How to Tell if Greek Yogurt is Bad 

 December 1, 2020

By  Diane Miles

Yogurt is one of those common household items that you come across in a dairy store or your refrigerator. As you know, Greek yogurt is a derivative of milk that is created through a process of fermentation. And because of this reason, a common misconception is that since the yogurt is fermented and already has bacteria in it, it possibly can’t go bad.

Woman Thinking

It is true that Greek yogurt is packed with nutrients and contains active bacteria that are beneficial for our bodies. Greek yogurt is a great immunity booster and aids in heart diseases and indigestion.

The truth is that Greek yogurt can last a long time if one is following the proper storage methods. Its shelf life can be extended by deep refrigeration, but even that has its limits. So, you may have asked yourself how to tell if your Greek yogurt is turning bad. 

The simple and straightforward answer to this is that yes, of course, it can go bad. If regular yogurt can go bad, so can Greek yogurt. It is, after all, a food product and will go bad like any other if not stored properly.

Pouring Milk

But you have to remember that it is also a milk product and contains active bacteria. And the biggest enemy of most milk products is warmth and time. And where there is warmth and moisture, there is fungus, which will turn the Greek yogurt inedible pretty rapidly.

According to the United States Food and Drug Administration, yogurt can be frozen for up to two months and stored at 40 degrees Fahrenheit for up to two weeks. Remember that keeping it at room temperature will not do it any favors and accelerate its deterioration, like a normal food product. This is because the bacteria will only multiply at that temperature.

Hence, if you have packs of opened or unopened Greek yogurt, it is always a good idea to refrigerate them and not leave them lying around like that. Remember, in the end, it is just old milk.

Expiration Date

How to tell if Greek yogurt is turning bad? A quick look at the expiry date on the product will give you a fair idea. And there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding expiry dates and not just in the case of Greek yogurt.

Food Jars

Interestingly, Greek yogurt is known to outlive the expiration date printed on the package by the manufacturer. Most Greek yogurt will survive two more weeks than the given expiry date if it is stored properly.

So for example, if the expiry date says July 20, 2019, on a packet of Greek yogurt, it will last until August 3, 2019, if it is refrigerated properly and consistently. Following this date, the Greek yogurt will start going bad gradually.

There are some other factors which will also determine how long the Greek yogurt will last while it is in storage. These can be factors such as:

  • Is the Greek yogurt mixed with any flavors or fruit?
  • Before storing, was the container open or sealed shut?
  • Where is the container kept in the refrigerator? Is it kept directly under the fridge light?

Common sense tells us that unflavored Greek yogurt will last longer than its flavored cousins because of the lack of added ingredients such as fruits or sugar. Also, an opened pack which has been stored carelessly over or under a stack of other food products will dramatically reduce its life. Opened packs should always be kept in the freezer in an airtight container or re-sealed foil, to increase their life.

How else can you tell if Greek yogurt is going bad? 

Sniff and Tell

This is the first indication and an obvious one. Most times, you can also look at the Greek yogurt and tell if it has gone bad or is on its way to be.

Does it have a weird odor? Is it smelling different or more pungent than normal? Is the smell so rancid that it makes your head reel? Then we suggest you introduce it to the trash can immediately.

If it doesn’t smell edible, it is not edible, and it is true in this case.

Do You See Mold?

Well, this is rather self-explanatory. No one likes mold, and certainly not in their food. But sometimes it is not visible on the surface, and you only realize it once you have a mouthful and get a very unpleasant surprise.

If you are suspicious about the Greek yogurt in the refrigerator, there are a few tell-tale signs. You can immediately tell that by the color; if it has black spots or has turned green, you should throw the Greek yogurt in the trash and not even attempt to taste it.

Moldy Bread

Do You See Water?

This is a very visual sign which will be apparent as soon as you open the lid up. Do you see a little watery substance on the surface rim? Note that a little liquid on top is normal, and all you need to do is stir it a bit to mix with the yogurt. If the amount of watery substance is copious, you need to bin the Greek yogurt.

Taste It

If you don’t see any of the above symptoms, maybe you are worrying too much. But still, if the Greek yogurt has been in the refrigerator for a long time, tasting a thimbleful won’t be bad for your health.

If it is too sour or even the slightest bit of bitter, just throw it out. This is the fastest way if someone asks you how to tell if your Greek yogurt is turning bad.

What Happens If I Eat Bad Greek Yogurt?

Tasting it is a different thing, but consuming more than a few teaspoons of bad Greek yogurt can cause you some discomfort. A lot of people are not bothered about expiration dates, maybe simply because the product is still somewhat edible, or if it is not showing any signs of going bad.

Here are some symptoms that may occur if you happen to consume bad Greek yogurt.

Stomach Cramps

These symptoms may start showing after a few hours to 24 hours of consuming bad Greek yogurt. There could even be a delay of a few days, depending on how far gone the Greek yogurt was. So, if you are experiencing stomach cramps immediately or a few hours after consuming it, Greek yogurt is probably the cause for it.

Don’t wait around for it to subside though, if it gets worse, you should see a medical practitioner immediately.

Stomach Pain


The consumption of certain products that are way past their expiry date (Greek yogurt including) can lead to dehydration, weakness and vomiting. This would make you lose a lot of fluids and cause dehydration, so you should consult a doctor immediately if these signs occur.


If you have had food poisoning, diarrhea is the first symptom. This is usually a clear sign that the Greek yogurt you consumed had toxins and the body is vigorously trying to get rid of them. Diarrhea can cause severe dehydration, so you should act accordingly and consume a lot of liquids.

You should, of course, consult your doctor if the symptoms persist for more than three days.

I Don’t Want to Throw out My Greek Yogurt Yet

If you are sure your Greek yogurt is going to go bad but you still want to make the best of it, here are a few things you can still do with it.

Rubbish Bin
  • You can use a portion of the Greek yogurt to use as a salad dressing instead of mayonnaise. You can use a lot of iceberg lettuce to give the salad a crunchy feel.
  • Are you fond of cake mixes? You can use some Greek yogurt in place of oil. It will taste great if you are using chocolate!
  • Use the Greek yogurt as a smoothie! Throw in a choice of fruits with the yogurt in a blender and enjoy a delicious smoothie.
  • You can use the remaining Greek yogurt as a face mask. It works as an excellent moisturizer.
  • Greek yogurt works wonders on pimples as well. Mix some of it with honey and lemon, and apply as a pimple cream for a few weeks. Bye-bye pimples!
  • Thanks to its antibacterial properties, you can use Greek yogurt on your suntan for healthier, lighter skin.
  • Use Greek yogurt as a conditioner for your hair. Apply it generously on your scalp, leave it for about five minutes and rinse. Greek yogurt removes dead cells and promotes new, healthier skin.
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