How long after expiration date is Greek yogurt still good?

Greek yogurt has become a popular dairy product due to its thick, creamy texture and tangy flavor. It’s loaded with probiotics that support gut health and protein to help keep you full. But like any perishable food, Greek yogurt does have an expiration date.

What is the expiration date?

The expiration date, also called the “use by” date, indicates the last day a product is at its highest quality. The expiration date is determined by the manufacturer based on product testing under proper storage conditions.

Foods can be safely consumed after the expiration date, but quality slowly decreases over time. The expiration date does not indicate when a food will become hazardous to eat.

How to determine if expired Greek yogurt is still good

Here are some tips for evaluating if your Greek yogurt is still good quality beyond its expiration date:

  • Check the appearance. Discard Greek yogurt if there is visible mold.
  • Smell the yogurt. Fresh Greek yogurt has a pleasant, tangy smell. Discard yogurt with an off or sour odor.
  • Taste a small amount. Toss it if there are off flavors such as bitterness, sourness or chalkiness.
  • Note the texture. Fresh Greek yogurt is smooth and thick. Discard watery or lumpy yogurt.
  • Check the seal if it’s an unopened carton. Don’t consume if the foil safety seal has holes or is broken.
  • Be aware of temperature. Yogurt left out too long at room temperature breeds bacteria faster.

As a general guideline, unopened Greek yogurt should last 7-10 days past the printed date if refrigerated at 40°F or below. Opened Greek yogurt should be consumed within 5-7 days.

How long does Greek yogurt last past expiration?

The shelf life of Greek yogurt depends on various factors like the preparation method, ingredients, package date, storage temperature and container used. Here is how long Greek yogurt can generally last past its expiration date if properly stored:

Greek Yogurt Type Unopened After Opening
Plain Greek Yogurt 2 weeks 1 week
Flavored Greek Yogurt 1 week 3-5 days
Greek Yogurt with Fruit 5-7 days 3-4 days

Keep in mind that these timeframes assume refrigeration at 40°F or below. The longer Greek yogurt is stored past expiration, the higher the risk of spoilage.

Unopened Greek yogurt

Sealed Greek yogurt lasts longer than opened because there is less exposure to air, contaminants and bacteria. But quality still diminishes over time.

For best quality, try to use unopened Greek yogurt by the expiration date. After the date, yogurt is still generally safe to consume for an additional 1-2 weeks if refrigerated properly.

Discard unopened Greek yogurt if the package is damaged or bloated. Also toss out Greek yogurt if it has an off smell or appearance when you finally open it.

Opened Greek yogurt

Once opened, Greek yogurt has a shorter shelf life – about one week past its expiration date. This is because bacteria and fungi can contaminate the yogurt each time it’s exposed to air.

When dipping back into an opened container, always use clean utensils to avoid introducing new bacteria. Never let a spoon that touched your mouth go back into the yogurt.

You may notice some changes in the yogurt’s texture, taste and smell within a week after opening. The yogurt becomes more watery and tangy. When these signs appear, it’s time to throw it out.

How to store Greek yogurt to extend its shelf life

To get the most days out of your Greek yogurt, proper storage is key. Here are some tips for keeping Greek yogurt fresh longer:

  • Refrigerate below 40°F – Colder temperatures slow bacteria growth. Store yogurt in the back of the fridge, not the door.
  • Keep it sealed – If yogurt comes in a tub, press plastic wrap directly on the yogurt surface before sealing with the lid.
  • Avoid temperature fluctuations – Warming/cooling cycles accelerate spoilage.
  • Don’t mix new and old yogurt – Fresh yogurt gets contaminated this way.
  • Clean your fridge – Wipe spills that can harbor bacteria and lead to cross-contamination.

You can freeze Greek yogurt to extend its shelf life by several months. Thaw frozen yogurt overnight in the fridge before using.

What happens if you eat expired Greek yogurt?

Eating Greek yogurt a few days past its expiration is unlikely to cause food poisoning or illness. But the taste, texture and nutritional value takes a hit. Here’s what happens to Greek yogurt as it ages:

  • Live cultures start dying off, lowering the probiotic content.
  • Texture becomes more watery due to food enzymes breaking down proteins.
  • Tangy flavor becomes more sour and unpleasant.
  • Nutrients like vitamin B12 and calcium decline.
  • Potential for mold, though visible mold means yogurt should be discarded.

If Greek yogurt stays sealed and properly refrigerated, it is generally safe up to 2 weeks past expiration. But the eating experience rapidly deteriorates after the use by date.

On the other hand, Greek yogurt that is left out too long at room temperature is more prone to dangerous bacteria. Salmonella and E. coli can grow in expired dairy products not kept cold enough.

Signs of spoiled Greek yogurt

Although Greek yogurt lasts longer than regular yogurt, it will eventually spoil. Here are some signs Greek yogurt has spoiled and should be thrown out:

  • Sour smell
  • Mold on surface
  • Weepy, watery texture
  • Lumpy consistency
  • Pink, blue or green discoloration
  • Slimy feeling on the spoon

Consuming spoiled yogurt that contains pathogenic bacteria could potentially lead to food poisoning. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, headache and fever.

The bottom line

The expiration date on Greek yogurt isn’t an exact science. Although it’s optimized for peak freshness until the printed date, yogurt doesn’t immediately turn bad after. Thanks to its high probiotic content and low pH, Greek yogurt has a longer shelf life if stored properly.

For best taste and nutrition, try to eat Greek yogurt by the use by date. When kept sealed in the fridge, it gains an extra week or two of shelf life past expiration. Opened Greek yogurt is safe about 5-7 days past the sell-by date.

Be aware of any changes in appearance, texture and smell that signal it’s time to toss. Discard Greek yogurt that’s left out more than 2 hours or shows signs of spoilage. As long as it looks and smells normal, Greek yogurt slightly past its date won’t make you sick but may lose probiotic benefits.

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