If you ever had to throw out a half-full container of spoiled sour cream, you know how it feels.
You buy the dairy product for a specific recipe, and the leftovers sit in the fridge until they go bad. You’re angry because you hate food waste, and wonder what you can do so it doesn’t happen again.
Freezing sounds like an idea, but can you freeze sour cream? And will it be any good after defrosting?
That’s a perfectly valid question, and one I answer in this article. Sounds interesting? Let’s dive in.
Can You Freeze Sour Cream?
For many dairy products, like cottage cheese, the question of whether or not you can freeze them isn’t answered with a straightforward yes or no. More often than not, the short answer is: yes, but only if you use it in cooked or baked recipes. And that’s the case for sour cream too.
For starters, you should know that dairy producers advise against freezing this product. Here’s what Daisy Brand says about freezing their sour cream (DA):
Please avoid freezing your sour cream and cottage cheese, as it can adversely affect the creamy texture and all-natural flavor of the product.
Green Valley Creamery agrees (GV):
We do not recommend freezing our lactose-free yogurt, kefir, sour cream and cream cheese.
And they are right. Freezing affects the consistency of sour cream. After thawing, instead of the smooth texture you’re used to, it becomes grainy and separated.
Here’s how it looks like:
You can stir it with a spoon on even run it through a blender, but it won’t be quite the same. It will look better, but if you get a bit closer, you’ll see it’s nothing like before freezing.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
Using frozen and thawed sour cream as a dip or topping isn’t a good idea. The altered texture will make the eating experience not nearly as pleasurable as it is with fresh sour cream.
You’re not doomed, however. As I already mentioned, this dairy product works just fine in most (if not all) cooked and baked dishes. That’s because in those dishes, you mix it with a bunch of other ingredients, and then cook the whole thing, changing its texture once again.
Knowing that, all you need is to have a couple of recipes that you can use the sour cream in in your repertoire. And if you have none right now, no worries, as I’ll give you some ideas later in the article.
How To Freeze Sour Cream
The process is super straightforward at takes only a couple of minutes to go through. Here’s how it goes:
- Whip the sour cream using a whisk to make the texture even.
- Portion the product. If you won't use all of the leftovers in a single dish, divide them into several portions. If you have already planned how you're going to use the thawed sour cream, portioning is super easy. If not, use smaller ones so that you won't have leftovers. Each portion goes to its own container or cube in a muffin tin.
- Freeze the sour cream. Put everything into the freezer. If you went with airtight containers, that's it. If you went with a muffin tin or an ice cube tray, leave it in the freezer until the dairy product freezes solid.
- (If not using containers) Transfer the frozen cubes into a freezer bag or container. Once the sour cream freezes, move the blobs into a bag or container to free up space in the freezer.
How To Defrost Sour Cream
When it comes to thawing sour cream, there are two popular options:
- Thaw overnight in the fridge. The safest way of thawing food is in the refrigerator. Depending on the portions, it can take anywhere between two and eight hours.
- Add it in frozen. If it’s a soup, stew, or a similar dish, you can throw it in frozen to the pot and let it thaw there. Helpful if you tend to forget about defrosting food in advance.
Uses for Thawed Sour Cream
There are hundreds of recipes in which frozen and thawed sour cream will work just fine. Because of that, I’m not linking to specific recipes, but rather give you a list of ideas.
With that list, all you need to do is to google “[idea] sour cream recipe” to find a bunch of options to choose from.
Here they are:
- pancakes (classic use of thawed dairy products)
- slow cooker stews, etc.
- pies (remember that toppings require fresh sour cream)
Don’t get discouraged if a dish turns out not that great. Instead, move to the next recipe and give it a go. You should find some great ones in no time.