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Can Sour Cream Go Bad? How Long Might It Last?

Quick Answer: Sour cream can go bad within 10 days once opened, but can last up to around 3 months when sealed and in the right conditions. This is because bacteria loves sugar and milk protein, and sour cream is full of ‘em!

In this quick guide we shall take a look at if sour cream can go bad and how long it might last under several conditions.

So, let’s get to it!

Can Sour Cream Go Bad? How Long Might It Last?

What Is Sour Cream?

As you already know, sour cream is a condiment that you can add to flavor food.

It naturally has a sour flavor and smell, which some might even think that it has gone bad already – though sour cream lovers everywhere do not agree!

It is made by fermenting cream that has come from cows, similar in the way that yogurt is made. Bacteria like lactic acid are then added to the mix to create that sour taste we are all familiar with.

Whilst it does have a sourness to it, for those in the know, we know that it hasn’t gone bad.

So if it already has that sort of tangy taste to it, and it is made essentially from cows milk, how do you know it has gone bad?

Wait, can it even go bad?

Let’s move on to the next question!

Can Sour Cream Go Bad?

If you cannot stand eating your baked potatoes or crunchy nachos without a good dollop or drizzle of sour cream, then it isn’t surprising that it is pure disappointment when you find that the sour cream doesn’t seem right.

This is because yes, sour cream can go bad. In fact, it has a relatively short shelf life, despite being able to last longer than a carton of cow’s milk. 

Whilst sour cream doesn’t generally last long, there are ways to make it last longer. However, this means not opening it until you need to use it, otherwise, it will only last around 10 days at the very most. 

How To Store Sour Cream?

Sour cream doesn’t last very long, though you can make it last a little longer by taking some action. For example:

Once Sour Cream Is Opened

Once you open sour cream, place it in the fridge to keep it at a temperature that will help to last up to 10 days.

If you decide to leave the sour cream out at room temperature, then there is a possibility that it will only last a few hours.

When Sour Cream Is Unopened

If you haven’t opened your sour cream yet, still place it in the fridge to make sure the environment is suitable for it to last. This way, it has a good chance of staying good for up to 3 months. 

However, if it is close to the sell by date, then it is likely to only last up to 3 weeks beyond that. Even so, always check it before serving as it still may have gone bad. 

Can You Leave Sour Cream Out?

Can You Leave Sour Cream Out?

If you plan on leaving sour cream to sit out on a table, or perhaps even outside in the sun during a BBQ, then you will notice that your sour cream has the shortest shelf life possible, especially if the room/outdoors is hot.

To try and avoid the sour cream from turning bad fast, don’t let it sit in room or outdoor temperature for more than two hours. In factm store it away as fast you can if possible.

However, the warmer the temperature, the shorter the two hour window is.

If the sour cream has been sitting in this kind of temperature for more than two hours, then the best thing to do is to throw it away.

Otherwise, you risk eating sour cream that has gone too bad to eat. 

So, with that being said, you might want to pick up sour cream last from the grocery store, and perhaps place it in a cooler bag if the temperature is warm in the car. 

What Are The Ways To Tell If Sour Cream Has Gone Bad?

Even though it has that sour taste, there are some surefire ways to know that the sour cream has made it to the end of its life. Some of these include:

Taste And Texture

If you are unsure about whether it has gone bad or not, taste it. If the flavor has turned bitter, then it has gone bad.

Again with the texture, sometimes it can separate which is usually sorted by shaking the bottle. However, if you can see lumps, then it shouldn’t be consumed.

Smell And Color

Whilst sour already, gone bad sour cream smells very rancid, so you will know. The color can also change and bring out a more yellow color or even pink.

This is bad bacteria making its way into the mixture and shouldn’t be eaten. 

Mold Can Be Seen

If you can see mold, then dispose of it. Do not remove the mold and eat the rest, because the mold can still be inside and it will make you unwell. 

Is It Safe To Eat Sour Cream That Has Gone Bad?

No, you should never eat sour cream that has gone bad. Not only will it look and taste disgusting, but it will be full of bacteria that can cause you to become ill.

The USDA says to never eat sour cream past the use by date, so always be aware of this.

However, you may just be able to eat it past the sell by and best by date, just remember to give it a check first before you consume it. 

There are several conditions that have to be met in order for sour cream to be okay to eat, so even if the use by date is in a week’s time, if you have left it out on the table for a few hours, then it should still be thrown away.

Jess Smith