Home » 6 Tips For How to Tell if Yoghurt is Bad [Updated] 2023

6 Tips For How to Tell if Yoghurt is Bad [Updated] 2023

Yogurt is not just delicious but nutritious too. As it is made from live starter culture or lactic bacteria by fermenting the fresh milk, it does not get spoiled quickly. However, it does not mean that it cannot turn bad. How to tell if yogurt is bad – is a tricky question.

As it is already sour in taste, like most other perishable food, sourness is not the parameter that defines if yogurt is good to eat or not. Eating a bad yogurt can lead to foodborne illnesses such as diarrhea, vomiting, and even food position. 

Hence, it is crucial to understand if the yogurt is bad or good to go.  

How Does Yogurt Turn Bad?

The presence of bacteria in yogurt can turn it bad if the yogurt I not kept at the right temperature. The bacteria used to ferment the milk converts the milk sugar into lactic acid and solidifies it to make yogurt. Hence, these bacteria are added at a specific temperature to the pasteurized milk to act fast.

Therefore, different kinds of yogurts have different expiration dates.

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How to Tell if Yogurt is bad?

Depending on the type of yogurt you choose, the expiration and time it takes to turn bad varies. Here is how you can assess if the yogurt has become bad:

1.     By sniffing it

The smell of the yogurt turns foul when it turns bad. You will find a highly unpalatable smell or rotten smell. It will be similar to that of spoiled milk. At the beginning of yogurt going bad, the smell may not be acute foul. You may find it confusing whether you should consume it or not. But once, once the yogurt is entirely foul, it will be difficult to withstand with that smell, and you will realize that you must throw it away.

2.     Date of expiry

The date of expiration is calculated based on estimation. Hence, it is not a precise way to conclude if yogurt has turned bad. Sometimes, the yogurt is good even after its date of expiration. If yogurt is appropriately refrigerated, it is safe to consume after two weeks of its date of expiration. You should avoid buying yogurt which has crossed its date of expiration.

However, if you find one lying in your fridge, it is recommended to open it and check once before throwing it away finally. Check out the smell, and if there is any mold. If you find them fine, the yogurt is palatable.

3.     Give a whirl

The consistency of the yogurt tells a lot about it. A lumpy texture that cuddles at the bottom is an indication of yogurt turning bad. You can notice the watery consistency at the surface and unevenness like cottage cheese at the bottom. If the yogurt is missing smooth consistency with a creamy texture, it indicates that it has turned bad.

4.     Moulding

The fungus and mold erupt from the spoiled food and yogurt is not an exception. If you opened your yogurt container and found molds and mildew to be prevalent or even hiding at a specific corner, it means, you should throw away your yogurt. The color of the mold could vary from off-white to orange, green or even black.

5.     Shelf life

The shelf life of an unopened yogurt container is higher than an opened one. Hence, if you have broken the seal, it is essential to finish it off sooner. If you keep your yogurt in the fridge immediately after opening it, it may last up to a week.

6.     A shade card to help

A discoloration in the yogurt is a clear indication that the yogurt has turned bad. You need not sit with a shade card and match the exact color. A noticeable variation in color like the yellow liquid on the surface is a warning signal.

A word of Caution

Never think of removing the spoiled part of yogurt and eating away the rest. If a specific part of yogurt gives away the indication of turning bad, the other parts are likely to be affected and may not be visible to the naked eye. Hence, it would be best if you threw away the entire container.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to eat expired Yogurt?

Yogurt within 15 days of expiration day can be consumed safely provided it is refrigerated. The idea is the yogurt is made from spoiled milk, and two more weeks will not matter much. However, you should avoid eating yogurt, which is older than two weeks from the date of expiration as it can lead to severe health consequences.

How long can yogurt be out of the fridge without going bad?

You can safely keep the yogurt at room temperature for 2 hours. Any yogurt which remains at room temperature for more than 2 hours turns bad and is not safe for consumption. If the temperature of the room is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it is safe to consume within 1 hour at room temperature.

Is it bad to eat sour yogurt?

Sour yogurt is not good to eat. Regular yogurt is safe to be consumed within 2-3 weeks. If you find yogurt to be sour and curdling at the bottom, it is an indication that it has turned bad. The mold starts appearing in the yogurt when the live cultures and good bacteria die off. Throw away the moldy yogurt immediately.

Can yogurt make you sick?

There are no such side effects reported from the yogurt, and it is considered a healthy food option. However, if it is contaminated with the disease-causing bacteria, you may fall sick with its consumption. Always choose a yogurt that is prepared, stored, and appropriately refrigerated.

Can Yogurt cause food poisoning?

A molded yogurt in which the bacteria and live culture die-off can cause you food poisoning. Hence you must throw away the yogurt immediately if you find mold over the curd. As most dairy products over-stimulate the stomach, if you are already suffering from food poisoning, you should avoid them such as cheese, yogurt, and ice- cream as they may upset your stomach.

What happens when you eat bad yogurt?

Bad yogurt may lead to bacteria, which causes foodborne illness. You may not find a considerable difference in the flavor of the food containing such bacteria. Hence, if you find that yogurt is not refrigerated properly, the yogurt may turn bad even before its expiration. Therefore, it would be best if you avoided bad yogurt.

How long is yogurt good at room temp?

As per the US Department of Health & Human Services, you should consume yogurt within 2 hours when kept at room temperature. It turns rancid and acidic.

How long does yogurt last in the lunch box?

As mentioned earlier, yogurt at room temperature remains good to eat for 2 hours. So, once you remove the yogurt from the refrigerator and put it into your lunch box, you should eat it within 2 hours. If you are planning to use it after 2 hours, you should use an insulated bag or box which can maintain the refrigeration temperature for the first few hours.

Yogurt Expert Sonia Uvezian was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon. A renowned expert in Middle Eastern and Caucasian cooking and winner of a James Beard Award, she is the author of six other highly acclaimed cookbooks, such as Recipes and Remembrances From An Eastern Mediterranean Kitchen, Cooking from the Caucasus along with The Book of Yogurt.