In 2020, the United States consumed more than 4.5 billion pounds of yogurt. That’s a whole lot of yogurt, right? It’s safe to say that yogurt is a pretty popular food item in the United States. Since it’s so tasty and has so many health benefits, it’s not hard to see why. This particular dairy product is produced by fermenting milk with yogurt culture. It contains protein and calcium, and it may help to maintain healthy gut microbes.
The health advantages of yogurt range from preventing osteoporosis to alleviating irritable bowel syndrome and improving digestion, although they vary depending on the type of yogurt ingested. Some types of yogurt have a lot of added sugar, which can greatly reduce the health benefits. So, for the maximum health benefit, it’s best to eat yogurt that’s high in protein, calcium, vitamins, and live culture.
But, unfortunately, yogurt is perishable. So, what do you do if you have too much yogurt and you can’t eat all of it? Can you freeze yogurt? Yes, you can freeze leftover yogurt. However, there are many things you should consider before you freeze it.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about freezing yogurt.
The Quick Answer – Can Yogurt Be Frozen?
Yes (at least the short answer), yogurt can certainly be frozen. But, it should only be frozen if there aren’t any other options and there are quite a few things you should keep in mind before you freeze it. However, while I will go through the negatives of freezing yogurt, it’s certainly better to freeze it than have it go to waste.
The slightly longer answer is – it depends.
This is because of what happens when you freeze yogurt and what type of yogurt it is. I will go over what happens when you freeze yogurt a bit later, but a slight spoiler – it isn’t super great.
However, I only say “it depends” because it really depends on how you plan on using yogurt after it’s been frozen.
If you plan on eating the yogurt plain, it’s best to not freeze it. However, if you plan on mixing it into another dish (or a smoothie perhaps?) then it isn’t such a big deal if you freeze yogurt.
The Difference Between Freezing Yogurt and Frozen Yogurt
If you’re reading and wondering, “Hey, what about frozen yogurt? How can that freeze perfectly fine?” Well, it’s because there is a significant difference between frozen yogurt and freezing yogurt (regular or Greek).
Frozen yogurt is similar to cream and ice cream. If you freeze yogurt you will technically have “frozen yogurt”, but it certainly won’t be the “fro-yo” that you’ll be expecting. Unfortunately, making ice cream and “fro-yo” is a bit more complex than just freezing cream or yogurt. If only it was that easy, right? But, like making ice cream, the process of making frozen yogurt is also a bit more complex and requires a few more ingredients and steps.
Specifically, the process is actually quite similar to making ice cream. The complexity of making frozen yogurt can depend on the recipe. Some frozen yogurt recipes require using many different ingredients as well as an ice cream maker. While other recipes call for only a few other ingredients and no ice cream maker.
But, no matter what recipe you choose, there are going to be a few more ingredients and extra steps to take if you want to make “fro-yo”.
What Happens When You Freeze Yogurt?
So, after teasing you with the effects of freezing yogurt earlier, let’s get into what actually happens when you freeze yogurt. The quick version is, if you freeze many types of yogurt, it will turn into a big, frozen block of yogurt. And once you defrost it, it will become quite separated. There will be a chunky mixture of protein solids and a grainy liquid. It doesn’t look very nice either. If you’ve frozen kefir or buttermilk, it’s a very similar texture. In summary, there are three significant changes that yogurt goes through after it’s been frozen: taste, texture, and consistency.
One of the most important benefits of yogurt is the beneficial bacteria, also known as probiotics, that reside inside it and make your stomach their home once you consume it. This bacterium is extremely beneficial to your health, but it is also responsible for the subtle tang or sourness of the yogurt. This taste is enhanced by freezing. Many people enjoy it, especially if you prefer fermented items like kefir, but it might be a surprise to others who are used to their yogurt tasting more like a dessert.
Since yogurt is a dairy product, when it is frozen, the fat and water separate. Instead of being silky smooth as it thaws, your yogurt will have a bit more grit to it, giving a somewhat gritty feeling.
Lastly, when it comes to the consistency of yogurt that’s been frozen, it will likely vary as the water and milk separate during the freezing process. You can re-thaw your yogurt by properly mixing it, but it will always be thinner and somewhat more liquid than it was before it was frozen.
While it may seem quite grim imagining this chunky liquidy mess, it shouldn’t totally deter you from freezing yogurt, there is a bit of hope. You can help bring it back to life by stirring it heavily after it’s been defrosted. Additionally, if you use it in cooking, smoothies, or other dishes where it’s fully incorporated, you won’t really notice the changes in the taste, texture, and consistency.
How To Freeze Yogurt
Now that you know what happens to yogurt when you freeze it, you’re ready to make the educated decision to freeze the yogurt, or not. So, if you’re keen to freeze it, let’s check out how you actually do it, shall we?
Somewhat surprisingly, there are six ways that you can freeze yogurt: in an airtight container, in an ice tray, on a baking tray, in the original container, using popsicle molds, or using clay pots. Each way has its own benefits depending on what you plan on using the yogurt for after it’s been defrosted.
Using Clay Pots
This is a classic method for making and storing yogurt. Clay pots feature microscopic holes on their surface that enable moisture to pass through, keeping the pot cool. This permits the yogurt to cool, which is necessary for storing.
You may put yogurt in the clay pot and freeze it for a few days. This will not only assist you in storing Greek yogurt, but it will also assist you in retaining flavor.
Using Greek yogurt, you may make your own handmade popsicles. This enables you to keep yogurt for longer than two weeks. All you have to do is pour the yogurt into popsicle molds (or little plastic cups if you don’t have them) and place them in the freezer.
In the Original Container
This is definitely the most convenient way if you haven’t opened up the yogurt yet. You don’t have to worry about moving unopened Greek yogurt. All you have to do is simply place the container in the freezer as is.
If you have opened the yogurt, ensure sure it is properly sealed and transferred to another container.
In an Airtight Container
The simplest way to store yogurt that’s been opened is in the freezer is in an airtight container. Make sure the container is tightly sealed so that no air may enter it.
Allowing the yogurt to come into touch with air may hasten bacterial development, which will absorb the flavor and impair the taste.
On a Baking Tray
This doesn’t seem like the most practical or best solution, but if you’re freezing Greek yogurt for more than a month then it works well. It’s best for Greek yogurt because it needs to hold its shape when you place it on the tray. If it’s too liquidy then it will just be a big mess.
To freeze the yogurt on a tray, follow the procedures below:
- First, you’ll need a tray, parchment paper, and a cookie sheet to begin. Place a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper on to a larger tray.
- Next, using an ice cream scooper or a spoon, scoop the yogurt onto the paper. Make careful to allow room between each portion of yogurt while arranging it.
- After that, place the tray in the freezer. Make sure it’s on a flat surface so the yogurt doesn’t spill.
- Then, place it in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to firm up.
- Once the yogurt has frozen, place it in an airtight container that’s been labeled and place it back in the freezer.
In an Ice Cube Tray
If you want to use Greek yogurt in a smoothie, this is perhaps the best and easiest method to freeze it. All you have to do is pour the yogurt into the ice cube tray and allow it to freeze for a few hours before adding the frozen yogurt cubes to your smoothie or transferring it to a freezer-safe bag!
To ensure that the yogurt cubes survive longer and don’t suffer freezer burn, cover the ice cube tray with saran wrap or transfer them to a freezer-safe airtight container.
How Long Does Yogurt Last in the Freeze?
Usually, yogurt lasts about 3-4 months in the freezer.
How to Defrost Yogurt After Freezing
The only way you should defrost yogurt is by leaving it in the fridge overnight. Don’t leave it sitting at room temperature. This allows bacteria to grow.
Can You Refreeze Yogurt?
No, you should definitely not refreeze defrosted yogurt. This is for two reasons.
One, the quality will suffer. And two, harmful bacteria may be able to propagate if you refreeze it.
When it comes to the quality, it’s pretty common knowledge, especially if you’ve read some of our other articles, that refreezing food generally has a negative impact on the taste and texture. And this is particularly true for yogurt and other foods that don’t freeze particularly well. So, if the taste and texture already change drastically after freezing it once, you certainly don’t want to do it a second time!
Uses for Yogurt After Freezing
I have already mentioned a few, but you can use yogurt that’s been frozen in a variety of ways, but it should be incorporated into a dish, and not eaten by itself due to the changes. Some of my favorite uses are:
- Making a salad dressing.
- Adding to a smoothie
- Use it in baking muffins.
- Adding to an enchilada sauce
Can You Freeze Yogurt Starter?
Yes, you can also freeze yogurt starter. It’s a great way to prevent it from going bad. Check out our full guide to freezing yogurt starter here.