How long can sealed yogurt be unrefrigerated?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long can sealed yogurt be unrefrigerated?”, discuss other questions like how to store the yogurt, and how to know if your yogurt is good to eat or not.

How long can sealed yogurt be unrefrigerated?

You can keep your yogurt unrefrigerated for 2  hours and no longer than that. But this period of letting your yogurt sit out is highly affected by the temperature.

According to the U. S. Department of health and human services yogurt can be kept at room temperature (above 40 degrees Fahrenheit) for 2 hours. Any longer you should throw it out.

If the room temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, that two-hour window is shortened to one hour. This applies to all forms of yogurt.

Yogurt should be refrigerated below 40 0F to achieve a shelf life of 7 to 14 days. Any longer than this may allow yeast and molds to grow.

Yogurt is very common in every household not just because it is nutrient-rich, contains probiotic bacteria(good bacteria) that improves our gut health but also because it tastes so good. You can get different flavors too.

We all love our yogurt but sometimes it slips out of our mind to refrigerate it. So let’s learn how to keep our yogurt safe and let’s enjoy it.

How to know if your yogurt is good to eat or not?

Yes, you can decide if your yogurt is good to eat or not just by looking for some signs. Let’s find out what are those changes that indicate the yogurt has gone bad.

1. Excess liquid on the top of the yogurt-

We see a liquid on the top of the yogurt when we open the container. It is nothing but whey which has a lot of nutrition. We have to mix it with curd before having it. A little bit of liquid is fine but if it is too much then you should not eat it.

2. In the case of thick yogurt which does not contain any whey on the surface, a puddle is formed and you can find lumps at the bottom.

3. Mold growth-

Even if you miss the above signs eventually there will be yeast and mold growth.

When you open a container and you see green, off-white, black growth on the yogurt surface it is mold. It will kill all the good bacteria and will have a foul smell. So, you should immediately discard the yogurt container.

Other FAQs about Yogurt which you may be interested in.

What can I substitute for Greek Yogurt

What happens if you eat yogurt that is unrefrigerated for too long?

Some people might say they keep their yogurt unrefrigerated for 6-8 hours mostly when they bring it to work and it tastes good. It’s true, your yogurt going bad depends on temperature and many other factors like acidity, sugar content. If fruits are added to your yogurt bacteria grow faster.  2 hours is the estimated time after which (when the temperature is above 40 0F) bacteria may start to grow.

If you have a habit of eating yogurt that is unrefrigerated for more than 2 hours make sure to check for the signs we discussed above before having it.

But, we would recommend you refrigerate yogurt within two hours. It may not taste bad, but still, there might be spoilage that you can not see.

If the yogurt is kept unrefrigerated, the number of good bacteria decreases, and that of harmful bacteria increases. If you eat contaminated yogurt you can get food poisoning. It may cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, and vomiting.

In 2013 FDA investigated a case in which yogurt products sold by the brand Chobani were contaminated with fungi Mucor circinelloides. Symptoms like diarrhea, vomiting, nausea were reported by more than 200 consumers.

 How to store your yogurt?

·   Store your yogurt in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40 0F and it will last for 7 to 14 days. Do not store more than that.

·   If you do not wish to finish the whole yogurt container at once then make sure to use a different spoon and not one you are eating with. Take out the portion on a plate, seal the container and keep it back in the fridge.

·   While making yogurt at home, always use pasteurized milk. Make sure to sanitize all the utensils you use, to avoid the addition of unwanted bacteria.

·   If you leave your yogurt out by mistake make sure to refrigerate it within 2 hours.

·   Frozen yogurt can have a shelf life of 1 to 2 months. But may lose texture and color after thawing.

·   Bacteria grow faster in yogurts with added fruits and sugar. So if you want your yogurt to last long, add fruits and sugar at the time of eating and not before that.


In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long can sealed yogurt be unrefrigerated?”, discussed other questions like how to store the yogurt, how to know if your yogurt is good to eat or not.

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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.