How to make Sunflower Yogurt


I learned more working on this allergy-friendly Sunflower Yogurt recipe than any other recipe so far. It’s been kind of thrilling working through the obstacles (see last post ), and I’m so happy to have learned a new skill. I’m a perpetual student (I spent 22 years in school), and the kitchen continues to be my learning ground. In fact, I call it my chemistry lab.

The finished product: Vegan, Dairy-free, Soy-free and Nut-free Sunflower Seed Milk Yogurt.

Making homemade Dairy-free, Soy-free, Nut-free yogurt was no simple task (particularly since I don’t own a yogurt maker, but I figured, “Who does?” and forged ahead.) This recipe took no less than 10 attempts to get right. It challenged me to think in new ways, and the end result is a new concept in yogurt. Seed Milk Yogurt! Packed with protein, vitamin E, and good-for-you bacteria, all without any common allergens — this might just be a new superfood!

Try and Try Again

But it didn’t come easy. In fact it took many weeks. I almost gave up, after multiple failed attempts experimenting with various concoctions of rice milk, hemp milk, coconut milk, rice protein powder, and ground hemp seeds. I probably could have used gelatin, which would have helped with the binding, but vowed to keep it vegan, which left me kind of stuck. Until finally, I had an “Ah ha!” moment, and realized I could try making homemade seed milk, which would provide the necessary protein to grow the yogurt culture.

After making seed milk last week, I tried making yogurt using the homemade pumpkin seed milk and the homemade sunflower seed milk. Both worked, but I prefer the flavor and texture of the sunflower seed milk yogurt, and also think it’s a prettier creamy hue. Lastly, my dairy-allergic son Monte preferred the sunflower seed milk yogurt, declaring it “yummy”. Okay, cool, it won over the seven-year-old!

The one special ingredient you’ll have to find for this recipe is the refrigerated probiotic, Jarrow Allergen-Free Jarro-Dophilus, which can be purchased at Whole Foods or your local health food store. Enjoy your yogurt making!


Sunflower Seed Milk Yogurt

(Allergy-friendly, Gluten-free, Vegan)




  • Candy thermometer
  • Slow cooker/crock pot
  • Blanket or Large towel
  • Kitchen towel

1. Whisk your sunflower seed milk together if it has separated. Combine sunflower seed milk in a heavy pot with tapioca starch and evaporated cane juice, whisking well to combine. Clip candy thermometer to side of pot and heat mixture over medium heat until it reaches 180°F, whisking often to prevent lumping.

2. Turn off heat. Let cool to 100°F. It must be under 110°F, but over 90°F for the yogurt culture to grow. Anything over 110°will kill the live culture. I think 100°F is perfect!


3. Meanwhile, heat your crock-pot on low setting, with the lid off.Once your sunflower seed milk mixture has cooled to 100°F, break open probiotic capsule, and sprinkle into mixture.

4. Whisk to combine. Add vanilla extract. Pour into a glass Tupperware container or Mason jar. Cover, but don’t seal tightly. Your yogurt needs air to grow. Unplug the slow cooker. Wrap yogurt container in a dishtowel, and then place in slow cooker.

5. Place lid on cooker, and wrap whole thing in blanket/kitchen towel. Leave it alone for 18 hours. Yup, that’s what I said. 18.

6. After 18 hours, taste your yogurt. It should be nice and tart. At this point, I like to stir in a couple more spoonfuls of evaporated cane juice, but you be the judge.Place yogurt, sealed, in fridge to set for a few more hours. This yogurt will be slightly thinner than store bought. It gets thicker on day two.

Sunflower Seed Milk Yogurt
 2010 by Cybele Pascal

(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available atWhole Foods, and online at If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)

SAFETY NOTE: Because each person’s food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.

For more Vegan Yogurt recipes you might like, try:

Homemade Soy Yogurt from Bryanna’s Vegan Feast

Vegan Sweet Potato Yogurt from Elegant Simple Life

Greek-Style Soy Yogurt from FatFree Vegan Kitchen

17 Responses

  1. sari dennis says:

    WOW!!! Don’t know if I have the patience to do that, but I commend you for yours: for your patience and creativity and the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Good for you!!! Can’t wait to see it on the shelves at Whole Foods one day.
    Congratulations on your hard work and accomplishment.
    A new fan,

  2. I bow to you, oh allergen-free goddess. I DO have a yogurt maker, which I was going to sell on eBay since I’ve given up dairy and didn’t know there was a vegan starter. Looking forward to my adventures.

  3. Cybele says:

    Sari, I treated it like science experiment, and it was fun! And yummy in the end, so worth it. Though I don’t think I’ll be doing it every day!



  4. Cybele says:

    Hi Stephanie:

    Let us know how it goes in a yogurt maker. I’m sure it will be easier! (or at least, I hope so!)

    all best,


  5. Heather says:

    Hi Cybele,

    I have been trying to make peanut yogurt and have failed twice- it looks as though it has separated even though the second time I added lecithin. I am considering trying your addition of tapoica starch but I have a yogurt maker and I am wondering if I can still use it for this recipe for 9 hours fermenting time. Please let me know if you have any suggestions, thanks!

    • cybele says:

      I’ve never heard of peanut yogurt. Is there a recipe you are using?

      • Heather says:

        Well thats probably because I made it up in my head lol. I have seen a recipe on veganosaurus but I haven’t tried it. I was starting with a regular 1-4 nutmilk recipe from the peanuts and then using a regular yogurt recipe, boiling to 180 degrees and I added lecithin the second time because it had separated after attempted to culture in the yogurt maker. I’m going to try making your sunflower recipe today and if it works I will try using peanuts. Do I really have to let it culture for 19 hours? Or can I do 9 hours in the yogurt maker?

  6. cybele says:

    Hi Heather:

    Because I don’t have a yogurt maker, i really don’t know! Sorry, you will have to wing it. Let me know how it works out.

    all best,


  7. Emily says:

    So, I tried making pumpkin milk and i thought it turned out well, seemed a little thin though compared to the store bought versions, but still thought it was good. I then proceeded to making the yogurt, following the exact recipe above. it kept separating as soon as i stopped stirring it which i thought was strange but i pushed on. after the 18 hours i checked on it and it was (as i thought it would be) totally separated. I had about 1 inch of thick to 4 inches of watery. any suggestions on what i did wrong so i can try again with hopefully better results. thank you!

  8. sarena says:

    I think I will try this for our allergenic grandson. I cant have seeds so I cant try it. I would prefer to try it with and use agar agar powder in replacement for the tapioca and would also use the SCD yogurt starter from here

  9. Leon says:

    Hi! I’ve been trying to make nut yogurts with no success. (They never thicken up, although they taste nice and cultured) I don’t want to add any sort of thickening agents, not even tapioca. (mainly because I don’t have access to it) Do you think this sunflower seed yogurt would thicken up at all without the addition of tapioca? Thanks!

  10. Susan says:

    Can this be made without the tapioca flowe? Any substitute?

  11. Cynthia says:

    We are sugar free (recently) and was wondering if anybody here has tried this recipe with Xylitol or Stevia? Anybody know it if would work. I MIGHT try it anyhow, but it would be nice to know if it has already been tried and did or didn’t work. Thanks.
    btw…just stumbled upon this site and am thrilled to come upon this recipe (and the original milk) and will be checking out other recipes here. Thanks so much.

  12. Elle says:

    I’m thinking of using my dehydrator to culture the yogurt. What temperature would you recommend?

    Thank you!

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