Is It Ok to Eat Yogurt After the Expiration Date? 

 June 30, 2023

By  Diane Miles

While some people can easily go through a tub of yogurt in a day or two, others tend to find themselves with a few containers that are already past its prime. Because of that, many people wonder if it’s safe to eat yogurt after its expiration date.

You can eat yogurt 1-3 weeks after its expiration or best-by date if it’s been refrigerated. If yogurt has already been opened but has been refrigerated, it’s safe to eat it a week after expiration. If you notice a sour smell, excess liquid, or mold, then it’s no longer safe to eat.

There are many other things to understand when it comes to the expiration date of yogurt. Continue reading below to learn more.

Is It Safe to Eat Yogurt After the Expiration Date?

Yogurt is one of the world’s most popular dairy products.

It’s made by using live bacteria to ferment milk, and since milk is its primary ingredient, yogurt is perishable which is why manufacturers indicate an expiration date on these packages. The good news is that you can eat yogurt up to 3 weeks past its best-by date especially if you refrigerate it as soon as it’s purchased, which is the most efficient way to extend the shelf life of yogurt. However, if yogurt has already been opened, you can still eat it a week after its expiration date if it’s refrigerated in a tightly sealed container that would keep out contaminants and moisture.

Remember that not all yogurt is created equal, and its ingredients have a lot to do with how safe it is to eat past its expiration date.

Here’s a guide to other common types of yogurt and how long after you can eat it after the best-by date, provided it hasn’t been opened and has been refrigerated:

  • Yogurt with fruit: Up to 10 days
  • Greek yogurt: Up to 2 weeks
  • Frozen yogurt: Up to 3 months (in the freezer)

Most types of yogurt, once opened, can safely be eaten up 5 days to a week past the expiration date if it has been stored properly. Having said that, it isn’t safe to eat yogurt that expired a month ago.

While these are general guidelines that you can follow, you can use your senses to determine if yogurt has gone bad. Here are some signs that you should look out for that indicate yogurt should no longer be consumed:

  1. 1
    Smell: Spoiled yogurt gives off a rancid or unusually sour odor that can put you off at first sniff. In some cases, the yogurt is only starting to go bad though it’s still edible so the smell isn’t as strong. However, when yogurt has been rendered inedible, your nose will let you know.
  2. 2
    Mold: Black, green, or blue spots on the surface are an indicator of mold, which tends to set in quicker if yogurt contains fruit.
  3. 3
    Separation of liquid: Liquid tends to sit on the surface of yogurt especially if it’s been open for a few days or if it’s about to go bad. The liquid is actually whey, and in most cases it’s safe to eat yogurt with it especially if its yogurt made from all-natural ingredients as opposed to preservatives – just give it a good stir. But in the case of liquid separation, you may still be able to eat it if it’s only been a few days past its use-by date, though if it’s already been a month, it’s best to toss it out.
  4. 4
    Curdling: Yogurt should be smooth, creamy, and soft. If it’s curdled, or has a texture similar to that of cottage cheese, that means it’s gone bad. You can tell simply by scooping yogurt into a spoon and tipping the spoon downward.
  5. 5
    Taste: Last but not least, you can always taste a small bit of the yogurt yourself. If it’s sour or tastes bad, it’s time to discard it.

Now if you’re wondering what happens when you eat expired yogurt, you can expect a pretty upset digestive system. Though the symptoms won’t be the same for everyone, most people experience diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, and vomiting, one or some of which can be accompanied by a fever. These can manifest anywhere from immediately to a few hours or even days after eating expired yogurt.

So if you’ve eaten expired yogurt, Greek or otherwise, whether accidentally or because you’re trying to avoid food waste, the best thing to do is to drink a lot of water and electrolytes. Persistent diarrhea and vomiting can lead to electrolyte imbalance, dehydration, and weakness. If it continues, seek medical advice.

Optimum Storage Conditions For Yogurt

There are certain things you can do to ensure that yogurt is kept in optimal conditions that will extend its shelf life:

  • Yogurt should always be refrigerated at or below 40F.
  • Once opened, keep it in an air-tight container.
  • Store the yogurt in the refrigerator shelf as opposed to the door. Refrigerator doors have a warmer temperature than the shelves because of the temperature fluctuation that occurs from opening and closing it, which would compromise the yogurt’s freshness and quality.
  • If you buy a large tub of yogurt that you don’t intend to finish in one sitting, transfer one serving into a bowl using a clean spoon. Dirty spoons, or returning uneaten portions into its container, will only speed up spoilage.
  • Freezing yogurt is possible because it can extend its shelf life to a month past its use-by date, but it will affect flavor and texture.

With these in mind, you now know if you it’s safe to eat the tub of expired yogurt you have at home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do with expired yogurt?

When yogurt expires, it may not be delicious to eat any longer though it’s still considered safe to consume or use in other ways.

You can still make use of yogurt for 2-3 weeks after its expiry date as long as it doesn’t have any mold or excess liquid forming on the top.

Here’s what you can do with expired yogurt:

  1. 1
    Plain yogurt can be used in cake mix and coffee.
  2. 2Use it as a substitute for butter in baking.
  3. 3
    Marinate meat in it, since yogurt is effective in breaking down muscle fiber due to its calcium content.
  4. 4
    Make a yogurt-based dip.
  5. 5
    Make a salad dressing.

With these examples, there’s no reason to waste expired yogurt.

Can you use expired yogurt in hair?

Yogurt that has expired around 5 days past its use-by date is wonderful as a hair mask. Dilute some in water, and wash your hair in it as you would with a regular conditioner. Leave it on your scalp for 10 minutes, then rinse off.

However, if yogurt has a strong rancid or sour smell, or it’s already developed mold, don’t use it on your hair.

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