Food & Drink

Does Yogurt Expire?

Published on February 29, 2024 | 0 Comments
yogurt with fruit and cereal on a wooden background

Have you ever wondered: "Does yogurt expire?" If you’re a fan of those delicious little cups, jars and tubs found in the grocery store’s refrigerated section, you've probably pondered this question a time or two. Yes, it's scandalous to think that something so yummy could go uneaten long enough to potentially expire. However, these little cups can easily get hidden behind larger jars of orange juice, milk and other items, as we've all experienced.

A culinary jack-of-all-trades, yogurt is surprisingly versatile in the kitchen and makes a great staple to have around. Yogurt can be added to smoothies, eaten for breakfast on the go or used in recipes for bread, sauces, dips (tzatziki), cheesecake and Indian recipes such as chicken tikka masala and mango lassi.

From the traditional yogurt we’re all familiar with to Greek, French, coconut, Icelandic and more, you’ll find lots of choices in the yogurt section. The varieties are differentiated by things like how it’s cultured, whether it’s strained or unstrained and even by the number of times it’s strained. Regardless of all that, the one thing all yogurt has in common is that it’s made through a process of adding cultures to a milk base, which can go bad quite quickly. To learn a little more about the shelf life of this food and find out if yogurt expires, keep reading for our helpful guide.


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Can Yogurt Go Bad?

If you’re curious and wondering — "Can yogurt go bad?" — the answer is yes. While yogurt does have a relatively long expiration date, it can eventually go bad due to added sugars, fruit and the fact that it’s made with dairy products. Mold, yeast and bacteria can quickly take over, causing the yogurt to spoil.

Close up of fresh yogurt in a bowl on color background
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Does Yogurt Expire if Not Opened?

If you're pondering whether yogurt will expire if left unopened, the answer is yes. Even if stored in its sealed container and left unopened, yogurt will still expire over time due to factors like the natural degradation of its ingredients and the growth of bacteria, eventually leading to spoilage. So, if you're wondering: "Does yogurt expire?" the answer remains the same regardless of whether it's opened or unopened.

Does Greek Yogurt Expire?

Greek yogurt does have an expiration date and is made with the same base ingredients as any other type of yogurt. It’s best to follow the same protocols with Greek yogurt as with other types of yogurt, such as keeping it in the fridge and adhering to the printed expiration date.

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Does Yogurt Expire if Frozen?

If you're concerned about whether yogurt expires, freezing it is an excellent way to increase its lifespan. According to the USDA, frozen yogurt lasts for up to two months. However, frozen yogurt will eventually expire just like refrigerated yogurt.

How Long Does Yogurt Last After the Expiration Date?

You may be curious and questioning how long yogurt will last after the expiration date has passed. While yogurt may still taste fine after the expiration date has passed, it’s best to err on the side of caution and toss it. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends eating yogurt within one to two weeks of the purchase date (as long as it has been refrigerated).

You may be intrested to learn: does yogurt expire?
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How Long Does Greek Yogurt Last After the Expiration Date?

As with traditional yogurt, Greek yogurt may taste fine after the expiration date has passed. However, it’s always best to be safe and throw it away. According to Healthline, Greek yogurt actually uses more milk due to the straining process, making it equally important to adhere to the expiration date when dealing with questions concerning yogurt expiring.

How To Tell if Yogurt Has Gone Bad

If yogurt has gone bad, it will have changes in consistency, smell and taste. The biggest indicator of expired yogurt is the smell. Just like milk, you’ll recognize the sour smell of bad yogurt, which is a prime answer to questioning if yogurt has expired. You may be tempted to toss expired yogurt in with the rest of your composting. That is not recommended. Milk-based products, like yogurt, are likely to attract pests, so throw them in the regular trash once gone bad.

A bowl of yogurt topped with granola and berries
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What Does Expired Yogurt Look Like?

When wondering: "Does yogurt expire?" the next thing after smell that you’ll want to check is what it looks like. The consistency of yogurt gone bad will change. Fresh yogurt should have a smooth texture. If it’s gone off, it will have more clumping or curdling, like milk that has gone bad. It may have strange colors due to mold, bacteria or yeast and there may be more liquid than normal. All of these observations are reasons to throw out the yogurt, alleviating worries about whether yogurt expires or not.

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Can You Eat Expired Yogurt?

To answer the question: "Can you eat expired yogurt past the expiration date?" the answer is no. If you do eat expired yogurt, you run the risk of acquiring a food-borne illness with symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

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Can You Eat Expired Greek Yogurt?

While questioning: "Does yogurt expire?" you might also be wondering if Greek yogurt applies to the same rules. As with other types of yogurt, you should not eat expired Greek yogurt and be sure to throw it away once the expiration date has passed.

How To Store Yogurt Safely

All types of yogurt, whether opened or unopened, should be stored in the refrigerator at a temperature below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria grows quickly at room temperature, especially if the yogurt contains fruit and added sugars. If it's left unrefrigerated for more than two hours, it's best to get rid of it to ease any worries. As mentioned, you can also freeze yogurt to extend its shelf life a little.

Plastic cups with yogurt in refrigerator
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Does Freezing Yogurt Extend the Expiration Date?

If you’ve snagged an awesome deal on yogurt, don’t risk having it all go bad before you’re able to eat it. Stick it in the freezer when concerned about yogurt expiring?’ The shelf life goes up to one to two months when yogurt is frozen. It is also a delicious treat to eat frozen! Remember to account for thaw time if you’re planning to use it in a recipe.

A bowl of pink frozen yogurt next to a spoon, small milk jugs and fruit
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The next time you’re wondering: "Does yogurt expire?" remember these tips. Considering the versatility of yogurt, it’s an excellent staple to store in the fridge for recipes, snacking and on-the-go convenience. But, like anything, the negative aspects of eating expired yogurt outweigh any of the costs and consequences of becoming sick. Enjoy all the various flavors, combinations and varieties of yogurt, but if it’s expired, toss it out.

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