Expired Sour Cream: How to Know It’s Spoiled

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Can you get sick from expired sour cream? How do you know it’s gone bad? Sour cream is a wonderfully delicious creamy dairy-based condiment that people love all over the globe. If you’ve got a stash in your fridge, you may be wondering how long your sour cream keeps and how to know when it’s gone bad. Luckily, we’ve answered all of that and more for you in today’s post.

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Table of Contents

clear glass jar with sour cream

Can You Get Sick From Expired Sour Cream?

Off the top, it is important to know that you can, indeed, get sick from expired sour cream.

But how long it has been expired and what conditions it was kept in makes a difference.

Because sour cream is a dairy product, you can get sick from it rather easily if it isn’t stored properly or goes bad. Consuming expired sour cream can cause you to get food poisoning and may yield a variety of symptoms including nausea, stomach cramping, diarrhea, and much more.

How Long Past Expiration Date Can You Use Sour Cream?

Assuming that you kept your sour cream refrigerated at least 40 degrees Fahrenheit, you can expect your sour cream to last anywhere from 1-3 weeks past expiry.

With that said, if you notice any signs of deterioration such as mold, an off smell, or an off taste, you should pitch your sour cream and buy a fresh container.

Above all, remember never to consume anything that makes you sick.

How Long Is Expired Sour Cream Good Unopened?

Expired sour cream can safely last anywhere from 1-3 weeks unopened, but that’s assuming that you’ve kept the sour cream in the fridge at 40 degrees Fahrenheit the entire time.

If you leave sour cream out for any more than 2 hours, you risk it going rancid and will need to purchase a new one.

Expired Sour Cream Never Opened

Whether opened or not, rules for sour cream remain the same.

Though you’ll want opened sour cream to remain in an airtight container in the fridge, even unopened sour cream risks spoilage if you let it remain in your fridge for too long.

As a rule of thumb, don’t eat any sour cream that has gone beyond three weeks of its expiry date.

And be careful…

Because sour cream is a dairy product you may find that it goes rancid faster, and also, yields more severe complications when digested the longer it sits expired.

Sour Cream 3 Months Past Expiration

Sour cream that goes three months past expiration should not be consumed.

According to the USDA, it is best to consume sour cream for only 1-3 weeks after expiration. Thus, keeping sour cream that has been in the fridge for 12 weeks, the equivalent of three months, is too long.

By eating dairy products that have gone bad, such as spoiled sour cream or even spoiled milk, you run the risk of becoming very ill. It is far better to discard dairy products after expiry.

white cream

How Do You Know When Sour Cream Goes Bad?

How to Know If Sour Cream Is Bad?

As with most things, sour cream will develop an unfamiliar look, taste, and smell after spoiling.

If you notice that your sour cream has become yellow or discolored in any way, discontinue use.

If you notice mold on sour cream, it is yet another sign of spoilage.

Sour cream that doesn’t taste or smell quite right is also likely unsafe to eat.

And most importantly, if your sour cream has gone 1-3 weeks past expiry, it is best you toss it and purchase fresh sour cream.

If you find that your sour cream has gone bad, you can replace the sour cream with buttermilk in the case of dressings or baked goodies. Although the two seem very different, they are very similar when you compare buttermilk vs sour cream.

refrigerated produce

Why Does Sour Cream Get Watery?

Is Sour Cream Still Good If It’s Watery?

That depends.

Sour cream that has water or liquid on top isn’t odd. In fact, it can be perfectly normal. That’s because the water that presents itself on both sour cream and yogurt is known as whey. It’s naturally occurring and is perfectly safe.

If, however, there are other signs of spoilage such as a bad smell, bad taste, mold, or discoloration, your best bet is to opt for new sour cream.

Is Lumpy Sour Cream Bad?

Why Does My Sour Cream Look Like Cottage Cheese?

There are a few reasons why your sour cream may resemble cottage cheese. Maybe the sour cream was frozen at a point in time. Or the sour cream was heated. Or perhaps r the sour cream has gone bad.

To know whether or not the sour cream has gone bad, you might need to smell it, taste it and check the expiration. If you’ve left sour cream sitting out and you notice that it now looks like cottage cheese, be sure to throw it out.

What Does Bad Sour Cream Smell Like?

Sour cream naturally has a tangy odor. However, if that smell is stronger than usual or seems particularly rotten, chances are that the sour cream has gone bad.

Can You Use Spoiled Sour Cream For Baking?

Spoiled Sour Cream

It’s best to avoid eating spoiled sour cream if it has been 1-3 weeks past expiry.

Despite being in baked goods, the spoiled sour cream can still induce food poisoning and unwanted symptoms when consumed. Thus, it is best to avoid using sour cream 1-3 weeks after the printed expiration date, even when using it to bake.

Is your sour cream getting close to its expiration date?

Don’t worry.

Although we don’t recommend using old sour cream, you can quickly use up sour cream that is ready to expire. Whether you prefer cooking vs baking with sour cream, or somewhere in between, we are willing to bet you can find a recipe you love to help you use up that leftover sour cream in your refrigerator.

Soured Cream Expiry FAQs

What happens if you eat expired cream?

If you eat expired dairy, you will always run the risk of nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and other unwanted symptoms. 

What can you do with expired sour cream?

You can do what you want with expired sour cream, but remember, once the sour cream goes 1-3 weeks past expiry, you should no longer continue with the use. 

Will mold on sour cream hurt you?

Depending on your level of sensitivity to mold, mold can certainly hurt you. But mold isn’t always harmful. Still, we don’t recommend consuming foods with visible mold growing on them as some molds can produce mycotoxins which can make you very sick.

Expired Sour Cream May Last Longer Than You Think

Sour cream remains a worldwide favorite for many. It is a cool and creamy complement to many dishes. Remember that sour cream that lasts anywhere from 1-3 weeks past its expiration date assuming that it was refrigerated continuously.

If you notice signs of spoilage including discoloration, a bad smell, or mold growth, you should pitch the sour cream. Purchase fresh sour cream instead.

By Anna

Hey, I’m Anna; writer, editor and amateur cook extraordinaire! Food has been my life and my passion for the most of my life – it’s crazy to think I didn’t pursue a career in cooking. I’m obsessed! However, keeping cooking as an obsessive hobby has worked for me – my passion grows as the years pass by – maybe I wouldn’t say the same if it was also my day job! I hope you find cooking inspiration, entertainment and “stop and think interesting tid-bits” throughout my writing – and I’d love to hear from you if you’ve got anything you want to share. Food feeds the soul – so get eating! Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

1 comment

  1. The container says July 18, 2022, but it looks and smells fine! Didn’t taste it though. Today’s date is November 16, 2022. Again, it looks perfectly white and smells normal. BUT, I guess I still need to toss it 😕 Why doesn’t it look or smell off. Plus, it has been opened and just sitting in the back of the fridge.

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