Does Yogurt Go Bad?

If you’re wondering “does yogurt go bad, even if I keep it refrigerated?” then this short article is for you. Even though yogurt is a product of fermentation of milk, similarly to other dairy products, yogurt does spoil. Since yogurt is known as one of the healthiest dairy products (especially Greek probiotic yogurt) we all would benefit from knowing a little bit more about its shelf life, proper storage and how to tell if yogurt has gone bad. Also, if you would like to store yogurt for an extended period of time, this article will provide you with a few pieces of information about freezing yogurt.

How To Store Yogurt

Just like most dairy products, yogurt has to be stored in the fridge and tightly covered all the time. If it’s not covered, it might pick up odors from other food in the fridge and it starts to dry out. If you need to extend the shelf life of yogurt, you can freeze it. Yogurt should be frozen in an airtight container and thawed in the refrigerator. You shouldn’t try to speed up the thawing process by keeping the yogurt in room temperature.

Homemade Yogurt

Image used under Creative Commons from Mom the Barbarian

How Long does Yogurt Last

It’s difficult to pinpoint out some accurate numbers when it comes to the shelf life of yogurt. It all depends on the kind of yogurt (probiotic yogurt, flavored, reduced fat) and its manufacturer. Of course, if you’ll keep your yogurt at room temperature, it will probably go bad in a matter of 1-2 days (unless it’s pasteurized and unopened), but I assume that you’ll store it properly. Generally, the best thing you can do is to check its sell-by or best-by date. That date indicates how long it should offer its best taste. While the yogurt is unopened, it should be fine for about week or two (sometimes even more) past the mentioned date. Once you open it, you should be able to store it safely in the fridge for at least a week, unless it’s past the use-by date already. If that’s true, yogurt can (and probably will) go bad quicker than within a week.

If you need to extend the shelf life of yogurt, you can freeze it. For some information on how to do it, please read the paragraph about yogurt storage. You can keep it frozen almost indefinitely. There are, however, some guidelines that recommend that yogurt should be frozen only for up to two months, in order to retain the best quality possible.

When it comes to the shelf life of yogurt, it’s always good to check if yogurt has gone bad. Please use the guidelines that are outlined in the next paragraph. You should check if the yogurt has gone bad even when it’s past the use-by date (it might still be fine) and when that date is two weeks ahead of you. When it comes to dairy products, a lot of different things can happen, so please check the product every time.

How To Tell If Yogurt Is Spoiled

This process is fairly simple. The first thing you should do is to look for any signs of mold, other kinds of fungi or any kind of discolorations. If you find one of those, you can be sure that the product is spoiled and it has to be discarded. Another step to determine whether the yogurt has gone bad is to check its smell (if you’re a yogurt fan, you should definitely know how does yogurt smell like). If it has a rancid, sour, or any other off odor then you can be sure that the product is spoiled. Throw it away.

The last two things that you can do to tell if the yogurt is bad are to check its consistency and to taste it. While checking the consistency of the yogurt you need to remember that separation (in case of yogurt) is a perfectly normal thing. If some liquid stays on the top of the yogurt, you should just stir it with a spoon and the consistency should be normal. If the texture (after stirring) isn’t normal, there’s a huge probability that the product is spoiled. Lastly, you should taste the yogurt – if it tastes sour or anyhow bad, toss it out. As usual, the rule of thumb is: better safe than sorry.

Every kind of yogurt (probiotic yogurt, sweetened, etc), like other dairy products, does go bad. You have to store yogurt in the fridge. When it’s exposed to room temperature, it spoils in a matter of 1-2 days. If you need to store yogurt for an extended period of time, you can freeze it. Please note, that it should be thawed in the fridge and not in room temperature. Does yogurt go bad? It does, but when you store it properly, you’ll probably consume it before if might even start to spoil.