How Long Does Sour Cream Last? An Important Answer To Remember!

If you love making sweet treats or Mexican food, then sour cream must be one of the inevitable ingredients in your closet. There are many tricks and tips to perform with flavorful sour cream, such as “How to thicken sour cream?” to make our desserts more qualified and delicious.

Yet, everything might turn into nothing if you do not know how long does sour cream last. Using spoiled sour cream not only destroys the taste of the whole dish but can also make you get sick by food poisoning. Let’s read on for more detailed information!

How Long Does Sour Cream Last?

Sour Cream

The answer to “How long is sour cream good for?” depends on the cream’s condition and storage method.

Specifically, unopened sour cream lasts longer than an opened one from 2-3 weeks. If properly stored in a fridge, this cream can keep its freshness for ten days. In contrast, the sour cream will quickly go bad if you leave it at room temperature.

Imagine that you have a leftover bowl of soup, and you decide to microwave it for a meal. However, what happens if you accidentally forget to ask, “how long does soup last in the fridge?” The soup might be too old and eventually go bad in the fridge without you even knowing, which in the end makes you suffer from a stomach ache.

This concept is similar to sour cream. Knowing the food shelf life can help you get rid of health issues caused by spoiled food, especially by a fermented product like sour cream.

To be more specific, unopened sour cream is expected to last for 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. What about open sour cream? How long is sour cream good after opening? It can only last for 7-10 days before expiring with opened sour cream.

All sour cream produced in the market can last for 2-3 weeks after the sour cream sell-by date if you store it in the refrigerator unopened, including reduced-fat sour cream and dip sour cream. This applies even to expired sour cream.

Since sour cream is a fermented dairy product, it only last in the refrigerator for a maximum of 10 days if you ask us how long does sour cream last in the fridge.

Still, with proper storing to prevent environmental bacteria from accessing your cream, it can last for more than ten days after passing sour cream expiration. If you cannot afford to buy sour cream multiple times, then proper storage will help you save money and time re-purchasing sour cream.

How long can sour cream sit out after you take it from the fridge then? In this case, you must use your sour cream immediately since sour cream cannot stay at room temperature for more than 1 hour.

When you let sour cream expose to room temperature, its fermented characteristic can not fight against the environmental bacteria in the air. Within 1 hour only, your sour cream will become extremely sour because of the infection. Thus, it’s best to use sour cream once you take it out from the cool temperature to limit its access to environmental debris.

Now that you have known that sour cream cannot last for a long time since it is a dairy product, you must learn to store the cream properly instead of sitting there and wondering about how long is sour cream good.

What Causes Sour Cream To Spoil?

There are many reasons why your sour cream has spoiled. Briefly, there are two main factors: The characteristics and ingredients of sour cream.

Firstly, due to the sour cream’s characteristics, it is very likely to spoil under inappropriate conditions. Like any other dairy products, which are all “fragile,” sour cream can only last for a specific period.

Sour cream is made from pasteurized milk, so it is one of the most non-affectionate dairy products. People used that pure milk and fermented, healthy bacteria to create a natural sour flavor and a gently dense texture.

So, we can assume sour cream is like a living product, which includes healthy bacteria and living elements that canning processes cannot entirely remove. Even though you have put it under great storage, it will sooner or later go bad one day.

Secondly, the sour cream’s ingredient foundation with protein and sugar makes an ideal space for unfriendly bacteria to invade easily. Although this environment creates beneficial bacteria, their only mission is to make up the sour flavor instead of fighting against the unfriendly one.

These bacteria can grow at a super high speed under inappropriate conditions, making sour cream’s quality slowly degrade even though you have stored it properly in the fridge. For people who create homemade sour cream, their product is expected not to last long because of the unpasteurized surrounding environmental factors.

You can create your sour cream at home if you have all the ingredients needed and skills. Yet, most bakers would choose to purchase store-bought sour cream to save time and effort. Those products are also more standardized compared to homemade one.

How To Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad?

Does sour cream go bad? Check your cream to see wherever it has the same abnormal signs as below: separated structure, dark mold, discolor cream, and weird smell. If yes, your sour cream has absolutely gone bad!

  • Separated structure: Fresh sour cream will have a slightly dense texture that you are familiar with your own eyes. On the other hand, Spoiled sour cream will have water leaked from the texture, and you can see two forms separating apart. Some sour cream could still be used when you see this sign, so let’s check out the second sign!
  • Dark mold: If you can inspect some dark brown or black mold on the white surface of sour cream, it is a sign of spoiled sour cream. The mold may not be located on the surface only, but it can also appear inside the cream when you stir it up.

If you are thinking of scooping out the molded part and eating the rest, refrain from making it happen; otherwise, you may suffer from severe food poisoning. Once you detect these signs, throw your sour cream and its container away and purchase a new bottle.

  • Yellow or discolored cream: Fresh, delicious sour cream always attracts us with a bright, lovely white color. But if you find some yellow spots or discolored parts among the sour cream, it’s a sign of bacteria involvement where bacteria and fungi are growing significantly.
  • A weird smell: You can take a sniff of your sour cream when detecting its spoilage. If the cream occurs to have an odor smell than usual, or you can describe it as stinky, moldy, then don’t be afraid to throw that cream away. Trusting your cooking instinct is considered one of the great methods to keep you and your family safe from eating unclean food.

How To Store Sour Cream?

Storing sour cream is the same as storing other dairy products, like how to store biscuits. A proper storing method for sour cream will be critical in extending your sour cream shelf life. Here are some tips:

  • Store sour cream in an air-tight container and other dairy products if you have a separate container for dairy products. If you don’t have that divide container, make sure to put your sour cream in an open-air space, away from different-type products, especially odor-vegetables like onions, garlic, etc.
  • If you have tasted the sour cream, use an aluminum wrap and cover the bottle’s mouth before you put on the cap. The wrap will minimize the risk of cross-contamination by your fridge’s environment, which makes it stay fresh longer. 
  • Once you are done baking with your sour cream, put it right away back in the fridge instead of leaving it at room temperature.
  • If you ask if you can freeze sour cream, the answer is yes. Still, freezing is not a recommended solution for dairy products.  When you thaw sour cream, its dense texture will become extremely loose, lumpy with leaking water, and ugly. You can consider this result before choosing to freeze sour cre

The Final Word

And that’s everything you can learn on “How long does sour cream last?” Overall, the shelf life of sour cream varies from weeks to days, or even hours, which depends on the cream condition (open or unopen) and storage method.

Even though sour cream is a complicated product, we still need it to create stunning entrees and desserts. Make sure you capture all the important facts we have stated to handle your sour cream with ease. Thank you for reading this article, and we will see you again in the next article!

Kevin Richard

Hi all! I’m Kevin. I spend plenty of time in the kitchen every day because I love cooking healthy and delicious foods for my family and friends. Cooking gives me a chance to be creative and fun. It’s also one of the most meaningful ways to express my love and take care of my little family.

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