Does Sour Cream Go Bad?

Does sour cream go bad? Sour cream is in most cases used as a condiment. People add it to baked potatoes or as a salad dressing. Sour cream is produced by fermenting regular cream. This might rise a simple question – can sour cream really go bad? Since it’s produced by fermenting cream, many people might assume that it can’t go bad, or at least has a long shelf life. Unfortunately, none of the mentioned statements is true. If you’d like to have sour cream with a long shelf life, you can choose powdered sour cream (it’s dehydrated). Sour cream goes bad pretty quickly, especially if you store it poorly. Because of that, let’s discuss how to store sour cream first.

How To Store Sour Cream

Sour cream should be stored similarly to most other dairy products. That means it should stay in the fridge if not in use at the moment. The container in which sour cream is stored should be airtight, original one is probably the best option. The original plastic packaging protects its contents from light, oxygen and changes of temperature. Once you’ve opened the product, remember to seal it tightly before putting it back to the refrigerator. While storing it in the fridge, try to keep the sour milk away from the door, where are noticeable fluctuations in temperature.

One more tip. When scooping some sour cream from the container, remember that you should do this only using clean utensils. Using dirty utensils might contaminate the cream, which might cause that it’ll go bad quicker than normally.

If you don’t want to keep sour cream in your fridge, you might decide to buy powdered sour cream instead, storing it is easy.

(credit:Daniel Panev )


Shelf Life Of Sour Cream

When it comes to shelf life of source cream, there are many different opinions. Let’s start with the safest estimates. Most sour creams have a ‘sell-by’ date. As long as the package stays unopened, the dairy product should be fine for about 2 weeks after that date. If it has an expiration date (instead of a ‘sell-by’ date), add a week to the expiration date. Once the package is opened, its contents should be fine for 1 to 2 weeks. Of course shelf life of sour milk depends on how and how long (if we’re talking about opened container of sour milk) it has been stored.

When it comes to estimates that are safe, that’s about it. There are, however, many people who regularly store sour cream for up to a month, or even longer and state that it’s still fine after that time. I guess if the product isn’t more than a month after ‘sell-by’ date, it’s a good idea check whether it’s still fine. If it is, you can use it freely. If it’s not, or more than a month old, it’s better to discard the product.

If you’re looking for a sour cream alternative that can be stored for a long time, you can choose powdered sour cream.

How To Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad

You need to use your own senses to check if your sour cream is still fine to use. Firstly, open the container (if it’s still unopened) and check the appearance of the dairy product. If you’ll notice any signs of mold or significant discolorations, throw it away. Please remember that sour cream tends to separate after some time, so if it’s separated you need to just stir it with a spoon and its consistency will get back to normal.

If its looks are fine, smell it and taste it. If it’s gone bad, you’ll know that. Off odor and strange taste are sure signs of spoilage. It if looks, smells and tastes fine, it’s probably fine to use.

As you can see, sour milk does go bad and it spoils pretty quickly. It has to be stored in the fridge to preserve it for more than a day.