Cultured Nut Milk (Yogurt, etc.)

by Cat, Dec 2011

See also: Nut & Seed Milk (Almond Milk Example)Coconut Milk Yogurt;  Coconut Milk Kefir

I had to go without dairy and cultured dairy for 30 days as an experiment to see if I had a food sensitivity to dairy, so I decided to substitute nut milk and nut milk yogurt for the real deal. I found that I liked almond milk, as a milk substitute, but I did not at all like the almond milk yogurt. My main objection was that it used a lot of almonds for just one serving of yogurt. This is because the mixture separates into a larger-volume watery fraction and a smaller-volume yogurt fraction. However, I did a fair amount of research and so document that and the recipes I tried, here, to help others.

It could be that some other nuts or seeds would make a better yogurt, but I found I liked Coconut Milk Yogurt, so didn’t pursue the others.

Nut/Seed Milk Yogurt Starters (Cultures)

Note: references (C1) – (C6) refer to the Culture References; references (R1) – (R8) refer to Recipe References  at bottom of page.

Many nuts and seeds will make a type of yogurt, although most sources agree that cashews work the best. Sunflower seeds also make a good yogurt according to WholeLivingDaily; see their instructions for Sunflower/Pumpkin Seed Milk (C1) and Seed yogurt (C2).

First you want to decide which starter to use. Most of the references I can find do not use dairy yogurt culture (S Thermophilus and L. Bulgaricus). See below for notes on using dairy yogurt culture. However, this type of starter contains milk product (whey, etc.) so if you are avoiding dairy, using dairy culture is not for you.

Dairy-free cultures that are not true-yogurt

Note: references (C1) – (C6) refer to the Culture References; references (R1) – (R8) refer to Recipe References  at bottom of page.

  • Veggie Culture (C1) from Body Ecology (recommended by Contains L plantarum, L. lactis (3 subspecies) & Leuconostoc mesenteroides ssp. cremoris. Cultures in a yogurt maker, meaning it requires the same warmer-than-room-temperature as yogurt (95 F.). Can reuse by sequential culturing, about 6 times. Can also use to culture cream for butter or sour cream. I tried this with almond milk and was disappointed in the result (see Almond Milk Yogurt, below), mainly because I only got about 2/3 cup yogurt out of a full quart of almond milk.
  • All Flora Probiotic (C2) from New Chapter (recommended by VeganEpicure nut yogurt Version #1 (4): Contains L. rhamnosus, L acidophilus, L. plantarum, L. salivarius, L. helveticus, B. breve, B. infantis, and B. longum.  Cultures at 95 F but doesn’t get thick like yogurt unless you thicken it with (organic) cornstarch.
  • Vibrant Innergy Probiotic Blend (C3): Contains L. salivarius and L. plantarum-OM (a unique culture that ‘requires a very special culturing process’). It cultures at room temp, but continues to culture slowly after refrigeration.
  • Allergen-free Jarro-Dophilus capsules (iHerb code JRW-03033 (C4)): This is used by WholeLivingDaily for their Pumpkin-seed yogurt (2); but be forewarned: this probioitic is highly perishable… (this product is not the same as regular Jarro-dophilus, which won’t work as a starter).
  • Rhio’s Raw Energy doesn’t use any culture for almond milk yogurt, just the flora naturally in the almonds. See recipe below.

True Yogurt Cultures

  • GI ProStart Yogurt Culture (C5)  is a non-dairy true yogurt culture (recommended by YouAreWhatYouEat (R3) for nut milk yogurt). It contains L. Bulgaricus, S. Thermophilus and L. Casei; it is dairy and gluten-free. The first two of these are what are used for dairy-milk yogurt. This culture is probably the best option for a true dairy-free yogurt; however, it’s possible it won’t work with all types of nut milk. [NOTE: the website says GI ProGurt; I believe this product name has changed to GI ProStart. Another product called ProGurt by Progurt contains HPI culture (Human Probiotic Isolate), and is very expensive ($120 or more per packet). Whereas ProStart is about $35 for 80 quarts of yogurt.]
  • Natren (C6) is a quality dairy yogurt culture that will work with nut milk. It contains the standard yogurt bacteria L. bulgaricus and S. thermophillus. It also contains whey and non-fat milk solids, so if you are avoiding dairy, this is not the one for you.

Cultured Almond Milk ‘Yogurt’

This is not a true yogurt, but has a pudding-like consistency (if you strain it) and a sour flavor resembling yogurt. However, you don’t get much for your effort: 1 quart of almond milk yields about 1 cup ‘yogurt.’

For lots of good info on making a yogurt-like product from nut milk, see Recipe References 1 -8 at the bottom of this post.

Recipe notes:

  • It’s a good idea to lightly blanch the almonds before making the milk, to squelch any unwanted bacteria. Do this by pouring boiling water over almonds in a strainer. Then rinse and place in blender to soak.
  • The honey or sugar is necessary to feed the starter culture, as there is not enough sugar in the nut milk.
  • I use my pilot light-warmed oven, which is just right. If you don’t have a pilot light, turn on your oven light to warm the space. Or you can use a yogurt maker.
  • This yogurt will separate into a yogurt and a watery fraction, so straining is required if you want to eat it as yogurt. However, if using in a smoothie, don’t strain it; just give it a good shake before using.
  • Rhio’s recipe advises keeping the yogurt in the same glass jar that you made it in, but leave the lid slightly loose for air circulation, which helps it last longer. It doesn’t advise straining, but rather carefully scooping the yogurt off the top as needed.

The recipe below is based on the Renegade Health (6) recipe, which uses a pint of almond milk and 1/2 packet of starter to produce 1/2 cup strained yogurt. If you use my Almond Milk recipe for 1 quart (including added water after straining), you will need 1 packet of starter for 1 cup strained yogurt.I was not happy with the result, so next I’ll try coconut milk yogurt.

Ingredients & Equipment:

  • 1 quart almond milk (see above); NOTE: blanch almonds before making the milk by pouring boiling water over almonds in strainer. Then rinse.
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey or Rapadura sugar
  • 1 packet of Body Ecology Veggie Culture starter (C1)
  • quart jar
  • strainer
  • cheesecloth


  1. Warm almond milk to about 95 F, or body temperature, over low heat. Stir in honey/sugar.
  2. Add some warmed almond milk to the culture in a glass measure; stir to dissolve, then add back to the rest of the warmed milk.
  3. Set uncovered jar in yogurt maker. Or set it in a pot of warm water, then place in warm spot (about 95 F) to culture for 8 hours.
  4. Cover jar and transfer to fridge to chill for 5 hours, to slow the fermentation.
  5. Strain through cheesecloth into glass or jar, so the liquid can drip off. Set in fridge to drain for 1 hour.
  6. Can reuse by sequential culturing about 6 times.

Almond Milk True Yogurt (Using Dairy Yogurt Starter):

NOTE: If you are avoiding dairy or have dairy allergy, do not use regular yogurt starter as it contains dairy products (whey and milk solids).

I have not tried this, as it will separate as it did in the above recipe, and will not produce a good yield. However, here are some recipes you can try:

  • A recipe on GroupRecipes (R5) says to leave the jar lids off while fermenting, to avoid condensation on the inside of the lid, which could lead to a too-thin product. They also heat the nut milk to 160 degrees then cool to 105, and they use regular yogurt starter.
  • YouAreWhatYouEat (R3) also uses regular yogurt starter and recommend not heating the nut milk before adding culture. It may be watery and separated after culturing but letting it drip solves that problem.

See True Yogurt Cultures above.

Culture References:

  1. Body Ecology Veggie Culture:
  2. All Flora Probiotic:
  3. Vibrant Innergy Probiotic Blend:
  4. Allergen-free Jarro-Dophilus capsules (iHerb code JRW-03033)
  5. GI Pro-Start:
  6. Natren:

Recipe References:

  1. Pumpkin-seed milk:
  2. Pumpkin-seed milk yogurt:
  3. YouAreWhatYouEat’s Nut milk yogurt:
  4. Vegan Epicure’s Almond milk yogurt #1:
  5. Group Recipe’s Nut milk yogurt:
  6. Renegade Health’s Almond milk yogurt:
  7. Living Without’s nut milk yogurt:
  8. Rhio’s Raw Energy (Raw Food Info)’s Cultured Foods: “raw food info .com /recipes/cultured_foods.html” (bad link: may contain malware)


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