How Long Can Yogurt Sit Out: Learn How To Keep It Fresh

Yogurt is one thing that is common in many households, especially for people who are watching their weight. It is excellent not only because of its nutritional benefits, but also because it is a delicious treat. The latter, however, will only be the case if you consume it fresh. Once it has spoiled, however, it can be a risk in more ways than one.

How long can yogurt sit out? Until when can you leave it at room temperature? How can you make yogurt stay fresh for a longer time? If you are curious about the answers to these questions, keep on reading the rest of this post and we will let you know.

How Long Can Yogurt Sit Out

There are conflicting answers to this question. For convenience, however, we will suggest the data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. According to the latter, if you leave yogurt at a temperature that ranges from 41 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it should be discarded after two hours. This is also true for milk, sour cream, and other dairy products.

On the other hand, if the temperature is more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure to consume yogurt within an hour.

For homemade yogurt, meanwhile, it is best to not leave it at room temperature for more than half an hour. It naturally has no preservatives that can combat bacterial growth. To make homemade yogurt below is a short video that can help:

Proper Storage of Yogurt

It is important that you consider proper handling of yogurt to avoid it from going off. The first thing that you have to do is to not leave it exposed to room temperature for a time that is longer than two hours. Leaving it in the counter can speed up bacterial contamination.

If you plan to keep the yogurt for a long time, make sure that you do not open it until you are ready to use as desired. Once it is opened, it can be easily prone to penetration of external elements that could make it go off quickly.

Yogurt should be refrigerated. When it is kept in the fridge, it can last for up to three weeks. On the other hand, for longer storage, you can keep it in the freezer. With the latter, the shelf life can be extended to as much as two months.

How To Know If Yogurt Has Gone Bad

How To Know If Yogurt Has Gone Bad


If you do not know how long yogurt has been sitting at room temperature, pay attention to the different signs that it has spoiled. A quick visual inspection will let you know if you can still eat the yogurt or if you have to throw it away.

The first thing you should do is to watch out for the possible changes in the appearance of yogurt. If it has already past its prime, you will notice that there is more liquid on the top and it is no longer as consistent. Also, the color can be darker that the usual. Bubbles can form on the surface. At its worst, mold can also appear.

Do not be afraid to do a quick taste test of yogurt. Naturally, yogurt will taste sour. If it has gone bad, on the other hand, it will be rancid or sourer than the normal. It will have a very strong foul taste and the odor as well may be too much for your nose to tolerate.

It is too bad, however, that not all signs of spoilage can be detected by the naked eye. For instance, E. coli and salmonella can be present in yogurt as it thrives in an acidic environment. They can cause food poisoning. Unlike molds, they cannot be easily visible.

Health Risks of Eating Spoiled Sugar

Why would you even bother knowing how long can yogurt sit out? Well, this is to make sure that the yogurt is fresh as it is consumed and to prevent suffering from health problems.

Among others, one that you will often experience is diarrhea, which is an indication that you are probably suffering from a food-borne illness. This should be a significant concern because based on the statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of six people suffer from food-borne illness once in a year.

Aside from excessive stool, it is also likely that you will end up vomiting after eating yogurt that has already gone bad. If you have been vomiting for a long time, you need to seek medical attention. Otherwise, this can lead to weakness and dehydration, among others.

Another thing that can possibly happen would be abdominal cramps. However, like the other symptoms, do not expect that this will be apparent immediately after consuming yogurt that has already gone bad. It is possible that there is a delay in the negative reaction of the body.

Microbial contamination will result from letting yogurt sit out more than the recommended duration. It is a dairy product and at one point, it will perish. Pay attention to the signs mentioned above to know if you can still eat your yogurt or if you should discard it right there and then.


How long can yogurt sit out? What will happen if you eat yogurt that has already spoiled? What are the best ways to store yogurt? These things have been discussed in this post. If you need to be refreshed, here is a quick summary of the discussions above.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, yogurt can sit out for up to two hours if the temperature is between 41 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, if it is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, it can sit out only for an hour.
  • To prevent quick spoilage of yogurt, it would be best to not open the package unless it is ready to be consumed. Keep it in the fridge, or better yet, in the freezer, to make it last longer.
  • Signs of spoilage in yogurt include the appearance of mold, bubbles, and liquid. It may also end up being too clumpy and not as consistent as its original taste. The taste and smell can also be rancid.
  • Eating yogurt that has gone bad can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal cramps, among others. Remember, however, that there is a possible delay with the onset of bacteria, which is why the symptoms may not be apparent in an instant.

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