Find out if it’s still safe to eat yogurt after the expiration date. Plus, learn how to tell if yogurt has gone bad with four helpful indicators.

From savory recipes like Red Lentil Fritters with Ginger-Yogurt Sauce to sweet bites like Strawberry-Chocolate Greek Yogurt Bark, yogurt is a tasty ingredient to keep on hand. While there are unlimited uses for it in the kitchen, yogurt does have a limited shelf life. The Department of Agriculture recommends storing yogurt for up to two weeks in the refrigerator—but is it still OK to eat yogurt beyond its expiration date? Read on to find out, and learn how to determine if yogurt has gone bad.

How Long Is Yogurt Good for After the Expiration Date?

Generally, yogurt may be good for up to two weeks after its expiration date. However, the date you're reading on the yogurt container probably isn't an expiration date, but a "Best If Used By/Before" or "Use-By" date. Federal law only requires product dating on infant formula, but manufacturers typically add these dates to other products for consumers' sake. A "Best if Used By/Before" date indicates when a product will have the best flavor and quality, while a "Use-By" date is the last recommended date to use the product while it's still at its best. So if the yogurt container is still in your fridge after the stamped date, you don't need to automatically throw it out. Instead, check to see if the yogurt has gone bad first before potentially consuming it.

How to Tell If Yogurt Has Gone Bad


Similar to milk, you can do a quick smell check to see if yogurt has gone bad. If yogurt smells sour or rancid, it's best to throw it out. Just be aware that some types of yogurt, especially plain yogurt, may have a light tangy scent. If you're unsure if your yogurt is OK, it's best to stay on the safe side and toss it. You can also look for the other indicators of spoilage below.

yogurt on a designed background
Credit: Getty Images


Another way to judge if yogurt has gone bad is by examining the texture. Yogurt is supposed to be smooth and creamy, so if you open the container and notice it has curdled, it's time to toss it. You'll know yogurt has curdled if there are lumps or curds in the product.


When you open a container of yogurt, it's natural to see some liquid at the surface. You may have thought it was water, but it's actually whey, a natural byproduct of milk. It's normal for some whey to appear, especially after a container has been opened. However, if you open a container to find an excess amount of liquid, it's best to skip eating the yogurt, especially if you're noticing other indications of spoilage.

Visual Appearance

The final way to check if yogurt has gone bad is by doing a visual assessment. If you open a container and notice mold on the yogurt's surface, it's no longer safe to eat. While yogurt is technically made with bacteria, the dairy product can still develop harmful bacteria that can lead to illness.

The Bottom Line

While it is safe to eat yogurt after its "Best if Used By/Before" or "Use-By" date, be sure to check that it's still fresh before consuming it. If your container of yogurt has any signs of spoilage, like a rancid smell or curdled texture, it's best to toss it out. For more on yogurt, learn how to freeze yogurt and how long yogurt can sit out at room temperature.