How Long Can Greek Yogurt Sit Out? 

 November 15, 2020

By  Diane Miles

Have you grown up in a household where everyone was extremely particular about checking the expiration dates before buying or consuming something? I have. But as I grew up, I met people who find it easy to disregard the expiration dates and are still alive!

Dairy Products in the Fridge

I slowly came to understand that for some food products, it is more important to understand when the food has gone bad, instead of blindly trusting the expiration date.

Dairy products are one of those edible items which come with plenty of directions and warning about storage and consumption on their labels. Greek yogurt is no different. You would find that it is advised to keep the yogurt refrigerated at all times before consumption. The usual expiration date of a cup of packaged Greek yogurt will be one or two weeks from its date of manufacturing.

How Long Can a Sealed Cup of Greek Yogurt Sit out before It Goes Bad?

To be honest, no one treats their groceries like their life depends on it. You will not be in ninja mode to make sure that all your perishable edibles are given the perfect environment for prolonged existence. You are bound to fumble a few times (or more), and that’s just human.

Friends Enjoying a Meal

So, if you end up leaving a cup of packaged Greek yogurt outside the refrigerator, you might be wondering how long can Greek yogurt sit out before it goes bad?

The label of the Greek yogurt expects you to be an ideal grocery manager and store the yogurt in its proper environment. It, hence, does not mention anything on the lines of how long can Greek yogurt sit out before it gets spoiled. But don’t worry, there are more people like you out there. Hence, there is enough proven data to provide you with an answer. 

Ideally, in room-temperature conditions of nearly 40 degrees Fahrenheit, Greek yogurt can stay unspoiled for up to two hours if left unrefrigerated. Within two hours, the unopened yogurt container can be placed back in the refrigerator. However, this shall reduce the life of the yogurt.

How Quickly Should an Open Cup of Greek Yogurt Be Consumed?

Again, if you take Greek yogurt out of the refrigerator, it is not going to last for more than two hours. So, if you’re wondering how long Greek yogurt can sit out, then it remains pretty much the same even in this situation. Let me share some pointers to give you a better idea.

Plate of Gyros
  • If you are a slow eater, do not take a huge serving of Greek yogurt out of the refrigerator at one go. Take smaller portions that you can consume within an hour or so. Why would you want to eat it warm in any case? Eek!
  • If you purchase large containers of Greek yogurt, take smaller portions out in a separate bowl for each meal. Let the container sit in the refrigerator as much as possible.
  • Once the container has been opened, do not leave it uncovered, even inside the refrigerator. Use a lid or cover fashioned out of foil. You can even transfer this into one of your own containers that has a lid. This will keep the Greek yogurt fresher for longer.
  • Instead of purchasing packaged Greek yogurt, DIY it at home as and when you want. This will eliminate the chances of having large amounts spoiled over a few days or weeks.

How Do You Tell If Greek Yogurt Has Gone Bad?

Why yogurt goes bad is no mystery if you know how it is made. The process of fermentation of milk gives us yogurt. Greek yogurt is further made by removing excess whey from the yogurt.

Best By Date

Any further bacterial activity in the yogurt slowly starts making it rancid. This gets aggravated if you provide the bacteria with a warm, unrefrigerated environment. If you have a funny feeling about the yogurt even when it is nowhere close to its expiration date, check for the following signs to see if it’s still edible.

  • The Greek yogurt should not have mold growth on it. Anything green or furry on it, time to throw it in the trash.
  • It should not have lost its consistency. Usually, when Greek yogurt goes bad, it turns watery along with lumps like cottage cheese.
  • The most common signal is the smell. If it smells rancid or tastes extremely sour, again, throw it out!


So, how long can Greek yogurt sit out? Not too long! One needs to be really careful about spoilage of such easily perishable items. Make sure you preserve your favorite Greek yogurt properly in a refrigerator. Also, beware of eating Greek yogurt that has gone bad. 

This simple awareness can save you the pain of abdominal cramps or a trip to the doctor. All said and done, take care of your Greek yogurt and enjoy having it with your meals daily for good health!

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