Does sour cream go bad? 

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “Does sour cream go bad?” methods to store sour cream and detect spoilt sour cream.

Does sour cream go bad?

Yes, sour cream can go bad. This can occur especially if the sour cream is not stored in appropriate storage conditions. Fermentation of lactic acid produces sour cream making it a highly perishable food product.

If the sour cream is store-bought, check the date provided on the label of the pack to prevent spoilage.

How to detect spoilage in sour cream?

  • If the sour cream has an unpleasant, rancid, or moldy odor, it is a sign that the cream is spoilt.
  • Sour cream is white in color. If it displays pink, blue, green, or yellowish color, avoid consuming them.
  • The texture of sour cream can turn watery but this is not a sign of spoilage. Separation of water from cream is a normal phenomenon and you can still consume the cream.

Sour cream can also be thawed and incorporated into various dishes. The sour cream that you need to look out for would be lumpy or sticky ones. Avoid consuming such cream.

  • Avoid consuming sour cream if it tastes too sour or bitter.
  • If you notice mold developing on the surface of the cream or the lid of the cream, it is better to discard it. Avoid removing the mold and then consuming the cream as the whole product is likely to be affected.

What is the shelf-life of sour cream?

Sour cream has a sell-by date listed on the package of the product. If stored properly, you can keep cream in the fridge for at least a week.

Type of sour creamFridge
Unopened cream3-4 weeks
Skimmed cream (unopened)1-2 weeks
Sour cream dip (unopened)1-2 weeks
Opened sour cream7-14 days

Sour cream can get spoilt promptly if it is stored inappropriately and it can even get spoilt before its printed date. As a result, storing it properly is important.

The shelf-life of unopened sour cream would depend on the type of processing, type of container, storage conditions, or excess exposure to heat.

Unopened sour cream can lose freshness in 2 weeks and it should be stored at a temperature of 40℉ in the refrigerator. The cream might last more than 2 weeks but there is a risk of it being no longer safe to consume.

How to store sour cream?

  • It is not generally recommended to store sour cream in the pantry for a long time. If you are planning to store it for a short while, place it in a cool and dry place.
  • Sour cream can ideally be stored in the fridge. Avoid storing the cream near the door of the fridge. You can store it in the back of the fridge.
  • Once the package is left unopened, you can transfer the cream to an airtight container or a sealed container. This would help in keeping the sour cream fresh for a long time. It would also help in protecting the cream from taking in strongly odored foods.
  • If you do not have a proper airtight lid, you can also cover the container holding sour cream with aluminum foil. The foil can be tightly held to the container using a rubber band. 

However, the product would last longer if it is stored in an airtight container containing a proper lid.

  • While taking out scoops of cream from the airtight container, never use your hands. Always use a clean spoon to scoop out the cream and avoid bacterial contamination.
  • Avoid licking the spoon that you have used to scoop out the cream. Also, avoid using the same spoon for taking out other dishes.
  • The hotter the climate, the more likely it is for sour cream to get spoilt. Avoid keeping sour cream at room temperature for too long especially during summers. 

If you are traveling, you can place the sour cream in a cooler or a tub containing ice.

Other FAQs about sour cream that you may be interested in.

Is it possible to freeze sour cream?

Yes, you can freeze sour cream though it is not generally recommended. After thawing, the sour cream can lose its texture and appeal.

You can use sour cream while preparing dishes and freeze the dishes containing sour cream. You can also pour sour cream into ice trays, thaw them and use them in dishes. You can also try to whip the sour cream though the consistency would not be the same as it was before.


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “Does sour cream go bad?” methods to store sour cream and detect spoilt sour cream.