sour cream shelf life

Does Sour Cream Go Bad? What You Should Know About It

Quick summary: Yes, sour cream can go bad over time, and it’s important to be aware of signs of spoilage to ensure your safety. Signs of spoiled sour cream include changes in color, mold growth, a sharp or unpleasant smell, and unusual taste.

You want to add a tablespoon of sour cream to the soup, but all you have is a few days-old product. Can you use it? Will you get food poisoning? Here are some valuable tips.

Fresh sour cream is a widespread useful dairy product. Unlike yogurt, chances are you only need a small amount to improve the dish, and you won’t spend a whole cup. So then you find yourself in a situation where you always have leftovers and wonder how long they can stay in the fridge.

An additional concern is that it is a dairy product, so everyone knows from general knowledge that it can cause food poisoning. You don’t want to end up in the hospital because of plain cream. How then to recognize whether it is spoiled or not? And can you use it after the expiration date? We have all the answers you are looking for.

How Long Does Sour Cream Last?

Basically, all sour cream has a recommended shelf life. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily have to be accurate, so you don’t have to throw everything in the trash right away as soon as the alarming day arrives. 

But also, don’t be surprised if the sour cream is spoiled even before it expires. This easily happens due to mishandling in transport. You can’t influence this in any way except by throwing the product in the trash.

So how long is sour cream good for? Here is the estimated durability for sour cream.

Unopened sour cream

If not open, the sour cream should be fine for about a week after the expiration date written on the label. Make sure everything is in order with the product to be sure, but you should be able to consume the cream shortly after the expiration date without much thought.

Opened sour cream

Once you open the package, it all depends on how you store the product. It can go off as early as tomorrow and can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator. Therefore, if you are aiming for long-term use of one cup, follow the storage instructions.

Frozen sour cream

If you need to prolong shelf life by several months, you can always freeze sour cream. Thawed sour cream can be a bit watery, and the ingredients will separate a little, but you only need to whip it. Everything will be fine and ready. Freezing sour cream is a practical solution if you buy too much.

Can Sour Cream Go Bad?

Sour cream will spoil sooner or later, without exception. There is no sour cream that can withstand time and stay fresh for long. Mostly you will see that the expiration dates on the label are not that lengthy. 

Depending on the manufacturer, the duration might be slightly more extended, but it is primarily a short-lived product. Signs of spoilage will help you determine if the product should go in the trash.

Here’s how to tell if sour cream is bad:

Sign 1: Discoloration or mold

If you leave the sour cream open without the lid, the edges will quickly start to get a yellowish color. Then you will be forced to throw everything in the trash. Changes in color or mold are a clear sign that the product is no longer suitable to eat. Also, any drastic changes in texture will mean the same. Some separation is fine, but if half a cup of cream floats in some weird water, it is rotten.

Sign 2: Smell is funky  

Sour cream is sour by itself and, as such, has a slightly sour smell. That’s OK. But if you notice that the scent has become sharp and unpleasant, it is a sign that the time of use has passed.

Sign 3: Taste is unusual   

Once the cream starts to spoil, it may taste sourer. If you notice any deviation in taste from what you are used to, discard the packaging as a precaution.

What Is The Best Way To Store Sour Cream? 

Sour cream must stand in the refrigerator regardless of whether it is open or not. But in addition to refrigeration, many other procedures will affect the spoilage of this product. Here’s how you can ensure quality for as long as possible.

Tip 1: Put in the fridge as soon as possible

If you decide to buy groceries and then drink coffee in the city after that, there is a good chance that the dairy cream will spoil by the time you get home. Just try to shorten the period from the store to the house and put the cream in the fridge as soon as possible.

Tip 2: Seal well  

This is actually the most important step after opening the package. It is necessary to close it very well so that air and other bacteria do not accelerate the spoilage of sour cream. It is sometimes difficult with the original sour cream container because they have a lid that peels off and then can no longer be closed back. In that case, transfer the leftover sour cream to an airtight container and seal it well.  

Tip 3: Do not double-dip 

Dairy products are an excellent base for the development of bacteria, so if any foreign particles get into the sour cream, it will spoil at super speed. So always use clean utilities and don’t double-dip with a dirty spoon.  


How can you tell if sour cream is bad?

You can tell if sour cream is bad by observing signs of mold growth, an off-smell that is different from its usual sour aroma, and changes in texture such as curdling or separation. If you notice any of these indications, it’s best to avoid consuming the sour cream.

Is it okay to consume expired sour cream?

No, it is not okay to consume expired sour cream, as it could potentially be unsafe due to the risk of bacterial contamination.

What happens if you eat sour cream that has gone bad?

If you eat sour cream that has gone bad, you risk ingesting harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning and result in symptoms such as stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

How long does sour cream last in the fridge?

Sour cream typically lasts for about 1 to 2 weeks in the refrigerator after opening, while unopened sour cream can remain safe for consumption for a few weeks past its printed expiration date if stored properly.


Sour cream is rarely used for eating more as an addition to other dishes or when preparing meals. That’s why you often use one or two tablespoons and put the rest back in the fridge. Some people might choose to freeze sour cream.

No worries, sour cream won’t spoil so quickly that you don’t get to consume everything in a week, but it’s crucial that you follow the storage instructions.

*image by bhofack2/depositphotos

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