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The Best Instant Pot Vegan Yogurt (No Soy, No Coconut)

Today I’m excited to share with you my recipe for easy 3-ingredient Instant Pot vegan yogurt made without soy or coconut. This surprisingly simple dairy free yogurt recipe yields a yogurt that’s deliciously smooth and creamy, with a thick texture resembling Greek yogurt.

It’s made with no thickeners like xanthan gum, arrowroot powder, agar agar, cornstarch, etc. Even better, it’s full of gut-friendly active yogurt cultures that give it that classic, slightly tangy flavor similar to unsweetened dairy yogurt.

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How This Vegan Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe Was Born

The idea of this vegan Instant Pot yogurt recipe came to me after I saw an Instagram reel by the great Miyoko Schinner, in which she made a cashew-oat yogurt from blending raw cashews and rolled oats in some water.

Miyoko strained the resulting cashew-oat milk base using a nut milk bag, then cooked it on stovetop until it thickened.

After that, she cooled it, added a yogurt culture, and let it ferment on her kitchen counter at room temperature for a few hours.

I’ve tried making a few dairy-free yogurt recipes before, and, while I was able to achieve that classic tart yogurt flavor, I had trouble getting my yogurt to thicken.

Even if I used thickeners like arrowroot powder or xanthan gum, the texture still left much to be desired.

However, after seeing Miyoko’s method, I knew right away that I had to try it. It just made sense that this yogurt was so thick: the starch in the oats does a great job as a built-in thickening agent.

Since I’m always looking for ways to make things easier, I decided to find a way to make this vegan yogurt without a nut milk bag.

I know that lots of people use those all the time to make plant-based milk, but to me, the idea sounds too messy and confusing.

Thankfully, I figured out an easy workaround. I soaked the cashews and the oats in advance to get them extra soft, then blended them a little longer than I usually would for smoothies or creamy vegan sauces.

I also knew that I wanted to adapt this recipe for my Instant Pot. Up until then, I’ve never used the yogurt button on it, but after reading up on how it worked, I felt confident to give it a try.

The result? It worked like a charm!

This is how my vegan Instant Pot yogurt recipe was born. I made it countless times over the past few months, and each time it comes out fantastic.

Eventually, I made a video of how I make this yogurt for my YouTube channel. Surprisingly for me, that video quickly became way more popular than any other of my YouTube videos.

To this day, I get comments from people saying that they tried my recipe with great results, which for me as a recipe developer, is like music to my ears ?

One comment kept popping up: people were asking if I had a written version of this vegan yogurt recipe. So this is why I decided to write today’s post.

What I Love About This Vegan Instant Pot Yogurt

  1. It has an amazingly creamy, thick texture, yet it’s made without any add-on thickeners like arrowroot starch, xanthan gum, agar agar, cornstarch, etc.
  2. It’s made with just three simple ingredients: raw cashews, rolled oats, and water (+ yogurt starter culture, see FAQ below).
  3. It’s made with no coconut, no soy (allergy-friendly!) and no store-bought plant-based milk of any kind.
  4. It’s made without using a nut milk bag. Less effort, less mess = a win win!
  5. It has real probiotics!
  6. It has no added sugar.
  7. The culturing process is a breeze thanks to using the yogurt function of my Instant Pot.
  8. This recipe makes A LOT of yogurt, which comes out much cheaper compared to the same amount of dairy-free store-bought yogurt: only about $.32 per serving!
  9. I can add any mix-ins I want after the yogurt is done – fruit, nuts, seeds, granola, maple syrup, etc.
  10. I can use this yogurt in any recipes that call for unsweetened plain yogurt – vegan ranch, tzatziki, parfaits, add a dollop to spicy curry, etc.
I made this vegan yogurt parfait with my homemade vegan Instant Pot yogurt, granola, and fresh berries.

If you’re new to cooking with an Instant Pot, I highly recommend checking out my simple 5-step guide to using an Instant Pot for beginners.

What I Use to Make Vegan Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (best if organic)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2-3 tablespoons of store-bought unsweetened plain vegan yogurt with live active cultures (like Forager)

Equipment:

Want to watch me make this vegan Instant Pot yogurt instead of reading this post? Check out my video for this recipe on YouTube:

​FAQ

Here you’ll find answers to questions about my vegan yogurt making process that have been asked the most frequently in the comments section to my YouTube video for this recipe:

How does this Instant Pot vegan yogurt come out thick without any additional thickeners?

The thickening happens naturally thanks to the starch in rolled oats.

Most vegan yogurt recipes on the internet use one of the two approaches (or both) to achieve a thicker texture of their yogurt:

  • They call for additional thickeners (cornstarch, arrowroot powder, agar agar, xanthan gum, etc.). Trouble with some of these is, if things don’t go as planned, your yogurt may end up with an off-putting, gelatinous texture, or separate during fermentation.
  • They use a higher-fat yogurt base like full-fat coconut milk, or nuts like cashews in higher concentration. However, if you want to make a lot of yogurt, it can get pretty pricey.

This is why I love the combination of oats and cashews in this recipe:

  • Oats are cheap, and do a great job thickening the yogurt thanks to their starch;
  • Cashews may not be super cheap, but I only use 1/2 cup of them in this recipe, which by itself isn’t too expensive.

As the blended oat and cashew milk mixture is heated on the stove, the heat activates the starch. The result – lovely, thick yogurt without additional thickeners.

What do I use as a yogurt starter culture?

​For my first batch of this vegan Instant Pot yogurt, I used 2-3 tablespoons of store-bought plain unsweetened vegan yogurt with live yogurt cultures.

My favorite brand for this is Forager. Other vegan yogurt brands in the US that make unsweetened yogurt with live cultures: Kite Hill, So Delicious, Harmless Harvest

You can also use commercial yogurt starter culture like this one by Cultures For Health if you’d like. Follow the package instructions to measure the amounts of probiotic powder needed for your plant-based yogurt.

I’ve heard that some people have had success using probiotic capsules as the yogurt starter. I haven’t tried that myself, so I can’t give you advice about proportions, etc.

However, I do know that if you go that route, make sure to use capsules that have PRObiotics only, without PREbiotics – those can interfere with the fermentation process.

Do I need to use a brand-new yogurt culture every time I make this yogurt?

You can, but you don’t have to. I used non-dairy yogurt from the grocery store to make my first batch of this yogurt, but for the following batches, I’ve been using 2-3 tablespoons of my previous batch.

Do I need to use a nut milk bag to make vegan Instant Pot yogurt?

There’s no need for a nut milk bag in my homemade vegan yogurt recipe.

I pre-soak the oats and the cashews for at least 2 hours so they blend much more smoothly. All of the fiber stays in = the resulting yogurt is even healthier.

When do I add yogurt cultures to vegan yogurt?

The optimal temperature for yogurt fermentation is between 105-110°F.

If the milk temperature is higher than 115°F, the cultures will be destroyed.

If the temperature is lower than 100°F, the fermentation will happen much slower.

To cool the milk base to 105-110°F, you can either leave the saucepan with it on the counter for 1-2 hours, or use an ice bath like I do in my video.

To add the vegan yogurt culture, use a silicone spatula to gently fold it into the cooled milk.

What setting do I use on my Instant Pot to make yogurt?

Most Instant Pot models (except the Lux model) have a Yogurt setting:

Yogurt button on Instant Pot

This setting is optimized for the dairy yogurt: first it boils the milk to remove any pathogens, then it keeps it at the optimal temperature for yogurt fermentation (about 110°F) for the amount of hours that you set it for.

Since I’m not using dairy milk to make this vegan yogurt, I don’t boil it in the Instant Pot.

Instead, I warm it up on stovetop to thicken it, then cool it to 110°F, mix in the yogurt cultures, and put it into the inner pot of my pressure cooker.

After that, I press the Yogurt button a few times. The first time, the screen will show the word “Boil”, but I skip past that since I’m not boiling my milk.

Yogurt setting on Instant Pot showing Boil message on the screen
I don’t use the Boil function of the yogurt setting on my Instant Pot since I prefer to cook my yogurt base on stovetop. However, you can use it to cook your yogurt base, then cool it in an ice bath.

Instead, I press the button again once or twice until I see the timer, and set it for the desired time. Which brings up the question…

How long does it take for this vegan yogurt to ferment in the Instant Pot?

For a more tangy yogurt, I set the timer for about 8-9 hours.

For a milder yogurt, the timer can be set for 6-7 hours.

Instant Pot yogurt setting set for 8 hours
I usually set my Instant Pot yogurt timer for 8 hours

In either case, feel free to check the tartness 30 minutes to an hour before the time is up if you’d like. Just remove the lid and give it a taste.

Keep in mind that this cashew-oat yogurt will continue to ferment in the fridge, although much slower. You can expect it to become more tart in a few days.

What if I don’t have an Instant Pot?

You can make this 3-ingredient vegan yogurt without an Instant Pot. This can be done by using a yogurt maker, a slow cooker, or without any special equipment at all.

First, you need to cool off thickened cashew-oat milk base to 105-110°F, then fold in the yogurt cultures.

No special equipment: Put the cashew-oat milk in an airtight container, wrap in a thick towel or blanket, and leave on your countertop overnight.

Check the tartness in the morning, and let ferment longer if it isn’t tart enough for your liking.

Alternatively, put the airtight container with the yogurt into your oven with the oven light turned on, and leave for 6-8 hours or longer. Check the tartness as needed.

Slow cooker: Add the milk directly into the bowl of your slow cooker, or put it into a Pyrex glass dish, put it into the slow cooker, and pour 1-2 inches of water around it.

Set the slow cooker on low setting, and cook for 5-7 hours.

KEEP IN MIND: some slow cookers can reach a higher temperature than 110°F even on low setting, which will kill the yogurt starter culture. Make sure to check how high the temperature of your slow cooker can get.

Yogurt maker: Add the thickened non-dairy milk mixture into the bowl of your yogurt maker, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ferment the yogurt.

Yogurt makers are set to maintain the ideal temperature for fermentation.

How can I tell if my vegan yogurt is done?

You can tell that your Instant Pot vegan yogurt is done by its flavor and smell.

It will be slightly tart (the longer you ferment it, the more tart it will get), and have a pleasant, slightly sour smell.

What vegan Instant Pot yogurt looks like when it's done
This is what my vegan cashew-oat yogurt looks like when it’s done fermenting in the Instant Pot

If it has a strong sour or rancid odor, or developed an unnatural color different from the original color of the yogurt base, it may be a sign that something went wrong during the fermentation.

I encourage you to discard the spoiled yogurt and sanitize the equipment you used.

What if my yogurt isn’t tart even after fermenting for 8 hours?

Let it ferment longer. However, even if it’s just slightly tart, it will get even more tart in the fridge after a few days.

Can I add flavorings like maple syrup, fruit, etc. to this Instant Pot vegan yogurt?

Yes, but make sure to do so only after the yogurt is done fermenting. Otherwise, these mix-ins will interfere with the fermentation process.

An Important Note About Making Yogurt in the Instant Pot

Before you add your yogurt base to the bowl of your Instant Pot, make sure to clean the bowl really well to remove any bits of previously cooked food that may have stuck to its bottom. I use a bit of baking soda and water to scrub it out.

Even more importantly, make sure that the lid of your Instant Pot, and especially the silicone ring, don’t have any lingering food smells. Remove the ring and wash the lid with dish soap, then rinse well.

Replacing silicone ring on Instant Pot lid
I have a separate silicone ring for the lid of my Instant Pot that I only use to make this yogurt

As for the silicone ring, if it already has a strong food smell, it will be next to impossible to get it out. As a result, this smell can transfer to your yogurt and stink up the whole batch.

In my YouTube video, I tell a funny story about what can happen if you use a smelly silicone ring.

To avoid the smell contamination, I’ve set aside a separate silicone ring that I use exclusively for making yogurt. You can find sets of spare Instant Pot silicone rings on Amazon – I use these ones.

A lot of people have mentioned that they’ve had success making this yogurt without the silicone ring at all.

Technically, there’s no need for it since the yogurt function doesn’t require the Instant Pot to be sealed. Therefore, you can omit the ring completely.

Keep in mind: I noticed that the yogurt does take longer to ferment without the silicone ring (at least 9-10 hours instead of 7-8).

I’m guessing this is because the warmth doesn’t stay inside the Instant Pot as well as when the ring is in place.

How to Make 3-Ingredient Vegan Yogurt in the Instant Pot

(This is a detailed description of my Instant Pot yogurt making process. For a printable recipe card with more condensed instructions, please scroll below.)

Firs, I add 2/3 cups of rolled oats to the pitcher of a high speed blender. Then, I pour in 4 cups of filtered water.

In a measuring cup or a small bowl, I soak 2/3 cups of raw cashews in filtered water.

After that, I let the oats and the cashews soak for 1-2 hours. This will soften them to blend smoothly, which removes the need to use a nut milk bag.

Also, this makes the nutrients in cashews and oats more bioavailable.

Once the time is up, I drain the cashews, and add them into the blender pitcher with the oats and the water.

How to make vegan Instant Pot yogurt: Blending soaked cashews and oats to make yogurt base
All of these process pictures are taken from my vegan Instant Pot yogurt video on Youtube

I blend the mixture until completely smooth and creamy, for at least 1 minute and as long as 5-6 minutes. The longer this mixture is blended, the more smooth the yogurt will be.

If needed, I scrape the sides of the blender pitcher with a silicone spatula.

How to make soy free vegan Instant Pot yogurt: cashews and oats blended into milk for yogurt base
This is what my cashew-oat milk looks like after blending

Next, I pour the resulting cashew-oat yogurt base into a clean medium-sized saucepan. I heat it up gently on stovetop over medium heat, stirring slowly with the same silicone spatula.

IMPORTANT: Make sure to stir the milk mixture the whole time it’s heating up – otherwise, the sides and the bottom will start thickening a bit too fast and may even burn. This will create an unpleasant, lumpy texture of the resulting yogurt.

After a few minutes, the milk mixture will get steamy, and start thickening quite a bit.

How to make vegan yogurt in the Instant Pot: Heating up cashew oat milk yogurt base to thicken
You can see how much thicker the milk has gotten after heating compared to the previous photo

Once it looks almost as thick as I want my yogurt to be, I take the saucepan off the heat.

NOTE: the yogurt will continue getting thicker as it cools off. For best results, make sure to take the milk off the heat BEFORE it gets to your desired consistency.

Next, it’s time to cool off my non-dairy yogurt base to the right temperature. The yogurt cultures won’t survive in temperatures hotter than 110-115°F (43-46°C), so we need to bring our milk mixture to about 110°F (43°C).

To do that, I can either leave the milk on the counter and wait till it cools off, or (a much faster way) cool it off in an ice bath.

First, I determine the current temperature of the yogurt base. This is optional, but it will give me an idea how long it’s going to take to cool it off.

Using a food thermometer (I use an older version of this one), I measure the temperature of the milk mixture.

As you see, my yogurt base temperature rose to about 150°F during stovetop heating

To get an accurate reading, I put the point of the thermometer in the center of the mixture, careful not to touch the bottom of the saucepan.

Next, it’s time to make an ice bath:

I pour my thickened yogurt base into a large bowl, add ice to another large bowl or a container, and insert the bowl with the yogurt base on top of the ice. I pour cold water in between the bowls.

How to make homemade non-dairy yogurt: Cooling vegan yogurt base in an ice bath
Top: my ice bath setup. Bottom: stirring the yogurt base to cool it.

To cool the yogurt base quickly and evenly, I’ll either scrape the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula and fold them towards the center, or start from the center and spread the mixture around the sides of the bowl.

About 3-5 minutes later, I check the temperature of the yogurt base.

If the thermometer is showing 105-110°F (40-43°C), it’s ready for the yogurt starter culture.

Making Instant Pot vegan yogurt: Measuring temperature of vegan yogurt base before adding yogurt cultures
My cashew-oat yogurt base has cooled off to about 105°F.

After this, I take the bowl with the milk out of the ice bath.

Next, I prepare my yogurt culture. This can either be 2-3 tablespoons of store-bought plain unsweetened yogurt like Forager or Kite Hill (this is what I used for my first batch of yogurt), or a commercial vegan yogurt starter culture like this one.

Since I’ve made this yogurt before, I usually use 2-3 tablespoons of my homemade vegan yogurt from my previous batch.

I gently fold the yogurt starter culture into the thickened yogurt base, then move it into the inner pot of my Instant Pot.

IMPORTANT: Make sure the bowl and the lid of your Instant Pot are completely clean, without any food smells from the previous things you cooked. Those smells can get passed on into your yogurt, which could ruin its flavor.

Even more importantly, make sure that the silicone sealing ring on the lid doesn’t have any food smells, even subtle ones. I ordered this 3-piece set of spare silicone rings for Instant Pot lids, and set aside one specifically for yogurt making.

Finally, I close my Instant Pot with a lid, and press the Yogurt setting button on the display until it shows a timer. I set the timer for 8-9 hours to make yogurt that’s more tangy, and 6-7 hours for a milder, less tangy yogurt.

Instant Pot yogurt setting set for 8 hours
I prefer my homemade vegan yogurt to be more tangy, so I usually set the Instant Pot timer for 8 hours, and then add more time if needed.

Once the timer is up, I open the lid and carefully stir my vegan yogurt. I taste it to check if it’s tart enough to my liking:

  • If it’s not very tart, I’ll close the lid and set the Yogurt button timer for another 1-2 hours.
  • If the tartness is just right, I’ll remove the yogurt from the Instant Pot bowl into a glass or ceramic airtight container (think a Mason jar or a Pyrex dish).

I close the lid, and place the container into the fridge to cool off my cashew-oat yogurt. Cold temperature will significantly slow down the yogurt from fermenting further (you might still notice a few days later that your yogurt got a bit more tart).

Once your yogurt is cool, it’s time to eat it. Make sure to save 2-3 tablespoons for your next batch!

How to Store Homemade Vegan Yogurt

Keep your vegan Instant Pot yogurt refrigerated in air-tight glass containers for up to 7 days.

Your yogurt will continue to ferment very slowly in the fridge, and become more tart in a few days.

If you’re planning to eat it with mix-ins like berries, fruit, nuts, seeds, maple syrup, etc., it’s best if you add those just before eating – otherwise, the live yogurt cultures may start fermenting those too.

Yield: 4.5 cups

3-Ingredient Instant Pot Vegan Yogurt

Vegan Instant Pot yogurt recipe soy free coconut free

This delicious 3-ingredient Instant Pot vegan yogurt is made with no soy, no coconut, no added sugar, and contains gut-friendly live active yogurt cultures. Enjoy this homemade dairy-free yogurt on its own, eat with your favorite yogurt toppings (fruit, berries, nuts, seeds, granola, etc.), or use in any recipe that calls for non-dairy yogurt.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Fermenting Time 8 hours
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup rolled oats (best if organic)
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons of store-bought unsweetened plain vegan yogurt with live active cultures (like Forager)

Instructions

    Making the Vegan Yogurt Base

    1. Add the rolled oats and 4 cups of filtered water to the pitcher of a high speed blender. In a small bowl, soak 2/3 cups of raw cashews in filtered water. Let the oats and the cashews soak for 1-2 hours.
    2. Next, drain the cashews, add them to the blender pitcher with the oats and the water, and blend until completely smooth, for at least 1 minute and as long as 5-6 minutes (see note*). Scrape the sides of the blender pitcher as needed.

    Heating Up the Yogurt Base

    1. Heat up the blended cashew-oat milk base gently on stovetop in a clean thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicone spatula. This will prevent the yogurt from getting lumpy.
    2. After 5-7 minutes, the milk mixture will start thickening. Once it's almost as thick as you'd like your yogurt to be (see note**), take the saucepan off the heat.

    Cooling Off the Yogurt Base + Adding the Yogurt Culture

    1. Next, you'll need to cool off the yogurt base to around 105-110°F (40-43°C). This is the optimal temperature for the yogurt culture to ferment properly (see FAQ in the blog post). To do this, you can either let the yogurt cool off on its own on the countertop, or use an ice bath (my preferred method since it's quicker).
    2. To make an ice bath, pour the thickened yogurt base into a large bowl. Add ice to another large bowl or container, and insert the bowl with the milk on top of the ice. Pour cold water in between the bowls. Stir the yogurt base slowly with a silicone spatula until it cools off and reaches the temperature of 105-110°F (40-43°C). (I use an older version of this thermometer to check that.)
    3. Take the bowl out of the ice bath. Gently mix in your vegan yogurt starter culture (I used store-bought plain unsweetened yogurt by Forager for my first yogurt batch, but you can also use commercial non-dairy yogurt starter. See more ideas in the FAQ section of the blog post.)

    Setting Up the Instant Pot for Yogurt Fermentation

    1. Move the mixture into the inner pot of your Instant Pot, close it with a lid. Press the Yogurt setting button on the display until it shows a timer. Set the timer for 8-9 hours to make a tangier yogurt, or 6-7 hours for a milder yogurt.
    2. Once the timer is up, open the lid and carefully stir the yogurt. Taste to check the flavor. If the yogurt isn't tart enough to your liking, close the lid and set the Yogurt button timer for another 1-2 hours.

    Finishing Up

    1. Once you're satisfied with the flavor of your homemade non-dairy yogurt, remove it from the Instant Pot bowl into a glass airtight container (think a Mason jar or a Pyrex dish), or split it between individual serving-size containers. Place the container(s) into the fridge. Once your yogurt is cool, it's ready to eat.
    2. Store the vegan Instant Pot yogurt in the fridge for up to 7 days. Make sure to save 2-3 tablespoons for your next batch!

Notes

* The longer you blend the yogurt base, the more smooth the yogurt will be.

** The yogurt will continue getting thicker as it cools off, so make sure to take the milk off the heat BEFORE it gets to your desired consistency.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

1/2 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 4.1gSaturated Fat: 0.7gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 8mgCarbohydrates: 9.1gFiber: 1.3gSugar: 0.6gProtein: 2g

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.

Susan

Tuesday 26th of March 2024

My husband has heart disease and we eat WFPBSOS. Can you suggest a substitute for the cashews?

Thank you!

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Wednesday 27th of March 2024

Hi Susan! You can make this recipe with oats only. Just use the same amount of extra oats as the amount of cashews.

Syl

Saturday 24th of February 2024

Thank you for this recipe. I made it today and it is delicious! I did use my glass lid for my Instant Pot which works well, but it does get a bit dried out on top after a few hours as it's not air tight. I ended up whisking it towards the end. I may just use the Instant Pot lid with the gasket next time to see if that helps. I also used 2 PB8 vegetarian probiotic capsules which worked well. Next time I can just use some of my homemade yogurt. I'm thrilled to be able to make yogurt at home.

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Wednesday 28th of February 2024

So glad to hear it worked out for you, Syl! Thank you for letting me know!

Gina

Friday 23rd of February 2024

Many thanks for this recipe, which is everything I want in a vegan yogurt.

Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats

Wednesday 28th of February 2024

Thank you Gina, let me know if you make it!

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