Can You Freeze Yogurt and Eat It Like Ice Cream?


The popularity of frozen yogurt has exploded in recent years—you might have even found yourself wondering if you can move yogurt from your fridge to your freezer and turn it into delicious fro-yo.

You can freeze yogurt and eat it like ice cream right out of the container, but the texture and flavor will not match traditional frozen yogurt. Luckily, it’s easy to make your own frozen yogurt dessert by adding fat and sugar, which will bring it to the consistency and flavor you’re familiar with.

This article will explore the reasons why freezing your yogurt isn’t the most effective way to make a frozen yogurt dessert. We’ll also present a guide on how to quickly and easily create your own frozen yogurt from scratch that’ll be closer to the traditional fro-yo you’d find at your local ice cream parlor.

Yogurt’s Water Content Will Affect Freezing

While yogurt is known for being full of healthy fats and probiotics, it also contains a high water content. It’s this water that will drastically change the texture and consistency of your yogurt if you put it in the freezer to harden.

You may find your yogurt difficult or even impossible to eat frozen using this method, as it’ll be a solid block of ice. Allowing it to thaw partially results in a grainy texture from the ice crystals formed during the freezing process. 

You can stir it to bring it back to normal consistency, although you might find it a bit thinner than before. Additionally, freezing enhances the tart flavor typical of the live bacteria inside yogurt, and the taste may not appeal to everyone.

Straining Water Can Improve Freezing

One solution to the issue of water content is to strain the yogurt. You can separate the yogurt’s water content overnight using a cheesecloth and then supplement it with a fat such as heavy cream. Adding sugar will improve the flavor and consistency, reducing the amount of ice crystals formed by the water content within the yogurt. Freezing this will result in something similar to traditional frozen yogurt, but this process is tedious and time-consuming.

Try Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt will freeze more effectively than traditional yogurt. This is because greek yogurt has a higher fat content, which adds a rich texture and creaminess needed to match conventional frozen yogurt. You may find you need to add sugar here, as Greek yogurt is even more tart than regular yogurt.

Consider Freezing Leftover Yogurt To Use Later

While directly freezing yogurt isn’t effective in making a frozen dessert, it can still be used in cooking and baking—so consider freezing old or leftover yogurt to extend its life for use in future recipes.

How To Make Traditional Frozen Yogurt

Everyone has found themselves craving a cold treat on a hot summer’s day. Ice cream usually does the trick, but what if you don’t have any around? You might need to go to a grocery store or ice cream shop. What’s more, it can be expensive and unhealthy.

The good news is that making a more traditional frozen yogurt dessert is fairly straightforward. It typically requires the use of an ice cream maker, but if you don’t have one, you can also use a powerful blender. 

Here’s how to make traditional frozen yogurt:

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

First, you’ll need to acquire the following ingredients: 

4 Cups High-Fat Yogurt

To minimize the effects of the water content in the yogurt, you’ll want one with the highest amount of fat. If it’s not too tart for you, greek yogurt is recommended—you can increase the sugar a bit to cut down on the bitterness if it’s an issue. 

You can also use whole-milk yogurt, which has a high enough fat content to be effective in this recipe. Avoid low-fat or fat-free yogurts, as their water content is too high.

½ Cup Cream or Alternative

Even with yogurt with high-fat content, it is necessary to add another fatty substance further to enhance the frozen yogurt’s flavor and texture and ensure that the water does not create ice crystals within the yogurt. 

You can use heavy cream, cream cheese, mascarpone, or anything else with at least a 30% fat content. Alternatively, you can skip the cream and instead add a spoonful of corn syrup, preventing ice crystals and cutting back on fat content.

¾ Cup Sugar or Sweetener

Finally, you’ll need a sweetener—sugar works best here, but other sweeteners work well too. Maple syrup or honey will add a richer flavor, while plain white sugar will enhance the natural flavor of the yogurt. Keep in mind: freezing will mute the flavors of the yogurt, so even if it is already sweet, you’ll want to add in just a bit of sugar to balance out the effects of the freezer.

Additionally, sugar plays another integral role in improving the frozen yogurt. In cooking, adding sugar to a substance decreases the freezing point—the temperature at which a liquid freezes into a solid. According to the Exploratorium, the exact freezing point will depend on the amount of sugar added. It must also be blended and evenly distributed throughout the yogurt. Frozen desserts typically freeze at temperatures ranging from 26.6 to 29.5 degrees fahrenheit.

Decreasing the freezing point reduces the amount of ice crystals that form during the process and improves the consistency to something more similar to a store-bought frozen yogurt.

Other Ingredients (Optional)

You can further enhance the flavor of your homemade frozen yogurt with other fun ingredients. Frozen fruit such as strawberries, blueberries, bananas, even mangos, and pineapples add sweetness and even allow you to cut back on the sugar and cream. For chocolate frozen yogurt, you can add ⅓ of a cup of unsweetened cocoa powder—the sugar will do the rest of the work.

Step 2: Combine the Ingredients

The next step is easy: combine the ingredients to your desired consistency. 

An ice cream maker works best here, as these machines are specially-designed to lower the mixture’s temperature while stirring air into it, further improving the consistency of the end product. This removes the need to freeze the product immediately after making it, although you’ll still want to store it in the freezer soon after enjoying it. 

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, this may be a great opportunity to invest in one. I recommend the Cuisinart 1.5 Quart Frozen Yogurt ICE-21P1 Ice Cream Maker, available on Amazon. This model uses a double-insulated bowl, so there’s no need for ice. 

Alternatively, you can combine the ingredients using a blender, then pour the mixture into another container for freezing. 

Step 3: Freeze

I recommend freezing the mixture for at least one hour if you used a blender to combine your ingredients. If you used an ice cream maker, 20-30 minutes in the freezer should get it to an optimum consistency. 

Frozen yogurt will last at least one month when kept in the freezer. Keep in mind, the higher the fat content in the yogurt, the longer it’ll keep. At most, frozen yogurt will keep for up to three months, after which you should dispose of it.

Yogurt Frozen in Freezer

Conclusion

Frozen yogurt is a healthy alternative to ice cream when you need a sweet, cold treat. You might be looking in your fridge at the half-empty container of yogurt and wondering if you can place it right in the freezer to make frozen yogurt. The result will be edible but unpleasant. 

If you want to make traditional frozen yogurt, you’ll need to balance the water content with more fat and sweeten it with a sweetener like sugar. After a bit of time in the freezer, you’ll have delicious, homemade fro-yo.

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For more, don’t miss Can You Use Sea Salt to Make Ice Cream?

Anne James

Hi, I'm Anne but my grandchildren call me Jelly Grandma. I have over 50 years of experience as a Southern cook and am a retired librarian. I love sharing what I have learned. You can find me on YouTube as well! Just click the link at the bottom of your page. I hope your visit here has been a sweet one.

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