How Long Does Sour Cream Last After Expiration?

Sour cream typically stays fresh for two weeks post-expiration date; however, it could spoil due to mishandling during transportation or store ownership.

Remove any sour cream that contains mold, has an unpleasant aroma or has expired beyond its printed date.


Sour cream is a versatile dairy product used in various dishes and dips, sauces and soups for extra richness, and typically found in the refrigerated dairy section of grocery stores. Sour cream typically lasts approximately two weeks unopened when stored properly but this varies depending on factors like freshness of product purchased initially as well as whether its transport and storage has been handled incorrectly prior to reaching your refrigerator.

Refrigerating freshly opened sour cream after opening is the key to keeping it at its freshest. A mason jar or other airtight container should do the trick; alternatively you could seal it in a resealable plastic bag using aluminum foil and rubber bands for an airtight seal.

Refrigerator storage of sour cream should be kept free from food that spoils, which could transfer their odors onto it. Also, when scooping from its tub, be sure to use clean utensils since contamination with bacteria will increase spoilage rates quickly.

If your sour cream is close to its expiration date, give it an initial sniff-test and sensory examination before using. If any indications point toward spoilage, toss it despite any positive taste tests; even if its flavor remains acceptable.

Frozen sour cream can also be preserved by breaking it down into small portions and freezing it, giving you access to it whenever it is needed without needing to defrost a large batch at once. If you don’t have an ice cube tray handy, pour sour cream into freezer-safe containers or jars instead and leave about an inch for expansion before placing the frozen product in your refrigerator for two or more hours until its consistency meets your preferences.


If your tub of sour cream has exceeded its “best before” date, it can still be stored safely for one or two weeks in the freezer. Just remember not to leave it out unrefrigerated at room temperature for too long, as harmful bacteria such as Leuconostoc citrovorum and Streptococcus lactis will start growing quickly in its absence. If sour cream smells rancid or looks discolored immediately dispose of it!

When it comes to identifying whether sour cream has gone bad, the easiest way is by inspecting its container for signs of mold and foul odor. If it smells musty or appears sour and gray in color, discard immediately. It is also beneficial to check its expiration date; according to Weill Cornell Medical College there is no such thing as an absolute deadline as even refrigerated products may spend some time at room temperature during shipping or grocery store storage.

One telltale sign of bad sour cream is its separation, but don’t panic; this is simply due to liquid being separated out from solid. Drain off and dispose of any surplus liquid before continuing with recipes as usual with solid.

As it’s essential that new bacteria isn’t introduced when handling sour cream, it is crucial that clean utensils be used when handling it. Never double dip your spoon or lick your finger while stirring; these actions could impair its ability to ferment and create its own lactic acid – shortening its shelf life considerably.

Refrigerating sour cream at an optimal cold temperature will increase its shelf life, but if you have more than necessary or it is close to its expiration date, freezing it for later use may be an ideal way to extend its shelf life – simply ensure there is about an inch of headspace in the freezer as frozen sour cream may expand slightly when exposed to air temperatures.

Storing at Room Temperature

Most milk-based products include sell-by dates on their containers, and often sour cream can remain fresh even past this date when stored properly. But in certain conditions it could spoil much quicker; to identify whether your sour cream has gone bad faster check its expiration date, smell, and texture.

If sour cream has gone bad, it will have an off-putting odor and taste extremely sour and watery. There may also be discolorations on its surface or it may have lost its thick consistency and become similar to cottage cheese – these signs should prompt immediate discard as this can lead to food poisoning.

Storing sour cream at room temperature can quickly lead to its spoilage. Bacteria will thrive and infiltrate its container with harmful microbes that could make you sick while also contaminating other food stored together with it.

To avoid this from happening, store sour cream in its original container in the fridge, with aluminum foil and rubber bands serving as temporary seals if there isn’t one that seals properly. Alternatively, transfer to larger airtight jars like mason jars for longer shelf life.

Refrigerating sour cream will keep it cold, helping preserve both its taste and texture. Furthermore, using clean utensils when handling it will decrease contamination risks and ensure no cross-contamination. Freezing it may alter its texture; this method should only be considered in rare circumstances.

Sour cream should only be stored for up to three months past its expiration date, and only used if it hasn’t gone bad already. If any signs of bacteria growth, mold growth, or spoilage arise – then discard immediately!

Storing in the Freezer

Unopened tubs of sour cream may last two weeks past its “best before” date; if opened and left at room temperature for several hours after opening, bacteria growth could occur quickly, rendering the product unsafe even though its expiration date has passed.

To extend the shelf life of opened sour cream after opening it, transfer it to the freezer and label with its expiry date. It is ideal to freeze it in its original container; if this is not feasible, transfer to an airtight container or plastic freezer bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing tightly before placing in the back of your freezer where other perishable items won’t bump or jostle its container as much.

When freezing sour cream, it’s important to remember that its texture will drastically change; becoming grainier and losing some of its creamy qualities. You can still use it in recipes but the experience won’t be quite the same as fresh sour cream!

While sour cream may be safe to freeze indefinitely from a food safety perspective, its quality may begin to degrade over time, leaving less nutritious or better tasting sour cream than would have been stored properly in the fridge, according to Garden-Robinson.

Like refrigeration, the shelf life of sour cream in the freezer depends on both its type and temperature of container. Glass containers tend to hold more sour cream due to allowing less air in; additionally, storing your sour cream at the back of your freezer provides protection from sudden temperature shifts.

If a tub of sour cream has been sitting at room temperature for some time, bacteria will begin to form within two hours – even if it hasn’t passed its expiry date yet. If bright bacterial marks or pockets of watery liquid appear, it’s time to dispose of it immediately.

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