Can you freeze yogurt? Yogurt is a dairy product and has a short shelf-life relative many other food items. It can also be expensive, especially when you buy Greek yogurt. Ideally, most of us would probably like to eat our yogurt fresh. However, there are those circumstances where you just cannot eat it before it expires. You can freeze yogurt, however, in many cases the texture and sometimes the taste may be altered after it thaws.
How Freezing Affects Cottage Cheese
Let us start by saying that yogurt is by no means a food that manages well in the freezer. Dairy foods with high moisture like cottage cheese and yogurt are susceptible to the harsh environment of the freezer. When you freeze yogurt, the moisture inside the product turns to ice. The ice crystal wreak havoc on the original structure of yogurt causing separation of the curds and whey. In many cases, when you thaw yogurt you will have grainy and watery texture from this structure damage.
A bigger issue with freezing yogurt is potential freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when moisture escapes from the yogurt and evaporates in the cold freezer air. You may have seen freezer burn before on products like ice cream where moisture has transferred to the top and formed ice crystals. If you have ever consumed ice cream with freezer burn, you know how unpleasant the texture and taste can become. Similarly, freezer burned yogurt will become dehydrate and unpalatable to most. However, a freezer burned yogurt is still safe to eat if you choose to do so.
How To Freeze Yogurt
While we do not advise you to freeze yogurt, you can have some success if you limit the freezer exposure time. A change in the texture is to be expected, however, we notice no change in texture after two days of freezing yogurt. The longer yogurt sits in the freezer, the great chance for texture changes and possibly freezer burn. The recommendation is to freeze yogurt no longer than three months. Here are some tips on freezing yogurt:
- Be sure the yogurt is in an airtight container which allows room for expansion. The original plastic container (if unopened) or Tupperware work well. An airtight container is important to deter freezer burn and to avoid contamination or outside odors leaking into the product.
- If the original container is opened, it is recommended to place the container in a plastic freezer bag for extra protection. Stir the yogurt first to remove unevenness.
- It is recommended to freeze yogurt no longer than three months. The sooner it can be consumed, the better.
- It is advised to test freeze a small batch before bulk freezing yogurt. Not everyone is pleased with thawed yogurt.
Yogurt should always be thawed in the refrigerator. A room temperature thaw is not recommended because bacteria can rapidly begin to form at temperatures above 40 °F over the lengthy thawing period. You should consume the yogurt within two days of thaw.
As mentioned earlier, the texture of yogurt will likely be impacted upon thaw. You will likely notice separation with clumpy, grainy, and/or watery areas. You can give the yogurt a good stir and test a small amount to see if the taste is Okay for you. Many people will use thawed yogurt in a smoothie or recipe where other ingredients can hide the texture issues.
If You Freeze Yogurt Will It Become Frozen Yogurt?
It would be so cool if you could transform regular yogurt or Greek yogurt into a yummy frozen yogurt dessert. Unfortunately, yogurt turns into a big clump of ice when frozen. It essentially becomes a big yogurt ice cube making it almost impossible to scoop like the dessert frozen yogurt. However, it can be enjoyed as a Popsicle-type dessert when it slightly thaws. A common trick is to make ice cubes out yogurt in ice cube trays. You can transfer the cubes to an airtight freezer container as soon as they are frozen and use them as needed.
Can you freeze yogurt? You can freeze yogurt but do not expect the texture to remain the same. If you choose to freeze yogurt, the shorter time in the freezer, the less chance for freezer damage. Yogurt will last beyond the container printed date so there is not always a need to rush and freeze it before this date. Opt to eat yogurt fresh, if possible, and only freeze it when absolutely necessary.