How to Tell if Yogurt Went Bad: Spoiled or Safe?

Yogurt is one of the most popular dairy products consumed worldwide. It is loaded with probiotics, protein, and calcium, which helps in maintaining a healthy digestive system. While yogurt has several potential health benefits, it is essential to recognize the signs of expired or bad yogurt. Unidentified long-term storage of yogurt, leaving it unopened for a long time, or not storing it in the appropriate temperature can cause the yogurt to spoil. Here is how you can tell whether your yogurt is safe to consume or has gone bad.

Identify the Expiration Date

The expiration date is the first indication of whether the yogurt is safe to consume. Typically, dairy products like yogurt have a shelf life of two to three weeks. You can find the expiration date on the container or packaging. Check to see if the yogurt has crossed the expiration date. If it has, disposal of the yogurt should be the safest option.

Look for Signs of Mold

Mold formation on the surface of the yogurt is another clear sign that it has gone bad. It is essential to understand the difference between the natural lactic acid bacteria and molds. Typically, Lactic acid bacteria present in the yogurt causes the yogurt to thicken and produce a sour taste, which is safe to consume. But molds form as a fuzzy layer on the top of the yogurt, which is white or green, which indicates the presence of harmful bacteria and is unsafe to consume.

Check for an Off Smell

An off smell is the third common indicator that the yogurt has gone bad. A natural yoghurt will have a slightly sour smell, similar to that of freshly baked bread. However, if the yogurt smells rotten, sour, or like ammonia, it is an indication that it has expired or gone bad.

Observe the Consistency of the Yogurt

The consistency of the yogurt is also a key indicator of its quality. If the yogurt appears watery or has visible separation, it has gone off. However, it is common for liquid to form at the top of an unopened yogurt container, which can be drained away as it does not represent the quality of the yogurt inside.

Check for an Off Taste

The taste of a freshly opened natural yogurt is slightly tangy, creamy, and acidic. But if it tastes abnormally bitter, sour or rancid, it is a clear indication that the yogurt has gone bad.

Pay Attention to the Color

The color of natural yogurt is white or slight yellowish due to the presence of natural cream or added preservatives. If the color of the yogurt appears different, with patches of different colors, or looks unnatural, the yogurt has expired or gone bad.

Storage Tip: Wrap the Container in a Clean Cloth

To increase the lifetime of yogurt and other dairy products, it is essential to store the container at the right temperature, preferably in the fridge. Also, it is advised to avoid storing the yogurt container near food with strong smells. Moreover, covering the container with a clean cloth can help prevent unwanted mold growth on the surface.

Why Should You Not Consume Expired Yogurt?

Expired or spoiled yogurt can cause a myriad of health-related risks. Consuming expired yogurt can cause food poisoning, gastrointestinal distress, and several bacterial infections. The stomach flu, salmonella, and E. Coli are just a few of the bacterial infections that can cause considerable harm to the human body.

What Can You Do with Spoiled Yogurt?

If you have determined that your yogurt is unfit for consumption, rather than throwing it away, you can still use it for other purposes. Spoiled yogurt can be used as a natural face or hair mask, soil fertilizer, or even to make some varieties of cheese.


Detecting whether the yogurt has gone bad is crucial to prevent adverse health risks. The key indicators of spoiled yoghurt include identifying the expiration date, checking for mold formation, observing the consistency and taste, and paying attention to the color. To enjoy the full benefits of natural yogurt, it is pivotal to ensure that the yogurt is appropriately stored at the right temperature.



Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I consume yogurt after the expiration date? It is not recommended to consume yogurt after the expiration date due to the presence of harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning or bacterial infections.
  • Does the presence of liquid on top of the yogurt mean it has gone off? No, it is normal for liquid to form at the top of an unopened yogurt container. The liquid can be drained away as it does not represent the quality of the yogurt inside.
  • What are the side effects of consuming expired yogurt? Consuming expired yogurt can cause food poisoning, gastrointestinal distress, and bacterial infections such as salmonella, E. Coli, and stomach flu.

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