Yogurt is already full of bacteria so it should be fine if it’s left out, right? Wrong! Yogurt is full of good bacteria but like any perishable food, it can quickly start to grow bad bacteria when it is left out for too long.
So, how long can yogurt sit out?
Whether you like greek yogurt or whole milk yogurt, you want to make sure to put it into the fridge when you get home from the store. Never leave it sitting out for more than 2 hours.
Time isn’t the only important factor when deciding if your yogurt was left out too long. The temperature it is left out in is very important also.
The USDA says that yogurt sitting out between 40 degrees and 90 degrees can technically sit out for no more than 2 hours and still be safe to eat. 90 degrees or warmer is a different story.
If the environment is really hot then you want to make sure it is put away within an hour of taking it out of the fridge. Otherwise, it is advised to not consume it and that you throw it away.
If yogurt sits out over the recommended time frames then bacteria really starts to grow to the point that it can make you sick or even give you food poisoning.
The best practice is to try and put it back into the refrigerator as soon as you are done with it.
How to tell if yogurt is spoiled
A great indicator that your yogurt has spoiled is the liquid on top. You have probably noticed that when you open a container of yogurt there is liquid on top. This is called whey.
If your yogurt has gone bad, you will notice a larger amount of liquid on top than normal. That is one of the most obvious signs.
A few tell-tell signs that your yogurt has spoiled are…
- It is out of date
- Mold growing on the top
- Curdling, which is usually toward the bottom
- More than usual liquid at the top
- Sour smell or taste