Can you freeze Greek yogurt?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Can you freeze Greek yogurt?” and will discuss some tips to properly freeze Greek yogurt.

Can you freeze Greek yogurt?

Yes, you can freeze the Greek yogurt. Frozen Greek yogurt has a limited shelf life because of the way it is kept. Unopened Greek yogurt may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks beyond its expiration date and frozen for up to two months.

Greek-style yogurts are characterized by protein content usually around 9%-10%. Their creamy texture and their natural, nutritive and low-fat attributes have made them very popular in the past few years. Traditionally, the total solids content of these yogurts was increased by straining in a cloth bag. Concentration of the curd can now be done more efficiently by centrifugation. Other techniques, such as addition of dry milk ingredients or ultrafiltration of milk preceding fermentation, can also be used to increase the protein content (1).

Open Greek yogurt may be refrigerated for up to a week and frozen for up to a month when refrigerated and frozen properly. If you freeze your yogurt, the look and consistency may alter. It becomes clumpy and doesn’t have the same consistency as ice cream.

Freezing processes can affect the structure of milk constituents. The main alteration occurs due to fat globule damage with a consequent release of the membrane’s lipoproteins and fat stability reduction. This leads to: (i) an increase in particle size, causing coalescence and natural cream separation, (ii) an increase in the lipid oxidation rate, and (iii) the lipolysis occurrence. Freezing can also induce micellar protein destabilization, leading to casein aggregation with consequent water holding capacity reduction due to broken hydrogen bonds between polypeptides. Therefore, strong changes in the texture may occur due to freezing of yogurt (2).

Because of its unusual texture, frozen yogurt may be unpalatable to some. The flavor of the yogurt is unaffected by the freezing process. Your thawed Greek yogurt may be whipped or stirred to re-establish its original texture. Some people recommend blending it into a smoothie, which would provide a result that is very identical to the original flavor.

When properly frozen and kept, Greek yogurt retains all of its benefits, including its nutritional content and live cultures. When yogurt is frozen, some of the bacteria die, but the majority go dormant and awaken when it is defrosted.

Methods for Freezing Greek Yogurt

To freeze Greek yogurt, I use this approach. Just a few airtight containers and a few minutes of hands-on work are all that is required.

Do the following:

·         Make a list of what you want to do with the yogurt before you buy it. This is a must-do. It’s impossible to figure exactly how many servings you’ll need if you don’t have a strategy in place. As a result, you’ll probably have leftovers to deal with. The problem can be avoided entirely with a little forethought.

·         Put the yogurt in sealed containers and store it in a cool, dry place. Each container should include the amount of food you need for each dish you have planned. It’s time to slam the door shut on each one.

·         Freeze all of the containers.

And that’s all.

How long does it take to freeze Greek yogurt?

The quantity and container size are the only factors to consider. For example, if you’re freezing one-half cup of yogurt, it should be ready in around 3 to 4 hours. You can probably get it done in two hours if you replace the container with a broad rectangular one with just about half an inch of yogurt inside.

Freezing In An Ice Cube Tray

You can freeze yogurt in an ice cube tray for smoothies, but you can also do this if you don’t know what you’ll do with it yet. Simply pop out how many ice cubes your recipe calls for and cook with what’s left and store the rest in your freezer.

·         An ice cube tray is all that’s needed to freeze Greek yogurt.

·         Then freeze the yogurt in the mold.

·         Wait for the cubes to harden before removing them from the dish. Freeze for at least two to three hours. For the night, I keep them there.

·         Refrigerate or freeze the ice cubes once they’ve been cut into little pieces. You receive your tray back, and the frozen yogurt occupies less space in the freezer, by doing so. Because of this, the ice cubes are better protected from freezer burn.

·         Place the container or bag in the freezer to keep it cool.

·         Alternatively, you may use a muffin tin instead if the tray is too tiny or you like smaller but more generous servings. To remove the frozen yogurt from the container, you will need a fork or knife.

Can Greek Yogurt Be Stored in the Freezer for Long?

Frozen Greek yogurt should be used up within three months if possible. Because of this, it’s best to keep your yogurt out of the freezer for no more than three months. The longer you leave it, the more probable it is that you will leave it there for another six months or so. One interesting fact is that some manufacturers state that their yogurts may only be frozen for as long as the expiration date indicates.

The storage time limitation of frozen yogurt is the survival of the lactic acid bacteria. Some studies showed that these bacteria, as well as probiotic bacteria, remain stable throughout the shelf life in frozen yogurt, although an acceptable decrease in the count number may happen. Other studies claim that there is a significant decrease in the number of viable bacteria cells. In a study, during the freezing of yogurt, only 1/5 of the lactic acid bacteria survived. The cell number decreased from the initial 2.70×108 CFU/g to 1.95×108 CFU/g during the 150 days storage in a freezer (−18~−12°C). At the steady temperature of −20°C, the cell number decreased very slowly. About 10% of the cells died after 7 weeks (3) 

Thawing Greek Yogurt

Overnight in the refrigerator is a good time to defrost Greek yogurt. The recommended cooking time ranges from 2 to 8 hours, depending on the container size and contents. Place the container or bag in a basin of lukewarm water to speed things up and ensure that it’s thawed in the morning. It’s important, though, that the bag be watertight.

As previously said, after it’s defrosted, there will be some liquid on the surface. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the liquid and mix it in.

Refreezing Greek Yogurt

There’s no need to throw away any thawed Greek yogurt that’s still in the container. Refreezing food that has been defrosted in the refrigerator, contrary to common opinion, is safe. That doesn’t imply, though, that it’s okay to do so. That is not the case. The fundamental problem is that the quality of food reduces with each freezing and thawing cycle. Repeatedly doing so diminishes the quality even further.

The negative effects of freezing/ thawing in the texture of the yogurt due to alterations in fat globules and protein structure increases with multiple cycles of freezing /thawing of milk products. In addition, the oxidation of lipids is favored by thawing / freezing, leading to the formation of off-flavors (2). 

Click here, to learn the Greek yogurt pancake recipe. 

Other FAQs about Yogurt that you may be interested in.

How long is yogurt good?

Can you eat old yogurt?

Can you eat yogurt that has been frozen?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Can you freeze Greek yogurt?” and discussed some tips to properly freeze Greek yogurt.

References

  1. Moineau-Jean, Andréanne, et al. Effect of Greek-style yoghurt manufacturing processes on starter and probiotic bacteria populations during storage. Int Dairy J, 2019, 93, 35-44. 
  2. Tribst, Alline Artigiani Lima, et al. Using stirring and homogenization to improve the fermentation profile and physicochemical characteristics of set yogurt from fresh, refrigerated and frozen/thawed sheep milk. LWT, 2020, 130, 109557.
  3. Kim, Sh., Lim, CH., Lee, C. et al. Optimization of Growth and Storage Conditions for Lactic Acid Bacteria in Yogurt and Frozen Yogurt. J. Korean Soc. Appl. Biol. Chem., 2009, 52, 76–79. 

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.