Vietnamese Style Yogurt

Ya-ua/Sữa Chua


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes:


    , four oz. portions

Appears in

Southeast Asian Flavors: Adventures in Cooking the Foods of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia & Singapore

Southeast Asian Flavors

By Robert Danhi

Published 2008

  • About

My first taste of Vietnamese yogurt a few years back instantly brought a smile to my face. It was so smooth and silky that it tickled my senses. The flavor was rich and light at the same time. The luxurious flavor of condensed milk is contrasted by the tart yogurt culture: pure balance. Hmmm, I wonder which came first, Yoplait or Vietnamese yogurt...

American style yogurt making requires clean glass containers. I found that plastic works just as well. Vietnamese yogurt should be made in individual, super-clean cups, since any agitation will soften the yogurt, undermining its special texture.

I could not get anyone to tell their secret on how to make it and there were no books I could find that had the recipe. So I did some preliminary research and Ari, my sous chef really led the charge in figuring this one out. A word of advice, follow the recipe exactly. The temperatures listed are there for a reason, certain bacteria need to grow, others not. Get organized and try this one—it’s amazing.


  • 1 (14 oz. / 396 g.) can Sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 ½ cups Water
  • cups Whole milk (room temperature)
  • ¾ cup Plain yogurt (room temperature)


  1. Plastic containers or cups, 6 to 8 oz.(177 to 237 ml) capacity, preferably with tight-fitting lids. Disposable plastic tumblers “party cups” work fine.
  2. Ensure all equipment is very clean (sterile is best). Bring one gallon of water to boil (keep this at the ready). Whisk condensed milk and water in saucepan. Heat up to 185°–190°F (85°–88°C); remove immediately from the heat. Cool to 105°–115°F (40°–46°C).
  3. Whisk whole milk and plain yogurt into cooled condensed milk mixture; transfer mixture immediately to small containers. Cover tightly with sterile covers (plastic wrap is fine).
  4. Incubate:

    • Cooler Method: (recommended) Transfer cups to small CLEAN cooler (spray with disinfectant and wipe dry), carefully pour boiling water in to cooler until fill level reaches 90 % up the side of yogurt mixture. Cover cooler; place in warm environment (most parts of the house will do, other than cold areas like garages or basements). Do not move or agitate until yogurt is fully set. Leave until set overnight. Transfer cups to refrigerator until completely set and cold.
    • Blanket Method: Transfer cups to deep heat proof container (metal or glass and more than 1 inch taller than filled cups) carefully pour boiled water in container until fill level reaches 90% up the side of yogurt mixture. Wrap container with large blanket (several layers), place in warm environment, most parts of the house will do, not in a cold area like a garage. Do not move or agitate until yogurt is finished. Leave until set overnight.

  5. Transfer cups to refrigerator until completely set and cold. DO NOT MIX IT UP. This will liquefy the yogurt.