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How Long Does Opened Sour Cream Last?

We’ve all been there. You’re rummaging through the fridge, and you find a container of sour cream that’s been hiding in the back.

You open it up, give it a sniff, and wonder, “Is this still good?”

Today, we’re going to answer that question, tips for storing it to keep it fresh for as long as possible, the checklist for how to tell when your sour cream is just not good anymore, and more.

This is a close up of sour cream in a bowl.

How to Store Unopened Sour Cream

It is important that you store unopened sour cream so that it is still in good shape for when you are ready to open it.

Unopened sour cream should be kept in the coldest part of your refrigerator (the back of the fridge, not in the door or at the front).

Tips For Proper Storage

  • To keep your sour cream fresh, make sure the lid is tightly sealed.
  • Don’t let it sit out on the counter, and keep it away from extreme temperatures in the fridge.
  • Always check the “sell by” or “use by” date on the container.
  • Once opened, continue to store it in the original container.
  • If you’re not going to use it before the expiration date, you can freeze it for longer storage. However, do know that the texture will change upon defrosting.
This is sour cream in bowl with a spoon and cup in the background.

How Long Does Opened Sour Cream Last?

Once sour cream is opened, it will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge. It can be confusing to know that the “Best By” date on the container is not a date that tells you when the sour cream will go bad. Sour cream can and, if stored properly, can last beyond that date.

It is important that each time you open the container of sour cream, check for signs of spoilage.

What Does “Best By” Date Mean?

The best by date on the container can be a bit confusing for most of us. Is the best by date the date that the sour cream is no longer good? Is it the date that the sour cream should be removed from grocery store shelves?

The best by date on the sour cream container is not necessarily the date that the sour cream goes bad. It is actually the date that the brand says the sour cream will taste best and have the best consistency.

Signs That Sour Cream Has Gone Bad

If your sour cream has mold on the surface, a soured smell or flavor, or any discoloration, it’s time to toss it. Always trust your senses when it comes to food safety.

This is an above shot of sour cream in a bowl with a spoon.

Why is the Sour Cream Watery?

When you open the lid on an already previously opened container of sour cream, it is normal to see a bit of water on top. If you give the sour cream a good stir, it should go back to the consistency that you expect.

If, after stirring the sour cream, it isn’t going back to that creamy texture, it has likely gone bad. At that point, give it a good sniff and decide if it smells off or not.

Proper Food Safety

If you see mold, discard the sour cream immediately. Never taste it to determine its safety. When in doubt, throw it out.

It can be annoying to have to throw out unused food. It sure is for us, but truthfully we rarely get to use every ounce of our sour cream. We do our best not to waste food, but when it goes bad, or it is on the edge and questionable, we don’t risk it.

The bottom line

Opened sour cream can last up to 2 weeks in the fridge if stored properly. Always check for signs of spoilage before using it, and remember to practice proper food safety. Your taste buds (and your stomach) will thank you!

This is sour cream in a bowl.