Dairy products are among the most popular food products out there. If you consume dairy, you likely have at least a couple of servings of one (or more) of the products below every day.

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Milk & Derivatives

These are some of the most popular dairy staples, such as milk, yogurt, and buttermilk. Many people have these in the fridge ready at all times, eat them almost every day, and buy them every time they’re in the grocery store.

Then there are also milk derivatives such as evaporated and condensed milk. The former is used most often in soups and other cooked dishes, while the latter is a must-have for numerous desserts.

Finally, we have powdered milk. A good option if you’re not that big on dairy, and only need a glass of milk every now and then, probably for pancakes or hot chocolate.

Cream & Derivatives

Cream products have a lot in common. They keep for a couple of weeks while unopen (the use-by date is usually around a month from the production date), and for around a week of opening.

If you don’t use the whole container in one go, make sure the product is sealed tight before returning it to the fridge. You can either use a makeshift seal or pour the leftovers into an airtight container.

Here’s what cream products you can read about:

Sour Cream

Sour cream in hand
Sour cream in hand

Sour cream is one of the cream options that lasts the longest. While many dairy products turn sour after they’re stored for too long, this one is sour from the get-go. Hence the long storage time.

Unopened sour cream usually lasts for between a week and two weeks after the date on the label, and even up to two weeks of opening the container.

Freezing sour cream is an option, but only if you’re going to use it in cooking or baking. Thawed sour cream in salads is no good.

Want to learn more? Here’s my take on how long sour cream lasts. And if you ever considered freezing, here’s how you freeze sour cream .

Half and Half

Half and half doesn’t last all that long past the date on the label. Three to five days is usually all you get. Once you open the carton or container, it keeps good for about a week.

Besides half and half cartons you can find in the refrigerated section, there are also those tiny cups often served with coffee. They don’t require refrigeration and keep for at least a couple of months past their date.

Want to learn more? Here’s my article on storing and shelf life of half and half.

Heavy (or Whipping) Cream

Heavy cream in hand
Heavy cream in hand

Heavy cream usually lasts for only a couple of days. And if you plan to whip it, the fresher the cream, the better the chance for decent results.

When it comes to freezing, heavy cream doesn’t freeze well – it’s only good enough for cooking or baking. There’s no option to whip it after freezing and defrosting.

Want to learn more? Read the article about the shelf life and spoilage signs of heavy cream. If you’re interested in freezing the product, check out my take on freezing whipping cream.

Whipped Cream

Whipped cream
Whipped cream

Homemade whipped cream keeps shape and decent quality for only about a day. If you stabilize it, it retains quality for up to 4 days.

Besides that, there are other options out there, such as aerosol whipped cream and products such as Cool Whip. They last much longer, but their ingredients list is much longer than your homemade whipped cream’s.

Want to learn all about whipped cream, including Cool Whip and the aerosol variety sold in a tin? Read my guide on how long does whipped cream last.


Bread with cream cheese
Bread with cream cheese

There are hundreds of types of cheese out there, but most of us buy the same ones over and over again.

But even if you only buy a few ones that you like, learning and remembering the exact shelf life and storage practices for each would be a bit too much.

Fortunately, you can divide all types of cheese into a few categories in which most cheeses are quite similar. There might be minor differences here and there, but the storage practices and shelf life for each one are quite similar.

Want to learn more about cheese in general?

Check out our guide: