How Can You Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad?

The best way to tell whether sour cream is bad is by appearance and smell. The texture should change significantly or look watery. If it is tangy or smells rancid, it is likely spoiled. You can also look for mold or bacteria. If you notice any of these symptoms, you should throw them away. If it is watery, you should avoid eating it.

Sour cream can be safe to eat for one week after it is sold. However, if you find an excess of water or a chunk, it is unsafe to consume. The sour-cream container may have been exposed to a lot of water, and therefore, you should discard it immediately. It would be best if you also looked for discolorations or off-odors. Generally, it is unsafe to eat sour cream if it has any characteristics.


A watery layer on top of sour cream is an indication of spoilage. It is not harmful if it has a minimal amount of water, but you should discard it if it has too much water. If it contains chunks of sour, discard it. If the sour cream has any of these characteristics, it should be discarded. The only way to save the sour cream is to consume it within a few days.

Sour cream can go wrong if it has not been correctly stored. The water will separate from the solids, and the sour cream should be eaten within a few days of purchase. If the sour cream has developed a mold, it is unsafe for consumption. You should throw out the tub and look for a different brand if you find this. In addition, if the sour cream tastes sour, you should discard it.

How Can You Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad?

How can you know whether it’s gone bad or when it’s gone wrong? I’m going to delve into everything. When I think of sour cream. Tacos, nachos, enchiladas, and everything else you like. Sour cream is a must-have for me when eating Mexican food. Sour cream can be used in various ways, and it can be used to add moisture to baked goods, salad dressings, and sauces to make them creamier, to mention a few applications.

1. The Use-By Date Has Passed

Examine the date on the container’s side. It will be labeled with a use-by, sell-by, and best-by date. The purpose of sell-by dates is to let the retailer know when it should be sold so that the customer has enough time to use it before it spoils.

Use By dates, the consumer is informed of the most recent date on which the sour cream should be used. Best if used by indicates that if you use it before this date, you will get the best taste and quality out of it.

2. Disgusting Odor

A foul odor will emanate from sour cream that has gone rotten. “sour” cream will have a tangy scent, but when you open the carton, you will notice a sour smell that is more of a putrid smell. If you combine the fragrance with any of the other factors listed below, you’ll be able to discern if it’s safe to consume or not.

3. Watery Texture

When you open your sour cream, you will see a difference between the cream and the liquid. This is typical, and you can drain it or mix it back together before using it again. You want to make sure it’s not too watery or clumpy in any way. When sour cream is at its best, it should have a smooth, creamy texture.

Besides the above warning signs, sour cream can also have a watery layer on top. This is a sign of spoiled sour cream. It is safe to consume a small amount of sour cream, but too much water is harmful. The USDA recommends consuming it for no more than three weeks for sour cream. This is because its shelf life is the same as regular sour cream.

4. Moldy Or Discolored Surfaces

Again, you want your sour cream to have a beautiful smooth creaminess. If there is any mold on the top of it, it should be discarded. You’ll usually notice a green or white fuzzy mold on the top when you open the cream. Bacterial growth will be visible as a change in color. If your sour cream begins to turn yellow, it is soured and should be discarded.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Sour Cream?

However, the question is how long it will last. I’m going to delve into everything. According to the USDA, sour cream (opened or unopened) can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks after the sell-by date. The Food Marketing Institute’s consumer guide to food quality and safe handling, “The Food Keeper,” backs up this rule of thumb.

They recommend using sour cream within seven to 21 days of refrigerating it at 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure your sour cream doesn’t have mold, an off-color, or an off-odor. Consider it safe to use if nothing appears to be wrong. Separation is one indicator that isn’t caused for fear. It’s typical for the liquid to separate from the solid cream, even if it’s unattractive. If you use a clean spoon, drain it or mix it.

sour cream

What Are The Causes Of Spoiling?

Sour cream is made from pasteurized milk treated to kill the most hazardous bacteria. It is then fermented by good bacteria, which produces lactic acid, which gives it its sour taste.

Homemade sour cream may bring a wild card of additional bacteria species, whereas commercially prepared sour cream must adhere to safety guidelines. Consider sour cream a living product because it still includes live ingredients that sterile canning techniques haven’t destroyed.

Molds And Bacteria

Milk’s protein and carbohydrates create an excellent growth medium for good sour-producing bacteria and a slew of unfriendly bacteria and molds that can cause sickness. Suppose you leave your sour cream out at room temperature for any length of time.

In that case, it may slowly proliferate over weeks at refrigerated conditions or even faster if you leave it out at room temperature for any amount of time. When using your sour cream, you may unwittingly introduce more bacteria and mold, either by air exposure or an unclean spoon.

What Happens If You Consume Sour Cream That Has Gone Bad?

You risk getting food poisoning if you eat rotten sour cream. You will almost certainly feel stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and maybe a fever. Everyone’s body reacts differently, and it also relies on the degree of sour cream deterioration. If there’s anything off about it, I won’t eat it.

When you eat sour cream that has gone bad, you risk getting food poisoning, which can be minor or severe depending on various variables. If you get food poisoning, you may have stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and a fever, which may appear within a few hours or days of drinking poor sour cream.

How To Keep Sour Cream Fresh?

Like other dairy products like heavy cream or half-and-half, sour cream must be refrigerated. And while the door shelves are a standard storage option for sour cream, it’s far from ideal. I’ve read inquiries on the internet regarding how long sour cream can be kept out of the fridge, and there isn’t a decent response. In a nutshell, you should put it in the refrigerator as soon as possible after purchasing it.

After you’ve opened the container, ensure it’s always tightly sealed. Consider placing the sour cream into a mason jar or an airtight container if it isn’t easily scalable. This is especially handy if you plan on storing it in the fridge for several days. A tight seal keeps any harsh scents at bay and prevents drying out.

Because we rarely use the entire container of sour cream at once, it’s critical to maintain basic food hygiene. That means scooping sour cream should always be done with clean tools, and you should never double-dip. Grab a clean spoon or wash the one you’re using if you need another teaspoon or two for a recipe.

Is It Possible To Freeze Sour Cream?

Sour cream should not be frozen, according to most manufacturers. Like buttermilk and many other dairy products, sour cream separates when thawed. While gently beating it will restore some consistency, the result will not be as fantastic as fresh sour cream. That implies you can only freeze sour cream for cooked or baked foods.

If you’re cooking a soup, for example, the texture of the sour cream won’t matter much because you’ll be stirring the dairy product either way. Using thawed sour cream in baking is similar. When it comes to freezing sour cream, an ice cube tray is a good option.

You can thaw as much or as little as you need this way. In addition, the frozen cubes are placed in a freezer bag, which takes up far less freezer space than an airtight container. Of course, if you don’t want to bother with a tray, a freezer-safe jar or container will suffice. Remember that the sour cream expands significantly when frozen, so leave an inch of headspace.


Sour cream can go wrong if you leave it unopened, and its expiration date is also essential. After the expiration date, it will still seem fresh but should be thrown out, and it should be used within two weeks. If the sour cream has gone wrong, you should throw it away. But if it’s too old, you should not consume it.

In other words, it hasn’t gone well if you haven’t used it yet. The color of sour cream can also be a good indicator of whether it’s gone wrong. The color of sour cream is usually white, but if the whey is yellow or green, it hasn’t gone well. If the whey has turned yellow, it’s moldy. Sour-cream that has a sour-cream-colored surface is not safe to use.