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October 8

Can You Freeze Yogurt? Yes, Here’s How

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Yogurt is a nutritious and useful food to have for baking, smoothies, and sauces. If you can’t always keep it fresh, you might want to freeze yogurt as an additional resource. Yogurt can freeze if you follow some crucial steps for flavor preservation. 

Below we've outlined a complete guide to freezing yogurt the proper way.

Enjoy!


Should you Freeze Yogurt?


Is it Worth it?

Unopened, fresh yogurt will last about two weeks past its sell-by date.  Once you have broken the seal, you should not hope for more than a week of preservation. This makes it difficult to have on hand when get the spontaneous inspiration to make a new recipe. However, when properly frozen, yogurt will remain food safe for up to two months (according to the FDA) and retain its flavor and nutritional properties.

Flavor/Texture Changes

Much like other cultured dairy products, yogurt’s protein network will break down during freezing, rendering the texture irreversibly broken. This means that thawed yogurt from the freezer is not suitable for eating directly with a spoon because the structure will seem crumbly and inconsistent.

However, in baked goods and blended dishes, yogurt adds creaminess, acidity, and flavor; the texture is disguised or hidden in these applications, so a frozen (or thawed) yogurt is still very useful.  

How to Freeze Yogurt


The ideal way to freeze yogurt is in portion sizes that you are likely to use. Many people accomplish this with an ice cream scoop (A #20 scoop will portion out ¼ cup of yogurt). 

Scoop yogurt onto a cookie sheet covered in wax paper, then freeze until solid. Place frozen scoops into a sealed and dated plastic bag or another airtight container. Scoops can be used individually or as required for a recipe.

Some people prefer to freeze yogurt directly, believing this will keep the yogurt fresher in the unopened container. In fact, it probably will not. Because of its high water content, yogurt expands upon freezing when large ice crystals form. 

It will nearly always enlarge enough to split the plastic or foil seal underneath the lid, meaning the yogurt will oxidize and lose flavor quickly. Always keep yogurt in an airtight container in the freezer.  

How to Thaw Yogurt


In a smoothie or frozen dessert, there is no need to thaw the yogurt before using it. Add a frozen scoop or two directly to your blender, and enjoy the results.  

Similarly, yogurt used for thickening sauces or making creamed soups can often be added straight to the warm broth. Never add yogurt to hot liquid! Yogurt is high in protein, and it can curdle if boiled; always keep yogurt-containing soups and sauces below boiling temperature.  

If you intend to bake with the yogurt, it must thaw first. Simply place your frozen scoop or scoops in a bowl and allow them to defrost overnight in the fridge. 

Uses for Frozen Yogurt


Yogurt from your freezer is ideal for blended applications such as smoothies. It can also be added directly, in the frozen state, to soups, sauces, and gravies.  

You should also feel comfortable using it for any recipe in which it will be well-mixed after it has thawed. This includes baked goods like breads or cakes, ice cream and popsicles, or other recipes that involve a batter.  


Other Frequently Asked Questions 

How long can you freeze yogurt?.  

The FDA affirms that yogurt is food-safe in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Can you freeze greek yogurt?  

Yes. Any kind of yogurt is safe to freeze for up to 2 months.  Greek yogurt will not separate as much as other styles, but for best results, follow the advice above.  

Can you freeze yogurt cups?

The yogurt will often expand and burst out the top of the cup.  It is best to scoop the yogurt into a sealable container with room to expand and still remain sealed.

Can you freeze yogurt to make frozen yogurt?

If you simply place a tub of yogurt in the freezer, it will not become “frozen yogurt.” The food we know as “frozen yogurt” is a complex colloidal foam suspension of yogurt constituents, sugar, flavorings, and usually around 30-100% (by volume) of air pockets. 

To reach this state, it requires sustained gentle whipping and a specific temperature gradient to limit the size of the ice crystals. A tub of yogurt placed in the freezer will form large ice crystals, and it incorporates no sugar (or less sugar) and no air pockets because it has not been whipped. The two products are entirely different.  

Can you freeze yogurt for smoothies?

Certainly! Smoothies are one of the best uses for yogurt that has been frozen.

Can you freeze Yoplait yogurt? How about Chobani yogurt?

Definitely. Some brands will rupture more than others upon freezing because some contain more stabilizers or different water content. Either way, it does not indicate anything about the yogurt’s quality or nutritional value. As long as you follow the instructions above and use the freezer yogurt properly, you will be able to put any brand of yogurt to good use. 

In Conclusion


Yogurt is a common ingredient in its own right, but it is also a useful substitute for a number of other dairy products, from milk, to sour cream, to cheeses. Having some on hand could be a lifesaver for a quick weeknight recipe when you don’t feel like shopping!  

Freeze your yogurt according to the advice above, and you’ll never be without your kitchen’s most flexible ingredient.  

Cheers,

Caitlin 


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About the author

Caitlin is a Ph.D student and chocolate researcher at Colorado State University. Her research in the Food Science program focuses on chocolate fermentation (that’s right, it’s a fermented food!) and small-batch post-harvest processing techniques. When she is not acting in her capacity as resident chocolate guru, she researches other fermented foods and beverages like beer, sausage, and natto. Caitlin was drawn to fermented foods while living in rural Spain for six years, where she was exposed to traditional, time-honored practices of food preservation. At home, she practices Bollywood dance for fun and is followed everywhere by two small pet rabbits.

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