While you can freeze Greek yogurt, it does alter significantly through the freezing and thawing process.
You’ll notice that its consistency is no longer smooth, the liquids start to separate, and the yogurt takes on a grainy texture.
While you could eat it as is, it won’t be a pleasant experience, and there are different ways to use it where the difference in texture doesn’t actually make a difference.
For example, you can use it in cooking, baking, or in something like a smoothie.
So if you have too much Greek yogurt, freezing it is a viable and worthwhile option.
The Shelf Life Of Greek Yogurt
If unopened, Greek yogurt can last up to a fortnight in the fridge. Once opened, it could last just over a week.
This is fine if you eat a lot of fruit and want some yogurt to go with it, but what if you don’t eat that much yogurt?
Maybe you only use it once in a while, or a certain recipe called for Greek yogurt, and now you have too much left over.
But let’s look at what the food manufacturers recommend before we try anything.
What Manufacturers Say
Most manufacturers of Greek yogurt suggest that you shouldn’t freeze it. That’s not because the freezing and thawing process makes it unsafe to eat.
Both processes are quite harsh, and change the texture significantly in a way that the produce wasn’t designed to withstand.
After all, Greek yogurt is supposed to be creamy and smooth.
When you freeze Greek yogurt, the high water content that Greek yogurt has puts a spanner in the works.
The colder temperatures cause ice crystals to form in the water, causing it to draw away from the rest of the yogurt. This makes the structure of the yogurt itself pull apart and separate.
Can You Freeze Greek Yogurt?
You can freeze Greek yogurt (see also Can You Freeze Yogurt), but the results might not be exactly what you were hoping for.
When frozen, Greek yogurt loses its creamy texture, and will become more watery, much thinner, and parts of it will separate. It will look more like cheese than yogurt.
It’s safe to eat, but trying to eat it as is won’t be a very nice experience.
So it’s probably not best to try and use it with fresh fruit, for example. While you can stir the separated parts back into the yogurt, it will still have a grainy texture.
So both frozen Greek yogurt and its thawed version are best used in baking or cooking, where the texture becomes pretty much unnoticeable.
For example, you can incorporate frozen Greek yogurt into smoothies, as the grainy texture will be lost amidst all the goodness in the smoothie.
Should You Try To Eat Greek Yogurt Frozen?
No. Greek yogurt that you’ve frozen yourself will not act like ice cream, unfortunately. It freezes completely solid, so you’d have a hard time trying to dig a spoon into it.
To make anything that vaguely resembles ice cream yourself, you either need a stand mixer which has an ice cream maker attachment, or an ice cream maker.
That’s not to say that you can’t use Greek yogurt in its frozen form, though.
How To Use Frozen Greek Yogurt
The methods listed for using Greek yogurt straight from frozen only work if you’re freezing it for a relatively short amount of time.
If you want to freeze Greek yogurt for a longer period, you’ll need to defrost it when you come to use it. But we’ll get to that.
There are lots of different frozen yogurt recipes out there, and you can make an ice cream imitation, even if you don’t have an ice cream machine.
Put some fruit in a blender, along with the yogurt, and add heavy cream, crème fraîche (see also Can You Freeze Crème Fraîche), or cream cheese. Blend until combined, and then freeze it for about 2 hours.
You can also mix the frozen yogurt with fruit to eat it immediately, if you can stand the cold!
You can use frozen Greek yogurt in smoothies, too.
Freezing Greek Yogurt For Smoothies
When it comes to adding frozen Greek yogurt to smoothies, there are two methods. It entirely depends on how you like your smoothie as to which you might go for.
You can either freeze the yogurt into ice cube trays, and put the frozen cubes of yogurt straight into the smoothie for ice-cold deliciousness.
If you are someone who doesn’t like ice in their smoothies, you can freeze and defrost the yogurt as normal, and then decant it into the blender with any other ingredients you fancy.
How To Freeze Greek Yogurt
It will only take you about 5 minutes to prepare yogurt for the freezer, saving you some time and money in the long run.
The first thing you need to do is decide what you’ll use the yogurt for once it’s defrosted. This makes portioning a hell of a lot easier, defrosting will take less time, and you won’t have any food waste.
If in doubt, portion a few single servings, and then freeze the rest in bigger portions. Decant the yogurt as you need to into airtight containers, seal, and label. Freeze.
Simple, right? Depending on the size of your portions, the yogurt may take anywhere from 2 to 4 hours to freeze solid, and very big portions may need as long as overnight to defrost properly.
Can You Freeze Greek Yogurt In Its Original Packaging?
If the packaging is freezer safe, yes, you can freeze Greek yogurt in its original packaging.
You may need to replace the top of the container if it’s thin plastic, as this might not freeze well at all.
If it does pop open, it could cause the yogurt to explode all over the freezer, or you might find the yogurt is decimated by freezer burn.
If you have nothing to replace the top with, cover it with cling film and wrap it tightly. This is an added layer of protection against both.
Just keep in mind that you’ll have to defrost the lot at once, and you’ll have a relatively short amount of time in which to use the thawed Greek yogurt.
At least you won’t have to label the container, and because there’s a gap between the yogurt and the top of the cup, it shouldn’t burst, but that’s not to say that it is impossible.
Freezing Greek Yogurt In An Ice Cube Tray
Freezing Greek yogurt in an ice cube tray is a great way to preserve the yogurt for smoothies (see also ‘Can you Freeze Smoothies?‘) for later.
It also works well to freeze it into single portions, so you can keep the options open for when it comes time to decide what you want to use it for.
This also curbs the amount of time you’ll need to defrost the yogurt, saving you time later on for when you really need it.
Decant the Greek yogurt into an ice cube tray, leaving some room at the top for the yogurt to expand. Put the tray into the freezer, and leave them for at least 3 hours, until solid.
Take the tray out of the freezer, and put the yogurt cubes into a resealable freezer bag. This will help protect the yogurt from freezer burn, as well as saving valuable freezer space.
Squeeze any excess air from the freezer bag. Seal the bag, label it, and freeze.
But maybe the ice cube tray isn’t big enough. Maybe you’ve got a lot to freeze, and you still want to try and do it in small portions.
A muffin tin would work just as well, though you’ll have a harder time getting the yogurt out from the tin, but just use a fork to work it free.
Try to work fast, as you don’t want the yogurt to thaw too much. It won’t be very nice if you have to re-freeze it.
How Long Does Greek Yogurt Last In The Freezer?
Aim to use Greek yogurt that you’ve frozen within 3 months. This is a benchmark for when the quality of the Greek yogurt will start to noticeably degrade.
The longer you let the yogurt stay in the freezer, the more the flavor and texture will be affected once you thaw it.
Plus, you’re more likely to forget about it, in which case, maybe freezing it isn’t the best option.
How To Defrost Greek Yogurt
The only way to defrost frozen Greek yogurt is to immediately put it into the fridge, and let it defrost on its own.
This could take anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, or even overnight, if you have a very large amount of Greek yogurt to defrost.
The slower you defrost it, the gentler the thawing process, and the better the Greek yogurt will be once it’s thawed. You won’t stop the separation or the grainy texture, but you’ll reduce it to some degree.
Having said that, if you do need the Greek yogurt quicker, and the texture doesn’t matter, you can put the whole container in a bowl of tepid water into the fridge to speed up the process.
Just make sure the container is airtight and waterproof.
Once the Greek yogurt has fully defrosted, you’ll notice some liquid floating on the surface, as it will have separated a little.
You can either stir it to reincorporate it, or remove it with a teaspoon. If there’s a lot of separation, you might be better off removing the excess.
Once you’ve dealt with the separation, it’s ready to use however you see fit.
Can You Refreeze Greek Yogurt?
If you thawed the Greek yogurt in the fridge, yes, you can refreeze it. However, it isn’t advisable.
Remember the first time you freeze Greek yogurt, and then defrosted it? Remember its grainy texture, and watery consistency? It will be much worse the second time around.
Because freezing it once led to a drop in quality, this will happen again when you freeze it a second time, but it will be noticeably worse.
This is why you should portion the Greek yogurt before you freeze it, so you never end up with more yogurt than you can use at once. It’ll save you time as well as reducing food waste.
How To Use Defrosted Greek Yogurt
It’s worth repeating that frozen and thawed Greek yogurt works best in dishes where the texture of the yogurt doesn’t matter, namely in cooking or baking, or in smoothies.
You could use the thawed Greek yogurt in waffles, pancakes, cakes, scones, and other delicious bakes. The acidic flavor adds another level to these lovely treats.
If you’d prefer something savory, you can add a few tablespoons of Greek yogurt into soups, or on top of roasting veggies such as broccoli or sweet potatoes.
You can also add thawed Greek yogurt to chili or casseroles to balance out and compliment some of the flavors.
These are just a few examples, but the thawed yogurt should work in most dishes that you bake or cook.
For best results, go with a recipe you’re already familiar with. Something that you’ve made a few times.
That way, you’re already familiar with how the dish should look at each stage.
If the thawed yogurt changes the texture, you can adjust the ingredients to gain a new balance without off-setting the quality of the dish.
For example, if you’re using the Greek yogurt in waffles, and the thawed yogurt isn’t thick enough, you probably need to add more flour (see also Can You Freeze Flour?) to regain a balanced consistency.
If the adjustment technique doesn’t work for you, there’s something else you can try.
Mix It With Fresh Yogurt In Recipes
One of the easiest ways to use thawed yogurt is to use it alongside fresh yogurt. If you substitute some frozen yogurt for part of the fresh stuff, this will also help save the texture of the yogurt.
If a recipe calls for 2 cups of yogurt, for example, and you have half a defrosted cup, why not use both? Use the defrosted cup, and one and a half cups of fresh yogurt.
This is, of course, still best used in dishes that you cook or bake. You could, for example, add both to pancake batter, or a cake mixture, as both will change texture when they are ready.
This is also a good way to make sure you use Greek yogurt if you hadn’t planned ahead on what you were going to use it for, and also makes the fresh yogurt go further.
Freezing Greek yogurt is not without its drawbacks, but that’s not to say that it is useless when you thaw it, or that you shouldn’t freeze it at all. Far from it.
You just need to be a bit more selective in what you use the thawed Greek yogurt in. Avoid using the thawed Greek yogurt in a dish that requires a fresh form, like as a frosting.
Thawed Greek yogurt is best in dishes which need cooking or baking, and that way, the altered texture doesn’t matter.
Freezing Greek yogurt and saving it for a different date helps save money and prevent food waste, and means that you have Greek yogurt on hand for exactly when you want it.