Potato, the third most important food crop worldwide, is rich in nutrients but low in protein. In contrast, milk is rich in protein. Yogurt produced through the cofermentation of potatoes and milk is a highly nutritious food. The quality and shelf life of yogurt are important topics in the dairy industry. The objective of this study was to explore the effect of the addition of essential oil (EO) on the shelf life and quality of potato yogurt. The antimicrobial effects of several EOs, the effect of perilla leaf EO (PLEO) concentration on potato yogurt, and the volatile flavor components of PLEO and PLEO potato yogurt were evaluated. The effects of storage time and temperature on the pH, microbial counts, and sensory characteristics of PLEO potato yogurt also were analyzed to establish a shelf-life model. PLEO had an antimicrobial effect and was the appropriate EO for use in the potato yogurt. A total of 69 compounds were detected in PLEO, and limonene was the main compound. PLEO had an effect on the pH, sensory characteristics, and viable bacterial counts of potato yogurt during storage. The optimal concentration of added PLEO was 0.04%. PLEO had considerable influence on volatile flavor components, and the consumer acceptance of 0.04% PLEO potato yogurt was higher than that of potato yogurt without PLEO in the later stage of storage. The shelf life of potato yogurt with PLEO was 6 days longer than that of the control yogurt. PLEO also improved the concentrations of active terpene substances in potato yogurt. The prediction models based on pH and sensory scores at 5°C were established as A = A0e0.00323t and A = A0e0.00355t, respectively. Comparison of the accuracy factor and the deviation factor of the models revealed that the sensory prediction model was more accurate than the pH prediction model. The results of this study provide theoretical and data support for the industrial development of yogurt with EOs, including extension and prediction of its shelf life.

  • Perilla leaf essential oil had antimicrobial activity in potato yogurt.

  • Perilla leaf essential oil prolonged the shelf life of potato yogurt by 6 days.

  • The sensory prediction model was more accurate than the pH prediction model.

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