Does Sour Cream Go Bad? Know the Answer for the First Time!

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Baked potatoes, tacos, and nachos—you know what these two delicious comfort foods go best with? Sour cream, of course!

If you are a legit nacho and taco lover, then you probably have lots of sour cream jars in your refrigerator (just like I do!). If that’s the case, it can be hard to keep track which is good to use and which should already be thrown in the trash.

A lot of people think that sour cream lives forever. After all, it has already been soured so what can go wrong, right? In this article, we will get to figure out the answer to the biggest question of all—does sour cream go bad? You can also discover a lot of other important things like how to tell if sour cream is bad or how to store sour cream properly.

If you want to know all this valuable information, read on!

Does Sour Cream Go Bad?

Let us go straight to the topic—does sour cream go bad? Well, I have a little bad news for you— it does.

This may come as a surprise to many simply because they think that since sour cream is fermented, it has already gone bad. Well, sour cream is done by collecting cream from the cows and fermenting it with the use of lactic acid bacteria which creates the artificial sour taste.

But while it does have a sour flavor, it has not gone bad yet, so it means that it can go bad when not consumed past its expiration date.

How Long Does Sour Cream Last?

This is the next question that we need to answer. If sour cream does go bad, then how long does it last?

Well, the good news is—your sour cream jar comes with a printed best by, use by or sell by date. You can use the sour cream past the sell by and best by date, but you should never use it past the use by date.

Besides, here are the other guidelines that you should keep in mind:

  • Unopened sour cream jar, when stored in the fridge, can last up to three weeks past the sell by date. But of course, you should carefully scrutinize it before consuming it.
  • When properly stored, opened sour cream can only last for seven to ten days.
  • If the sour cream tub has been left out (at a temperature of 40 degrees and above) for two hours and more, it should already be thrown out.

How to Tell if Sour Cream is Bad

Now the next important thing you should learn is how to tell if a sour cream is already bad. Well, there are a lot of ways on how you can do that. Here are some of the steps that you can take:

Check out its appearance.

The first step that you should take is to check out the status of the sour cream. The very first thing that you should consider is the amount of whey floating in the cream’s surface. A moderate amount of whey in the surface is good, but too much of it indicates terrible news.

Aside from the amount of whey on the surface, you should also look for discoloration. If the cream exhibits moldy green, blackish, yellowish, bluish and pinkish, it means that it has already gone bad. If that’s the case, you need to discard the tub right away.

If you saw that the sour cream has separated, don’t despair. That is normal for sour cream. All that you have to do is to stir it with a spoon, and it will go back to its normal consistency.

Have a whiff.

We know that sour cream already gives off a sour smell. But if it is already spoiled, it will have a strange smell—one that goes beyond its usual sourness. If that is the case, it is recommended that you throw it right away.

Taste the cream.

A regular sour cream has a certain level of sourness. A spoiled sour cream will have a bad and bitter taste. If you are a sour cream lover, you will certainly know the difference.

How to Properly Store Sour Cream

If you want to make your sour cream last for as long as possible (don’t we all?), you need to store it properly. Here are some of the tips on how you can do that:

  • Place sour cream in a sealed and closed container then put it in a refrigerator. The temperature should be set between 38 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If you will be serving sour cream but would not be able to finish the entire tub, it is recommended that you use clean utensils in serving it. This is the best way to avoid cross-contamination.
  • Store sour cream tubs far away from citrus fruits, garlic, onions, and other pungent foods so it would not be able to absorb the unwanted odors.

Unique Ways to Use Leftover Sour Cream

If you have lots of sour cream tubs in your refrigerator and they are all near their use by date, you need to think of ways on how you can use them up and prevent them from being put to waste.

The good news is, sour cream is not just a dip—it can be so much more! Here are more creative ways on how to use sour cream before it expires.

Whisk it into your pancakes.

pancakes with sour cream and berries
Pancakes with sour cream and berries

Not many people know this but adding sour cream to your pancake mix is the best way to make fluffy and soft pancakes. It will also add a unique flavor to it that you will surely love.

Use it to dress up your fruits.

If you are already getting bored with eating fresh fruits, then adding sour cream to it will reignite your love for it! Toss your excess sour cream to your fruit slices and add a bit of brown sugar to it and with that, you can enjoy a creamy and fruity treat!

Top your oatmeal with it.

Your usual oatmeal can get pretty boring. Add a dollop of sour cream to your savory and sweet oatmeal dishes to incorporate a tangy twist to it!

Add it to your pasta dishes.

If you love creamy pasta sauces, then sour cream will be your best friend! Just add a small amount of it to any creamy or cheesy pasta sauces, and voila, you can have a bite of the most delicious pasta that you can ever get your hands on!

In Summary

Sour cream is one of the best dips in the world. It is perfect for all kinds of tacos (including fish tacos!), nachos, baked potatoes, and other types of Mexican dishes and appetizers. After all, it tastes good with salsa.

But does sour cream go bad? Just like most food items that we consume, it tends to go bad, especially when it is not stored correctly. The key here is to look at the product’s use by date and never consume it past that date.

If you have more sour cream information and tips that you would like to share with us, please drop them below in the comments section!

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