In a nutshell: Yes, you can freeze yogurt to extend its shelf life, but it may have a slightly grainy texture once thawed, which can be improved by blending it well. Use frozen yogurt in smoothies and cooking for best results.
Besides being paired with fruit or granola for breakfast, yogurt is a versatile dairy ingredient used in sweet and savory applications. Yogurt can be used in baking recipes, desserts, salad dressings, as a meat marinade, dip, or simply enjoyed as a healthy snack with good nutritional benefits.
Although freezing most types of dairy is not generally recommended, yogurt can be frozen and preserved in the freezer for later use.
The texture will change a little during the freezing process, but there are still plenty of ways in which you can use fresh frozen yogurt to save money and food waste.
Here is everything you need to know when preserving yogurt in the freezer.
Can Yogurt Be Frozen?
So, can you freeze yogurt?
Yes, you can absolutely freeze yogurt to extend its shelf life. Since yogurt contains water and dairy fat components, it will split when frozen causing a grainy texture once thawed. This can easily be remedied by blending the yogurt well to reconstitute its smooth consistency.
Freezing fresh yogurt will, however, not result in the same sweet, creamy, and smooth product as store-bought ‘frozen yogurt’ dessert. This ice-cream-like frozen dessert contains additional ingredients and stabilizers with varying milk fat, sugar, and water ratios to that of natural fresh yogurt.
The best way to use yogurt that has been frozen is in smoothies and for baking and cooking. If you feel the yogurt is missing a little of it original creaminess, add a large dollop of cream cheese with the yogurt in your recipe for an effective quick fix.
How To Freeze Yogurt
There are two common ways to freeze yogurt. You can use the below methods to freeze regular yogurt, flavored, and vegan yogurt.
Method 1: Original Container
Step 1: Check Freshness
You can freeze yogurt directly in its store-bought container as long as it is still fresh and the vacuum seal has not been broken. If the yogurt is close to its expiration date, it will not freeze well and should rather be used straight away. If the tub has started to swell, the yogurt has likely gone sour.
Individual portion tubs freeze best, although large tubs can also be frozen. Keep in mind that if you freeze a large tub of yogurt, you will have to thaw and use the entire tub at one time. You won’t be able to scoop out the desired amount for one recipe and keep the rest frozen.
Step 2: Label
Label the unopened tubs of fresh yogurt with the date so you can keep track of how long it has been stored in the freezer.
Step 3: Freeze
Place the tubs in the freezer.
Method 2: Portioned
Step 1: Decant
If the yogurt has already been opened or is too large a tub for defrosting and using at one time, it is best to freeze it in smaller, separate portions.
Pour the leftover yogurt into an ice cube tray or into a silicone muffin baking tray. You can also add a little fruit such as strawberries to make a fruity dessert.
Top tip: If you don’t have a silicone tray, line metal muffin tray compartments with parchment paper so you can easily remove the frozen yogurt rounds once hard.
Step 2: Pre-freeze
Place the tray into the freezer for several hours until the yogurt has frozen completely.
Step 3: Pack
Remove the frozen yogurt from the ice cube tray or muffin tin and pack the pieces into resealable freezer bags or an airtight container.
This will protect the yogurt from further contact with air which will cause freezer burn and will prevent the absorption of surrounding odors. Press all the air out of the bags and seal.
Step 4: Label and Freeze
Label the freezer bag with the date and place it into the freezer.
How To Thaw Frozen Yogurt
To thaw yogurt, it should always be placed in the fridge overnight. Small portions will only take around two hours to defrost. Once defrosted, you will notice that the texture changes. The yogurt may split and the consistency will be a bit grainy. To fix this, simply give the thawed yogurt a vigorous whisk or spin in the food processor to reconstitute its creamy taste and texture.
You can use frozen yogurt ice cubes directly in smoothies with other ingredients. This adds a great creamy taste yet gives a cool and refreshingly icy consistency.
Types of Yogurt
Yogurt is produced by the bacterial fermentation of milk. Although cow milk is generally used for yogurt production due to its wide availability, yogurt can also be made from goat, sheep, and soy milk.
Depending on the fat ratios in the product, yogurt is available in full-cream, low-fat, and fat-free varieties and comes in a wide range of sweetened flavors from natural, vanilla, and peach, to strawberry, pineapple, and toffee.
Greek yogurt is traditionally known for its thick and creamy texture with no added flavorings.
Due to the water component of the dairy being strained off during production, and the lack of additional artificial ingredients, this plain whole yogurt is high in fat with less sugar and carbohydrates than the flavored varieties.
It has a natural, and slightly sour flavor which makes it ideal for use in savory and sweet dishes.
Although there may be some textural changes when freezing yogurt, it can still be used in many delicious ways. Freezing your favorite yogurt while it is still fresh is ideal for long term storage, saving you money and waste.
Freezing unopened individual mini-tubs from the store is a good way to keep the yogurt well preserved, free from contact with air, and perfectly portioned.
If you have too much yogurt left from a large tub, simply portion it into ice cube trays or silicone muffin tins for freezing. Just remember to keep the frozen yogurt portions in an airtight freezer safe container to prevent the absorption of surrounding odors.
Fresh yogurt that has been frozen can be used for baked goods, for cooking savory dishes, sauces, and salad dressings. If you have flavored yogurt, don’t hesitate to get creative and pour it into popsicle molds for fun way to make healthy frozen summer treats.
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