A friend asked me recently if it is actually OK to freeze yoghurt, so I have put it to the test!
Did you get tempted by a deal you couldn’t pass up and bought too much yoghurt? The good news it won’t go to waste because you can pop it in the freezer just fine to use later.
I’ve had a lot of success freezing dairy products and even spiralized vegetables will freeze. Milk is absolutely fine to freeze and cheese is good too. I’ve found that even immature cheese like mozzarella and feta works perfectly fine.
Surely yoghurt would freeze just as well?
It turns out that yes you can freeze yoghurt and it is perfectly safe to eat it after it’s thawed. the probiotics don’t die, so it is just as healthy for you.
The one issue is the texture of yoghurt after you defrost it.
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The pros and cons of freezing yoghurt
Freezing makes the yoghurt last longer
An obvious one but freezing your yoghurt makes it last longer of course. Food waste is a big problem in today’s world. By freezing the food you can’t eat you avoid wasting it.
Once you defrost your yoghurt you should use it immediately and never refreeze it.
You can buy in bulk and save
There are some caveats to buying yoghurt in bulk for freezing but generally, it can be worth the saving especially if you plan to use your yoghurt in cooking.
Ready to use in baking and smoothies
When you need something creamy in your baking, cooking or smoothies, frozen yoghurt is perfect.
The texture and taste changes
When you defrost frozen yoghurt the texture and taste of the yoghurt can change.
Since yoghurt is basically a mixture of fat and water, the water tends to separate from the fat and it will lose its smoothness and will feel a bit grainy when consumed and not so appetizing.
The thicker the yoghurt and the least fat it has when you froze it the better the texture will be.
The taste can change too. The live bacteria that live in the yoghurt gives it an acidic taste. That acid taste is enhanced after it is defrosted and may not be so palatable.
It will be thinner
Some yoghurts will be thinner once you defrost it
Best used in baking
Due to the texture changes of some defrosted yoghurts, it is usually best to use it in baking, cooking and smoothies rather than on its own.
How to freeze yoghurt
Yoghurt is best frozen in its original packaging or an air-tight freezer-proof container.
If you do transfer your yoghurt, make sure you leave room at the top. The high water content of yoghurt causes it to expand when frozen.
Here are some methods to get your yoghurt frozen perfectly.
In icecube trays
Pour the yoghurt into icecube trays and then freeze for 2-4 hours. Transfer the cubes into a freezer bag.
In the original packaging
If you are going to be using all the yoghurt at once after defrosting it is perfectly fine to freeze it in the original packaging.
Transferred into a container
Transfer your yoghurt into a freezer-proof container. If you do this you can stack your frozen food much more easily and make better use of freezer space.
If your yoghurt is thick take an ice cream scoop and scoop out yoghurt onto some baking paper. Freeze for 2-4 hours and then transfer to a freezer bag.
In popsicle tubes
Make your own frozen yoghurt ice lollies for your kids with these silicone popsicle moulds.
How to thaw frozen yoghurt
It’s best to defrost your yoghurt in the fridge because that stops it from entering the ‘danger zone’ whereby the food reaches a temperature at which bacteria can thrive.
After defrosting, give your yoghurt a good stir to disperse the water plus any fruit in it.
If you are going to cook your yoghurt immediately in a dish such as soup or use it in a smoothie, it is perfectly fine to use from frozen. If you plan to do that it is best to freeze your yoghurt in icecube trays.
Which yoghurt is best for freezing? – Three yoghurts compared
So you don’t have to, I have done a test where I freeze an Activia (0% fat) yoghurt, a fat-free natural yoghurt from Lidl and an organic Yeo Valley whole yoghurt.
All three were frozen at the same time in the freezer until completely frozen. I then defrosted them in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
Here’s what I found.
Activia Gut Health (Cherry) (0% Fat)
The Activia yoghurt defrosted very well indeed. The texture was the same, possibly slightly grainy but not enough to make it unpalatable. The thickness and taste were the same as before I froze it. I call this a success.
Lidl Fat Free Natural
I didn’t freeze the whole carton because it was too big to waste if it didn’t work. But, there was no need, because this yoghurt remained thick and creamy when it was defrosted. I would be perfectly happy to eat this on its own.
Yeo Valley Organic Whole
The whole yoghurt from Yeo Valley did not look very appetizing at all when I defrosted it. The fat had separated and when I stirred it through it was thin and still had grains in it. I would not want to eat this on its own. It would be best reserved for cooking
I’ve given each brand a score of 1 to 5 (poorest to best) when compared to the fresh version of the yoghurt.
|Activia Gut Health (Cherry)||4||4||8|
|Lidl Fat-Free Natural||4||5||9 (winner)|
|Yeo Valley Organic Whole||1||4||5|
The test went much better than I thought it would. I found that the natural whole yoghurt did not freeze well at all, but the two fat-free yoghurts froze brilliantly.
I can conclude from this test that the more fat content the yoghurt has the least well it will freeze. The defrosted full-fat yoghurt is best saved to use in cooking.
Tips for bulk buying yoghurt
Are you looking to save money by buying your food in bulk? Then perhaps you have been tempted with a BOGOG deal, or something cheap in the ‘going out of date’ aisle.
Here are some things to consider before you go to the checkout.
Thick yoghurts freeze the best
If you want to enjoy your yoghurt straight out of the tub then remember thick is best.
Fresh is best
This is my rule of thumb when I freeze anything is to freeze it as fresh as possible because once it is defrosted you have more time to eat it before it goes off.
Thin yoghurt is best used in cooking
The thinner the yoghurt is when you freeze it the more watery it will become when you defrost it.
There are plenty of recipes that call for a bit of creaminess, such as soups, risottos, stews and curries. If you freeze your yoghurt in icecube trays you can dump a couple of cubes in straight from the freezer. This saves the waste of buying a carton of cream each week that you may or may not use.
How long does yoghurt last in the freezer?
Keep your yoghurt in the freezer for up to two months. After that, the food will degrade. If you are worried, always label your foods to be sure of the dates.
Does freezing yoghurt kill the probiotics?
Yoghurt is delicious eaten at any time of the day. You can add fruit, make overnight oats, add it to a smoothy, or use it to add creaminess to your cooking.
But, one of the best things about it is the bacteria which is known to be good for your health. Some cultured yoghurts have special live bugs in them called probiotics. Activia yoghurt is a popular brand that contains this live bacteria.
When I went to freeze my yoghurt my first thought was, ‘am I killing all the good stuff in this yoghurt?’
It turns at that freezing does not kill the probiotics. This study has shown that freezing does not kill bacteria food.
What about low-fat yoghurt?
Most yoghurt is low-fat these days. This is a shame because low-fat versions tend to have more sugar instead. The sugar is probably worse for you than the fat, which is another story of course.
As you saw from the test above, the lower the fat content the better it freezes. If you can find some low or fat-free yoghurt, it is a better option for freezing.