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How To Tell If Sour Cream Has Gone Bad

Sour cream is a versatile ingredient that works with a variety of meals! It tastes amazing in salad dressing, in baking, and in so many other foods!

How To Tell If Sour Cream Has Gone Bad

However, sour cream’s freshness has a deadline, and when you pass it, it changes from a delicious ingredient to..well, sour. And not in a good way. 

In this article, we will discuss how to tell if your sour cream is bad in a variety of different ways. 

So, if you have sour cream sitting in your refrigerator that you’re suspicious of, be sure to read on for more. 

How To Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad

You can tell if your sour cream is bad or not in many different ways. Let’s check them out in more detail below!

1. Check Out The Use-By Date

The use-by date is a great way to inspect the condition of your sour cream. The date is on the side of the sour cream container. Typically, you will see a use-by, sell-by, or best-before date here. But what are the differences between these?

Use-By Dates

This date informs the customer of the latest day you should eat the sour cream 

Sell-By Dates

This date is for the store. It indicates when the sour cream needs to be sold so customers can use it before it goes bad. 

Best Before Dates

The best before date indicates the date you need to eat the sour cream by in order to taste the best quality and flavors. 

So, no matter what it looks or smells like, if the sour cream has passed its sell-by or use-by date, do not eat it. It is best to dispose of it responsibly after the date shown. If the best before date has passed, then the sour cream requires further investigation.

2. Smell The Sour Cream

Another great way to tell if your sour cream is bad is to smell it. Sour cream that is bad smells unpleasant. Of course, “sour” cream is already slightly sour and has a naturally tangy smell to it.

However, you’ll know exactly the kind of unpleasant smell we are talking about when you open the cream and smell it – there’s no question about it. 

If your sour cream smells bad, get rid of it! 

3. Inspect The Texture

Good sour cream is smooth and creamy in texture. However, sometimes when you open it you will notice the liquid and the cream have separated, with the liquid sitting on top of the cream.

How To Tell If Sour Cream Has Gone Bad

This is normal, and not an indication that the sour cream has gone off. All you need to do here is drain the water or mix it with the cream once more. 

However, if there is too much water, or your sour cream has lumps, then this is a sign it has gone bad and you need to replace it. 

4. Check For Mold 

A common indicator of bad sour cream is discoloration or mold. Moldy sour cream is white and fuzzy, or green in color. It sits at the top of the sour cream when you open it. So, if you notice this, then it is time to dispose of the sour cream.

If there are bacteria growing in your sour cream, then the sour cream will turn yellow. Yellow sour cream is not safe to eat and you need to dispose of it immediately. 

What Happens If You Eat Bad Sour Cream?

If you eat bad sour cream, you risk getting a tummy ache. However, you also risk more serious illnesses such as food poisoning. If you have food poisoning, then you will experience:

  • Stomach pains 
  • A fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea

Everyone reacts differently to eating bad sour cream. Not only that, your reaction depends on how spoiled the sour cream is in the first place.

Sour cream that has been bad for a month will inspire a far worse reaction than sour cream that has been bad for a day or two. 

However, it is best to never find out how you will react to bad sour cream and inspect your sour cream bottles before you eat! 

How To Store Sour Cream

The ideal temperature for storing sour cream is 40 degrees F or lower. It is best to store it in the refrigerator after it has been opened for the recommended time given on the packaging. 

Sour cream should not sit out on the counter for more than two hours. After this point, the chance of bacteria growth is high. The longer sour cream is left out, the quicker it starts to spoil. 

What To Do If You Have Damaged Sour Cream Packaging 

If you have damaged sour cream packaging, then don’t worry! You can still eat the sour cream if you act fast. 

It is best to transfer the sour cream to a different container. Make sure the container is airtight.

If you do not have an airtight container, place the sour cream in a bowl and cover it with a plastic sheet. Mark the use-by or best before date on the container and place it in the refrigerator. 

Final Thoughts

You can tell if sour cream is bad in various ways. Check the best before or use-by date, smell it, and check the cream to inspect its texture and watch out for mold or discoloration. After that, either enjoy your fresh sour cream, or dispose of your bad sour cream safely.

Justin Roberts