Are you the kind of person that likes a topping for everything? Or maybe you strive to find the versatility in everyday dishes by making dips or adding toppings and changing things up. Sour cream is one such topping that is extremely versatile.
So much can be done with sour cream. In some homes, it seems as though you can hardly keep it in the fridge because you use it so often. Or maybe your family always has leftover sour cream and you need some ideas so you don’t have to toss it out.
Sour cream is a dairy product and therefore does have an expiration date. But can you freeze sour cream to make it last longer? Yes, you can freeze sour cream for up to 6 months. However, you’ll want to use it for cooking or baking because the consistency will change after thawing. This means it will no longer be suitable as a topping.
In this guide, we will discuss the methods for freezing sour cream and what you can expect when you do so. There are certainly some things you should be aware of regarding your sour cream as you freeze it. We will also share some great ideas for using your sour cream that maybe you haven’t thought of yet.
Keep reading to learn about freezing sour cream and so much more.
Your Guide to Freezing Sour Cream
Sour cream is a dairy product that gives you a smooth and creamy option that you can use in so many ways. It’s not your typical dairy product and it comes by the name sour cream quite naturally.
If you’re not familiar with sour cream, it is dairy cream that has been fermented. Specific lactic acid and forms of bacterial culture. These elements can be natural or they can be specifically added to the cream for fermentation purposes.
The result is a cream that thickens and takes on a subtle sour flavor. It’s really quite delicious and it’s a popular staple item in many homes. Sour cream can be used for a ton of different things.
You can cook sour cream into casseroles and various heated dishes. You can use sour cream to make dips, or sour cream can often be used as a topping. It’s very popular as a topping for Mexican dishes and many other things as well.
How Sour Cream is Made
We covered slightly the process sour cream goes through to become sour cream. You can actually make your own sour cream if want to give it a go. Of course, you can also purchase it in many different forms from the store.
You can get anything from light to fat-free to full-fat sour cream. Not to mention it comes in a variety of sizes as well. Now, you can even purchase sour cream in squeezable pouches so it’s easy to top anything you want to.
To give you an appropriate idea of what we’re working with as we progress to freezing your sour cream, we thought it might be helpful to share a basic recipe for making sour cream. This will give you a clear picture of what is used and the process sour cream has been through.
Some recipes for homemade sour cream require cooking measures while others go another route. They are all effective and have their own unique twist to making sour cream. In this recipe, there will be no cooking involved.
There are several ways you can make your own sour cream but this recipe will give you a general idea. Remember the purpose of these steps is just to provide you some insight as to the process and what is in the product overall.
Store-bought sour cream is processed differently since it is made in bulk in a factory but the overall concept is the same and the storage processes will work the same as well.
Here’s one way that homemade sour cream can be made.
- You will need a jar, milk, heavy cream (use high-quality), and fresh lemon juice. This does require a sitting period and you will need some breathable cloth. Cheesecloth works quite well or even a light paper towel.
- Combine all ingredients directly into the jar. Mix well.
- Cover with your cloth.
- You can secure your cloth to the jar lid with a rubber band. Just be sure whatever you use is breathable. Lids, plastic wrap, and foil are not useful for this particular process.
- Leave the covered jar sitting on the counter overnight.
- In the morning, stir the mixture and you have sour cream! The lemon juice works much like the elements in buttermilk and gives your sour cream a thick texture. It’s rich and tangy and very similar to store-bought sour cream.
You can use this sour cream in all of the same ways that you can use store-bought sour cream. The consistency may be slightly thinner than what you see from the plastic dish at your local grocery store but the flavor is the same and it truly is sour cream.
This particular recipe for sour cream will last about 2 weeks stored covered in the refrigerator.
Using Sour Cream
If you’re not really sure you want to freeze your sour cream but you know you need some options soon, there are so many ways you can use sour cream. It doesn’t have to be just a topping for a taco salad or a baked potato, you can use sour cream in so many ways.
Sour cream can be used in baking, cooking, toppings and nearly anything imaginable. You can use sour cream in warm dishes or cold dishes and you really can’t go wrong. Even if you don’t really care for the taste of sour cream as a topping, you would be surprised at how much it can positively affect a flavor in some dishes or even dips.
Here are some great ideas for using sour cream.
- Add to biscuit mix
- Bread (makes it nice and moist)
- Sandwich topping
- Warm dips
- Cold dips
- Scrambled eggs
- Baked potatoes
Sour cream can add just the right amount of creaminess to your soups and casseroles. You can make moist and flaky pie crusts. Your cakes and bread will never be fluffier and moist than with sour cream.
Those pancakes will be super fluffy and delicious. That baked potato is extra creamy and delicious. Cookies, Mexican dishes, breakfast casserole, deviled eggs, you simply can’t go wrong.
You truly will be surprised to find out just what sour cream will do to nearly any dish. Don’t let that sour cream go to waste!
And if you’re still not sure what you need to be doing with your sour cream, freezing it is always a viable option.
Don’t worry about it, you don’t have to make yourself sick eating sour cream with every meal. You can freeze it and it will preserve in the freezer for up to about 6 months.
Freezing Sour Cream
At first glance, you might think that sour cream is a substance that won’t freeze very well. You are half correct, there. You can effectively freeze your sour cream and it will freeze just fine. Just know that after you freeze it, the consistency won’t be quite the same.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t freeze it. If you need a solution for preserving your sour cream for longer, freezing it is absolutely a great idea. It will work just fine. Just be prepared that when you remove it from the freezer, it won’t look quite the same.
However, here’s the concept to understand. Your sour cream will remain just as fresh as it was the day you placed in the freezer. Obviously, it will not get fresher but it also shouldn’t go bad in the freezer.
When you remove your sour cream from the freezer, you most likely will not want to use it as a topping. It just won’t appear as creamy as it did prior to freezing. However, it will still work incredibly well for putting into dishes – baking, casseroles, soups, dips, etc.
We recommend that if you do freeze your sour cream, you simply be aware that your uses may be slightly more limited when you remove the sour cream from the freezer.
However, keep in mind that freezing sour cream is an effective process and it’s a great way to preserve your sour cream when you’re potentially facing the threat of having to toss it out because it’s nearing its “best-by” date.
Here are the recommended steps for freezing sour cream.
- Scoop your sour cream into a reliable airtight container that won’t crack or break in the freezer. Alternatively, you can also use a heavy-duty freezer bag to store sour cream in the freezer.
- Be sure to stir the sour cream prior to freezing.
- Seal tightly.
- Label and date the packaging for your sour cream.
- Place the sour cream into the freezer for up to 6 months.
Freezing your sour cream is super simple and you really can’t go wrong with it. You do need to ensure that whatever storage method used is airtight. If your sour cream is not airtight, you run the risk of it getting hard and lumpy.
Remember that once you freeze your sour cream, you should plan to use it as part of a dish or cooked into something rather than using it as a topping. You can use it as a topping, it just won’t be as pretty or as creamy because the texture is changed when you freeze sour cream.
Storing Sour Cream Outside the Freezer
If you plan to use your sour cream within a couple of weeks, you can simply store it in the fridge as an alternative. You shouldn’t store it at room temperature for more than 1-2 hours at a time. Remember it has been soured and being out too long would make this a breeding ground for bacteria.
Storing sour cream in the fridge is simple and it’s a reasonable solution for a short time frame. You just want to make sure you cover it and store it tightly sealed. You can store it in any part of your fridge and it should store just fine.
Homemade sour cream can typically be stored for about 2 weeks in the fridge. Store-bought sour cream will come with a best-by date imprinted on the container. This date is typically 2-3 weeks out as well.
Your sour cream may last longer. These are just considered the best dates to use it before. However, there is also the chance your sour cream won’t last the full 2 weeks before it needs to be thrown out.
Be sure to use good judgment and to learn the signs of bad sour cream. If you see mold or anything growing, it’s time to toss it out. There are several obvious signs to look for to know when your sour cream has gone bad.
If your sour cream has a layer of liquid, you can usually correct this by stirring it really well. This is typically just a separation of liquid (like lemon juice from our fresh sour cream). Stirring the sour cream should fix the issue.
Pros and Cons of Freezing Sour Cream
As you have most likely assessed from this article, there are some upsides and downsides to freezing your sour cream.
While it freezes nicely, there are some potential consequences that you won’t love when you take your sour cream from the freezer.
Let’s summarize by covering the pros and cons of freezing sour cream.
Pros of Freezing Sour Cream
- Freezes quite well for using later
- You can freeze it for up to 6 months
- Easy to freeze
- No special requirements – just seal well
- You can use easily after freezing
- Great option for preserving sour cream
Cons of Freezing Sour Cream
- You didn’t get to enjoy it all fresh
- You may not be able to use it as a topping
- The texture is slightly affected
- Best when cooked into a dish
The pros certainly far outweigh the cons. Simply be aware of how your sour cream may be affected.
We hope that you find this guide to freezing sour cream to be a valid and informative resource for the purpose. Freezing sour cream is quite simple as long as you know it does change slightly in the process.
We invite you to take a look at the following question and answer section for additional information that might be helpful to you.
What’s the Best Way to Tell When Sour Cream is Bad?
There are several ways to tell if your sour cream is bad. If it has a spoiled milk odor, it’s time to toss it out. If you notice mold growth, toss it out. If there are random bright spots, these are bacterial marks and you should throw it out. If the flavor is off or bitter, it’s time to throw it out as well.
Can I Eat Sour Cream Past the Stamped Date?
The stamped date on sour cream is typically a “best-by” date. It does not necessarily mean it has expired. Use this date as a key date to monitor your sour cream but it will often be good for up to 2 weeks after that date when stored in the fridge.
Remember that storing the sour cream in the freezer can prolong it past this date. This is why you label and date your packaging because it should be good for about 6 months in the freezer.