Thrift store find – Salton GM-5 yogurt maker

Salton Yogurt Maker, model GM-5, cooking up some yogurt

Salton Yogurt Maker, model GM-5, cooking up some yogurt

About a week ago, I was browsing through the local Salvation Army thrift store, when I stumbled upon this little gem – an old Salton Yogurt Maker, model GM-5.  I thought, “Wow!  How cool is that?” because I had wanted to get a yogurt maker for some time (I registered for one on my bridal registry – a Salton yogurt maker, but not one of these antiques!).  I wanted to call my handsome hubby and have him Google it real quick, to find out if these yogurt makers were reliable, but as is often the case with my cell phone, the battery was dead.  So I threw caution to the wind and plopped down $4, and took it home.

Of course, only after I got home did I consider how unnecessary this purchase was – Aaron already makes perfectly good yogurt, which gets incubated (fermented) in a small cooler with warm water – sans electricity.  Well, the deed was done – so we might as well try out the yogurt maker.

Also after I got home, I googled “Salton yogurt maker GM-5″ to find out exactly what I had.  I knew I did not have a user manual, but it turns out I also did not have a handy little thermometer/spoon combo, which fortunately I did not need anyway.  A little more Googling turned up a PDF of a user manual from 1976.  The picture of the yogurt maker on the manual appeared to only differ cosmetically (it had printed on it “Thermostat controlled” whereas mine does not) so I figured it was close enough.

Aaron cooked up a quart of yogurt last night, and got it all poured neatly into the 5 little glass containers.  I tucked the containers into their slots, put the lid on the maker, and plugged it in.  I checked it awhile later to make sure there was some heat being generated somewhere, and there was.  The instructions said the yogurt would be done in 10 hours, which would have been 5:30 AM this morning … I checked it at 8:00 AM.  The yogurt turned out great – just the same as cooler-incubated batches.  We have already discovered that when we use the yogurt culture that we are currently using (from Kalona Organics, an organic yogurt with several strains of bacteria available at our local Hy-Vee at 12th and Harrison) that we have considerable leeway in the incubation time without the yogurt getting too tart.

And here’s a picture of the finished product.  The yellow stuff is delicious cream!  No skim milk low-fat yogurt for me!  We use whole raw milk from pastured Jersey cows (I have awesome in-laws).

mmm ... fresh raw milk yogurt - good food for your gut

mmm ... fresh raw milk yogurt - good food for your gut

And I figured out that there were some advantages to using this maker after all.

  • Glass containers – while we are not Luddites, we do prefer to avoid plastic, and use glass instead, for food storage.  We had been incubating yogurt in small plastic containers in the cooler.  These Salton glass containers are really nice little containers.  And I would guess from the condition of the containers that they were rarely, if ever, used (although the yogurt maker lid is a bit scratched up).  So even if we no longer wanted to use the maker, we could still use the glass containers, which were worth the purchase price alone.  NOTE:  if any of the glass containers are broken or missing, don’t despair!  Half-pint canning jars fit nicely in those small compartments.
  • More convenient – no messing around with putting warm water of just the right temperature and depth in the cooler.  Just gotta pour the milk with starter culture into the containers, put them in the yogurt maker, and plug it in.  No fancy-shmancy on/off switch either.  Plugged in = on, unplugged = off.  The power cord isn’t even polarized!
  • Less mess - when incubating yogurt in the cooler, we end up with wet containers that need to be dried off before being put in the fridge.  Plus, the cooler has to be emptied out and allowed to air dry before being put away.
  • Just the right amount - a quart of yogurt is just about right – that’s about how much I eat in a week or so.

So I’m pretty happy with my discovery, and I think we’ll be using it pretty regularly.

I just wish I knew how old it was.  I can’t find a picture of a GM-5 Salton yogurt maker that looks exactly like mine (without “thermostat-controlled” printed on it) and of course no year is printed on the bottom.  The Salton website was not helpful.  To anyone who stumbles upon my little blog here and has any information, I’d appreciate any help.  :)


  • By Wally Robertson, August 8, 2009 @ 11:41 pm

    My wife and I just picked up what looks like exactly the same machine. This was in the original, unopened packaging. The instruction booklet says 1976.
    I was really chuffed to see that the mail in warranty/product registration card is an edge-punched computer card. For a laugh, I may just post it to them and see what reaction I get.
    We’ve never made our own yoghurt before, so we would love the benefit of your experience.
    Are you up for giving advice?
    If you’d like a copy of the paperwork (manual, regn, product brochure etc) I’ll scan them and email them to you.
    Hoping we can chat with you, Cheers Wal

  • By Angel, August 9, 2009 @ 1:49 am

    Hi Wal,

    Does your model have written on it “thermostat controlled” or does it just say “Salton Yogurt Maker”? I haven’t been able to find any pics of makers like mine, that just say “Salton Yogurt Maker.”

    I’m actually not the one who makes yogurt – my husband does. However, it is very simple. My husband, Aaron, wrote a nice detailed blog post about making yogurt with raw milk, although you can also use store-bought milk:

    Once you get to step 4, you’ll just pour the mixture into your Salton glass containers, put the lids on, put the lid on the machine, and plug it in. Please note that the yogurt maker instructions say you can only make a quart at a time (including the starter), so watch your volume carefully. The yogurt will need at least several hours to ferment (I forget what the owner’s manual says – we just do it overnight).

    I would also suggest that for your starter, you use an organic yogurt with multiple types of cultures, as I mentioned above in my post. The type we use tends to produce milder tasting yogurt than using a starter with just one type of bacteria. Oh – VERY IMPORTANT – be aware that the yogurt’s texture will not be like store-bought yogurt. While I’m sure it is possible to make homemade yogurt that has the same texture, we haven’t researched that yet. The texture doesn’t bother me, but I know it might bother some people. It’s hard to describe – kind of like half-gelled Jello, or cottage cheese with very weak curds. I’ve tried whisking finished yogurt to make it smoother, but all that really does is break up the “curds” of yogurt into smaller pieces. (And curds is not the correct term, I just couldn’t think of anything better.) Update: I just wrote a post on yogurt thickening techniques that can improve the texture considerably.

    If you have any more questions about yogurt making, I would suggest you post questions in the comments section of Aaron’s blog, since I’ve already told you everything I know! :)

  • By david Kohn, September 21, 2009 @ 5:46 pm

    Please I would like a copy of the manual

  • By Angel, September 22, 2009 @ 3:14 am


    There is a link in the blog entry to a website that has a PDF of the manual. The text is “PDF of a user manual from 1976″.

  • By Jean, September 28, 2009 @ 6:03 pm

    Hi There! I have my original Salton Yogurt maker from 1976 and have lost the manual. Would I be able to share in the sharing of the manual. I have the spoon with the thermometer and don’t know how to use it!

  • By Angel, September 28, 2009 @ 10:45 pm

    Hi Jean,

    Here’s a PDF file of the manual.

    And my apologies to anyone who previously tried to follow the link in the blog entry above, only to find it no longer worked (it did when I posted the blog entry!). Fortunately I had already downloaded the manual, so the link in the blog entry, and the one in this comment, now directly open up the PDF file.


  • By Jenn, October 1, 2009 @ 5:57 pm

    Thanks so much for posting! I’m really happy I found this, I too stumbled upon this great find at the thrift store (for $2.99 whoo-hoo!) and of course there was no manual so was thrilled to find your post. I just signed up for a herdshare to receive raw milk last month and am so excited to make some raw milk yoghurt. I downloaded the manual and am eager to try it, however, I was hoping you could help me figure out what order the pages go in. (obviously it’s not necessary because you can still make sense of the instructions without them being in order but apparently I’m kind of anal and need them in order :-0

  • By Angel, October 1, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

    Your guess is as good as mine, Jenn, regarding the order of the pages. I’ve only read the manual once, to figure out how to use the machine, and it’s so simple, my instructions above are sufficient – unless you have the spoon thermometer and you want to use it, or if you want to try some of the recipes.

    I can understand your urge for order, though. :) I’d suggest you put them in the order you think is the most logical – chances are good you’ll be right.

  • By Onebzemom, March 29, 2010 @ 5:26 pm

    Does anyone have the Salton “spoon Thermometer” they like to sell?

  • By Becka, June 26, 2010 @ 11:33 pm

    I am excited to have found this post! I just started getting raw milk and was planning to try and make my own yogurt “sometime in the near future.” Well, yesterday, while shopping at a local consignment shop for a food processor (which they didn’t have,) I came across a Salton Yogurt Maker! It looked just like the one my mom had when I was younger. So I bought it! I hadn’t had a chance to open it until today since I’m ready to try it out now. Coming across this site during my search on how to make yogurt with raw milk, I was thinking maybe I paid too much ($9.99) for my “really outdated” yogurt maker. However, I just opened the box and it’s never been used! It’s still sealed in its original packaging, with manual, and also comes with the spoon/thermometer! Looking on the bottom, it looks like it was manufactured in 1991, so I guess they were still making this style then. It looks exactly like the one in your pic, only it’s white instead of yellow.

    Thanks for your easy post on how to make it. I can’t wait to try it out! I’d love to hear how you like to flavor yours!

  • By Susan, October 23, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

    I just bought an old Salton yogurt maker. The thermometer spoon is missing…does anyone know what the temperature needs to be when I add the starter? Thanks!

  • By pat j capozzi, November 4, 2010 @ 12:14 am

    Thanks for posting the user manual. I just found one in a friends basement and it didnt have a manual.

  • By Angel, January 15, 2011 @ 8:17 pm

    I heat my yogurt starter up to 105 degrees.

  • By Blaze, April 25, 2011 @ 3:04 pm

    we just purchased a thermostat Controlled Salton Yogurt Maker, like new, but no manual or spoon.It wayone wants to sell spoon, let us know – will copy manual from post.It was at a thrift store – $5.99. we are thrilled. Thanks for your posts and hope some may want to exchange recipes

  • By Blaze, April 25, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

    I forgot to add our Yogurt Maker has the “OLD” flower decals around the lid, often referred to as the “spice” pattern, We estimate age in the 1970’s. the top that holds the glass cups is yellow and the base is tan, the cover is clear.any comments on age?. It is in perfect condition. Thanks

  • By Wilbur Nesbitt, April 25, 2011 @ 9:09 pm

    I have a Salton Yogurt Maker, model #GM5 thermostat controlled,I need the spoon thermometer, do you know where I can purchase one for a reasonable price?

  • By Angel, April 30, 2011 @ 1:38 am


    It’s probably going to be pretty hard to find the spoon thermometer. You’re better off just getting yourself a good food thermometer – I can highly recommend the Thermapen. They’re great for cooking meat to just the right temperature, and of course for monitoring yogurt temperature too.

  • By Angel, April 30, 2011 @ 1:40 am

    I don’t know the different models of the Salton yogurt maker. I did make some effort to find out what year mine was when I first got it, but pretty quickly gave up. I would guess they are all pretty much the same with some minor cosmetic changes over time.

  • By Barbara, July 6, 2011 @ 2:53 am

    Thanks so much, Angel, and everyone who has added to her info. I just found a “thermosat controlled Yogurt Maker- cosmopolitan model” in my mother’s basement. she is happy to be clearing out and passed it along to me. looks like the directions by Aaron in combinationwith the manual give me the info I need. One of the cute little glass jars is seriously chipped along the rim, so I’m going to toss it. no glass chips for me, thank you. so I’m glad to know the 1/2 pint canning jar works… and yes, I tried it. it fits nicely into the little cup holder on the maker. but the lids don’t fit. how important is a tight fitting lid? would you screw on a canning lid?

  • By Angel, July 11, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

    Hi Barbara,

    I used the white plastic lids made to fit on 1/2 pint canning jars, and although that did lift the yogurt maker lid a little bit, I didn’t have any problems with the yogurt maker working properly. If it is a concern for you, though, you could probably cover the jars with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and I would guess the yogurt would still ferment properly. I don’t think the lids need to be really tight for the fermentation process to work well.


  • By Linda Wirth, July 24, 2011 @ 12:24 am

    I’m a little late to this posting but I too found an old Salton Yogurt Maker some months ago. The temp spoon was in it but I was reluctant to use the very old odd looking the thermometer/spoon. I just use my regular all purpose kitchen thermometer. I heat milk to 180 degrees, cool to 115, then add 1 Tbsp starter and mix thoroughly. The jars were missing so I use 1/2 pint canning jars without lids during the incubation process and then cap with Kerr plastic storage lids. Works like a charm.

  • By Martine, July 24, 2011 @ 4:36 am

    To make the lid of the yogurt maker sit properly on top of canning jars, I removed the dial from yogurt maker lid and covered the hole with a small piece of electrical tape.

  • By Kathy Crosby, July 25, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

    Just wanted to thank you for posting this information! I have my mother’s old yogurt maker, but haven’t been able to locate the manual, so this is really helpful.
    I also am missing one of the glass cups, which I notice is available on ebay, but I was thinking I’d just make less. Thanks for mentioning that canning jars will fit, that’s a much better idea!

  • By Renae, August 13, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

    Im glad I found your site. I too just bought the same yogurt maker at a thrift store for $2.00 and it did have the thermometer spoon but the thermometer was broken (reckin I could use a regular thermometer in it) and like everyone elses, no manuel. I printed off your link, thanks for that. :) Im giving it a try tonight.. pretty excited about it..

  • By Lorel J, August 20, 2011 @ 1:41 am

    I just scored a $3 model just like yours – brand new! No box or instructions and, though I could have figured it out from lots of yogurt making in the past, I thank you for this post and the pdf of the instructions. (BTW, I’ve made excellent yogurt using a crock pot, but I had to install a rheostat to control the temperature and that was unreliable. For those who want to try with a crock pot without a rheostat, go to this link: for instructions. I never tried this particular way, but it might work for you.

  • By Wendy, August 27, 2011 @ 3:15 am

    Dear Angel,
    I have a yogurt maker and decided I would use it again…I couldn’t find my manual…so I did a search on google and came across your site.
    Thank you SO MUCH for posting the link to the manual…When I make yogurt, I just use a spoon from a previous batch. Don’t bother with buying a special yogurt culture..Thanks again,
    Wendy….Galway NY

  • By Grace Schembri, June 14, 2013 @ 9:29 am

    I have the exact same yogurt maker…..I received it for Christmas in 1974. I also have the original box, the thermo-spoon…and
    three booklets with directions, and suggestions. I used it when my children were young all the time….then when they grew up and I went back to work, it got lost in the shuffle….We had moved three times, and each time I would PURGE….the useless appliances and STUFF that you just accumulate…but never use…..but the yogurt maker had a special place in my heart….and it “survived”. In 2000, when I moved to my current home…I put it on the top shelf of a very HIGH cabinet…and there it stayed….until I had a
    dream one night about it….(like it was calling to me!) lol…and
    the next morning….I went to the cabinet…and there she was… I have been using it twice a week since…(5 years) Wish I
    could find another one….I just last month got
    lazy, and put one of my “milk-glass” containers in the dishwasher….instead of washing it by hand….and wouldn’t you know…during the wash cycle something must have bumped it…and when I removed it….it had cracked and a piece of glass came off. HEARTBROKEN….is
    the only way I can describe my feelings….and I am still looking for another replacement. Someone in California has ONE glass and she wants $9.99 plus shipping… I will just continue to look. If anyone has another SALTON
    yogurt machine…(circa 1974….) I would be interested. I check yard sales, thrift shops,
    consignment places….no luck….so far.
    Enjoy your yogurt maker… take good care of it…and it will be good to you.!

  • By Nick Pirolo, October 26, 2013 @ 11:40 am

    We found ours for $3 at a yard sale. We are moving to Rwanda, where yogurt is available, but expensive. We, too, have the “74″ model, the one without the “thermostat controlled” writing. No spoon, but all the jars and lids. Another odd element, ours is missing the knob on the top and I don’t know what to do with the hole. I see writing that says, “Time Out,” but I don’t know what it means. Any help?

  • By Rae Sook, November 5, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

    I have two of the same yog. maker you describe. I recently found it at Goodwill, but none of the accessories were included. Thank you for the PDF! I made yogurt for my family for years with organic raw milk from our local dairy. I’ll be making a trip to the dairy tomorrow since I now have directions.

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