The Cost of Yogurt

For a long time I made my own yogurt. Now that I don’t eat as much yogurt, and we prefer the thicker, Greek-style yogurt, the economics don’t make sense anymore.

Many years ago (maybe a decade now?) I started making my own yogurt. I was eating yogurt every morning, and it is so much cheaper to make my own than to buy it (keep reading and see how cheap it is).

My process was simple:

  1. Scald 6 cups of whole milk
  2. While the milk is heating, steam 3 pint jars in a large pot
  3. Take the milk off heat and let cool to less than 120°F
  4. Stir in 6 ounces of yogurt from the last batch
  5. Pour the inoculated milk into the jars and put lids on
  6. Put the jars in the pot with the still-warm water from the steaming
  7. Let sit overnight (or longer)

So the cost of homemade yogurt is practically the cost of milk, but to make Greek yogurt, I would need to take the finished yogurt and strain it in cheesecloth until enough whey has drained off to get the desired thickness. For a pint of yogurt, I’d get around a quarter cup of Greek yogurt. A lot of that is the whey, but also some is lost to the cheesecloth.

A gallon of milk at our Publix is $3.49, so 32oz of regular homemade yogurt would be less than a dollar. A no brainer. But the strained yogurt is around $0.22/oz, or ~$7.00 for 32oz. Or let’s be optimists and say I somehow eke out half a third of a cup of Greek yogurt per pint of regular yogurt, that’s ~$5.20/32oz. A 32oz container of Chobani at our Publix is $5.99. Homemade Greek yogurt isn’t near the deal as homemade regular yogurt.

Now that I’m not eating nearly as much yogurt, and we prefer the thicker Greek-style anyways, I’m stopping my years-long weekly yogurt making.