How Long Can Yogurt Sit Out?

March 07, 2017

Life came along and interrupted your quality yogurt time. But has it been too long to safely enjoy that afternoon snack? How long can yogurt sit out?

There’s a simple rule to follow when it comes to yogurt and it happens to be the same amount of time that applies to milk, too. Here’s what you need to know:

Keep yogurt refrigerated after you bring it home from the store, and do not leave it at room temperature for longer than two hours or one hour if the temperature is 90 degrees F or above. If left unrefrigerated longer, bacteria can start to grow.

Here is additional information and tips to keep yogurt fresh:

  • Yogurt should be stored in the refrigerator below 40 degrees F. When stored properly, the shelf-life of yogurt is seven to 14 days. Storing longer than that allows molds, yeast and slow-growing bacteria to grow and spoil your yogurt.  
  • If left out of the refrigerator for two hours or less, yogurt can safely be put back in the refrigerator to eat at a later time. However, this will shorten its overall shelf-life.
  • If you plan to eat only part of a carton of yogurt, spoon out what you intend to eat into a separate dish and return the carton to the refrigerator.
  • Bacteria in unrefrigerated yogurt may grow more readily in yogurts with added sugar and fruit.
  • When making your own yogurt, use pasteurized milk. Cover and refrigerate the yogurt once it has thickened and reached the desired amount of acidity. It should keep about two weeks.

Following these guidelines can help keep yogurt as fresh as possible. You might want to check out our previous articles on this topic, How Long Can Cheese Sit Out? and How Long Can Milk Sit Out? For more information on food safety, visit FoodSafety.gov.

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