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Easy Raw Cow’s Milk Yogurt

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Congratulations! You have a source for raw milk, or maybe you decided to get yourself a sweet family milk cow.

Now, it’s time to turn all that extra raw milk into wholesome probiotic raw cow’s milk yogurt!

Collage of raw cow's milk yogurt and text overlay.

I’ve been making yogurt with a continual culture for almost 5 years! Some have said it can’t be done, and maybe I’m an exception to the rule, but I’m going to provide you with the exact steps that I’ve used to keep my yogurt culture strong and thriving all this time.

First Let’s Talk a Little About the Basics of Raw Cow’s Milk Yogurt.

By adding a yogurt culture to warm milk you can easily create yogurt. During the slow, warm fermentation period the bacteria in the culture go to work on the milk, breaking down the lactose (sugar) and casein (protein), creating the wonderful byproduct lactic acid. This process preserves the milk, makes it much more digestible, and frees up essential vitamins and minerals for absorption. Raw milk yogurt is LOADED with enzymes. These enzymes help you digest lactose and aid in absorbing the vitamins and minerals that have been freed up by the lacto-fermentation process.

For more information on cultured dairy products please use the “mother of all resources on everything good for you” cookbook Nourishing Traditions.

Now Let’s Look at How To Make Raw Cow’s Milk Yogurt Easily in Your Own Home.

First you need a yogurt culture! You can buy powdered cultures of all sorts like these:

But that’s not the only way to start your own yogurt! I used a good quality, plain, organic yogurt from the store as my original culture. As I have said it has served me well for almost 5 years.

Here Are the Exact Steps for Making Raw Cow’s Milk Yogurt From Store Bought Yogurt or From Your Own Previous Batch.

Determine how much milk you will be using and prepare clean jars and lids for the yogurt. I typically make between 2 and 4 quarts a week. Set your clean jars aside.

Pour the milk into a good-quality stainless steel pot and warm it over medium heat while stirring it with the whisk often. Remove the milk from the heat when the temperature reads 110°F. The milk will only be truly raw up to 115°F, so make sure you stop it from getting too hot.

A thermometer for raw cow's milk yogurt.

While the milk is heating add 1 tablespoon of yogurt per pint to the bottom of each jar. So if you are using quart jars you would add 2 tablespoons.

Fit the first jar with a funnel and ladle in the warm milk. Repeat this process until all the jars are filled.

Jars and whisks for making raw cow's milk yogurt.

Whisk each jar well to distribute the yogurt culture.

Jars of raw cow's milk yogurt ready to ferment.

Fit each jar with a tight-fitting lid.

Place your yogurt in the oven with the light on. This keeps my yogurt at about 95°F. Let the yogurt ferment overnight or for about 8 hours.

Jars of raw cow's milk yogurt fermenting in the oven.

Remove the yogurt from the oven. Tilt the jars to check that the yogurt has set up. It will pull away from the side of the jar in a mass if it has.  Place the jars in the refrigerator and chill completely before eating. Of course you can eat it warm but the texture is better once chilled.

The texture of raw cow’s milk yogurt is considerably different from store-bought yogurt. Raw cow’s milk yogurt has a soft, loose-set, jello-like consistency. In my opinion it’s absolutely delightful.

A bowl of raw cow's milk yogurt.

Raw cow’s milk yogurt keeps for a loooooong time. I’ve never had one go “off” before I could get to it.

Use the yogurt in any way you would use store-bought yogurt. We eat ours plain, in smoothies, in salad dressings, and in baked goods.

For a thicker yogurt try straining it through cheesecloth or making it into Raw Milk Labneh Cheese – Strained Yogurt Cheese. If you will be straining your yogurt remember to SAVE THAT WHEY! It is the key ingredient in my Probiotic Mayonnaise and can be used for soaking grains, making fermented beverages, and fermenting vegetables!

Soak Your Grains, Butter For All

Because I love cooking and I’m always striving for the best possible technique, you have to check out how Elizabeth from The Nourished Life is making her yogurt! I might just adopt her easy water bath method!

Collage of raw cow's milk yogurt and text overlay.


Wednesday 13th of March 2024

I followed directions but mine doesn’t look like it worked. I thought it set up, although it took longer, so I put it in the fridge. Now it is very liquid instead of any kind of thickness. Should I toss it?

Butter For All

Wednesday 13th of March 2024

Hi Janae, Don't throw it out yet, you can still try to save it. Leave it in the jar and bring it up to a nice warm temperature either in a hot water bath on the stove or in the sink. Keep it warm for 4 to 8 hours. If it hasn't set up after 8 hours you might need to try a different yogurt culture for your starter.


Saturday 10th of February 2024

Does anyone know where I could purchase raw milk? I live in the Springfield Oregon.

Butter For All

Tuesday 20th of February 2024

Hi Melissa, We are neighbors! I live up the McKenzie river corridor. I definitely have a couple leads so feel free to reach out to me directly. My email is


Friday 29th of April 2022

This just...didn't work for me. Do you know why? I used high-quality plain yogurt and left it to set for 16 hours. It never set.


Saturday 27th of August 2022

@Butter For All, Thank you! I'm not sure why this didn't work the first time, but I have since made it successfully several times. I let it set for a long time; 16 hours seems to work well.

Butter For All

Saturday 30th of April 2022

Hi Rachel,

I'm sorry to hear that. Please try reheating the bottles in 110℉ water. I like to fill my sink with hot water and let the bottles sit in the water until it has cooled. A lot of times this will set the yogurt almost immediately!

Let me know how it goes!



Wednesday 10th of November 2021

Hi! Thank you so much for this simple recipe. I really want to try it, but my oven doesn’t have a light. Any suggestions for what I can do to still make this recipe and have it turn out? Thanks in advance!


Saturday 4th of March 2023

@Butter For All, How warm is a crock pot on low? I tried overnight in the oven and it didn’t set up, so I’m doing it in a warm bath now, but the water loses heat quickly. How long should it sit in the warm bath? Do I need to keep refilling it to keep it at that temp?

Butter For All

Monday 22nd of November 2021

Hi Cherilyn!

I use a warm water bath with great success. Fill your sink with hot water, add the jars and let them ferment there. If they don't set up overnight, fill the sink again and warm the jars again. That seems to do the trick for me! You can also use a crock pot on low to keep the water warm!

Best of luck,



Friday 16th of July 2021

I should add, I use goat milk