how to make yogurt-curd: how to make yogurt, homemade yogurt

how to make curd or dahi or yogurt at home with tips and step by step photos. a couple of requests on how to make curd/dahi at home and how to make cottage cheese/paneer…. and thus this post on making curd at home.

summers are the best time to have curd (yogurt) just plain or sweetened or in biryanikadhi, lassi, shrikhandpaneer tikka, aloo tikka or a simple raita. yogurt based dishes are cooling and ideal for summers.

i won’t be going into the food science of making curd and the fermentation process. will just keep it simple with a few tips to keep in mind whilst making curd at home.

homemade curd

handy tips to make good smooth and thick curd or dahi at home:

  • use a good quality milk. full cream milk yields a luscious and thick curd.
  • always boil the milk before making the curd. this ensures that the milk does not spoil during the fermentation process.
  • the milk should not be hot. if its very hot the milk gets coagulates and you might end up getting a grainy curd.
  • if its little hot then the curd does not become thick and is a bit runny with some whey in the curd.
  • if the milk is cold, then the curd won’t be set at all.
  • the milk must be warm. just dip your little finger in the milk and you should feel warm not hot.
  • it is very important to dissolve the curd culture uniformly in the milk. whisk very well with a spoon or a whisker.
  • if you stay in a cold place or have cold temperatures, then cover the bowl or pan in which the curd mixture is with a warm towel or warm blanket and keep it in a warm place in your kitchen.
  • also you could place the bowl in a big large jar of wheat flour and then cover the jar. this is how my mom in law would make curd in the delhi winters.
  • in summers the curd will be set faster than in the winters. so remember this point.
  • you could use any quantity of milk you want to make the thick curd.
  • for half a litre milk, 1 tsp of curd culture works fine. increase proportionally for larger quantities of milk.
  • once the curd is set, refrigerate the curd.

how to make curd or dahi – method below:

how to make curd or dahi
4.32 from 16 votes

how to make curd or dahi at home | thick curd recipe

method to make curd or dahi at home from milk.

course side dish
cuisine indian
prep time 5 hours
cook time 5 minutes
total time 5 hours 5 minutes
servings 1 medium size bowl of curd
author dassana amit

ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)

  • ½ litre of milk or 500 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon curd (dahi or yogurt)

how to make recipe?

  1. boil the milk first.
  2. let the milk become warm.
  3. in the same pan that you have boiled the milk, add 1 tsp of curd and mix well.
  4. cover and keep the pan for 5-6 hours or till the curd has set.

you can use curd to make simple raitas or use it in variety of dishes like rajasthani kadhipaneer tikka masala, shahi paneer, mango lassi, veg biryani, veg korma. you can also serve it plain with aloo paratha, plain paratha or other stuffed paratha varieties.

stepwise process of making curd or dahi or yogurt at home:

1: first keep the milk to boil.

boil milk for preparing curd

2: let the milk come to a boil. simmer for a minute or two and then close the burner.

boil milk for making homemade curd

3: cool the milk at room temperature till it becomes warm.

cool the milk - curd recipe

4: i have used the same pan in which i boiled the milk. add a teaspoon of curd (yogurt) culture to the milk and mix well. your curd is all ready to set. cover and keep at room temperature for 4-5 hours or till the curd is set. you could also keep it overnight also.

add curd to milk

5: so now you have a nice well set homemade curd.

homemade curd recipe

6: curd or dahi can be had plain or sweetened or can be made into a dessert, drink or any dish of your choice.

few popular recipes made from curd are:

how to make curd recipe

98 thoughts on “how to make curd at home | method to make dahi or thick curd from milk”

  1. Dear Dassana

    This is Arusha again….I have tried nearly 10 to 15 times but my milk does not set at al to turn into Dahi….I boiled milk in micro, on electric stove top and in different vessels also, like for micro I used pyrex bowl and for stove top I used steel vessel..but never I succeeded….In india my dahi sets in few hours but here, in the US it never happens..I have used full fat, 2 percent, whole milk…but did not get good dahi.can u give temperature in degrees, so I can try… do u think vessles make any difference in setting dahi??

    1. arusha, i will update in a two days the temperature settings on this post. i just made dahi yesterday. i use steel pan for heating. i even use clay pot at times for heating milk. keep the bowl or pan in a warm place. also the outside temperature has to be warm or hot. in cold seasons setting dahi can be tricky. usually i cover the pan with a warm napkin or a towel and keep it in a warm corner of the kitchen. do not keep in a place where there is cold draft of air coming through. my mother in law keeps the pan in a large container (dabba) of atta. atta is warm and it helps in setting dahi easily.

  2. Can you please tell us what yogurt this is most like? I’m trying to buy some yogurt starter for a better batch. Also could you explain how you use the yogurt to make paneer? No one sells a kit like that but I feel it would Sell Well! Thank you

    1. what is sold in the west as yogurt is different than what we make in india as curd. curd has a pleasant sour taste and is not very thick. of course one has to taste curd made with the right strain of bacteria. what is sold even in indian markets as curd has a different taste as compared to the ones made in homes.

      without a culture also you can make curd, but you need to have a nice warm climate. what i do is, i heat milk till its slightly hot. just a bit above being warm. then remove the crowns of green chilies, about 10 to 12 crowns. place the crowns on the milk. cover and keep. this method needs a warm room temperature and won’t work in a cool or cold climate. it takes 7 to 9 hours for the curd to set. you can also use dry red chili crowns. once the curd is set, then keep a few teaspoons of it in the fridge or freezer and then use this culture to make the second batch of curd with the method mentioned in this recipe post.

      for paneer, once the milk comes to a boil, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of curd. stir well and the milk will split. you may need to add more if the milk does not split.

  3. Hi Dassana,I have been making curd for quite some time now, but I follow a slightly different process. The glass bowl in which I intend to set the dahi, i smear the curd culture in that nicely like a coating, and then I pour the warm milk in it, and let it dry overnight in a corner of my kitchen. The curd comes out fine. I have never done it your way, but would try it and let you kNow. By the way, why is it that after repetitively using the curd culture from the same store bought curd cup, on the 4th or 5th time , the curd eventually doesn’t set as well as the 1st time?? Also have you ever prepared Greek yogurt??

    1. chayanika, thanks a lot for sharing this suggestion. i have always stirred the curd culture in the milk. i liked your method. i also sometimes just add green chili or red chili crowns in warm milk and let the curd set. this i do, when i do not have curd culture.

      i have never faced this issue. in fact as time progresses, the curd sets very well. thats whats i have seen with the store brought curd.

      i do make hung yogurt. its basically greek yogurt only but with a different name. you can check the method here –

  4. I used Amul milk to make curd.The curd does not set thick.There is a whey liquid on top.I am in Mumbai but even after 8 hours the curd had not even started setting it took 11 hours to set.
    Is it because of the milk?

    1. thats too long. at times i also use amul milk to set curd and it turns perfectly fine. just warm the milk a little more. also add green or red chili crowns on the milk. for green chilies, just rinse the chilies first and then remove the crowns from them and add in milk. you will get thick and creamy curd. at times i only use the chili crowns for setting curd when there is no starter.

  5. Though the starter curd I used was Amul Dahi from the store, this is my third attempt and pretty much the same

  6. Hi,
    There is an issue that I am facing constantly(a newbie tp setting curd, though). We use buffalo milk here. However, even though the curd sets into a very thick, cream-ish(should it be creamy-ish??) consistency and tastes like curd, it is slightly sticky. Why? I use the above mentioned proportions. I stay in Mumbai. It is pretty humid here, as you might know. I set the curd overnight. I tried it in an earthern pot and even the one in which I boil milk. If Ieft outside it does start to turn sour-ish but not crazily though(like some homemade curds do). Also, my starter curd was Amul Dahi bought from the market. And ya, do I remive the malai/cream layer from milk before setting or not?(any which ways not a drastic improvement have i noticed). Do let me know where am i going wrong. The curd remains just too fresh for my liking(we like it a little bit sour). Help?

    1. the stickiness is due to amul dahi being used as a starter. most readymade dahi brands add pectin to thicken the curd. so when you make curd with a store brought curd the curd will be slimy and stringy. if you keep on making curd with the reserved portion of the set curd every time, then the stickiness will go away eventually. for sourness, just keep for a few more hours. the creamish color will be due to the type and quality of milk.

      1. Thanks.. It was all actually from the starter. I got one from the local halwai and the dahi/curd sets like a dream. ? Never going for store bought curd as starter.
        Also, just out of curiousity_ sometimes there will be some whey liquid floating on top when I check my curd in the morning. Is it because it has been kept out that long, say 7-8 hrs and its d monsoon time here? And sometimes grainy/gritty(but not too much to worry about). Just wanted to know why??

        1. i agree. the halwai folks have fresh curd without the addition of pectin or preservatives. the whey is seen if the curd is kept too long or the milk is slightly more hot and not warm. the graininess is due to the slight curdling that happens when curd is added to milk. this happens when the milk is hot. if the milk is warm, then no curdling will happen.

        1. there is no different way. before using the earthen bowl you need to soak the it for some hours with water. then let it dry naturally or you can dry in sunlight too. then pour the warm milk+curd mixture in it. cover and let it set.

  7. Hi..I wish to know the recipe for setting curds with lemon juice? Coz lemon juice is more readily available than a teaspoon of home-set curd, and ready made curd just doesn’t help ..So if u could pls give the ingredients as well as the recipe for setting curds with lemon juice(measuring cup etc also will be useful information..)..thanx a lot
    Nyati Singh

    1. i have not read or know any method where curd can be set with lemon juice. you do need a starter to set the curd. one way is to use green chilies crowns to set curd. warm milk. add green chili crowns. keep in a warm place. cover and let the curd set. this will take more time than setting the curd with a starter. try first with 1 cup of milk. then you can use the curd starter for setting curd later. for 1 cups of milk, you can add 4 to 5 green chili crowns.

  8. Hey,

    I use Amul cow’s milk and whenever I try to set the curd it becomes very sticky. What can be the reason, it looks really ugly.

    1. which curd starter you use. do you use readymade curd starter like amul or any britannia. with readymade curd starters, the curd when set becomes stringy and sticky. over a period of time, if you keep on taking the curd starter from the previous batch of curd you have made, then the stringiness and stickiness goes away. but this means that you have need to have many batches of curd with the same starter.

      1. Yes, i have tried 3-4 times with Nestle’s curd and everytime it gets sticky i stop using it thinking that milk has some issue. But thanks for your suggestion I will follow it till i get the desired curd.

        And yes, yesterday’s hakka noodles were good but were a little dry, i used 4-5 spoons of oil, not sure why the dryness.

        1. fine neha. if you have a generous neighbor, then you can use the curd starter from them 🙂

          its not due to the milk. its the ready curd starter as they add pectin and thats why the stringy slimy consistency is there once the curd is set. thanks for the feedback on hakka noodles. dryness could be due to less sauce or the veggies must have got sauteed to much.

  9. curd and yoghurt are not the same things. They have different bacteria in them. You might want to correct your article.

    1. technically what you say is right, but in india curd and yogurt are used synonymously. hence i have used the word yogurt. in my college the english translation of ‘dahi’ or ‘curd’ would be yogurt.

  10. Dr.Miss Pushpa Bhimrao Malave

    dear madam, mmm For last 60 yrs i am using same procedure to prepare curd.For last 6 months this mode fails.Usually i collect thick layer milk cream in a bowl and mix in it 2 tablespoon of curd thouraly.In the same bowl i put cream twice a day and stir well for 4 to 5 days.There i found a layer of white bacillus visible to naked eyes.I learnt bacteria forming curd from milk are invisible to naked eyes.What is the reason for the appearance of a layer of white bacillus on the top of bowl? Can i use this curd?What precaution to take safe curd ?Thanking you.

    1. the bacteria are invisible to the eyes. from what you say, you are keeping the mixture for 4 to 5 days at room temperature. looks like the curd is getting spoiled. please don’t use it.

  11. Dear Dassana,
    I’ve been making curd for a long time now. But since I came to africa, my attempts to make curd is never successful. Last night a tried once again, but there is a bitter taste to the curd. Do u have any idea what went wrong?

    1. the curd has not set well or has got spoiled. discard it. when curd does not set properly or gets spoiled, there is a bitter taste. so don’t use this curd.

  12. King mangarasa III of mid 15th century wrote a book on south Indian culinary, which is “Supa sastra.” In this book he stated 20+ ways to set curd. Each resulting in different texture and taste.
    If you can buy translated very of this book online

  13. I am one of those weird people who can make pie, bread, cookies, and things that require baking in the oven but cannot make anything from normal day to day cooking. Every time I’ve tried its been an utter shameful experience and have felt like a complete failure as a cook. I’ve made yogurt twice so far using your recipe and I have restored faith in myself to say the least lol. It’s turned out absolutely delicious and sweet. I know yogurt is one of the simpler recipes but I am inspired to continue trying again. Thank you for making this recipe so easy to follow and with lovely rustic Indian photography.

    1. thats good to know that yogurt came out well. sometimes it has happened with me also that curd has not set, specially in the cold season and i am making yogurt since ages. so its alright.

  14. I have read the recipe for making dahi and I am still not clear as to how to make CURD? If I understand it correctly your recipe below is saying to add 1 tsp of curd to milk in order to get/make dahi.

    What is curd? I though curd and dahi was one in the same?
    Thank you!

    1. curd and dahi is one and the same. and to convert a milk to curd, you need to add a small amount of curd in the milk. this curd culture or rather the friendly bacteria in the curd, converts the whole milk into curd.

      1. I am even more confused now!!!

        Why do you have to take it from neighbors or from local diary store. How can I not get it on my own. Where did the neighbors get theirs?. Did they buy it, did they make it??? If they did make it, what is the recipe for it?

        1. ram, if you make your own curd once using the culture taken from somewhere else. then you don’t need to take curd culture from outside next time. just save 1-2 tsp of curd culture and it will be used to prepare your next batch of curd. thats how things work. there are also ways to make the curd culture with the use of green or red chillies. but i have never tried. i hope it clarifies the doubt.

          1. I guess its a question of the chicken or the egg….anyway just in case you don’t know this trick try using half a lemon next time. You will get something close to curd and then using that you can in one or two attempts get a proper curd. That’s where the neighbours got it from 😉

  15. haii in usa when storebrought curd is added to milk and after setting the curd while eating curd the curd is like a 1 string con sistency when taking with a spoon

    1. mostly with store bought curd the consistency is stringy. it happens in india also at times. so i borrow the culture from my neighbours or buy the curd from halwai or dairy shops. see if you can do the same.

    1. you just need to keep for a day or night, it automatically get curdled and become dahi in two days . most of the time i use this method, and it works

  16. Dear dassana
    Ur recepies r really good.I made dahi as per ur instructions. It set good & also taste good. Please let me know the recipe for black paper urad dal kids like it.I want to give them home made papad without any preservatives.please please let mi know this recipe.

  17. Hi dear,
    no doubts are cleared. I have tried exactly u have guided in ur recipe and my dahi turned out well! Now then I now that dahi can be made without even churning them!! Hahaha!
    Thank u a lot sweetheart…

  18. Hi dear,

    before I leave my doubts behind, I would like to let u know something.
    U’re really AWESOME!!
    I have learnt plenty of things from ur site and they are fully informative with reasonings!
    One of ur recipe that made me famous is ur Panneer butter masala! And now all my cousin calls me with that name hehehehe..
    I can also boast to other non-veg eating people that look at the amount of dishes and things we can prepare at home, making them alter their thoughts of that vegetarian is boring! I hate to hear that from people!
    I’m just 26 but I have learnt many cookings and partially credit goes to people like u for inspiring me!
    Thanks a million!
    Looking at ur homemade dahi recipe, I have a small doubt. Do I need to churn the milk after adding dahi into the warm milk? Or do i just add the dahi into the warm milk and leave it aside after giving a stir?

  19. I warmed up the milk then I added the curd. I put a sweater around the milk. The house got 62 degrees. The milk did not turn into curds. Should I worm up the milk on the stove again?
    I did read your instructions today morning. I warmed up the milk at Knight. the temperature outside is 34 degrees and 60 at knight at home at knight.

    1. sam, if the curd does not get set overnight then you have to discard the milk. its not safe to drink this milk. because the milk becomes sour. the curd didn’t set because of low temperature. for next time, if you have a oven.. then keep the oven lights on and keep curd bowl inside. just keep the oven lights on and don’t heat the oven.

  20. Very good site.

    The easy language and pictures used for representations for simple dishes make your site very nice. Great work.

  21. Here is a tip.. You can put warm milk into a casserole after mixing the culture… As it will help milk to stay warm and curd will set faster. I set curd by this trick and get thick curd within two hours.

  22. hi jus want to let u know its very easy & only takes 5 min & 25 rs & u get half kg of dhai which u dont get stores the same measure of dhai costs u around not less than 50 rs 😉

  23. Hi! I love your page (: such lovely food! I’m from Denmark. I cant wait to make my own yogurt. If I use goats milk, can I still use live yogurt from cow to mix in ?

      1. Hi Jan,

        You could go and buy any store-bought yoghurt from an Australian supermarket and use that as a starter in your milk. Alternatively, you could tell any South Indian family living near you that you are trying to make your own curd, and they will give you what you need.

        In my experience, Indians call it curd or dahi, whereas Australians call it yoghurt. Happy cooking!!


        1. thanks alex for the info. yes you are right. in india we call it dahi in hindi language and curd in english. taking starter (or khatta) from neighbours to make yogurt is very common in india.

  24. hello..i’m staying in davangere..can i know which brand of curd culture u r using??becoz im not sure its available or not here

    1. i have used the curd from a local dairy in goa. i would never use any brands for making curd. i did not like the end result of the yogurt after i tried with some brands. you can use the curd available in the local dairy farm in your area.

  25. 1]even if i use cold milk it will turn in to curd
    2]after a long resurch i have reached to this procidure

  26. One simple halwai trick is to make thick dahi out of watery milk is to pour the milk from one container to another a couple of times after the yoghurt culture is added.

    1. thanks siva for this trick. in fact this is how my mil makes dahi at home. she also tells me to do it. but i prefer to just mix the curd culture in the milk with a spoon. if done this way, the culture gets uniformly mixed with the rest of the milk and yields excellent curd.

  27. Thanks Dassana for your dahi & makhan recipe.I try this at home & great results.My daughter like this very thanks again &keep it up.can you do 1favour for me?if yes than plz send me the recipe of dahi which Lajwanti Shetty told that she set curds with absolutely cold milk directly taken out from the refrigerator.

    1. dear mrs roy, i still have to make the curd as mentioned by lajwanti. when i do so i will update this post or write a new post.

  28. A simple alternative is to make the curds in a casserole in winters so that you dont need to put it in the jar of wheat flour !

  29. Lajwanti Shetty

    Hi Dasanna,

    Well, i would like to give you a very surprising tip for curds. I set curds with absolutely cold milk directly taken out from the refrigerator and i have been getting thick and luscious curds.
    Please try it and let me know.

    Lajwanti Shetty

    1. this is new to me, lajwanti. i will surely try this method. one query… is the milk boiled and refrigerated or is the milk directly got from outside and refrigerated? let me know.

      1. Lajwanti Shetty

        Hi Dassana,

        The milk is definitely boiled, cooled and then refrigerated. Just make sure to mix the curd and milk well by churning it with a churner by hand. I have also sent you the quick recipes made by me at home which is surely going to help working women like me.
        Please check them and revert in case of any clarifications.

        Lajwanti Shetty

        1. thanks lajwanti for replying back. i will try this method of making curd. i have received your email. thanks for sending the quick recipes. will try them soon.

      1. i still have to update the post. but yes i make curd with cold milk as suggested by lajwanti. just take chilled milk in a bowl or pan. whisk 2 to 3 tsp of the curd culture very well with the chilled milk. cover and keep aside overnight or for 4 to 5 hours. but note this works only in a warm temperature.

  30. I make curds only occasionally, just coz I’m lazy. But this is exactly how I make them and I do love the taste of home made curd.

  31. I want that bowl and that spoon, they are so lovely! And the light in your pictures is just divine. Oh and the curd looks pretty good too!! 😀

  32. My Mom always makes her yogurt at home and I must tell you it tastes the best. I however, because of convenience, buy mine from the Indian store, which is gelatin-free and tastes much better than the other stores. I am now inspired by your post to make my own:)

    The wheat flour tip is an awesome one and new to me.

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