How Do You Know If Sour Cream is Bad?

According to Weill Cornell Medical College, sour cream can remain safe to consume up to two weeks past its “sell by” date when stored in an airtight container in the fridge. But left at room temperature or exposed to air and light sources can rapidly spoil.

Spoilage in sour cream can be easily detected through several telltale indicators, including mold growth, foul odors and discoloration. You should also carefully analyze its texture to assess whether it’s dense or watery in consistency.


Foods such as sour cream can last for two weeks in the refrigerator, however if left at room temperature for too long they become vulnerable to bacterial growth that contaminate them with off flavors and discolored hues; also producing foul smells which could potentially be hazardous and cause illness among consumers who consume them.

To protect sour cream from spoilage, it is recommended that it is stored in an airtight container and refrigerated as soon as it has been purchased. After this step is completed, regular checks should be performed to detect signs that it has gone bad, such as changing in color or flavor, mold formation or any sign that it could spoil quickly – in any such instance it would be wise to throw out and purchase new sour cream immediately.

Sour cream should have a creamy white hue when fresh and not going bad, while its yellow tint indicates it has gone bad and should be thrown away immediately. Bad sour cream also typically exhibits an unusual flavor which could include rancidity or chemical notes – these telltale signs that its time for replacement.

Once again, it is essential to regularly inspect sour cream for signs of mold growth. If it contains green or black mold growth, it should no longer be consumed and must be thrown away immediately.

Poorly made sour cream will also have a clumpy texture when it is not fresh and tasty. While separation may occur naturally in any case of separation of different components in a mixture, watery or water-logged consistency should never occur. If this occurs to you it would be wise to discard and purchase another container of sour cream as soon as possible.

Always ensure that a clean spoon is used when scooping out the sour cream from its container to reduce bacterial contamination and avoid spreading further. After opening, store in an airtight container like mason jars that are easy to seal for optimal storage conditions.


When your sour cream goes bad, the first sign will likely be its changing scent. While a bit of sourness and odor is normal, if yours has a sharp, funky or rancid odor it’s likely time to throw it out and may also have an off or rancid flavor; eating this could cause nausea and vomiting in people with stomach issues.

Once opened, sour cream can keep for up to two weeks once in the fridge; however, if left out at room temperature it will quickly spoil. To extend its quality longer and prevent bacteria growth on its surface or within it.

If your sour cream shows signs of mold or fungus growth or significant color changes on its surface, it may be time to discard it immediately. Consuming spoiled sour cream may result in food poisoning symptoms including stomach cramps, nausea and diarrhea – these usually appear within hours after consumption but could take a few days for those lactose-intolerant or with dairy allergies.

If your sour cream has developed a thin film on the top, this could be another telltale sign that it has gone bad. The thin layer formed by bacteria growth indicates too much time spent sitting out at room temperature or double dipping or using dirty tools when extracting spoonfuls from its container.

No one should scoop their sour cream directly from the bottom of the tub as this could expose you to more contaminants than intended. When storing in the fridge, push it towards the back so it stays cooler for longer before going bad quickly. For optimal texture and flavor retention it is best to store sour cream frozen as this will keep its consistency more effectively than storing in a fridge.


As with other dairy products, sour cream goes bad quickly when left out at room temperature for too long. Refrigeration ensures its freshness for up to one week post sell-by date on packaging; longer storage can still occur but must be refrigerated to prevent spoilage; otherwise bacteria will quickly start growing at room temperature and the sour cream will spoil.

One of the surest signs that your sour cream has gone bad is by its texture; lumpy or watery textures indicate it should no longer be consumed and any noticeable changes, such as discoloration or mold, should also be discarded immediately.

Even though sour cream is fermented product, that doesn’t guarantee its safety from contamination by bacteria and microbes in the air. Therefore, proper storage should be ensured to preserve both texture and flavor.

Refrigerating sour cream should be done in an airtight plastic container that has been placed all the way at the back of the fridge, to help ensure it remains colder and less likely to attract bacteria. When using clean utensils when dipping in and out, additional steps should be taken to avoid contamination from outside sources.

Though sour cream has a much shorter shelf life than butter, it still makes for good use when stored properly in the fridge for several weeks after its expiration date. Be sure to store it in an airtight container and refrigerate after opening to get maximum enjoyment out of every bit! If it has passed its two week mark without spoilage showing signs, simply throw away.


To extend the shelf life of your sour cream and ensure its safety for consumption, proper storage is key. Refrigerating it at all times and eating before its labeled expiry date becomes available is key in doing this successfully.

If your sour cream has gone bad, there are certain indicators you should look out for. One such signal is an unpleasant, rancid scent which overpowers its usual tart taste – an indicator that it has gone rotten and should no longer be consumed.

Check to see if your sour cream has separated. This could occur due to long exposure to extreme temperatures or simply being left sitting out too long on the countertop, and should it occur, discard it immediately as it may contain harmful bacteria that are capable of spoiling its integrity.

Finally, when inspecting sour cream for mold or discoloration on its surface, look out for any evidence of mold growth or discoloration as these could indicate that it has gone bad and should no longer be consumed.

Sour cream typically lasts around two weeks after opening; however, it could spoil more quickly depending on how it’s stored.

Refrigerating sour cream at all times is crucial, and should never be left sitting out in the sun or sitting on your counter. Nonfat and reduced-fat varieties tend to last longer. If in doubt about when to consume it, freeze in an airtight container to extend its shelf life before giving up and throwing out. Always check its expiration date as well and only buy it from stores that allow returns of products that have gone bad.

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