Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (2024)

May 30, 2020Van

Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (1)

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Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 24 hours

Serves: 12.5 Cups or 37 - 80ml Servings

This is a copycat recipe for the popular probiotic drink Yakult – it’s a delicious drink that has a refreshing citrus flavor and contains the exclusive strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota which is beneficial for your digestive system (learn more about the company here). Yakult was first released in the city of f*ckuoka, Japan in 1935 an expanded to worldwide distribution in 90’s. Their U.S. factory is actually located in my hometown, you can book a free tour if you’re in Orange County, CA.

Make your own for a few dollars using the Instant Pot with a Yogurt button (keeps it at a steady temp of ≈ 110°F) – I did the math and it comes out to be about $4.50 for the equivalent of 37 bottles 80ml servings. If you’re familiar with yogurt making, then you know that you need a starter culture to make more yogurt, that’s why Yakult is an ingredient in the recipe, it’s the only way to get their exclusive culture strain Lactobacillus casei Shirota. Yakult uses their own proprietary flavoring of citrus and vanillin to get that unique taste, I’ve replaced it with orange juice, lemon juice and vanilla extract to get the flavor similar to the original.

This is the only recipe for Yakult out there, if you’re a blogger using my recipe, please credit me and link back to this original recipe.

Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (2)

Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (3)

These mini jars can be purchased hereInstant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (4)

Another fun option that my kids are crazy over, Yakult Frozen Bears made with these silicone moldsInstant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (5)

Popsicle bags are a convinient and portable option for frozen pops made with YakultInstant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (6)

Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (7)

Be sure to click on the accessories list below to get the most out of your Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (8)

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Instant Pot Yakult Probiotic Drink Recipe – FOOD is Four Letter Word (9)

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May 30, 2020Van

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 24 hours
  • Serves: 12.5 Cups or 37 - 80ml Servings

www.foodisafourletterword.com

Ingredients

  • ½ Gallon Fat Free Milk
  • 2 80ml Bottles of Yakult
  • 3 Cups Filtered or Distilled Water
  • 1½ Cups Granulated Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • ½ Cup Orange Juice, with no pulp
  • 4 Teaspoons Lemon Juice, strained so there’s no pulp
  • ½ Teaspoon Citric Acid, (optional, but it helps with the flavor)

Method

  • 1)

    Pour 1 Cup of Water and 1½ Cups Granulated Sugar into the Instant Pot. Choose Saute, and stir until the sugar is dissolved (don’t let the water boil). Press Cancel to turn off Sauté mode and add 2 Cups of Water and wait until the water has cooled to luke warm – if the water is too hot, this can cause the milk to curdle. Add ½ Gallon Fat Free Milk and lastly add 2 80ml Bottles of Yakult and stir well. Seal the Instant Pot lid.

  • 2)

    Choose the Yogurt setting and make sure it’s on Medium / Normal and set for 24 Hours. After about 12 hours, open the lid & whisk the mixture, then close the lid again. Around the 19-24 hour mark, the mixture may look curdled, this is normal, use an immersion blender to get it smooth.

  • 3)

    When it’s done, add ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract, ½ Cup Orange Juice, 4 Teaspoons Lemon Juice, ½ Teaspoon Citric Acid and stir very well with a whisk or blend until it looks smooth and hom*ogenous. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. It’s normal for the drink to separate in the fridge since we can’t hom*ogenize the mixture like they do at the factory, so shake well before drinking and enjoy within 10-14 days.

↓ Supplies to make this recipe ↓

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49 Comments

  • Betty

    February 15, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    I followed the recipe to a tee but it is still not as creamy/thick as the original. Is there any way to make it thicker?

    Reply

    1. Van

      February 15, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      Hi Betty, you can try adding a thickener like xanthan gum – but it’s pretty much impossible to get it identical to theirs, this is a copycat that will get you close to the flavor and have a drink with their special strain of Lactobacillus casei Shirota – not an identical copy to it

      Reply

  • Betty

    February 16, 2021 at 10:31 am

    Actually, it thickened some more in the fridge and it tastes delicious! Thanks for the great recipe! 🙂

    Reply

  • Jill Subirats

    March 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

    I would love to try this recipe but was recently diagnose with diabetes and have to be very careful with sugar. Is it possible to use something else in place of sugar or just omit it altogether? Also the orange juice. Can I use fresh squeezed and remove the pulp?

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 4, 2021 at 9:35 pm

      Hello, you can omit or substitute with something like monkfruit sugar. It will be quite tangy without a sweetener. Carton orange juice is pasteurized so it will last longer, I think it might affect how long the Yakult is good for if you use fresh orange juice.

      Reply

    2. Bren

      May 8, 2021 at 5:49 am

      Hello I have just placed all the ingredients in to my instant pot duo evo which has a ferment yogurt setting. Only thing is it says options High or Low. I have selected low but not sure if that would be good enough?

      Reply

      1. Van

        May 8, 2021 at 5:53 am

        Hi, switch it to the Normal / Med Yogurt setting. High kills the culture & Low isn’t warm enough.

        Reply

  • Lynn Hazlett

    March 5, 2021 at 8:00 am

    What size instant pot did you use? I only have a mini 3Qt, but really want to try it.

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 5, 2021 at 8:31 am

      I have an 8qt, you can make half the recipe so it fit into your 3Qt.

      Reply

  • v

    March 10, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Is there a way to make this without an instant pot?

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 10, 2021 at 11:35 pm

      Hi, you can also use a yogurt maker. It has to be held at a steady temp of 115F for 24 hours.

      Reply

  • Jessie

    March 16, 2021 at 3:33 pm

    I’m going to give this recipe a try! Just have a question about the fermentation temperature and time. On Yakult’s Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakult), it says “After letting it cool down to 45 °C, the mixture is inoculated with the lactobacillus and incubated for 6 to 7 days at 37 to 38 °C. After fermentation, water, sugar, gums and lactic acid are added.”

    Do you know what would happen if we follow Yakult’s fermentation settings and do it at 37 to 38 °C (which would probably be the IP yogurt setting “low“ instead of “medium”) for 6 to 7 days? Thank you!

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 16, 2021 at 3:44 pm

      Hi Jessie, I knew of Yakult’s temp and long incubation times, but it didn’t seem practical for me to try it at home or create a recipe using those times. It would be cool if you experimented, I think it would work fine on the low yogurt setting since it should be around 98°F – let me know how it turns out.

      Reply

      1. Jessie

        March 18, 2021 at 11:03 pm

        I see. Thanks for the confirmation. Yeah 6-7 days is indeed a long time. I’ll give it a try!

        Reply

  • Jeannie Chen

    April 16, 2021 at 6:33 pm

    Should I save 160ml of the finished product to start the next batch?

    Reply

    1. Van

      April 17, 2021 at 7:40 am

      It should be ok to do this once, I’d start with a new starter after that.

      Reply

  • Alison Jackson

    April 17, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    I am so excited to try this! I grew up with it and still indulge every once in a while. And I love trying things in my instant pot!

    Reply

  • Alison

    April 17, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    When you open the too at the twelve hour mark, do you depressurize first?

    Reply

    1. Van

      April 20, 2021 at 3:02 pm

      Hi Alison, it doesn’t get hot enough to pressurize, so you don’t need to do that.

      Reply

      1. Alison

        August 20, 2021 at 8:41 pm

        Thank you! I just made it but didn’t stir it at 12 hrs because I was at work. It smells very cheesy but I’m hoping that will go away once it’s cooled.

        Reply

  • Tyler

    April 18, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    We just tried this and it came out smelling distinctly cheesy with a firm layer on top. After blending it incorporated well, but the smell still lingered and it tasted really watery and like cheese curds.

    We’d love to make this recipe work and need guidance. I feel like we did something wrong here, any suggestions?

    1. Van

      April 20, 2021 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Tyler, did you make any adjustments to the recipe? Was it fat-free milk?

      Reply

      1. Alison

        August 20, 2021 at 8:47 pm

        Hmmm. I didn’t substitute anything but maybe the not stirring at twelve hours is the problem?

        I didn’t change any of the ingredients. I’ve used the immersion blender but still see little bits of curd. Oh! Maybe I didn’t wait for the sugar mixture to cool long enough? It may have warmed up too fast after I closed the lid.

        Reply

  • Patricia

    May 29, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    I tried this recipe and I am hooked. It turn out absolutely perfect and lovely. It is now on repeat at my home. The last time I made it I didn’t have oranges but it still tasted amazing.
    I do have a question, the portion (2/3 cup) we can set aside for the next batch. Can I freeze that to use later if I will not be making it within 7days?

    Reply

  • Emma

    June 27, 2021 at 1:34 pm

    Hello- is there any substitute that can be used for the citric acid? I couldn’t find it at the grocery store. Thank you! I’ve made this once before but wanted to see what adding the citric acid would do. We ended up using this to make fresh mango popsicles.

    Reply

    1. Van

      June 27, 2021 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Emma, sorry I don’t know of a substitute for citric acid, you can sometimes find it near the canning supplies at grocery stores – it will give the drink a tangier flavor.

      Reply

    2. Alison

      August 20, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      I ordered 4 oz bag from Amazon.

      Reply

  • Stacy

    October 25, 2021 at 9:41 pm

    Thanks for this – its brilliant 🙂 Though my 2nd try somehow the sediments were more coarse much thicker and it made it harder to drink despite having whisked it. Do you know what could the reason be?

    Reply

    1. Van

      October 25, 2021 at 9:42 pm

      Hi Stacy, sorry I’m not sure why. Did you use Yakult bottles as the starter or was it from your first batch? If that happens, I recommend blending the whole mixture to get it smooth.

      Reply

      1. Stacy

        October 25, 2021 at 9:58 pm

        I used the starter from my previous batch – used Yakult for the first batch. Its like the Yogurt doesn’t seem to smoothen out despite my whisking.

        Reply

  • April

    November 11, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    Can you use some of the product to make another batch instead of using 2 bottles of yakult?

    Reply

    1. Van

      November 12, 2021 at 7:39 am

      You can, but the results are inconsistent, sometimes it turns out grainy using the homemade Yakult.

      Reply

  • kelly

    February 20, 2022 at 7:29 pm

    is full fat milk okay to use? I have kiddos that need all the fat

    Reply

    1. Van

      February 21, 2022 at 12:31 pm

      Hi Kelly, yes you can, the flavor / texture will be creamier than Yakult.

      Reply

  • Angie

    March 2, 2022 at 4:29 pm

    My instant pot didn’t have a yogurt setting so I did 110° f because that is what I read in a bunch of other yogurt recipes was the temp. I didn’t realize the temp was supposed to be 115. I have about 4 hours to get to the 24 hr mark, I did raise it the 5 degrees now. If this reaches you in time, should I let it cook a bit longer to make up for the lower temp?

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 2, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Angie, it’s fine with 110F any temp between 110-115F works great

      Reply

  • Lisa

    March 18, 2022 at 1:42 am

    I’ve made this recipe twice before with this recipe with great success but for some reason, today, when I made it, it came out extraordinarily bitter and I’m not sure why. The lemon and orange juice I used was freshly squeezed so I am not sure what the issue was. Any suggestions on what I can do with the rest, I’d hate to waste it.

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 18, 2022 at 11:52 pm

      Hi Lisa, do you know if any seeds got into the mix? Not sure if you blended it or not, but seeds will make it bitter

      Reply

  • Alex

    June 2, 2022 at 9:41 am

    The milk, do you have to heat it first?

    Reply

    1. Van

      June 5, 2022 at 4:31 pm

      Hi Alex, no you don’t have to heat the milk.

      Reply

    2. Mark

      February 8, 2024 at 7:40 pm

      The first time I made this it came out absolutely perfect! The second time, the milk kind of solidified but after blending, it was still good. On this last attempt, the milk was on top and spongy. It had a cheese smell and a bitter taste. All three attempts were done the same way. I’ve tried waiting longer for the water to cool. I use new Yakult as the starter every time. My wife uses the instant pot to make natto, but it gets washed, so we don’t think it’s a bacteria thing. I have no clue why the first batch was so successful but the last two were not.

      Reply

      1. Van

        February 8, 2024 at 8:53 pm

        Hello, I’m not sure why it would turn out bitter unless there was some residue of something else in the pot. Next time you can also try a shorter incubation time (around 12 hours)

        Reply

  • Dona

    August 18, 2022 at 2:30 pm

    I just finished the recipe and chilled in frig. The flavor is way off so i doubled the oj, lemon and vanilla. It was closer but after tasting the real yakult I noticed it was tangier and sweeter. I will try adding more lemon and sugar to try to get it closer to the same flavor. But the drink is good.

    Reply

  • Amanda

    November 21, 2022 at 6:42 am

    Hi Van, my kids and I are very new to making yogurt at home and we have been so very excited to find your recipes, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge!
    I unfortunately do not have an instant pot and so I have started this recipe in a slow cooker but NOT in jars. I have gone on to read a few other recpies and have become worried that I may have made a great mistake. Should I be very concerned, scrap it and start again or is it not that big of a problem? Thanks Van!

    Reply

    1. Van

      November 22, 2022 at 10:59 pm

      Does your slow cooker have a setting to make yogurt? The temp should be around 110-115F, if it’s higher than that, you won’t be able to make yogurt. You don’t have to use jars to make yogurt, I just like to do it for convenience & I like the texture

      Reply

  • Annie

    March 23, 2023 at 3:16 pm

    Can you use milk substitutes like soy or almond milk?

    Reply

    1. Van

      March 27, 2023 at 10:44 am

      Yes you can, it will change the flavor though.

      Reply

  • Megan

    July 1, 2023 at 2:05 am

    I have made this recipe a couple times it is was delicious. I tried making it again but as soon as I add the lemon juice, the mixture separates into water and then a spongy top. I’m following everything on the recipe and doing the same thing as I did the other times it had been successful. Do you have any ideas as yo why this is happening? I’ve tried multiples times with it ending in the same spongy failure as the result.

    Reply

    1. Van

      August 29, 2023 at 9:17 am

      Hi Megan, try putting the mixture in a blender, turn on low then adding lemon juice… I think the lemon juice is making it curdle which can happen sometimes

      Reply

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