How Long Can Sour Cream Stay Out?

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By: Rachae's Nosheri


Sour cream is an adaptable ingredient, versatile enough for both savory and sweet dishes alike, providing moisture, flavor, and tenderizing properties. Each container should contain an expiration date to avoid spoilage; refrigeration should also help preserve its shelf life.

Unopened sour cream should remain fresh for two hours at room temperature before spoilage microorganisms start multiplying, so once opened it should be kept continuously refrigerated in order to retain its freshness and preserve its freshness.


Dairy products such as sour cream are typically refrigerated. If left at room temperature for more than two hours, bacteria in it could spread quickly and spoil it, becoming unfit to consume. Dairy products contain high moisture levels which make them the ideal breeding ground for bacteria growth – this includes contamination from other food in the fridge or kitchen environment itself. Sour cream left sitting out will likely spoil quickly, rendering it inedible.

Refrigerated sour cream should last approximately two weeks after its sell-by date has expired, though this timeframe could be drastically decreased if taken out often to be consumed and handled with unclean hands or an unsanitary utensil, potentially introducing bacteria into its structure.

Commercially produced sour cream is typically pasteurized to remove most of the harmful bacteria that could potentially cause food poisoning, but some harmful microorganisms still may exist and cause sickness if stored improperly in the fridge.

Refrigerating sour cream helps the bacteria to proliferate less easily by crowding them out with healthy cultures. As these bacteria continue to ferment and produce lactic acid for fermentation purposes, creating that distinctive sour taste of sour cream and providing additional vitamins and minerals for supplementation. In addition, this lactic acid also keeps your product fresh by helping prevent spoilage.

If you need to store sour cream for longer than recommended, freezing is a great solution. Just place it in an airtight freezer-safe container and leave approximately an inch of headroom at the top. While sour cream may separate while freezing, mixing together other ingredients will usually work without too much trouble; making this an excellent way of using up leftover sour cream quickly; for example casserole or soup recipes could use it up easily!


Foods such as sour cream can be used in an assortment of recipes, from dips and soups to baked goods. While you could store this food in your refrigerator, if it has been sitting too long or will soon spoil, then freezing sour cream may extend its shelf life indefinitely if the item hasn’t gone bad already.

An unopened container of sour cream may last two weeks at room temperature; for optimal results it should be put back into the fridge immediately after opening it to prevent bacteria growth and extend its shelf life. When dipping into it, be sure to use clean utensils in order to minimize contamination risk; additionally when placing in your fridge make sure it sits far back where temperatures will be cooler.

Refrigerating sour cream for three weeks after opening it will extend its shelf life significantly. For best results, place it in an airtight plastic freezer bag or container to prevent freezer burn and ensure an appropriate expiration date. Once defrosted, however, its texture may change, making it suitable for many recipes even after defrosting has taken place.

If your tub of sour cream is going bad before its expiration date, freezing it instead of throwing it away can save money and food waste. If you’re concerned that it might taste funny when defrosted, use it in recipes which mask any change in texture, such as baked goods, casseroles, and soups. When ready to consume it again simply take it from the freezer overnight before placing it back into the fridge until completely defrosted before refrigerating in advance for serving – this method works best with small containers; for larger quantities you might consider placing it into an ice cube tray before freezing them then moving them onto freezer bags with dates written on them before storage!

At Room Temperature

Sour cream is a dairy product whose distinctive tart taste comes from adding certain strains of bacteria to milk, with this bacteria growing and potentially leading to food poisoning if exposed to temperatures that promote spoilage. According to USDA recommendations, no sour cream should remain out at room temperature for more than two hours at any one time and any recipes or other food containing sour cream should also be stored in the fridge.

Dairy products such as sour cream are known for having high moisture levels, making it the perfect environment for the growth of spoilage organisms such as bacteria, molds, yeasts and other microorganisms. Because these organisms thrive between 40-170 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures, constant refrigeration is crucial to ensure safe sour cream storage.

Stale sour cream can cause several unpleasant side effects for those who consume it, including nausea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. These symptoms may be more pronounced for young children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems; and in severe cases even lead to life-threatening illness or death.

Firstly, take note of its smell. If it has an unpleasant scent that suggests spoilage and should be discarded immediately. In addition, note any changes in texture or color; watery consistency or grayish hue are indicators that something has gone amiss and should be thrown out immediately.

To maximize sour cream’s shelf life, it is recommended to store it either in its original container or move it into an airtight one. Pushing it further back in the fridge than leaving it on its door may help maintain colder temperatures for longer; additionally, using clean utensils in its storage can also extend its life span.

Frozen storage may be an alternative way of keeping sour cream fresh for longer, without altering either its texture or flavor. Freezing will extend its shelf life by several days without changing its texture or flavor.


If your sour cream is close to its expiration date, there are several things you can do with it. Either use it in a recipe, throw it away, or freeze it for later. For optimal results in the freezer, seal and freeze properly using either a freezer-safe plastic container or Ziploc bag; make sure as much air is removed prior to sealing so your sour cream stays cold for longer.

Refrigerating sour cream for two weeks should extend its shelf life beyond its expiration date printed on its label, although harmful bacteria can quickly multiply at room temperatures between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit in only an hour, potentially leading to food poisoning and leading to serious consequences for health.

If your sour cream has gone bad, it will have an unpleasant odor and appear watery. Furthermore, mold may form or it might even have fuzzy textures; if any of these signs appear then discard immediately!

As with other ingredients, sour cream that has gone bad may still be usable in some recipes, including baked goods. Before using, however, always check its expiration date and any warnings on its package to be safe. Even without one present, though, it should still be used but expect it to taste less rich and have thinner consistency than usual.

If you are uncertain if sour cream is safe to consume, submit a photo of it to Rotten Records, a website which collects images of expired foods. Rotten Records’ mission is to raise awareness about food safety by helping consumers recognize when products have gone bad and make it easier for people to recognize when something has expired and no longer safe to eat. Sharing images of expired sour cream helps others avoid getting sick from it while uploading images of any food gone bad is encouraged via this platform.

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Rachae's Nosheri

Rachael’s Nosheri is a Jewish deli located in 120 S. 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103. We serve breakfast and lunch comfort foods and deli sandwiches. Our extensive menu and reasonable prices make us a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. Our food is pretty good if you’re in the mood for deli sandwiches, and we’re known for our American, Bagels, Breakfast, Lunch Specials, and Sandwiches.

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