How long is yogurt good?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How long is yogurt good?” and will discuss how to store yogurt.

How long is yogurt good?

Yogurt has a shelf life of seven to fourteen days if properly maintained. Molds, yeast, and slow-growing bacteria may develop and ruin your yogurt if you keep it in the fridge for more than a few days. Yogurt may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two hours until it is ready to consume again.

If the yogurt is properly produced (without contaminations during the process) and maintained at 4°C (40°F), the shelf life of yogurt can be significantly increased.  Studies show that plain whole and skim yogurt, as well as flavored yogurt may be kept during 9 weeks and be safe for consumption (2).

How to store yogurt?

Refrigerate your yogurt. Including plain natural, Greek-style, and flavored yogurt, this holds. Even soy and coconut-based yogurts need to be refrigerated. As soon as the box has been opened, place a tight-fitting lid over it. There is a risk of it drying out and picking up any scents from the fridge without a cover. Furthermore, it’s simple to introduce microbes to the surface and that’s how you get mold.

Use the metal top of the packaging if you expect to eat the food within a day. Alternatively, if the yogurt will be sitting in the fridge for many days, store it in an airtight mason jar. It will keep its freshness for a longer period in this manner.

In a study to evaluate the changes of opened bottles of yogurt during refrigerated storage, yogurt samples for analysis were opened on the day of analysis (1st day) and stored at a temperature of 4-6 °C until the fifth day (5th day) when the second analysis was made. There was an increase in the acidity, indicating possible microbial contamination and growth and increase in viscosity, due to loss of humidity (5).

Is Yogurt Safe to Keep in the Refrigerator?

Yogurt should never be left out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. To be clear, this doesn’t imply that if you keep it out for an additional five minutes beyond the recommended time, it’s no longer safe.

The most important thing here is to keep your yogurt chilled at all times, although common sense is also important. Keeping yogurt in the trunk for long periods in hot weather isn’t a major worry, but if it’s cold, the same isn’t an issue.

Yogurt may also be served at room temperature if that’s more your style. For half an hour before you eat it, you may let it warm up on the counter (my wife prefers it this way). Serve Brie at room temperature is recommended for certain cheeses.

Can you freeze yogurt?

As far as whether or not you can freeze yogurt, there’s an ongoing argument. Yogurt, like other dairy products, may be frozen, but it will separate when thawed, exactly like buttermilk or other dairy products. Stirring it a little will help a little, but don’t anticipate miracles.

In addition, ice crystals negatively affect the bacterial viability. A study showed that during the freezing of yogurt, only 1/5 of the lactic acid bacteria survived after 150 days of storage at -18°C (0°F) (4).

How long can you keep yogurt?

Yogurt’s shelf life might be difficult to determine. Here, several factors need to be considered. What matters most is not only the taste but also the sort of yogurt you’re eating. A flavored variety may keep for a longer period due to the presence of ingredients that extend the shelf life of the yogurt. On the other hand, flavored yogurt with the addition of fruits may have a decrease in their antioxidant properties (2). 

This is followed by whether or not the product includes preservatives and the quality of the substances used.

The production process of the yogurt is also determinant for the extension of its shelf life. Processing techniques such as heat treatment, cooling, pasteurization, and homogenization are important steps in yogurt processing. The heat treatment of yogurt milk is intended primarily to kill pathogenic bacteria, at the same time reduce other microorganisms and inactivate enzymes such as lipase. So, it is advisable to heat the yogurt milk to between 85 and 95°C (3).

Another element is how it was kept before it arrived at the shop, something you don’t know about or have influence over. Your yogurt can deteriorate early if it is mismanaged before it reaches the supermarket’s refrigerator.

The first step is to verify the expiration date on the label. For the most part, it’s a “sell-by” date that has nothing to do with food safety. How long the retailer can keep it on the shelf is indicated by this date.

The dairy product should stay fresher for a few days longer because of this. Yogurt is normally good for up to a week beyond the expiration date. You should consume your yogurt within a week after opening it. If you store it correctly, of course.

While a week may seem lovely, I suggest consuming the yogurt within 3 to 5 days at the most for the best quality. This is, of course, a basic estimate and may vary depending on the kind and brand of shoe you’re looking at.

Yogurt may survive up to a week beyond the expiration date on the label. You should eat any remaining food within five to seven days after opening it. Yogurt that has passed its use-by date should be consumed immediately after opening.

However, yogurt is a stable product. A study evaluated plain yogurt and flavored yogurt stored at 10°C (50°F) for 91 days. Results showed that, from a microbiological point of view, the viability of the yogurts was adequate at the different storage times and temperatures studied, although those stored at 10°C for long periods would not comply with some countries’ minimum requirements. There were only little changes in the pH and in the texture of the products, although they were safe to eat (1).

Another study examined skimmed and whole plain yogurt, as well as flavored yogurt during storage at 4°C (40°F) for 9 weeks. It was observed that there was cleavage of proteins during storage leading to the formation of bioactive peptides which acts as antioxidant compounds and therefore prevented lipid oxidation The production of endogenous antioxidant peptides, and the incidence of added antioxidants present in the puree, in the case of flavored yogurt, undoubtedly constitute a good protection against a lipid peroxidation (2).

·         Refrigerated Yogurt (unopened) For a week and a half

·         Open yogurt may be stored for 5 to 7 days.

Note that the timeframes above are only estimates, and dairy products might go bad much sooner than the timeframes are given above.

To tell whether your yogurt has gone bad, what are the signs?

Just with other dairy products, yogurt goes sour. The following are indications that your yogurt has gone bad:

·         Discolorations, mold, or other organic development. Yogurt that has strange activity on its surface should be thrown away.

·         Change in texture. Because of the large amount of water on top, and the remainder is clumpy rather than slick, you know it’s not going to turn out well.

·         Aromatic. Look for stale or sour notes in your yogurt before eating it.

·         Off-putting. Your yogurt is beyond its prime if it doesn’t taste right, even though it looks and smells OK.

If your unopened yogurt has been in the fridge for more than a week or if your half-opened yogurt has been sitting in the fridge for more than a week beyond the date on the label, throw it out. If you left it out in the open overnight, you’d have the same problem.

Cutting your losses and avoiding foodborne disease is preferable in both cases. Not to worry if the yogurt has some liquid on top. It’s whey that’s separated, and you can add it back in with a spoon. The method is completely safe and natural.

Other FAQs about Yogurt that you may be interested in.

Does Yogurt go bad?

Can you get sick from eating expired yogurt?

How long can yogurt stay out of the fridge?

Can you freeze Greek yogurt?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How long is yogurt good?” and discussed how to store yogurt.

References

  1. Salvador, A., and S. M. Fiszman. Textural and sensory characteristics of whole and skimmed flavored set-type yogurt during long storage. J dairy Sci, 2004, 87, 4033-4041.
  2. Citta, Anna, et al. Oxidative changes in lipids, proteins, and antioxidants in yogurt during the shelf life. Food sci nutr, 2017, 5, 1079-1087.
  3. Routray, Winny, and Hari N. Mishra. Scientific and technical aspects of yogurt aroma and taste: a review. Comprehen Rev Food Sci Food Safe, 2011, 10, 208-220.
  4. Kim, Sung-han, 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.
  5. Dolevska, Sara, et al. Monitoring the quality of yogurt during storage. GEA (Geo Eco-Eco Agro) International Conference, Montenegro, 2020, 96-99.

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.