How to preserve yogurt without refrigeration

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question, “how to preserve yogurt without refrigeration”, and discuss the different methods along with the benefits and implications of each method.

How to preserve yogurt without refrigeration

Yogurt can be preserved without refrigerating by :

  • Storing in an insulated container with an ice pack
  • Pre-freezing the storage containers
  • Freezing yogurt
  • Using shelf-stable yogurt

Yogurt will remain at room temperature only for about 2 hours. But what if you are a yogurt lover planning to go on a picnic? Will your yogurts spoil without refrigeration? Not if you preserve it properly. Let’s look at how to preserve yogurt without a fridge.

How to preserve yogurt in an insulated lunch container

Using an insulated lunch container is the easiest way to preserve yogurt. Insulated lunch containers maintain the temperature of the food for many hours. Thermos containers are a brand of insulated food containers that are great for storing both hot and cold food.

You can add an ice pack or an ice water bottle to the container to preserve the yogurt for a longer time. 

This is a simple yet effective way to preserve your yogurt without a fridge. But, you do need an ice pack or ice water bottles. So you need to have access to a fridge. You can also purchase an ice pack from a convenience store.

Just pack your yogurt into the insulated lunch container along with the ice pack or water bottle. You can use more than one bottle if needed. Keep in mind that the ice will eventually melt and there will lot of condensed water. 

This method will keep your yogurt fresh and cool for a few hours. 

How to pre-freeze the containers

This is also a good method to retain the freshness of yogurt for a few hours. Both insulated lunch containers and thermos containers can be frozen beforehand. This will help them to maintain the temperature better.

Simply place the container in the freezer overnight. Then place your yogurt and cool food items inside it. 

This method is also useful if you have access to a fridge and need your yogurt to stay cool for a few hours while you are traveling.

Freezing the yogurt beforehand

If you want to preserve your yogurt without a fridge, you can freeze it and then keep it at room temperature for a few hours. 

If you have access to a freezer but not a refrigerator, you can always freeze your yogurt

Yogurt does not freeze well and the texture of frozen yogurt is not appealing. Freezing yogurt has to be defrosted before eating. Defrosting will make the yogurt grainy and the smooth texture will be gone. Defrosting will also produce a lot of liquid on top of the yogurt. 

You can use frozen, defrosted yogurts in smoothies and shakes. Frozen yogurt can also be used in cooking and baking.

Using shelf-stable, retort packed yogurt

Retort-packed yogurt is completely shelf-stable. So you don’t have to refrigerate it. The downside is that very few yogurt brands are produced with retort packaging. An example of a retort-packed yogurt is GoGo Squeez Yogurt.

Unlike the other preservation methods, this technique does not require a freezer or ice. So if you don’t have access to a fridge or freezer, your best bet would be to buy shelf-stable yogurt. 

Shelf-stable yogurt is made by heating the yogurt to destroy the microorganisms. The yogurt is then packed into bags with all the air removed. 

It is shelf-stable for about…. .months and tastes just as good as traditional yogurt.

The only disadvantage of this method is that the yogurt loses some of its flavors when heated. Shelf-stable yogurt will always be less flavorful compared to traditional yogurt.

How to tell if yogurt has gone bad

Your yogurt has gone bad if you observe the following: 

  • A sour smell or taste: Just like milk, yogurt starts to turn sour when it is left out of the fridge for too long. If your yogurt tastes sour, do not eat it.
  • Moldy patches: If moldy patches are visible on the yogurt, discard it.
  • Bulging of the container. When yogurt is spoiling, the fermentation by the microorganisms will produce air 

The following signs do not indicate spoilage:

  • Liquid separation: If you observe a watery layer on top of the yogurt, it is normal. The liquid layer is whey protein and it is up to you to either discard it or mix it with the yogurt before eating. You can eat separated yogurt as long as it smells fine.


Other FAQs about Yogurt that you may be interested in.

Does Yogurt go bad?

Can you get sick from eating expired yogurt?

What can I substitute for yogurt?

How to know if yoghurt is spoiled


In this brief guide, we answered the question, “how to preserve yogurt without refrigeration”, and discussed the different methods along with the benefits and implications of each method. We also looked at how to identify if yogurt has gone bad.


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