Barb Hodgens
Barb Hodgens

Barb Hodgens loves to cook with alternative, healthy whole food ingredients, with a focus on gut health. Barb has overcome her own gut health issues through healthy eating. Share your ideas, comments and photos at the end of this post :)

homemade vanilla yogurt

Gut loving, creamy, dreamy vanilla yogurt.

Vanilla yogurt is an all-time family favourite. Kids generally prefer it and why not? It’s deliciously, sweet, creamy and desert-like. If you look closely at the ingredient list though, store-bought vanilla yogurt is not always that healthy. Commercial vanilla yogurt is sweetened with sugar, rarely contains real vanilla and has stabilisers to ensure that dreamy dessert-like creaminess.

At Luvele we luv creating healthy homemade recipe alternatives that taste every bit as good as anything store-bought, but without the nasties. If you own a Luvele yogurt maker, you’ll already know how incredibly easy it is to make yogurt that surpasses anything you can buy. And you’ll probably have felt the difference in your body. Homemade yogurt is full of good gut bacteria. Many customers tell us that homemade yogurt noticeably improves their digestion.

Given that store-bought vanilla yogurt is loaded with sugar, we thought that it might be impossible to replicate the flavour with a refined sugar free alternative. We trialled honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar as sweeteners and found that honey tasted the most authentic. Our kid critics also rated it highest.

Our homemade vanilla yogurt is made with pure ingredients and doesn’t require any additional thickeners. It’s completely free from artificial flavouring, additives and sugar. It's smooth, thick and creamy with gorgeous tiny flecks of vanilla bean. It actually tastes a little like custard, but it’s not overly sweet and has a hint of tanginess – so you still know you’re eating yogurt. Try it. You’re sure to love it.

vanilla yogurt


When it comes to vanilla, there are 3 main options for making yogurt: vanilla bean pods, vanilla paste, or pure vanilla extract. Note: We don’t recommend vanilla essence which can either be imitation vanilla or a highly concentrated form of extract.

Vanilla beans are a waxy dark brown pod filled with thousands of tiny brown flavourful specks that smell highly fragrant. Pods have a short shelf life, are the most expensive option and can be difficult to find in some regions.

Pure vanilla extract is a liquid made from macerating vanilla beans in a mixture of alcohol and water. Extract does not have black seeds and is the most affordable type of vanilla.

Vanilla paste is a blend of the scraped-out vanilla pod seeds and vanilla extract. Vanilla paste is sold in a jar and contains flecks from the pod and has a more intense flavour than extract. It is a great option if you can’t find vanilla bean pods or you feel like the pods are too expensive. Vanilla paste is also expensive, but a jar lasts a long time and will make many tubs of homemade vanilla yogurt.

vanilla yogurt


To open a pod, place the pod on a cutting board flat side down. Slice down the centre with a sharp knife. Slightly pull apart the pod, then run the blunt side of the knife down the inside to scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and the pod to the milk before heating.


  • Use our honey and vanilla quantities as a guide and feel free to adjust to suit your taste preference the next time you make it. Altering these quantities won’t affect your yogurt.
  • To ensure the thickest, tub-set yogurt possible, we also included dry milk powder. Adding dry milk powder is optional. If you choose to leave it out, we still recommend heating and holding the milk at 82° C (180° F) for up to 10 minutes.
  • We recommend using homogenised milk for vanilla yogurt. Yogurt made using unhomogenised milk, will end up with a layer of cream on top. This is delicious with traditional yogurt but too rich with vanilla. The vanilla bean seeds also set in the cream and make the top of the yogurt appear grey. We don't won't you mistaking the seeds for mould!
  • At the end of the fermentation most of the vanilla beans settle at the bottom of the yogurt. After chilling, stirring them through the yogurt is optional. 
  • Vanilla yogurt can be fermented for 12-24 hours. We found fermenting for 24 hours resulted in a firmer set yogurt using Yogourmet starter culture. A shorter fermentation time will produce a sweeter yogurt though. Experiment to find your preferred taste and texture. 

vanilla yogurt


Before you begin it is important to sterilise the yogurt making glass jar, lid and any utensils you use, in hot water. The danger of not sterilising is that other bacteria may overpower your starter culture and affect the quality of your yogurt.

vanilla yogurt steps

vanilla yogurt steps

vanilla yogurt steps



homemade vanilla yogurt

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