow milk yogurt. If you are used to store-bought yogurt, especially cow yogurt, you should know that it is usually so thick because of additives, usually pectin, carrageenan or non-fat milk powder. This yogurt, even the organic stuff, is gross to me. Why would I go to the trouble to make a healthy homemade cultured dairy product and then put something like dry milk powder into it? I don’t get it. But I do get that some people are so used to the sludge-like thick store yogurt that they think goat milk yogurt is too thin or delicate. (Think Yoplait, what used to be gourmet yogurt!). To get the thickest goat milk yogurt you need to heat the milk to 180 so that the yogurt culture doesn’t have to compete with the milk bacteria. The competition weakens the yogurt culture so that it is not able to fully act on the milk. So, heat your milk if you want thicker yogurt. Also, you must have an active culture. In my experience, dry Bulgarian culture (you can buy them online) and Dannon plain whole milk yogurt produce the thickest yogurt.

You also need to consider how long you let the yogurt incubate. Sometimes I leave my Yogotherm out for 24 hours. It’s still yogurt, but it’s usually thinner and more tart. If you refrigerate (to stop the culturing process) too soon, then the bacteria doesn’t have enough time to work their magic on the milk. The result is thinner yogurt. It’s still yogurt, just thinner. For me, 8-10 hours work the best. Once you get the hang of the process, experiment with different times to see what works best with your milk and climate and taste.

Have fun and enjoy! – Jen

Yogotherm yogurt insulator/incubator and a quart of homemade goat milk yogurt.

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8 Responses to How to Make Goat Milk Yogurt

  1. Cheryl says:

    You say it’s thinner if left out 24 hours, then you say it’s thinner when not left out long enough and then you say 8-10 hours works for you. What is the truth? What causes yogurt to be thin and if you want a thick yogurt how do you get that consistency?

    • Kayden says:

      I understand your confusion here, it’s a careful balance between not long enough and too long. The yogurt will continue to thicken to a point, then begin to thin down again. 8-10 hours is the best window. If you want thicker than what the cultures can naturally give you with goats milk, and you’re ok with putting in an additive, try adding pectin. It’s derived from fruit and used to thicken things like jams and jellies.

  2. Rachelle D says:

    Hello Jen!
    First, thank you for all the hard work you’ve put into researching and writing this! Much appreciated.
    I wanted to share a trick I accidentally discovered for thickening the goat yogourt. I’ve retested twice more, and come up with the same wondrously thick results — like the store-bought yogourt, but using nothing but goat milk and starter from my previous batch. The method:
    I heated the milk to 180F (perhaps overshot a little, possibly as much as 190F). When cooling, I left it too long and ended up between 80-90F (instead of the desired 115F). So I reheated to 115F, then incorporated the starter as usual. I then let it keep warm in my oven at 100F for 10-12hrs. (I don’t have a Yogotherm, and being in the cold season in Canada, there isn’t really a steadily warm nook in my kitchen…). I then let it cool and thicken in the fridge overnight. In the morning, *gasp*… thing of beauty! Wonderfully smooth and thick! Yes, with some whey (liquid) around and on top as per normal, which I separated using a cheesecloth. But wow. So dreamy-creamy and thick…. the perfect yogurt, with no scary ingredients, and for a fraction of the price of store-bought!
    Thought you’d like to know, and perhaps give it a try ;). Let me know if it works for you too!

    • Donna McGee says:

      I was reading your comment on a blog for making yogurt with raw goats milk. You said you are in Canada. I am in Maine. I have made cows milk yogurt and added dry milk to it and the consistency was nice and thick and creamy. I am buying some raw goats milk to try it and I have a dry culture for Greek yogurt. I like my yogurt tangy. Maybe we can chat from time to time. I could use a mentor on this. I’m going to follow your directions from the blog but I was wondering – if I don’t let it cool below 110F will it work as well? I would then not need to reheat. Correct? Will it still be a dreamy as yours sounds you think? Please email me. Thanks!

  3. Clara says:

    Thank you both for your wonderful input. I live in Miami and finding raw goat milk is been impossible so far. I need to use what I can get which is Walmart bought goat milk and it turned out to be so thing it is like watery. I am lactose intolerant.
    Jen method sounds and look pretty good. I am doing organic half and half with the Biogaia . It is delicious but from cow milk. Is there anything like Half and Half from goat milk? Do any of you have any idea how to make goat milk work for me?
    I like Rachelle method as well.

  4. Kimberly says:

    All sounds amazing! Thank you Ladies. I have several Nigerian dwarf milk goats and love the milk but have not ventured to yogurt. This will be fun.

  5. Susanne says:

    If you make your own yogurt starter can you keep using the yogurt as a starter to make your new yogurt if so how much per quart of milk

  6. Anne DeMille says:

    Thank you so much for your article and directions. I cannot have cow’s milk, so your goat’s milk recipe is perfect. Did not know about the yogotherm. Years ago when I made yogurt, a friend of mine from India taught me to cover the yogurt with a dish towel and leave up on a high shelf where it would cure in a warm spot for 6 days. It came out awesome every time.

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