Can You Freeze Yogurt?
Does your local market run super specials on yogurt? The kind of sale you just cannot resist and so you fill the fridge with way too many single-serving containers or giant tubs and then, a week later, end up tossing some—or most—of that yogurt in the trash? Thankfully, there's a solution and it does not require the willpower to not buy the yogurt. Instead, freezing yogurt is a remarkably quick and easy method.
All yogurt—whether full-fat or nonfat, strained (like Greek or skyr), plain or swirled with fruit—can be frozen for up to two months. Technically, it's safe to eat long after that, but two months is really the limit when it comes to taste and texture. As with most foods, the longer yogurt is frozen, the more its quality will decline. Read on for how to freeze yogurt, the best way to thaw yogurt and tips for how to use your stash of frozen yogurt.
Four Ways to Freeze Yogurt
In the Original Container
The simplest, fastest way to freeze yogurt is to simply pop the original container in the freezer. While you can take this approach with larger tubs, it makes the most sense for single-serving containers, as you can then thaw only what you need.
Keep in mind that yogurt expands in the freezer, so the seal on the container may break. If you are concerned about freezer burn or want to keep out any freezer smells, place the individual container in a freezer bag before freezing.
Related: How to Prevent Freezer Burn
In a Freezer-Safe Container
Another option is to spoon yogurt into small freezer-safe containers (like these ones from Ziploc, buy them: Target, $3), which allows you to portion it according to how you plan to use it, so there's no waste. It also means you can leave a little room for the yogurt to expand. This method is particularly good for yogurt that has pieces of fruit or a layer of fruit, as it's best to stir the yogurt and fruit together before freezing—this will help the yogurt and fruit freeze evenly and means the fruit will be evenly distributed when the yogurt is thawed.
In an Ice Cube Tray
A similar technique is to spoon yogurt into ice cube trays for freezing. Allow the yogurt to freeze for several hours or overnight and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for long-term storage (you could also use Souper Cubes, which come with a lid, buy them: Williams Sonoma, $20 for a 1/2-cup tray). This method is ideal for smoothie making, as you can pop the frozen yogurt cubes directly in the blender with your other ingredients and quickly whip up a creamy, frothy treat.
A fourth method is to freeze yogurt in scoops, but this works best with thick Greek yogurt and makes the most sense if you purchase larger tubs. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper then use an ice cream scoop to portion and place the yogurt on the parchment. Freeze the scoops for several hours or overnight before moving them to a freezer bag for longer-term storage. You can even use a particular size ice cream scoop, so you know exactly how much yogurt is in each portion, which can save time if you plan to use the yogurt for baking, as it's one less ingredient to measure.
For all these freezer methods, avoid freezing yogurt for longer than two months. And to keep track, always label and date yogurt before freezing. This is a great rule of thumb when freezing any food, as it makes it easy to keep track of what you have and when you need to use it.
How to Thaw Yogurt
Regardless of how you freeze yogurt, there's only one way to thaw it and that is in the fridge, preferably overnight. Like many dairy items, yogurt will separate a bit when frozen, which can make it watery or grainy. This makes it essential to stir the thawed yogurt thoroughly before using. If it separates a lot, you can also blend yogurt in a food processor to bring back some of its smoothness. Once yogurt has been thawed, it cannot be refrozen.
How to Use Frozen Yogurt
Yogurt that has been frozen and thawed loses some of its creamy, smooth texture. In addition to textural changes, some yogurt tastes more tart after being frozen. While you can eat it by itself, try freezing a small amount first to see if you like it—you may prefer some brands or flavors to others. And remember that the longer yogurt is frozen, the more its taste and texture will suffer, so if you do want to enjoy it by the spoonful, limit how long you freeze it.
One way to enjoy frozen yogurt is by using it in recipes where it doesn't need to be thawed. Smoothies, including this simple Fruit & Yogurt Smoothie or this Spinach-Avocado Smoothie, are perfect. Smoothie bowls and shakes are also great.
If you do thaw the yogurt, use it in recipes where texture is less important. Focus on dishes that call for rich creaminess and tart tanginess, but don't need to be super smooth. Frozen yogurt can be used in marinades for fish or chicken—the yogurt helps tenderize the meat—or turn it into a creamy, flavorful salad dressing. As long as they're not meant to be super smooth, dips and spreads are another place to use thawed frozen yogurt.
Another excellent way to use previously frozen yogurt, especially yogurt that's been in the freezer for closer to two months, is in baked goods. Cakes, quick breads and muffins are your best options, but any recipe that includes yogurt in the batter—including pancakes and waffles—can be made with thawed frozen yogurt.
How to Eat Frozen Yogurt Frozen
While yogurt doesn't magically turn into the sweet and creamy dessert we know and love when we freeze it, some people do enjoy it straight from the freezer. You can just dig your spoon in, place popsicle sticks into single servings while freezing, or plan ahead. And, of course, using yogurt to actually make frozen yogurt is its own way of freezing yogurt and also quite simple.