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How Long Does Sour Cream Last Out of the Fridge? Does it Go Bad?

Sour cream is a delicious and versatile ingredient in a variety of dishes, from baked potatoes to dips and dressings.

However, sometimes we may forget to put it back in the fridge after using it or may wonder how long it can last outside of refrigeration.

The question is, how long does sour cream last out of the fridge? Does it go bad?

Sour cream should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours. At room temperature, bacteria can start to grow and multiply, causing the sour cream to spoil. Discard any sour cream that has been left out for longer than this time period for safety reasons.

In this article, we’ll go over the factors that affect the shelf life of sour cream and how to store it properly to keep it fresh for as long as possible.

We’ll also provide some useful tips for using leftover sour cream and how to tell if it’s gone bad.

So, let’s dive into all of the important details about sour cream, how to store it, and more.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a dairy product that’s made by fermenting regular cream with lactic acid bacteria. The fermentation process gives it its signature tangy flavor and thicker texture.

Sour cream can be used in a wide range of recipes, from baked goods to dips and dressings. It’s a staple in many kitchens and can add a delicious, tangy flavor to any dish.

How Long Does Sour Cream Last?

The answer to this question depends on a few different factors, such as the quality of the sour cream, the temperature at which it’s stored, and whether or not it’s been opened.

If left at room temperature, sour cream should not be consumed after two hours. This is because the bacteria naturally present in the sour cream can multiply rapidly at room temperature, leading to spoilage and unsafe consumption.

If sour cream has been refrigerated properly and has not been opened, it can last up to a month beyond the expiration date. Once opened, however, sour cream should be consumed within seven to ten days.

Additionally, if the sour cream has an off odor, unusual texture, or mold, it should be discarded immediately. These are signs that the sour cream has gone bad and could be unsafe to consume.

How to Store Sour Cream

The key to keeping sour cream fresh and delicious is proper storage. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep it refrigerated: Sour cream should always be kept in the refrigerator, between 32-40 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not leave it at room temperature for extended periods of time, as this can lead to spoilage and the potential growth of harmful bacteria.
  • Store in an airtight container: To help maintain freshness, store your sour cream in a tightly sealed airtight container. This will help prevent any excess moisture from entering the container and promote freshness.
  • Don’t freeze sour cream: While freezing sour cream is possible, it’s not recommended by most experts. When frozen, the sour cream may lose much of its flavor and texture, making it less than ideal to use in recipes.
  • Keep an eye on expiration dates: Always check the expiration date on your sour cream before using it. If the date has passed, it’s best to discard it rather than take any risks with consuming expired dairy products.

How to Tell if Sour Cream has Gone Bad

Before using sour cream, it’s important to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. Here are some ways to tell:

  • Smell it: If the sour cream has gone bad, it will have a sour or rancid smell. If you detect any unpleasant odors, it’s best to discard the sour cream immediately.
  • Check the texture: Sour cream that has gone bad may have an unusual texture, such as being overly thick, slimy, or lumpy.
  • Look for mold: If you see any mold on the surface of the sour cream, do not consume it, as it may cause health problems.

Tips for Using Leftover Sour Cream

If you find yourself with leftover sour cream, here are some ways to use it up:

  • Mix it into dips and dressings: Sour cream is a classic ingredient in a variety of dips and dressings. Mix it with seasonings, garlic, or herbs for added flavor.
  • Use in baking: Sour cream can be used as an ingredient in baked goods as a replacement for milk, buttermilk, or yogurt.
  • Top off soups: A dollop of sour cream can be the perfect finishing touch to a bowl of soup.
  • Make sour cream ice cream: Believe it or not, sour cream can be used to make a tangy and creamy ice cream flavor. Just add it to your favorite ice cream recipe!


Sour cream is a delicious and versatile ingredient that’s a staple in many kitchens. Knowing how to store it properly and how to tell if it has gone bad is essential for both taste and safety.

Remember, sour cream should not be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours and should always be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Always check the expiration date before using it and discard any sour cream that has an off odor, unusual texture, or mold.

With these tips and tricks, you can enjoy your sour cream longer and add some tangy flavor to all your favorite dishes!

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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.