Vegan soy yogurt that is thick, creamy, and delicious! Free of sugar and gluten and made with your favorite probiotic!
Living without dairy for the past 18 years, I have made many attempts to make my own vegan soy yogurt. Years ago, Silk brand sold large containers of plain and vanilla yogurt. These were great and my family loved them. Over the years the containers got smaller, it got more expensive, and they changed from organic to non-organic soy. I tried many other brands and varieties including coconut and almond yogurt, but my family hated them, and they just wanted soy yogurt again.
When my son got sick with PANDAS, an autoimmune disorder associated with strep infections, I realized that he did not tolerate the streptococcus thermophilus probiotic found in most yogurt, so I had to make my own using probiotics that did not contain this strain.
I like the challenge of veganizing things, so I took on the yogurt challenge with a smile. That is… until I failed about 20 times. It would come out okay occasionally, but it was never really taste as good as the vegan soy yogurt that I used to buy.
I used many methods over the years. I made it in a slow cooker, in the oven with the light on, and even borrowed a friend’s yogurt maker. The yogurt maker had the most consistent temperature, so it did work the best, but it only made a very small batches. It would take ½ a day to make it and 15 minutes for my family to eat it all.
I finally splurged and bought an Instant Pot with a yogurt setting! It makes it so much easier, and it’s totally worth it if you plan on making yogurt regularly! Instead of pouring milk into little jars, you can just pour the milk directly into the instant pot and you’re ready to go! I frequently double the recipe and make 8 cups of yogurt at a time.
Making this vegan soy yogurt with an instant pot is so easy, my 9 year old has actually claimed it as his job. You simply pour in a 32 oz. container of soy milk, add the starter, give it a little stir, and press “yogurt” on the Instant Pot. Come back 15 hours later to find beautiful thick, creamy, vegan soy yogurt! (It will start to look like yogurt after 8 to 12 hours, but I always give it 15 hours to allow more beneficial bacteria to grow and give it more of a yogurt tang).
There is only a few ways that you can mess up this yogurt, the main way is to use the wrong soy milk. There are so many kinds out there it will make your head spin. However, there are only a few that actually work to make vegan soy yogurt. You MUST use the ones that only have soybeans and water, any added sugar or vanilla will ruin your yogurt! I like the Trader Joe’s brand, but Westsoy also makes a plain variety that works well too.
At first, I was intimidated by the yogurt starter, but it turns out that you don’t need anything fancy. You can just use any probiotic that comes in a capsule that pulls apart to sprinkle the contents into the soy milk. (I use a general acidophilus probiotic with 2.4 billion CFUs per serving that comes in a vegan gel cap). Make sure to use a whisk and stir well after adding each capsule until you can’t see any powder.
You will only need 5 of these capsules in 4 cups of soy milk the first time you make your yogurt, then save ½ cup of yogurt to use as your starter and you won’t need the probiotic again unless your starter stops working.
Your first batch of yogurt will come out okay, but not great. Don’t worry, this is normal. It is only after you save your starter and make another batch or two, your yogurt will start to taste amazing! I have been using the same starter for months now and it just keeps getting firmer and tasting better with each batch.
After your yogurt has finished, allow it to cool to room temperature and use a large flat spoon to remove any liquid that has formed at the top, then transfer it to containers with a good seal.
It’s hard to remember not to eat up the last ½ cup of yogurt, especially if you have other people in your house that may unknowingly gobble it down. I store my yogurt in these glass containers which have snap on sealed lids to keep it air tight. I use the size that holds 4 cups to store the yogurt for the family to eat, and then I store ½ cup of starter in the smallest container and write STARTER across the top, so no one touches it.
Plain yogurt has a sour tang to it and you may want to add a sweetener. You can keep it plain and let people add berries, sweetener, or vanilla extract. If you know your family will want vanilla, add 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2-3 TBS of sweetener of choice to 4 cups of yogurt for vanilla yogurt.
Another great trick that I love is to add 100% fruit preserves or jam to the bottom of a jar and layer the top with yogurt. One batch will make about 10 of these fruit on the bottom jars ready to grab and go! You can also make the yogurt in these jars! Check out this post from Little Blue Plates to see how.
The Secret to the Best Homemade Vegan Soy Yogurt
- 1 full 32 oz. container of unsweetened PLAIN soy milk (water and soybeans as the only ingredients)
- 5 probiotic capsules with 2.4 billion CFUs, or any number of capsules totaling 12 billion CFU (first batch only). For all subsequent batches, use ½ cup of plain yogurt from your last batch as a starter.
- Step 1 Add the contents of a new factory sealed container of soy milk directly into a clean instant pot.
- Step 2 Add the probiotic or starter.
- Step 3 Stir well with a whisk until completely blended.
- Step 4 Push the yogurt button on the instant pot and use the + sign to change the time to 15 hours.
- Step 5 Place the lid on top and make sure the valve is turned to vent to allow humidity to escape.
- Step 6 Wait 15 hours and come back when the yogurt timer beeps.
- Step 7 Use a spoon to drain off any water that formed at the top of the yogurt.
- Step 8 Let it cool to room temperature and transfer to sealed containers.
- Step 9 Save ½ cup of yogurt with nothing added for your next batch.
The secret to making vegan soy yogurt perfect every time:
- You MUST use unsweetened plain soymilk with the only indigents being soybeans and water. If there are any other ingredients in it, it will NOT come out!
- You don’t need to preheat the milk if you are making it from a new sealed container. If you make a smaller batch from milk that you already have open, you will need to heat it to 180 F first to kill any bacteria that may have formed.
- Open the lid of the Instant Pot and flip it over quickly to capture any condensation at the top of the lid.
- Drain off any liquid that has formed at the top of your yogurt.
- Use a large flat spoon to carefully remove liquid at the top of the yogurt.
- Let it cool in the Instant Pot before transferring it to another container or stirring.
- Once you have made your first batch, don’t throw away your starter! It gets better with each batch!
- If not using an Instant Pot, make sure you have a way to keep your yogurt at a consistent temperature of about 112 degrees F for 12- 15 hours.
- Make sure to time the start of your yogurt at a time when you will be home 15 hours later to refrigerate it.
- Don’t stir your yogurt after you have mixed in your starter.
- Make it a least 3 times from starter to get the best quality taste.
- Don’t make it from a probiotic and expect it to taste like store bough yogurt after the first batch.
Why make your own yogurt?
- It has more beneficial bacteria! Many brands are pasteurized, killing most of the probiotics.
- You can control how long you ferment to grow more beneficial bacteria and control the taste.
- You can store it in glass containers to avoid the BPA leaching into your yogurt.
- You can pick the probiotics that you like best to use as a starter.
- It is free of refined sugar and you can control the type and amount of sugar in your yogurt.
- It’s easy!
- It’s fun! (It kind of freaked me out at first, but now I love it! It’s like magic to see your soymilk change to thick creamy yogurt, and I’m protective of my little starter army that makes this magic happen)!
Pin this easy vegan soy yogurt recipe for later:
Make a batch of these healthy Miracle Muffins along with your yogurt and you will have breakfast the whole family will be excited about!