Why am I sharing my 5 secrets to creamy coconut milk yogurt? Don’t all plant-based foodies dream of creamy non-dairy yogurt? I don’t know — but I can say that finding a delicious, healthy dairy free yogurt is something I’ve been engaged in for many years. Now, you name the brand and I’ve likely tried it! Unfortunately, great tasting dairy free yogurts usually have a couple of problems… they are:
- filled with sugar
- incredibly expensive and/or
- hard to find
Making delicious, nutritious DIY dairy-free yogurt tested my skills as a recipe developer! I made tasty yogurt that was super runny… thick yogurt that lacked taste or has a weird texture… and everything in between! Nothing goes to waste, because — smoothies, lol! Smoothies are a great place for DIY yogurt fails to be utilized! But, I’m going to save you time and trials with my 6 secrets to fail proof creamy coconut milk yogurt (5 in the list below and a BONUS in the Notes!)
The Secrets to Success
Use full fat coconut milk. Aryo-D Coconut milk is what’s worked best for me. You can purchase it on Amazon https://amzn.to/30z9glN
Use a starter that is designed for non-dairy milks. I tried several, but settled on one which has a small amount of rice starch that acts as a thickening agent. Non-dairy milks lack the protein structure to develop the same texture as dairy milk. A small amount of thickening agent really helps, and while you can add this separately, I find it more efficient and cost effective to just buy an all in one starter. If you have a corn allergy, please note that most non-dairy starters use corn starch as their thickener. My favorite, and the one you can grab at this link on Amazon, uses rice instead of corn. https://amzn.to/3cVKaQy
Feed the bacteria! A little maple syrup is just the right thing to feed your starter and help the bacteria flourish. Dairy milk has an abundance of lactose that bacteria uses to fuel growth. Non-dairy milks lack the simple sugars, so just a touch of maple syrup is key. You may wonder about adding honey. I advise against it simply because honey is beautifully antibacterial and actually prevents the culture from growing well. If you like the flavor of honey, hold off and use it as a drizzle once your culture is ready!
Be consistent. Temperature fluctuations will stall the growth of your culture and in some cases, really make the process miss. A crock pot, dehydrator, Instant Pot or yogurt maker will offer you a consistent, warm environment for the culture to develop!
Be patient. Unlike dairy yogurt that seems to set up in a few hours, non-dairy cultures require more time. In my trials, I tested at 4 hour intervals and found that my preferred texture is developed at the 30-36 hour mark. If you prefer a looser yogurt, try a spoon after 24 hours and see where things are at!
Sarah’s Creamy Coconut Yogurt Recipe
1 Tablespoon maple syrup (the real stuff, not a sugar syrup maple flavored substitute)
- Whisk everything together and pour into 3 clean quart mason jars.
- Place these onto a trivet in your instant pot.
- Cover and hit the button for your yogurt setting; use the plus button to adjust the incubation time.
- You need at least 8 hours but can go 24-36 hours for thicker yogurt!
- After incubating, remove your jars. Cover them and place them in the fridge.
Your non-dairy yogurt will get thicker by the day.
- The Aryo-D coconut cream makes a naturally thicker and creamier end product and does fine with Bio Kult instead of the non-dairy starter. If you prefer to make your yogurt with any added thickener, this is definitely the way to go! Also, Bio Kult capsules are economical and can be used as your daily probiotic.
- For Greek style yogurt, I’ve got one final secret for you… When you’re whisking in your starter or probiotic powder, also mix in 1/3 cup Laird Superfood Creamer powder! I have the best results when I blend 1 cup coconut milk with the creamer in my Vitamix and then whisk that back into the rest of the coconut milk. The creamer is powdered coconut milk and, just like those dairy recipes that call for powdered milk to make them thicker, we’re calling on coconut milk powder to work a little more magic here.