Homemade Madzoon, or Yogurt to non-Armenians

I don’t know of any Armenian family that hasn’t made homemade madzoon at one time or another.

I know how easy it is to BUY madzoon, but have you ever tasted the homemade variety? Well then, you’re in for a treat because I’m going to share my mother-in-law’s recipe with you. But be warned, it is NOT low-fat or low-cal.

You can fiddle with the recipe to lower the fat/calorie content, if you like, but you’ll be missing that WOW factor if you do. Give it a try – at least once, then decide which you’d rather have.

One thing you need to know before you start: You need to have yogurt to make yogurt.

If you’re doing this for the first time, buy a small container of plain yogurt that contains live, active culture. Once you make your first batch of yogurt, save about ½ cup to make your next batch.

Homemade Madzoon                                                                  Yield: 1 quart

3 – 4 Tbsp. madzoon (yogurt) with active culture (If using a commercial brand, make sure it contains live, active culture.)
2 cups whole milk
2 cups half and half


1. Over medium heat, warm 1 ½ cups of the milk and 1 ½ cups of the half and half in a large pot until it begins to foam. This will only take a few minutes, so keep a watchful eye. Be ready to remove the pot from the burner as the foam rises quickly and could overflow!

2. Pour the heated milk mixture into a large bowl.

3. Stirring constantly, add the unheated milk and half and half.
4. In a small bowl, slowly blend the yogurt culture with a little of the milk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling. 

5. Combine the blended yogurt culture to the rest of the warmed milk.
6. Cover the bowl with a plate, then wrap all completely in a large towel.
7. Place the wrapped bowl in a warm place for at least 4 hours – or up to 24 hours – or until thickened.
8. Remove plate to make sure madzoon has thickened. Place several layers of paper towels on the surface of the thickened madzoon to absorb any excess liquid. Change the paper towels periodically.
9. Cover the bowl with a lid or plastic wrap then place bowl in the refrigerator. Chill until ready to use. (Note: Before consuming all of the homemade madzoon, save 1/2 cup of it to use as a starter for the next batch you make!) 


Yogurt with active cultures needed to make homemade madzoon (yogurt)

View Comments

  • In my family, we cooled the heated milk before adding the starter. I believe this is very important, because if the milk is too hot, it will kill the starter bacteria! You can circle dip your finger in the milk to check proper temperature...if your can keep it in long enough to follow the edge of the bowl 4 times w/o burning, it's ready. In modern times, a thermometer is the best idea. Once it reaches about 100-115F, it's ready for starter. I also suggest encasing the bowl in a blanket AND some towels for keeping the proper temperature during fermentation. I hope this helps!

  • To la Vasca:
    A Basque name describing Yogurt, is this Yogurt popular in el Pais Basque region?
    from another la Vasca

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