two jars of yogurt in dehydrator

Did you know that you can make yogurt in a dehydrator?

Yes, you can - if you have the right kind of dehydrator.


Making yogurt is just one of the things you can do with an Excalibur dehydrator besides drying food. It's quite a versatile machine!

When I first got my Excalibur, I had no idea you could do this.

I had been making yogurt in a Salton YM9 1-quart yogurt maker (view at Amazon) for several years. It's simple to use and works well, but I wasn't too crazy about heating and storing my yogurt in plastic. True, the Salton  container is made of #5 polypropylene, which is supposed to be safe, but I'd prefer to use glass.

That's just what you can do with the dehydrator method - you make it in glass jars.

Another benefit over the yogurt maker is that you can make up to six quarts at a time. If you have more than one or two yogurt eaters in your family, that's a big plus.

And here's another reason to use a dehydrator - 

Maintaining a constant temperature of 105°F to 115°F is crucial for successful yogurt making. With its excellent thermostat and temperature control, the Excalibur is the perfect environment for culturing yogurt.

It's easy to do, and it makes the best tasting yogurt you've ever had! Plus it's much less expensive than buying it in the store.

yogurt made in dehydrator

So, do you want to give it a try?

Here's how to do it, step by step.

What you need to make two quarts of yogurt in a dehydrator:

  • 2 quarts of milk - You can use whole, low fat, or skim milk - pasteurized or raw. The choice is up to you. The higher the fat content, the creamier it will be.
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt - It doesn't matter if it's whole, low fat, or fat-free. Just make sure that the container says that the yogurt contains live and active cultures. (Read more about live and active cultures here.) 
  • 2 quart size glass canning jars with lids - You could use 4 pint size jars, too. It doesn't matter. 
  • Dehydrator - Now, you're not going to be able to do this with a stackable type dehydrator like the ones made by Nesco or Presto. You need a box and shelf type model like the Excalibur 3926TB. The 9-tray models are the best because you'll have plenty of room for the jars. 
  • Instant read thermometer - You can use a regular candy thermometer, but an instant read thermometer is a lot easier to use, and more accurate.
  • 3-quart saucepan
  • Wire whisk

Directions for making yogurt in a dehydrator:

1. Take all but one of the trays out of the dehydrator.

Leave the bottom rack in. You're going to set the jars on that tray.

2. Turn the dehydrator on and set the temperature to 100°F.

Excalibur dehydrator temperature dial

Now, I know I said that yogurt needs a temperature range of 105°F to 115°F. That's the air temperature that it needs. But, as I discussed in my review of the Excalibur 3926TB, the temperature setting on the Excalibur is not to set the air temperature. It's for the food temperature.

The air temperature is usually about 20 degrees higher than the food temperature. If you set the temperature at 105°F or 110°F, the air temperature is going to be too high, and you will not get good results.

I know it's a little confusing, but trust me on this.

You might want to put a thermometer in the dehydrator to check the actual air temperature, and make any necessary adjustments. Depending on the room temperature, you might need to turn it down even lower than 100°F.

3. Put the jars and lids in the dehydrator to warm up while you're getting the yogurt ready.

empty canning jars in Excalibur dehydrator

4. Pour 2 quarts of milk into the saucepan and heat over medium until it reaches 180°F, stirring frequently.

instant read thermometer

Use an instant read thermometer to check the temperature. You have to do this even if the milk has been pasteurized. It's not to kill bacteria. It's to give the yogurt a creamier texture.

5. Take the saucepan off the heat and let it cool down to 110°F.

cooling saucepan of milk in sink

To get this done quickly, run a couple of inches of cold water into your kitchen sink and put the pan down in it. Frequent stirring will speed it up and keep it from forming a skin on top.

6. Put the 1/2 cup of plain yogurt into the pan with the cooled milk and gently whisk it in.

1/2 cup plain yogurt

Don't beat it. Just make sure it's evenly mixed. You want the active cultures distributed throughout the milk.

whisk plain yogurt into cooled milk

7. Pour the milk mixture into the jars and put the lids on.

canning jars with cooled milk and yogurt starter

8. Put the jars into the dehydrator, put the cover back on, and leave them in there until the yogurt is set.

making jars of milk in dehydrator

That could be anywhere from 6 to 10 hours or more, depending on the temperature in the room and other factors. You just have to check it. If it's not done enough, put it back in and check again in an hour.

This particular batch was done in 6 hours.

9. When it's done, take the jars out and refrigerate.

yogurt made in dehydrator

You can save a half cup of your yogurt to use as starter for the next batch.

Sometimes you can keep the same cultures going for months. Earlier this year I went for 9 months without having to buy new starter yogurt. And that was just because I was out of town for 6 weeks, so my yogurt went bad.

10. Enjoy the taste and wonderful health benefits of that delicious creamy yogurt!

My favorite breakfast: homemade yogurt with fresh fruit and sprinkled with the Food Babe's homemade healthy granola. Yum!!!

homemade yogurt with granola and fruit

For other ideas of delicious foods you can make in your dehydrator, please see Easy Dehydrator Recipes That Anyone Can Make.

Last Updated on April 4, 2022

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  1. Thanks Marge,
    I’m so excited cuz I did it! The first time I tried to make yogurt, I made it in my Crock-Pot, didn’t turn out. But this time, from this website I made it in my Dehydrator and it worked! Thank you!

  2. Thank you for the recipe and instructions. I was shocked many years ago at the amount of sugar in yogurts from the store (even organic), so we switched to plain yogurt only. Then I realized I could make our own yogurt for less than half the price per quart. I’ve made yogurt several times now using your method, and it turns out great! I also like to strain the yogurt with a couple of layers of cheesecloth for a delicious thick yogurt cheese. I season it with salt, garlic, dill or other herbs for a savory variation.

  3. Thanks for so clearly with pictures on the web telling people the trick for Excalibur dehydrators. I got around to thinking to do that after $30 of Organic Pastures raw milk went to curds for making my 24 hour Specific Carbohydrate Diet/Gaps Diet yogurt.

  4. How do we make vanilla flavored yogurt? I make my own vanilla extract so was wanting to use that. Do we add it before or after the yogurt is set?
    Thank you

  5. I can’t seem to get my Excalibur with timer to 105 constant. If I put
    a thermometer in the dehydrator, it stops working. I have ruined a lot of wonderful raw goat milk. HELP!
    Have I ruined the dehydrator?

    1. Hi, Marylou! I don’t quite understand what you’re saying is going on. Are you saying that your thermometer interferes with the electronics in your dehydrator? What kind of thermometer is it? That sounds like something maybe you should ask the manufacturer about.

      And you shouldn’t have to monitor the temperature in the thermometer. Whatever temperature you set it at is the temperature that will be maintained in the food, not the air temperature.

    1. Hi, Karen! That’s a good question. You should wait to add the fruit until after the yogurt is done. Acid in the fruit could make the yogurt curdle and it won’t ferment properly. Good luck, and I hope you love your homemade yogurt!

  6. I am attempting to make yogurt in my dehydrator with a starter culture I purchased and have had my yogurt in a covered ceramic dish in the dehydrator for 5 hours…just checked it and it’s still very liquid and the temp was °130 instead of 110-115. Can I turn the temp down alot and continue or did I mess it all up?

    1. Hi, Charity! It sounds like the temperature was too high. I would say that the active cultures are probably dead now. 🙁 You’ll need to start over with fresh starter. Yogurt cultures can’t survive above 130 degrees, so you have to be careful. I always set the temperature on my dehydrator to 100-105 degrees, and it has always turned out perfect. Did you heat the milk to 180 and then cool down to below 110 before putting it in the dehydrator?

  7. Where did you get your jars? I want to use glass jars, but what kind of lids are ok to use in the dehydrator?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi, Kelly! Gosh, I’m not sure where I got the jars. I’ve had them for years. Maybe Walmart? You can use the lids that come with the jars. They are obviously made for high temperatures. Or you could use Tattler reusable canning jar lids. I personally use plastic storage lids for canning jars. Ball makes them, but you can also get the store brand ones from Walmart. They’re a lot less expensive. They’re BPA free, and the temperature is so low in the dehydrator that you don’t need to worry about melting them or anything.

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