You have some leftover yogurt or bought a few too many containers on a sale. Can you successfully freeze yogurt?
As you probably know, most dairy products don’t freeze that well. And yogurt is one of them.
But if you can either freeze it or let it sit in the fridge and spoil, it makes sense to give freezing a try, doesn’t it?
Can You Freeze Yogurt?
Your yogurt that was perfectly smooth (and perhaps thick) when you last saw it suddenly is separated (protein solids and liquid) and grainy. Here’s how frozen and thawed yogurt looks like:
Every other website suggests you should stir it, and they’re right. Unfortunately, stirring it doesn’t help that much, and you can’t reverse time with that one simple trick.
After a minute of vigorous stirring (or, in my case, using a milk frother) that yogurt looks a bit better, but it’s nowhere near smooth:
As you can tell, it looks pretty bad. And I can assure you it doesn’t taste (on its own) that good either. I tasted it, so you don’t have you (you’re welcome).
Fortunately for you and me, the change of texture isn’t that big of a deal if you’re going to use that yogurt in a smoothie or a cooked dish.
If the dish doesn’t rely on yogurt’s texture, using defrosted yogurt should work just fine.
So the answer to the question is: yes, assuming that you’re going to use that yogurt in a cooked dish. If not, use that yogurt fresh and remember that yogurt lasts for 5 to 7 days after opening.
That’s bad news if you’re used to only eating yogurt with fresh fruit. But if pancakes and smoothies are your jam, you should be delighted with that news.
Now that you know when it makes sense to freeze yogurt, let’s cover the details.
How To Freeze Yogurt
You’re going to freeze this dairy product to use it in a dish. To get started, pick a recipe you want to make, and check the amount of yogurt needed.
Once done, grab some measuring cups or a kitchen scale, a couple of containers, and let’s get to work.
- Portion your yogurt. Pour the yogurt into container(s). Each one should hold enough for a recipe of your choice. I planned a batch of pancakes, so I transferred everything into one container.
- Seal the container(s). Make sure each has an inch of headspace so that the yogurt can expand. If each container holds a different amount, consider labeling them, so you know which is which when the time comes. I have only a single one, so I skip labeling.
- Put everything in the freezer. That’s it; your yogurt is ready to be frozen.
As you can tell, the whole procedure takes only a couple of minutes. Now grab your yogurt and do the same.
If you need to divide the yogurt into many small portions, consider freezing it in an ice cube tray or muffin tin. Otherwise, containers are your best bet.
How Long Does Yogurt Last in the Freezer?
The act of freezing yogurt does most of the damage to the dairy product. That means the time it sits in the freezer doesn’t matter that much.
Of course, the faster you get to the frozen yogurt, the better. But it doesn’t make that big of a difference if it sits in the freezer for two weeks or two months. I haven’t tested it, but I’d guess that eating that yogurt before the four months mark should be a-okay.
The quality of frozen yogurt drops at a snail’s pace. Don’t sweat it if you need to keep it frozen for a week or two more than you expected.
How To Thaw Yogurt
Like with most dairy products, there are a couple of options when it comes to defrosting:
- Overnight in the fridge. Just throw the container in the refrigerator in the evening, so that it’s ready in the morning. Putting that container in a bowl of lukewarm water will speed things up a bit.
- Add while cooking. If you’re using that yogurt in a soup or a stew, you probably can throw it in frozen and let the heat take care of thawing.
If it’s a large container (like mine), 8 hours might not be enough for the yogurt to thaw. Start defrosting earlier, and try to break the block into chunks after a few hours to accelerate it.
Now that you have the yogurt defrosted, use it as soon as possible. I cook whatever I planned for that yogurt the same day I defrost it.
If that’s not possible, don’t let thawed yogurt sit in the fridge for more than three days.
Using Defrosted Yogurt
As I already pointed out, frozen and thawed yogurt works best in smoothies and cooked dishes. Here are a couple of examples:
- soups (please note that thawed yogurt doesn’t make soup as creamy as a fresh one does)
- cakes, pies, and baked goods
For me, I love pancakes, and using thawed yogurt doesn’t make any difference in taste or texture. My wife confirms (I asked).
FAQs about Freezing Yogurt
Can You Freeze Greek/Non-fat/Other Type Yogurt?
Yes. You should expect similar changes in terms of texture and taste. And just like with plain yogurt, use it only in cooked dishes.
Can You Refreeze Yogurt?
If you have used most of your thawed yogurt, but have no idea how to use the rest, you can refreeze it. The only requirement here is that you thawed it in the fridge. If you let it defrost on the counter, discard the rest.
Please remember that refreezing makes the quality of the product even worse. That’s why I recommend freezing it portioned for recipes. This way, there are no leftovers involved and no need for refreezing.