Sour Cream Shelf Life: How Long Does Sour Cream Last?

What is the average shelf life of sour cream? How long does sour cream last in the pantry, refrigerator, or freezer? What is the best way to store sour cream to increase its shelf life? Find out the answers to these questions and more below.

Sour cream has a tangy zing with a smooth and creamy texture. The interesting thing about the sour cream is that it can be substituted for butter in cookie recipes to make the cookies softer and taste richer. Sour cream can also be used as a dip for chips and veggies or used to make sourdough bread.

Sour cream as the name suggests is made from cream by fermentation. The fermentation process turns the cream thicker, and the flavor turns from sweet to sour. Depending on the type of sour cream you buy, the degree of sourness will vary. Some sour creams may have hints of other ingredients like garlic.

Shelf Life of Sour Cream

Unopened1-2 Weeks
Opened7-9 Days

If your sour cream is from a box chances are it contains preservatives. Sometimes food preservatives are labeled as stabilizers on the ingredient list. An unopened pack will not go bad, even if stored on the shelf. However, exposure to heat can make the cream go bad even if the packet is not opened. Products such as sour cream will have an expiration date. Beyond that date the food item goes bad and foodborne illness are more likely to occur.

Purchasing Sour Cream

Sour cream is mainly made up of fats with very little carbohydrates. The carbohydrate and protein content of sour cream is nearly the same. While buying sour cream, the first thing to think about is quantity. As soon as the packet is opened, the cream will last about a week in the fridge and night if left on the counter. If you are purchasing low-fat sour cream, make sure to glance at the nutrition information printed on the label. Foods that are low in fat generally have a higher sugar content to enhance the flavor.

Storing Sour Cream

Sour cream can be stored in the kitchen shelf or the pantry as long as it’s not opened. Upon opening take out the quantity required and store the rest in the fridge. The sour cream can be transferred to an airtight container. Leaving it in the fridge in an exposed bowl will cause the sour cream to go bad quicker because of contact with the air and the cream can absorb scents of other foods giving it a foul odor.

How to handle Sour Cream

Sour cream is thicker in consistency than cream. A spoon or baking spatula can be used to transfer the sour cream onto food items. Washing the utensils used for sour cream don’t require any type of special care; any dishwashing soap or liquid can remove all traces and scents of the cream. The cream holds its shape, making it very easy to use as a visual element of any dish.

Cooking Sour Cream

When using recipes where the sour cream is mixed in with other ingredients under a flame, the heat can cause the cream to curdle. Adding sour cream to recipes gives the dish a more buttery flavor while adding to the smoothness. When baking, sour cream can be used as a substitute for butter to make a healthier alteration to your favorite snack or on its own such as in a sour cream coffee cake.