Frozen yogurt can last 2-3 months in the freezer if stored properly in an airtight container. The best by date on frozen yogurt is usually 3-6 months.
How Long Does Frozen Yogurt Last?
Properly stored frozen yogurt will maintain best quality for about 3-6 months, but will remain safe beyond that time. The freezer time shown is for best quality only – frozen yogurt that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
Does Frozen Yogurt Go Bad?
Frozen yogurt does go bad, but if stored properly, it can last a surprisingly long time in the freezer. As long as frozen yogurt remains frozen, it is safe to eat even after it has passed its best by date. Over time, the quality will slowly degrade, so it’s best to eat it within 3-6 months of purchase if you want the freshest, creamiest taste and texture. Once thawed, frozen yogurt should be eaten within a few days.
How to tell if Frozen Yogurt is Bad
Here are some signs that indicate your frozen yogurt has gone bad:
– Ice crystals or freezer burn on the surface
– Strange odor, color changes, or mold
– Liquid or thawed portions
– Off flavor like sourness or bitterness
– Grainy, icy, dried out texture
If your frozen yogurt shows any of these signs, it’s best to discard it. Freezer burn, mold, and thawing are all signs that quality has diminished. While still safe to eat in small portions if no mold is present, the flavor and texture will be much worse than fresh frozen yogurt.
Freezer burn can occur when yogurt is frozen for a long period of time. It appears as white ice crystals or specks on the surface, and is caused by moisture evaporating from the yogurt in areas that were not airtight. It affects the taste more than the safety. As long as mold hasn’t developed along with the freezer burn, the yogurt is still safe to eat but the quality is compromised.
How to Extend The Shelf Life
Frozen yogurt can last even longer than the times listed if you take steps to prevent freezer burn. Here are some tips:
Make sure yogurt is sealed in an airtight container or freezer bag with all air pressed out. This protects it from absorbing odors or moisture loss leading to freezer burn.
Freeze yogurt as fast as possible, ideally within 24 hours of purchasing. Quick freezing preserves freshness better.
Store yogurt consistently at 0°F or colder. Fluctuating freezer temperatures accelerate degradation.
Eat within recommended time
For highest quality and flavor, use frozen yogurt within 3-6 months. The longer it’s stored, the more the texture and taste will change.
Thawing and refreezing causes more damage to the yogurt’s cell structure. Keep yogurt frozen until ready to eat.
Following these tips can extend the freezer life of frozen yogurt to 9-12 months if you’re not overly concerned about losing a little smoothness and creaminess over time.
How to Store Frozen Yogurt
Storing frozen yogurt properly is important for maintaining quality and safety. Here are some storage guidelines:
Use freezer-safe packaging
The container material should be impermeable to moisture and cold temperatures. Good options are plastic containers, freezer bags, or foil. Avoid materials like waxed paper that allow freezer burn.
Press out all air before sealing to reduce ice crystal formation. You can use a freezer bag and squeeze out air or place plastic wrap directly on the surface before sealing a container.
Follow freezing guidelines
Freeze yogurt within 24 hours of purchase, and don’t thaw until ready to eat. Avoid letting it sit at room temperature before freezing.
Monitor freezer temperature
Ensure your freezer maintains a consistent temperature of 0°F or below. Use a refrigerator thermometer and adjust as needed.
Avoid temperature fluctuations
Prevent the yogurt from thawing and refreezing. This accelerates moisture loss and texture changes. Defrost freezer if ice buildup occurs.
Prevent spills and leaks by storing containers upright and away from freezer door. This keeps the yogurt coldest.
Use older yogurt first and move new purchases to the back. Follow “first-in, first-out” guidelines.
Check before eating
Inspect yogurt for ice crystals, dried out patches, or change in color/odor before consuming. This indicates diminished quality.
Following proper freezing protocol will help yogurt last as long as possible in the freezer.
What Happens When Frozen Yogurt Goes Bad?
Frozen yogurt that has spoiled will show some obvious signs that it is past its prime and may not be safe to eat. Here’s what to look for:
Spoiled frozen yogurt may have a lighter color or a dried out, icy texture. Mold growth is also a possibility. Discoloration, ice crystals, or visible mold are all indications frozen yogurt has gone bad.
Rancid or sour odors coming from the frozen yogurt are a major warning sign. Fresh frozen yogurt has a pleasant, mild dairy smell. Foul odors indicate microbial growth or chemical changes.
Spoiled frozen yogurt will simply not taste good. It may have a bitterness, sourness, or unpleasant acetone (chemical/solvent) flavor. Any unpleasant flavors mean the yogurt is past safe quality limits.
Frozen yogurt that has been stored at improper temperatures or thawed/refrozen can develop a mushy, soggy, or frosty crystallized texture. This shows the cell structure has broken down.
Illness after Eating
If eating spoiled frozen yogurt makes you sick, with symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, or stomach pain, it has gone very bad and may contain dangerous bacteria. Discard the yogurt.
When in doubt, remember the old adage “When frozen yogurt goes bad, it looks, smells, and tastes bad.” Rely on your senses and if anything seems off, play it safe and throw it out.
What Should You Do If You Eat Bad Frozen Yogurt?
If you accidentally eat frozen yogurt after it has spoiled, the safest thing to do is monitor yourself for any adverse symptoms. Here are some steps to take:
– Discard any remaining yogurt so others don’t accidentally eat it.
– Note when you ate the yogurt and approximately how much for reference.
– Document any symptoms you experience in the following hours/days. Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea indicate food poisoning.
– Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration if symptoms like diarrhea occur.
– Call your doctor if severe symptoms last more than a day or if you have a fever, bloody stool, disorientation, or signs of infection.
– List any ingredients you recall, as contaminants or allergens may be factors.
– Rest and take over-the-counter medicine if you experience minor stomach upset.
The elderly, infants, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible to complications from foodborne illness. Seek medical care promptly if you fall into a high-risk group.
If in doubt, call your doctor or a poison control center for instructions. Provide details about the expired yogurt and your symptoms. In most healthy adults, minor sickness should resolve on its own within a day or two. Monitor your condition and call 911 for any severe symptoms. With prompt attention, you should make a full recovery.
How to Safely Handle and Prepare Frozen Yogurt
Proper handling while storing, thawing, and eating frozen yogurt reduces your risk of foodborne illness. Follow these safe preparation tips:
Purchase pasteurized products
Only buy frozen yogurt and mix-ins made with pasteurized milk. This kills potential pathogens. Avoid unpasteurized products.
Check expiration dates
Don’t purchase or eat frozen yogurt past its printed expiration or “best by” date. Follow any “use within X days of opening” instructions.
Make sure containers are properly sealed with no signs of tampering. Discard yogurt with broken safety seals.
Wash hands and surfaces
Wash hands for 20 seconds with soap before and after handling frozen yogurt. Sanitize counters, utensils, and serving dishes too.
Keep yogurt frozen
Never thaw yogurt on the counter or let sit longer than 2 hours during preparation. Thaw in the fridge instead.
Use different utensils and surfaces for raw ingredients vs. ready-to-eat toppings. Never reuse bowls or spoons after tasting.
Discard as instructed
Throw away frozen yogurt if left at room temperature more than 2 hours. When in doubt, throw it out!
Following basic food safety practices when handling frozen yogurt prevents many risks of foodborne illness. Take care when storing, thawing, and serving.
Shelf Life of Thawed Frozen Yogurt
Once thawed, frozen yogurt has a much shorter shelf life and needs to be eaten quickly before harmful bacteria can multiply. Here’s how long thawed yogurt lasts:
Thawed in Fridge:
– Up to 1 week past printed date
– 3-4 days if no date available
Thawed on Counter:
– Discard after sitting out 2+ hours
– 1-2 days if kept refrigerated immediately after
The sooner frozen yogurt is refrozen or consumed after thawing, the better quality it will retain. For food safety, thawed yogurt should be discarded if left at room temperature longer than 2 hours.
Tips for Refreezing Thawed Yogurt
Thawed yogurt can be safely refrozen but may suffer some texture and flavor loss. For best results:
– Only refreeze yogurt thawed in fridge, not on counter
– Freeze within 1-2 days of thawing
– Avoid refreezing more than once
– Use within 2 months for best quality
– Mix in fresh yogurt after thawing if refreezing; improves texture
Refreezing leads to more ice crystals and separation, so thawed frozen yogurt is better consumed immediately. But it can be refrozen once if done properly. Follow basic food safety practices when handling and storing thawed yogurt.
Common Frozen Yogurt Shelf Life Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about how long frozen yogurt stays fresh and safe to eat:
How long does homemade frozen yogurt last in the freezer?
Homemade frozen yogurt lasts 1-2 months in the freezer. The higher fat content means it doesn’t keep quite as long as commercial low-fat yogurt.
Do frozen yogurt cups expire?
Prepackaged frozen yogurt cups last 2-3 months in the freezer past any printed “best by” or expiration date. Discard if you see ice crystals, freezer burn, or changes in color/texture.
Can you eat frozen yogurt after expiration date?
It’s generally safe to eat frozen yogurt past expiration, as long as it has been stored constantly frozen. Quality slowly declines after the expiration date but it remains edible for another 3-6 months, if properly frozen.
Why does frozen yogurt get icy?
Temperature fluctuations in the freezer cause yogurt to partly thaw/refreeze, leading to larger ice crystals. Storing at unstable temps accelerates this process. Keep yogurt at 0°F.
Is pink frozen yogurt safe to eat?
Pink discoloration in frozen yogurt is usually just oxidation of the milk proteins and is harmless. However, if accompanied by an off smell or mold, discard to be safe.
Can I freeze yogurt twice?
It’s not recommended to thaw and refreeze yogurt more than once, as texture quality declines. If necessary, mix some fresh yogurt in when refreezing to improve outcome.
Following proper storage methods and looking for signs of spoilage are the best ways to determine if your frozen yogurt has expired. Use yogurt frozen past its date within 6 months and enjoy it before the flavor and texture fade.
Frozen yogurt can keep well in the freezer for 2-3 months past any printed expiration date if stored properly, extending its shelf life. Look for signs of freezer burn, thawing, mold growth, or texture/odor changes to determine if it is still fresh. Handling frozen yogurt safely and freezing for no longer than 3-6 months will give you the best quality and taste. Storing yogurt at constant 0°F temperatures in an airtight container helps prevent deterioration. While frozen yogurt can technically last indefinitely if kept frozen, for ideal flavor and texture it is best consumed within 3-6 months of purchase. Follow the safety tips provided to help your yogurt last as long as possible.