Yogurt is great on its own or in baking as a replacement for sour cream, butter, or buttermilk, but since it’s a dairy product you’re probably curious to know if yogurt goes bad. Let’s figure that out.
Yogurt is a dairy product and is good for a limited amount of time. Yogurt is marked with a “sell by” or an expiration date. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, yogurt should be eaten within a week or two of purchase and should be stored in the refrigerator. Yogurt that has passed its expiration date should be thrown away and not eaten.
It’s best to keep your yogurt refrigerated and to use it by the date marked on the container. Yogurt passed its expiration date or yogurt that doesn’t seem fresh should be thrown away.
Does Yogurt Go Bad? How Long Does Yogurt Last?
Yogurt has a limited shelf life and how long it will keep fresh depends on how it is stored.
How Long Does Yogurt Last Outside?
Yogurt is a dairy product and should be kept refrigerated. If yogurt is left outside the refrigerator for a very short period of time it is still considered good and is safe to eat.
Yogurt can last for up to two hours on the counter: Yogurt is a dairy product and should be kept refrigerated. If yogurt is left outside on the counter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it should be eaten within two hours or it should be thrown away.
Yogurt lasts less than an hour if the air is warm: If the yogurt is left out in an area with a temperature of over 90 degrees, then the U.S. Department of Agriculture advises yogurt should be eaten within one hour or thrown away.
Expired or spoiled yogurt can cause food poisoning so it’s important to be sure your yogurt is stored safely and is safe to eat.
How Long Does Yogurt Last in the Fridge?
Yogurt should always be refrigerated and is good until the “sell by” or expiration date stamped on the container.
Look for the expiration date: When you purchase your yogurt look for the expiration date on the container. The date should be a few weeks from the date you are buying the yogurt. Once the expiration date passes, throw all of the yogurt away.
Check your yogurt before eating: While the expiration date is a good guide, you should always look at and smell your yogurt, much as you would milk, before eating it to be sure it hasn’t spoiled before the expiration date. Spoiled yogurt will have a sour or bad odor and it may change in appearance, such as having excess water. Yogurt that has gone bad should not be eaten and should be thrown away.
Yogurt should last for a few weeks in your refrigerator, but be sure to check it before you eat it to be sure it’s still fresh.
How Long Does Yogurt Last in the Freezer?
Yogurt can be frozen and is safe to store in your freezer for up to two months.
Freeze yogurt in its original container: It’s best to freeze yogurt in its original, sealed container, but it can be repackaged into other containers as well.
Freezing yogurt in other containers: Yogurt can be frozen in an ice cube tray or another container. If freezing in an ice cube tray, remove the yogurt cubes once they are frozen and store them in a food storage bag. Defrosted yogurt will only be good for a short time so you’ll want to have a plan for its use.
Defrosted yogurt may seem watery: The consistency of the yogurt may change once frozen and thawed, but it is safe to eat.
Yogurt is best before its expiration date, but if you overbuy, you can freeze your yogurt and use it later. Yogurt that has been frozen is great to add to smoothies or baked goods.
How to Tell if Yogurt is Bad? / How to Know if Yogurt is Fresh?
As yogurt is a dairy product it’s important to be able to tell if your yogurt is fresh before you eat it. Eating yogurt that is bad could make you sick.
Don’t take chances: If you have any doubt as to the freshness of your yogurt you should err on the side of caution and just throw it away.
Signs of bad yogurt: If your yogurt is too watery or if it has a sour or bad smell, you should throw it away. If you notice mold or any other substance that isn’t usually on your yogurt, then it is bad and should be thrown away. Eating spoiled yogurt can make you sick, so if you have any concerns, just throw it away.
Fresh yogurt smells and looks fresh: Fresh yogurt smells like yogurt or milk, has the right consistency and it’s still a week or two away from its expiration date. Fresh yogurt should be cold and should stay in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
Take care to eat only fresh yogurt. Fresh yogurt can be enjoyed as it is, or you can add things to it such as fruit, honey, lemon curd, or granola.
How to Store Yogurt
Yogurt is a dairy product and should be stored in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat your yogurt.
Yogurt is best stored in its original container: Yogurt is best kept in the container it was purchased in, but it can also be repackaged and stored in another sealed container.
Yogurt should last for a week or two: Yogurt should be eaten by the expiration date on the container, but you should also always check the yogurt before you eat it to be sure it hasn’t spoiled.
Taking care to store your yogurt properly will ensure it lasts as long as possible. If it has passed its expiration date or it seems spoiled, the yogurt should be thrown away.
Can You Freeze Yogurt? How? Why?
Yogurt can be frozen and is good in your freezer for up two months. This is a great way to extend the life of your yogurt before it expires.
Freeze as is or repackage: Yogurt is best frozen in its original, sealed container, but it can be repackaged into another container such as an ice cube tray or a food storage bag and frozen. If using an ice cube tray, transfer the frozen cubes to a food storage bag once they freeze.
Freezing may make it more watery: Freezing may change the consistency of the yogurt a bit, such as making it more watery, but it is fine to eat.
Freezing yogurt does not result in “frozen yogurt”: Frozen yogurt, which is closer to ice cream, is made when you combine yogurt with sugar and other ingredients, then freeze. If you simply freeze a container of yogurt, it will freeze solid and not be easily scooped like frozen yogurt or ice cream would be.
Freezing your fresh yogurt is a great way to extend its life, which saves you money. If you have extra yogurt, just put it in your freezer.
How to Thaw Yogurt?
Thawing yogurt that has been frozen is best done slowly, by moving the yogurt from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you plan to use it. This will allow the yogurt to slowly defrost while maintaining a cold enough temperature that the yogurt won’t spoil.
Thawed yogurt may be more watery or have a different consistency than fresh yogurt but it is great to use in baked goods or in smoothies.
Is it Okay to Eat Yogurt That is Sour Tasting?
All yogurts have a bit of a sour taste, but some yogurts, like Greek yogurt, have a strong sour taste and are perfectly fine to eat as long as they’re fresh and the expiration date has not passed.
The more sour the taste, however, the greater the concern that the yogurt is no longer fresh. Check your yogurt carefully for a sour smell, or a watery consistency, and check the expiration date. If in doubt, just throw the yogurt away.
How do you like to store your yogurt? What do you like best with your yogurt? Tell us in the comments below.