Make Icelandic Yogurt (Skyr)

Icelandic yogurt skyr
Rosemary Calvert/Getty Images
Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Draining: 12 hrs
Total: 12 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 4 servings

Try this recipe for homemade skyr. Anyone lucky enough to visit or live in Iceland knows all about skyr, the traditional Icelandic yogurt that has been made since the ninth-century Viking era. Much thicker than American or even Greek yogurt, skyr is quite possibly the healthiest of yogurts. Made from nonfat milk combined with live cultures, it is low-fat, high in protein (containing three times the protein of ordinary yogurts), and absolutely loaded with probiotics.

Skyr was introduced to America in 2005 by enterprising Icelandic expatriate Siggi Hilmarsson (under the brand name of Siggi's Icelandic Style Skyr). It was hard to find at first, but now can be found at a wider variety of grocery and specialty stores. So long as you can find a single container of Siggi's plain or vanilla yogurt, you can use it as a culture to make your own ​skyr. You will need the appropriate equipment: bowls, whisks, measuring cup, spoon, thermometer probe, and mesh straining bag.


  • 1 gallon ​milk (non-fat)
  • 1 (5.5-ounce) container Siggi's plain skyr (or vanilla skyr)
  • 7 drops liquid animal rennet (or 4 drops liquid vegetable rennet)
  • 1/4 cup water (warm, nonchlorinated)

Steps to Make It

  1. Thoroughly sanitize your equipment (bowls, whisks, measuring spoon) either by rinsing it in boiling water or by removing it immediately from a hot dishwasher.

  2. In a heavy-bottomed pot, bring the milk to a slow and steady simmer over a medium-high burner, heating it until it reaches the scalding point (use a thermometer to ensure it reaches 185 F to 190 F). This will take about 15 to 20 minutes.

  3. Stir frequently to prevent scalding. If, toward the very end of the heating process, you notice that the milk at the bottom of the pot has begun to scald, reduce the heat to medium-low and stop stirring. A small bit of scalding is OK, but you don't want to release the scalded bits into the mixture.

  4. Turn the burner off immediately when the milk reaches the scalding point. Remove from burner and allow to cool to 110 F.

  5. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup of the cooled milk with the skyr, then return the mixture to the pot, stirring to incorporate.

  6. Whisk the liquid rennet into the warm water, then stir immediately into the milk (the rennet will lose its effectiveness if prepared more than 30 minutes before using).

  7. Cover the pot with a thick towel and keep in a warm, draft-free place (an oven or an insulated cooler) for 12 hours.

  8. After the allotted time, curds will have formed. Spoon the curds into a fine-meshed bag (nylon vegetable bags work great for this) or a double-layer of cheesecloth.

  9. Suspend the bag over a dripping tray in a cool room or the refrigerator and allow to drain until the skyr is thick.

  10. Serve the skyr and enjoy! Skyr will keep for three or four weeks, covered, in the refrigerator.


  • To serve as breakfast or a snack, top with the skyr with milk, fresh berries, and sugar, maple syrup, or honey to taste. Skyr is far sourer than overly-sweetened American yogurts.
  • Use the skyr to make tangy and refreshing desserts like frozen strawberry skyr or use it as a base for smoothies.