How to Tell if Sour Cream Is Bad?

Do you have sour cream in your fridge? You might be wondering if it’s still good. There are some good ways to find out, but first, you should know how to tell if sour cream is bad.

Sour cream starts to go bad because of bacteria. The longer it takes for the sour cream to spoil, the more bacteria grows inside it. If your sour cream has been in the fridge for quite a while, there probably is a lot of bacteria in it, so you should throw it away.

It can be hard to tell, but there are some signs that will help you figure out if it’s time to throw away your sour cream or not. If you want to know how long is too long for sour cream, then keep reading! We’ll give you all the information on how to tell when it has gone bad.

🤔 How to tell if sour cream is bad? Here are some of the most common ways that people find out their sour cream has gone bad – they notice an off smell or taste, mold growing on top of the container (or inside), curdling around the edges of the container, or separation between liquid and solids.

If any of these things happen with your sour cream then we recommend throwing it away immediately! 

How to Tell if Sour Cream Is Bad?

1. Unpleasant Smell

First, you will want to determine if the sour cream smells bad. This is an obvious sign of spoilage (if you can’t figure out what it smells like, it’s probably not sour cream).

Sour cream will have a distinct sour smell, usually a nice milk-like scent that is appealing. If you notice an unpleasant or strange odor coming from the sour cream, then throw it away immediately because the sour cream has gone bad.

2. Texture Change

Look at the sour cream and notice if it has changed its texture. If so, then your sour cream has gone bad. The texture of spoiled sour cream might be thicker than usual or thinner than usual – either way, this is a good indication that you should throw it away.

When the sour cream is excellent, it should be a smooth creamy texture. If your sour cream has a separation between liquids and solids, then you should throw it away. This is typical and can be drained or recombined before usage. You should make sure that it isn’t excessively watery or lumpy in any way.

3. Dicoloration

Sour cream is white, even though you can see through it. So if your sour cream is not its usual color (which should be creamy-white), then it might have turned yellow, grayish, or otherwise discolored. This means that the sour cream has gone bad and that you should throw it out immediately.

4. Mold

If mold is growing on, or inside of it, then your sour cream has gone bad. The best way to go about checking for this is by holding the container up to a light source and looking through it from different angles.

In addition to discoloration, you know that your sour cream has gone bad when you can see or smell mold growing on it or in it.

5. Taste

Notice that there are several stages to spoilage – how the sour cream looks is not the only thing you should pay attention to.

Sour cream is especially nice when it’s in recipes or on top of foods. Taste the sour cream for any strange flavors, like buttermilk or vinegar. This is because if your sour cream has gone bad it will begin to ferment and develop faster than other dairy products.

Also notice how it feels in your mouth (if you can). It should not feel sticky or too thick.

If you experience any of these signs, your sour cream has gone bad and should be thrown away immediately.

6. Expiration Date Expiration Date

Another indicator is the expiration date. This is especially helpful with sour cream because it will expire faster than many other types of dairy products.

A general rule of thumb is that if you notice any strange signs (like those mentioned above) or flavors before the expiration date, then it’s time to throw out your sour cream.

Take a look at the date on the side of your container. It will either have a use-by, sell-by, or best-by date marked thereon.

If you are unsure of what “sell-by” means, then it can be taken as the day that stores should remove your sour cream from shelves, so the “best by” date is what you will want to look for.

Always check before using or eating sour cream. If there is no sell-by/use-by date, use the sour cream before one week after opening. If your sour cream is expired, then it’s time to just simply throw it out.

Sour cream will go bad within 7 to 10 days after opening, so it is important for consumers to pay attention before the expiration date.

So, in case your sour cream goes bad or you are out of it, here are some of the best sour cream substitutes you can use.

Does Sour Cream Go Bad if Left Out?

Another thing to note is that if your sour cream has gone bad, it will also spoil faster when left out in the open air. Take care to store sour cream properly, whether it is unopened or opened, and do not leave it out for too long.

If left out of the refrigerator for too long, it can spoil faster than usual and should be thrown out immediately.

The usual sour cream storage method is to keep it in the refrigerator (at about 40-45ºF). DO NOT freeze sour cream!!! This is because of its low-fat content; the freezing temperature will change its texture, which will ruin it.

How Long Can Sour Cream Sit Out?

A common question when it comes to sour cream is how long can sour cream sit out. The answer depends on the temperature at which you are storing your sour cream at.

If you’re in a room where the temperature is between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit, then your sour cream typically has a 2-hour window between when it has reached its peak and when it appears to have gone bad.

If the temperature is above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, then sour cream can sit out for up to an hour before eventually spoiling. If you store your sour cream in a cooler than 40 degrees, you can leave your sour cream out as long as 7-10 days.

I’m a passionate food blogger on a journey to become a go-to person who can help others prepare delicious foods. I share recipes, food substitutes, and other cooking tips. Read more about my journey...

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