How to Make 24-Hour Half and Half Yogurt

Berries topped with half and half yogurt. This was our 4th of July dessert this past summer.
Berries topped with half and half yogurt and raw honey. A good 4th of July dessert!

I think most of you know that I do eat some limited sources of dairy. Specifically, homemade 24-hour yogurt and butter/ghee are the only dairy sources I can safely tolerate. In fact, homemade 24-hour yogurt is a major component of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and the reason I started making it in the first place. Culturing it for 24 hours ensures that all the lactose gets broken down and makes for a nice, sour yogurt. Generally, I make it with organic grass-fed whole milk, but sometimes I make it with pasture-raised half and half when I want something more decadent. The hardest part is waiting for it to culture and then waiting again for it to set overnight in the fridge. I tell you though, it is well worth the wait! This is unlike any yogurt you’ve ever tasted and thick by nature. It’s yogurt fit for the Gods. I enjoy it plain, with fruit or as a dessert garnish (whipped cream).

For this specific recipe, you need a yogurt maker, but there are ways to make homemade yogurt without one too. I know there is an oven method, along with a heating pad method. I can attest that the heating pad method works, but is a pain in the butt if your heating pad automatically shuts off every two hours, like mine. I had to get up a few times in the night to turn the heating pad back on and after this escapade, I bought a yogurt maker. They’re pretty affordable and I’ve definitely gotten more than my money’s worth out of it. Specifically, this recipe uses the Yogourmet electric yogurt maker, so directions may differ slightly if you have another model.

If you don’t tolerate dairy, you can make yogurt with homemade almond milk or full-fat canned coconut milk, but would need to find a source of non-dairy cultures. I do okay with dairy yogurt and cultures, so I’ve never experimented with this, but I know it’s doable.

Click here to read about the importance of 24-hour yogurt in the SCD.

Half and half yogurt with homemade grain-free granola (click for recipe).
Half and half yogurt with homemade grain-free granola (click for recipe).



  1. Pour the half and half into a large pot and turn burner to medium heat (or just above medium). Clip a thermometer (candy thermometer works) to the side of the pot. Stir the half and half continuously to keep it from sticking or scorching.
  2. Slowly heat the half and half to a simmer while stirring constantly. Turn heat down and continue to simmer for about two minutes. Watch closely and keep stirring, so it doesn’t boil over.
  3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to 110 degrees F. To speed up this process, you can also place the pot into a sink filled with cold water. When checking the temperature, be sure to stir the half and half first and then test in the middle of the pot, versus on the side. It is very important that it’s not too hot when you add the cultures.
  4. Add yogurt cultures into the yogurt container (mine is one big container) or a large bowl. Scoop a few ladle-fulls of the cooled half and half into the container or bowl. Stir well until the cultures are dissolved. Then, mix back into the pot with the remaining milk.
  5. Pour the milk into the yogurt container and seal with the lid. Add water to the fill line in the yogurt maker and then place the container inside, and cover with the yogurt maker lid. Plug in and culture for 24-30 hours.
  6. Once done, place yogurt in the fridge to chill and firm up. I recommend letting it sit overnight to ensure the yogurt is fully set and chilled.
  7. Enjoy as desired!

Yields: 2 quarts of yogurt


19 thoughts on “How to Make 24-Hour Half and Half Yogurt

  1. siochanaw April 25, 2013 / 9:05 am

    Yay! I was actually in need of this recipe right now. I have some pastured 2% at home that I want to try out and take a break from my coconut milk yogurt. Thanks for posting this!! 😉 Also, if folks want a recipe for coconut milk yogurt, check out Cultures for Health. 😉

    • paleoinpdx April 25, 2013 / 9:36 am

      Yay 🙂 Thanks for mentioning the site for the coconut milk yogurt!

  2. Ashley April 25, 2013 / 9:33 am


    • paleoinpdx April 25, 2013 / 9:35 am

      Haha, I knew you’d be excited, Ashley 😉

  3. Nikki April 25, 2013 / 5:52 pm

    I’m thinking of indulging in a yogurt maker- is this the only one you use?

    • paleoinpdx April 25, 2013 / 8:42 pm

      Yes, this is the only one I use. I like it because it doesn’t have an automatic shutoff (since it cultures for 24 hours, this is nice) and it can make up to 2 quarts at once in one big container. There’s no need for me to have more than one yogurt maker anyway.

  4. siochanaw May 23, 2013 / 11:23 am

    Ok, I tried it just as you have it in the recipe, and LOVED it! I decided to make a second batch, but this time I decided to split a vanilla bean, scoop the insides into the 1/2 & 1/2, and then dropped in the pod to let it steep while it was coming to a simmer and while it was cooling to 110. I took out the pod just before I put it in my yogurt maker. The finished product is a little more tart than the plain recipe, but it has this nice hint of vanilla that I really like. 😉

    • paleoinpdx May 23, 2013 / 12:08 pm

      I don’t get why it made your yogurt more tart??? Anyway, I’m glad it worked out and that you had fun experimenting! I’m strictly a plain yogurt kind of gal. It’s so good as is that I don’t like to mess with it. I do like good mix-ins though once it’s all cultured. Unsweetened coconut shreds, raw cacao nibs and berries are my favorite 🙂

  5. Bre June 4, 2015 / 3:58 pm

    I have been making this for a year now. Funny thing…I dont have a yogurt machine and tried all kinds of things then my husband said hey…how about the hot tub! Low and behold I have a great yogurt machine that stays at a constant temp for 24 hours! Just thought I would share! I love my yogurt with a bit of honey and blueberries!

  6. Rae October 19, 2015 / 11:21 am

    1. Why do you heat it so hot? It’s already pasteurized? I just heat mine to 110, then add the culture, wrap it up and set it on top of the hot water tank in the cool months, out side when it’s hot summertime here. It may take 24 hrs to culture, but you were going to do that anyway. Am I missing something?

    • paleoinpdx October 19, 2015 / 11:30 am

      I do it this way because that’s how I learned (via the instructions that came with my yogurt maker). I don’t think you’re missing something and if what you do works, then no worries. I agree that I probably don’t have to heat it that hot though.

  7. Sharon November 29, 2016 / 11:58 am

    I make my yogurt in my crock pot a gallon at a time. Half a gallon of whole milk and 2 quarts of heavy cream. Heat on high for an hour and Forty five minutes to bring it to 110-120 degrees. Add one 8 oz carton of plain live culture yogurt that has been mixed into a cup of the warm half and half. Stir well and add back to the crock pot and stir well to evenly distribute the starter. Cover with the lid and place the whole crock pot in your oven with the light on for 12 to 14 hours. (No heat). I usually do this overnight. Then I strain out the whey using a white cotton tea towel to the consistency I like.(thick). The whey can be used for added protein for smoothies or soups. My house plants flourish with a little whey drink once a month. You can store your yogurt in any type of container you like that has a tight fitting lid. I always add whatever berries,sweetener or toppings as I take out what I want to eat. It will last approx 3 weeks if I haven’t eaten it all. I also save an 8 oz jar of whey to use as my next starter. Just keep in the fridge with a tight lid on it.
    Make sure all your utensils are ultra clean so you don’t culture any live organisms you don’t want!

  8. Seung February 27, 2018 / 7:53 pm

    So far I have tried 1% lactose-free, low-fat milk and nonfat yogurt combination x 9hr incubation. Texture is alright, not runny, but it could be little bit more creamier and little less tangy. Now, I bought 0% fat-free milk (not lactose-free) and lactose-free half and half. Should I combine both or use just one at a time for trial? It was not easy to find organic, lactose free, fat-free milk at the store today. I also bought lactose-free, low-fat yogurt, regular fat-free yogurt, and whole milk yogurt. I am debating which yogurt and milk I should combine for experimentation. Any suggestions? Too many variables?

    • paleoinpdx February 28, 2018 / 5:53 am

      Sorry to hear you haven’t been having great luck, Seung. I have never used lactose-free, fat free, or low-fat milk for homemade yogurt, so I can’t speak from experience there. I use organic whole milk or in this case, I used organic half-and-half. I also always ferment for 24 hours, not nine. Are you using the same yogurt maker as I am? The Yogourmet? My yogurt is tangy and I think that tends to be the nature of homemade yogurt. You could always strain it a little afterward in a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth and disregard some of the whey if you want it creamier. I’ve done this before and the result is lovely — more like Greek yogurt.

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