I feel like I have to share this recipe because it has changed my life. I used to spend way too much of money on mediocre coconut yogurt, and once I tried this out, I never looked back.
If I’m being honest, this is barely even a recipe. It almost feels like I’m cheating to call it one. It will take you two minutes (plus a day or two of waiting) and give you yogurt for days—assuming you don’t eat it all in one sitting.
When I cut out dairy years ago due to a severe sensitivity, I put a lot of effort into hunting down a good dairy-free yogurt. Since I used to hate fermented foods (clearly that’s no longer the case), I got most of my probiotics through yogurt and cheese, so I needed a substitute. A lot of the store-bought yogurt I’ve found tastes less than stellar, is too runny, or has too many weird additives. I have found a couple of decent ones, but they are pricey and it’s hard to justify that kind of cost—especially now that I know how EASY it is to make it yourself.
I love a good thick yogurt for everyday use, or as a topper in lieu of sour cream or whipped cream. I use coconut cream for this recipe so it takes on a nice Greek yogurt texture. It’s definitely not a low-fat yogurt, but it’s certainly nice and filling, so you won’t need to eat much to feel satisfied.
Inside tip: When you get a can of coconut cream, it’s really just coconut milk that’s less watered down. Because a lot of people still fear healthy fat, coconut cream and coconut milk (or, god forbid, “light” coconut milk, which is just extra-watered down) often cost the same, but the cream has more actual coconut in it and less water. I always buy coconut cream when I can, since you can add some water at home if you do want to thin it out for different purposes. Basically, just look for the can with the most fat per serving; that means it has the highest coconut to water ratio.
A few notes about making coconut yogurt:
- Make sure your jar and your utensils (hands included) are squeaky clean to avoid introducing the wrong kinds of bacteria.
- Do not stir this with a metal spoon. It’s OK to scoop it out with one once it’s done fermenting, but the metal and probiotics will react and make the yogurt fizzy and weird if you do it before the fermentation process. (I know from experience.)
- Depending on the temperature and humidity in your home, this could take 24 to 48 hours to ferment. If it’s warmer, 24 hours may be all you need. The longer you go, the more sour it will taste, and the more risk you have of it developing mold. Smell it after 24 hours and check it along the way to see if it’s sour yet. I find mine takes about 36 hours.
- On occasion, mine develops a thin film of pale yellow on top and I just scrape it off. I haven’t had any issues when this happens, but if you have a seriously compromised immune system, I would toss it. If you see any deeper colours, like pink, grey or blue, throw it out.
- Generally, I don’t like using coconut milk with additives, but I have found that something with an emulsifier, like guar gum, keeps the yogurt from separating to maintain a smoother texture. You can use a product without it, but you may have to toss it in a blender if you want to get that texture back. I like Earth’s Choice Coconut Cream.
- The probiotic capsule I use is Plantbiotic 45 Billion; this is my regular probiotic, so I already have it at home. You should be able to use pretty much anything (avoid those with FOS, though), but make sure there are enough probiotics to get the job done. If you have a weaker capsule, use more than one.
- As I mentioned with the sauerkraut, you should never heat fermented foods, as it will kill the good bacteria that nourishes your gut.
Here are a few ways I like to enjoy my coconut yogurt:
- Topped with granola, of course. Often, I’ll just do a mix of toasted nuts, seeds and coconut, along with fresh or dried fruit.
- With a couple spoonfuls of chia jam, like a healthy version of your childhood “fruit on the bottom” yogurt.
- As a layered parfait in a jar that you can take to work.
- On top of pancakes.
- In a smoothie, or stirred into a smoothie bowl.
Dairy-free coconut yogurt
- 1 400 ml can coconut cream
- Probiotic capsule (s) equal to approximately 45 billion bacteria
- Sterilize a 500ml glass jar. I fill it with boiling water, let it sit for 10 minutes, pour it out and let it cool slightly. Make sure all your utensils (including your hands) are clean.
- Scoop a spoonful of the coconut cream into a 500ml glass jar.
- Open up the capsule and empty it into the jar.
- Stir to combine with a plastic or wooden spoon or chopstick—not metal, which can react with the probiotics.
- Stir in the rest of the cream with that same utensil.
- Cover the jar with cheesecloth and an elastic band. Find a somewhat warm temperature-controlled spot at home. I keep mine in the oven with the light on to keep it warm and avoid temperature changes. Just put a sticky note next to the oven controls so you don’t accidentally turn it on and bake the yogurt!
- Let it sit for 24-48 hours, depending on how sour you want it and how warm your spot is. (Smell it after day 1.)
- Refrigerate to get it nice and thick.