How to Make Vegan Yogurt without Starter 

 June 23, 2023

By  Diane Miles

If you love eating yogurt but are on a vegan diet, a restricted diet or you’re allergic to dairy, you can still consume vegan yogurt that is made from non-dairy milk. Whatever the reason may be, with a little bit of care and with ingredients available in your kitchen, you can make vegan yogurt. 

Breakfast Oats

But the question is, how do you make vegan yogurt without a starter? You may be quite confused by this. Well, you can make consistent and creamy vegan yogurt and you can do it without a starter, too. In this article, we will discuss in-depth how to make vegan yogurt without a starter.

Here are the steps by which you can make a vegan yogurt without using a starter.

Select a Non-Dairy Milk

The days of simply using soy milk as a non-dairy alternative are long gone. Today, when you walk through the non-dairy or vegan aisle of the supermarket, you will be quite overwhelmed with the choices you have. You can choose from a plethora of options — from original, unsweetened, organic, vanilla and chocolate of soy, coconut, oat, almond, hemp, and rice milk.

Soy Milk

Try and opt for organic milk because this is free of GMOs and pesticides, especially in the case of soy. If you want plain yogurt, then go in for unsweetened milk. If you want less flavor than vanilla, then you can opt for original milk.

Soy milk is the only plant milk that is high in protein, having around 8 grams per serving and so, it is the only milk that will curdle to a large extent. The second best non-dairy milk that offers the best-curdled flavor is oat milk, which has around 4 grams of protein per serving. Hemp and rice milk contain a lower amount of protein, around 1 gram per serving and compared to almond and coconut milk, they are higher in calories.

You could also consider using a combination of all these types of milk.

Thickening the Milk

There are several options of thickeners that can work and probably you already have some of them in your kitchen. You can use arrowroot, agar-agar, flaxseed, tapioca flour, guar gum, xanthan gum, sunflower lecithin, soy and soy lecithin granules as thickeners.


You can add flavors, fruits or sweeteners of your choice. As the milk cools, add the flavor and blend it well. If you’re using frozen fruit, use fruit that is at room temperature or maybe even slightly warmed. But, if you want your yogurt plain, then you can skip the flavoring completely.

Adding a Culture

Yogurt is fermented and this is what gives it its tart taste and creamy texture and vegan yogurt is not any different. In order to make yogurt and initiate the fermentation, bacteria must be added to the milk. For the best results, you should buy a culture which can grow in plant-based milk and there are several vegan varieties available that deliver great results.

You can also make use of a probiotic capsule with the non-dairy milk that can give similar results as using a commercial culture. However, adding too much can result in a bitter and soupy flavor. You can also use a vegan yogurt that is store-bought of a similar flavor and add it to the non-dairy milk.

Setting the Yogurt

Once you have added the bacteria culture to the non-dairy milk, it must set for around 6-8 hours in a warm environment, ideally at around 110o. The thickness of yogurt, as well as its tartness, increases with time and so, if you don’t want either, then you must remove it earlier. You can use a yogurt maker to set your yogurt in and buying one with an automatic shut-off can be very convenient.

Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie

If you don’t want to invest in a yogurt maker, then you can simply set the yogurt in your oven and keep time with your alarm clock. You can simply turn on the light of your oven and cover the yogurt with a cloth.

However, the yogurt may take longer to set this way because the temperature is not as warm and the bacteria will not propagate as quickly. The setting time may need to be increased to around 9 hours; however, beyond this, the yogurt will turn yeasty and very sour.


Once the yogurt is set, put it into an air-tight container and refrigerate. Refrigeration will halt the culturing process. As the yogurt cools in the refrigerator, it will continue to thicken.

Directions of How to Make Vegan Yogurt without Starter

  1. 1
    Pour around 4 cups (32oz) of the non-dairy milk you like into a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  2. 2
    Then, add the thickener and return it to boil. Whisk it for around 2 to 3 minutes and then remove the milk from the heat.
  3. 3
    Below are steps to add the thickener depending on the type of thickener you choose:
  • Arrowroot/Flaxseed/Tapioca Flour: Dissolve around 2-4 tablespoons of arrowroot, flaxseeds or tapioca flour in a little water and add it to the boiling milk. 
  • Agar-Agar Powder/Xanthan Gum: Add around 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of agar-agar powder or xanthan gum to the boiling milk directly and which vigorously.
  • Soy Lecithin Granules: Using a small grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind 0.5 to 1 teaspoon of soy lecithin granules to powder and then add it to the boiling milk directly and whisk vigorously.
  • Guar Gum: Add around 1 to 2 teaspoons of guar gum to a little amount of water and then add this mixture to the boiling milk.
  • Sunflower Lecithin/Liquid Soy: Add 1/4th teaspoon of sunflower lecithin or liquid soy to the boiling milk and whisk vigorously.
  1. 4
    Add the flavor or sweetener you desire and mix well. Blend the mixture in a blender or finish using a handheld mixer.
  2. 5
    Let the mixture cool for around 1 hour because if the culture is added to the hot mixture, the bacteria will die. If you’re using a thermometer, then the mixture should be at a temperature between 90 to 115 degrees and if you are using your finger, then it should feel hot to your finger but not too hot that you pull your finger out.
  3. 6
    Add a packet of culture or a single serving of the probiotic and mix well. Put the mixture in a container and place it in a warm environment or a yogurt maker at 90 to 110 degrees. If you’re using the oven to make the yogurt, then cover the container with a towel and turn on the light of the oven.
  4. 7
    Check if the yogurt is set in around 6 to 8 hours. If you’re using the oven to make the yogurt, then it will require around 7 to 9 hours.
  5. 8
    Sometimes the various types of milk, flavoring, thickener, and temperature interact differently and the consistency of the yogurt may not be perfect. You may have to do some trials and errors a few times before you get a perfect consistency. If the yogurt separates, but the taste is fine, just simply give it a shake and serve it.
  6. 9
    Store the yogurt in a container that is airtight and as it cools, the yogurt will become firmer.
Pumpkin Soup with Yogurt

Fixing Failure

When you are making vegan yogurt, you may sometimes find that the yogurt is not thick enough and there are many reasons for this.

  • If you added too little or too much of the culture.
  • If the culture you used was expired or was stored improperly.
  • If you introduced the culture to milk that was too hot or cold.

However, whatever is the reason for failure, as long as your vegan yogurt tastes fine, you can still eat it. Just bring it to boil again and add some more thickener to it and then allow it to cool and refrigerate it. Now that you know how to make vegan yogurt without a starter, you can gain the probiotic health benefits of your vegan yogurt whenever you want.

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