Can you eat expired sour cream?

In this article, we will answer the question “Can you eat expired sour cream?”, and how to safely store sour cream?

Can you eat expired sour cream?

Yes, you can use expired sour cream unless it is spoiled. Once the sour cream is past its use-by or expiry date, you need to carefully inspect it for spoilage before you use it for cooking or baking. If stored correctly at a steady cold temperature, sour cream will stay good 1-2 weeks past the printed date.

The shelf-life of sour cream 

The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of different types of sour cream under refrigeration. 

(Unopened) Refrigerator 
Past Printed Date 
Sour cream 1-2 weeks 
Reduced-fat sour cream 1-2 weeks 
Sour cream dip 2 weeks 
(Opened) Refrigerator 
All types of sour cream 7-10 days 

How to store sour cream?

Like other dairy products, sour cream should always be stored in the refrigerator, opened or not. The perfect refrigerator spot for keeping sour cream is at the back of the bottom shelves. The temperature at these spots is the coldest, unlike the fridge door that experiences frequent temperature fluctuations. 

Once opened, you need to make sure the sour cream is kept air-tight. If the original container fails to provide a tight seal after you tear it open, transfer the sour cream to an air-tight mason jar or an in-tight container.

If you stick with the unsealed original container, use a piece of foil and rubber band to keep the foil in place, as a makeshift seal for the container. The shelf-life of the sour cream also depends upon the food hygiene you practice in between uses.

Always use clean spoons to scoop out your sour cream and steer clear from double-dipping. Double-dipping transfers the outside bacteria into the sour cream that hastens the sour cream towards food spoilage. 

Can you freeze sour cream?

Yes, you can freeze your sour cream. But you should expect noticeable quality changes in the sour cream after thawing. Like any other dairy product, frozen sour cream undergoes phase separation once thawed. 

Therefore, frozen sour cream is best used for baking or cooking. For example, sour cream will be easily incorporated into soups because the liquid will dissolve the cream so its altered texture won’t be noticeable. Plus the spices will mask its slightly changes flavor. The same goes for baking.

How to freeze sour cream?

Freezing sour cream is a no-brainer. Just grab an ice-cube tray and fill it with sour cream. Flash freeze the ice cube tray. 

Once the sour cream is frozen solid into cubes, pop the cubes into a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible from the bag. Label the bag and chuck it in the freezer. 

Alternatively, you can freeze your sour cream using an air-tight container. Make sure to leave a 1-inch headspace on top of the container. This headspace will provide room for the sour cream to expand without breaking the container during freezing. 

The advantage of using a freezer bag is that it is much more space-friendly as compared to an air-tight container. Moreover, you can thaw as many frozen cubes of sour cream you need at a  time.

Why does the sour cream spoil?

Sour cream is made by the fermentation of pasteurized milk using lactic acid bacteria. Commercially manufactured sour cream is the fermentation product of only a single and pure strain of bacteria. 

On the other hand, the homemade version of sour cream may also include unwanted wild strains. That is one of the reasons why homemade sour cream does not last very long because it does not undergo the sterile canning process.

The commercially packaged sour cream can go bad when you accidentally introduce bacteria and mold spores into it due to unhygienic safety practices. 

Frequent exposure to air and moisture, and the use of dirty spoons to scoop out sour cream act as vehicles for transferring bacteria into the sour cream.

Bacteria and molds 

Milk is a complete food for lactic-acid-producing bacteria. These bacteria utilize the protein and sugars in milk to make acid. But the unwanted and pathogenic molds and bacteria present in the sour cream can also utilize the same substrate to career out their metabolic reactions.

How to tell if the sour cream has gone bad?

If the sour cream gives off a sharp sour smell, it has gone bad. If the sour crema develops an off-color, tastes funny, or contains any foreign particles that do not belong there, the sour cream should be discarded. 

Other FAQs about Sour Cream  that you may be interested in.

Can you microwave sour cream?

What can I substitute for sour cream?

Does sour cream go bad?


In this article, we answered the question “Can you eat expired sour cream?”, and how to safely store sour cream?