Best yoghurt makers for vegan and dairy sweet treats

The best alternative to healthier, cost-effective and sustainable store-bought yoghurts.

Best yoghurt makers

by Ellen Kinsey |

Not only is yoghurt delicious for breakfast, dessert or a snack it also has many health benefits. Yoghurt can be high in protein, calcium, vitamins and live culture, which helps promote good gut health.

Most good quality yoghurts contain live bacteria or probiotics, which help bring good bacteria to your gut and help with your digestive health.

However, there are some downsides too. Yoghurt can be expensive, especially non-dairy yoghurt, and it also comes in a lot of plastic packaging, which is bad for the environment. In addition, some yoghurts are packed full of sugar and additives, so they do not have that many health benefits. Also, if you buy in bulk or larger cartons, it can go off very quickly and be a waste.

If you are tired of spending a fortune on yoghurt, looking for a cheap dairy-free option, or looking for a healthier, cost-effective and sustainable alternative, then a yoghurt maker would be a great solution for you.

With homemade yoghurt, you will get a very fresh product, and you can get creative and make your own flavours. With yoghurt makers, you are in complete control of the ingredients, so you can eat the delicious treat to your heart's content.

Plus, the good news is that these machines are not expensive and are easy to use. So even if you are on a restricted budget, a yoghurt maker will be an investment that will be paid off very quickly. A typical yoghurt maker costs between £20-65, with an average price of £25.

What to consider when buying a Yoghurt Maker?

Temperature settings:

If you are looking to make different yoghurt and cream cheese varieties, you will need a yoghurt maker with different temperature levels. For example, when making yoghurts with kefir, you will need a lower temperature. Therefore, it is best to avoid purchasing a yoghurt maker that only has limited temperature controls where you are limited to only a few pre-sets as an option. On the other hand, if you are looking to make straightforward, plain yoghurt, then perhaps a manual yoghurt maker would suit you best.

Capacity:

Before you purchase a yoghurt maker, there are a few factors you should take into consideration. One point is how much yoghurt you want to make. If you are only making it for yourself or two people, then a model with a smaller capacity should be sufficient, for example, six or seven tubs. However, if you are looking to make bulk batches and integrate them into cooking or baking, such as making naan bread, perhaps something larger would be best, such as a one container device or twelve jars. Yoghurt makers are made in two ways, one is a machine with smaller individual pots for smaller servings, and the other is a big pot to make a large quantity at a time.

Preparation times:

When making yoghurt at home, you will need to allow for, on average, 10 hours for the fermentation process to complete. Some recipes may take longer and others less time. It is best to consider machines with customizable timer settings that allow for at least 12-hour preparation times. Automatic pre-sets are also helpful, so lookout for a device that includes pre-sets that offer a range of preparation times. Additionally, a machine that has an automatic shutdown function will allow your yoghurt maker to do its work without you needing to be at home to switch it off when the process is complete.

Maintenance:

The best devices are the ones that require minimal maintenance and cleaning. To make sure your device lasts longer, clean the blade components thoroughly after every use. This will make sure your blades operate properly within the machine and reduce the chance of bacteria growth in the machine. It is best to hand wash the device and the components, but consider yoghurt makers with dishwasher-safe components and jars if you are looking for something more convenient.

Design:

It is important to consider how much space you have in your kitchen to store the yoghurt maker. If you haven't got a lot of space, it is best to choose more compact yoghurt makers that will take up less counter and cupboard space.

How to use a Yoghurt Maker

After you have purchased a yoghurt maker, you will need a few other essentials to get started. You will need to buy ingredients, such as starter yoghurt packets and fresh milk or non-dairy milk. You will also require a saucepan to boil the milk, a ladle, a mixing bowl and a thermometer.

With that in mind, here are our top picks of the best yoghurt makers on the market so you can make sustainable, cost-effective and healthy yoghurt to your heart's delight.

Best yoghurt makers

Lakeland Multi Yoghurt and Soft Cheese Maker

Best value (Editoru2019s Pick)
Lakeland Multi Yoghurt and Soft Cheese Maker
Amazon

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This yoghurt maker is of excellent value as it can make soft cheese as well as yoghurt. We would highly recommend this product to those with a dairy intolerance or vegan diet as it can make yoghurt and soft cheese for a fraction of the supermarket price. The Lakeland yoghurt machine comes with a set of instructions for making your own soft cheese, as well as Greek yoghurt and a comprehensive manual so you can produce yoghurt at ease. The machine comes with different containers, so you can choose how much you want to make each time. It comes with a strainer, 1.8 and 1.6-litre containers and is compact and easy to clean.

One thing to note is that the temperature control can be temperamental, so you will need to monitor the machine in case it does not work properly.

Pros Cons
• Compact design • Temperature control doesn’t always work
• Can make soft cheese as well as yoghurt
• Easy to use
• Comprehensive manual
• 3-year warranty

Review: "I love my new yoghurt maker. I make a lot of yoghurts and have been using the Amazon Basics yoghurt maker, which is also very good, but I wanted something that allowed me to make a big batch which I could then strain to make Greek Yoghurt. This has everything you need. There are two containers for different quantities and a strainer which fits into the larger container."

VonShef Yoghurt Maker Machine

Best yoghurt maker for big batches
VonShef Yoghurt Maker Machine
Amazon

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This compact yoghurt maker has a large 1.8L container and unlike some other models on the market today, VonShef is compact and easy to store. Although it is a device that makes yoghurt in one container, it is very energy efficient can make up to 14,000ml of yoghurt in one go. Each batch takes around 10 hours to finish, and there is no automatic off switch, so you will need to monitor the device and control it yourself. It does not have an LCD display to the temperature either, so you will need to observe this also.

This product is recommended for those who have experience making yoghurt or using devices; however, the amount it produces makes it great value for those who frequently eat yoghurt or have a big household.

Pros Cons
• Easy to use • No automatic switch-off or timer
• Compact
• Great for bulk making yoghurt
• 2-year warranty
• Energy efficient

Review: "I got this about a month ago—easy peasy to use. I have used UHT cows milk each time and then strained the yoghurt to make it thicker. The result is really rather good. The weakest link in the chain is probably the strainer. It is a bit of a pain to clean, so I have started using a small muslin cloth inside the strainer, which is easy to rinse out and leaves the strainer needing very little washing. I have used live yoghurt and used the sachets of bacteria as a starter with equal success. I have many gadgets which sit undisturbed in the cupboard, but I suspect that this is going to see regular active service."

VonShef Digital Yoghurt Maker with 7 Jars

Best for individual yoghurt servings
VonShef Digital Yoghurt Maker with 7 Jars
Amazon

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This useful device is perfect if you are looking to make yoghurts that are easy to store. The Digital yoghurt maker from VonShef is compact. Quick, convenient and easy to use. It comes with seven jars which provide you with one serving, ideal for grabbing and going in the morning before work or school.

This machine comes with an LED display and a timer so you can monitor the temperature of your yoghurt as it is being made. In addition, the PTC heating component makes this more energy-efficient than some other yoghurt makers. All the jars come with screw caps, so you can store them in the fridge easily.

Pros Cons
• Great yoghurt maker brand • Very slow compared to other models
• Individual 7 screw-top jars • Instructions are not comprehensive
• Compact
• Energy efficient
• LED screen and timer included

Review: "Brilliant yoghurt maker. Not complicated to use, basically plug it in and set the timer, add the 7 filled pots and wait. I put 2 teaspoons of shop-bought plain unsweetened Greek yoghurt in each pot, top up with room temperature UHT milk, lids on and then in the maker for 10 hrs. The next batch is made with some yoghurt from the final pot. Perfect plain unsweetened yoghurt every time."

Country Trading Co Stainless Steel Yoghurt Maker

Best non-electric yogurt maker
Stainless Steel Yoghurt Maker
Amazon

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If you are looking to make yoghurt manually with no fuss, then this maker from Country Trading Co is a great choice. It is simple to use, has no timers, so no safety hazards, and is dishwasher safe so that clean-up will be a breeze. Of course, as it is not electric, you will not have all the advanced features; therefore, if you are into making yoghurt manually, with this device, what you see is what you get. It can make up to 1L of yoghurt, and it is good to note that it may not fit if you have a small fridge.

Pros Cons
• Good for beginners • Quite big so won’t fit in all refrigerators
• Simple no-fuss yogurt makers • No advanced features or controls
• Non-electric
• No dangerous parts that might heat up

Review: "I have used the product to make yoghurt several times, all successfully. I bought separately a pack of yogurt starter sachets and followed instructions, no problem. Now that I have got used to heating the milk to the correct temperature (in the microwave), then cooling, it's quick to set up as I can remember without checking all the time. Very good quality, durable and easy to use, and it looks so smart too. What I love, and why I bought it, is that there is no plastic."

Seb Yoghurt Maker Multidelices Express Compact 6 Red Jars

Best compact yoghurt maker
Seb Yoghurt Maker Multidelices Express Compact 6 Red Jars
Amazon

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This French brand, SEB, will give you fresh single-serve batches with no hassle. This small and compact device has six pots, perfect for family breakfasts and desserts. The machine comes with six 140ml dishwasher safe yoghurt jars and five pre-set programs so you can customise your treat. The four-hour express yoghurt mode is also great if you are looking to whip up an express dessert. However, the instruction manual will likely be in French, so you may need to search for an English translation.

Pros Cons
• Compact • Instructions are not comprehensive
• High-quality design • Quite slow
• Small batches with 6 pots
• Fantastic one-button operation

Review: "It's perfect. Since we received it, we haven't bought yoghurt! In 4 hours, they are ready and there is something for everyone because you can flavour them or put jam on the bottom. I make them with the Alsa ferments, it's perfect. It takes five minutes of preparation. I do them when I get home from work at night, they're ready to put in the fridge when I go to bed. I bought the six yoghurt version for saving space and that's enough. We consume four yoghurts a day and this version is perfect. I just bought some extra jars. In conclusion, do not buy your yoghurts anymore, make them!"

Klarstein Gaia 12 Jar Yoghurt Maker Digital

Best for portion sizing
Klarstein Gaia 12 Jar Yoghurt Maker Digital
Amazon

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Yoghurt can be used for more than eating as a snack or tasty treat. Many flatbreads and gluten-free recipes call for yoghurt, so what better than to make your yoghurt in bulk? This yoghurt maker from Klarstein Gaia comes with 12 separate jars at 210ml or a total volume of 2.5 litres. Also, this device is ideal for portioning as you can make six yoghurts just for breakfast or use all twelve for a big batch for your other kitchen endeavours. Despite the volume it can make, this yoghurt maker is actually a lot smaller than others on the market.

It is good to note that, according to reviewers, a batch can take around nine hours, and the lids of the jars don’t always close properly. Also, the Klarstein Gaia yoghurt maker comes with a licensed EU to UK converter plug so that you can use it in the UK with no problems.

Review: "So simple. I bought the Klarstein Gaia 12 Jar Yoghurt Maker Digital after watching a video on how to make vegan yoghurts on YouTube. The blogger was using one. It's very simple to use. From the first batch, my yoghurts were delicious and firm. I strongly recommend it."

Sensio Frozen Yoghurt Machine

Best frozen yoghurt machine
Sensio  Frozen Yoghurt Machine
Amazon

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So this device isn't exactly for yoghurt making, but if you love ice cream and soft-serve and are looking for a healthier alternative, you can make frozen yoghurt easily and quickly at home. This machine can be used to prepare ice cream recipes, sorbet and frozen yoghurt in just 20 minutes.

The machine can hold 1.4L and has four components, so you can choose the quantities you want to make. The bowl itself will need to be frozen 12 hours before preparing any recipes, but provided this is done, perfecting frozen yoghurt will take no time at all.

Pros Cons
• Bulk portions in individual pots • Takes a while to make yoghurt
• 2 glass jars included • Quite bulky
• Reliable performance • Lid is quite loose
• EU to UK plug included The lids on the jars don’t always close
Pros Cons
• Best for yoghurt served chilled • Companion to a yoghurt maker not a yoghurt maker
• Can make sorbet, ice-cream and other frozen desserts • Reports of overheating if large amounts are being made
• Four components and easy to assemble
• 20-30 minutes for frozen desserts

Review: "I was excited to try this ice cream maker, having ordered it to replace my old plastic one and I am not disappointed! The product is well made and was really simple to use when I made the starter recipe they included. The digital timer is a good feature and made it easy to keep an eye on the progress of the ice cream. I would definitely recommend it!"

Yoghurt starter cultures

Yogurt Starter Cultures Pack of 10

Yogurt Starter Cultures - Pack of 10 Freeze Dried Sachets
Amazon

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This Yoghurt Starter Culture pack comes with 10 freeze-dried sachets.

Mason jars

Mason Jars

Mason jars
Amazon

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This four-pack of 14 oz glass mason jars (1 pint) are perfect for preserving, canning or storing yoghurt. The airtight metal lid is lined with BPA-free for a tight seal that keeps a bulk batch of yoghurt fresh for longer.

How to make yoghurt at home: a step-by-step guide

  1. Start by heating the milk or non-dairy milk. First, pour your desired quantity into a saucepan and warm it up on a gentle simmer.
  1. When the milk starts to foam, take it off the heat and allow it to reach 43 degrees celsius. If you do not have a thermometer, you can check by placing your little finger into the middle of the milk, and when you can comfortably hold a finger there for five seconds, it will be the right temperature to keep the bacteria alive.
  1. When your milk has reached a cooler temperature, you can start adding the starter yoghurt. With a wooden spoon, stir the two ingredients until the milk and yoghurt starter have blended properly to achieve a smooth consistency.
  1. Once the mixture is combined, you can add it to your yoghurt maker. Whether you have one big pot or a maker with individual pots, pour the mixture into the receptacle or pots. Once that is done, you can turn on your yoghurt maker.
  1. Most machines will need around 10 hours for the yoghurt to finish preparing, although this can vary slightly depending on what recipe or type of milk you are using. Once it is done, you should store your finished yoghurt in the fridge for a few hours before it is ready to serve.

A few tips for making homemade yoghurt

Sterilize your jars: You don’t want the yoghurt cultures competing with any bacteria in your pots and jars as you will not get the probiotic benefits.

Non-dairy starter: If you are vegan or have a dairy intolerance, you can use specialised non-dairy yoghurt starter powder.

No yoghurt culture starter?: In a pinch, you can actually use two tablespoons of store-bought unflavoured yoghurt as a yoghurt starter or a probiotic capsule that provides up to 30 billion CFU’s.

No metal spoons: Do not use any metal spoons to mix the milk or yoghurt starter, as it will deactivate the probiotics.

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Ellen Kinsey is a Commercial Content Writer for WhatsTheBest, and also writes for Yours, Mother&Baby, Heat, Closer and Empire. She has a passion for cooking, media, and women’s health.

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