Can You Freeze Sour Cream? Yes, And It’s Safe

Avatar Author's default profile picture Team Published: March 5, 2021 Modified: September 22, 2021
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It’s happened to all of us that a recipe calls for sour cream and you only get to enjoy and use half of its container. Leaving you with amounts of sour cream that might go to waste. There you sit, thinking what more to do with it, or can you freeze sour cream and if it’s safe to do so. The answer is—yes! Cases like this also happen to other dairy products that are sold by containers. So it’s wise and important to learn if you can freeze cream cheese or to know ways to freeze yogurt and how to properly do it so you can save up a lot next time.

It is safe to store and preserve sour cream by freezing it. In this article, we’ll guide you on how to freeze and thaw your leftover sour cream. Although, you should note that thawed sour cream is best to use for baking and cooking only. It’s not ideal to use it for dips and sauces once it’s been frozen and thawed. Also, you can only freeze sour cream that comes from a container. Unfortunately, the leftover sour cream dip from a meal you ordered cannot be preserved. It has to be thrown away immediately after use.

What Is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a regular cream that’s been deliberately fermented with lactic acid culture. This chemical reaction with the dairy product and culture is what gives it a thick and tangy texture and flavor.

How Long Does Sour Cream Last

Sour cream that isn’t preserved or frozen lasts for one to two weeks past its expiration date if the container is unopened. However, used sour cream will only be good enough to use until a little after the indicated expiration date. Beyond this, it will start to develop bacteria and will not be safe to use.

Freezing your leftover sour cream allows it to last up to six months. Still, we recommend that you use your frozen sour cream sooner than later to avoid the build-up of bacteria.

Does sour cream go bad? The answer is—yes, it does. How to tell then, if your sour cream is bad? If you start to see molds and clumps on your sour cream then you should probably get rid of it to avoid getting sick. Sour cream already gives off a sour smell. But if it gives off a sharp sour smell, then it’s probably time to toss it to the trash.

How To Freeze Sour Cream

Here are the easiest step-by-step instructions to freeze your leftover sour cream safely:


  1. Take your leftover sour cream from its container and transfer it to a bowl.
  2. Before freezing, make sure to whip your sour cream first. We do this to distribute the liquid evenly throughout.
  3. After whipping, we advise that you divide the amount of your sour cream into small portions. By doing so, you won’t have a hard time measuring the amounts you need when it’s time to use them. Using an ice cube tray will do the trick. If you do not have one, then an airtight container is the best option.
  4. If you do not have an airtight container or an ice cube tray at the moment, a freezer bag will work. Get a freezer bag and put your leftover sour cream inside. Soak it into the water to get rid of the excess air or to mimic a vacuum-sealed effect before closing it shut.
  5. Place it at the back of the freezer and let the sour cream freeze. Placing it in front will make it prone to be exposed to higher temperatures every time the freezer gets opened. This results in compromised quality.

Note: If you only have a small amount of sour cream left, transfer it to a smaller container. Having room for air compromises the quality of sour cream.

We advise that you make use of your frozen leftover sour cream as soon as possible. Remember, you can only keep sour cream frozen for 6 months at most.

Does sour cream change after freezing? Yes and no.

  1. After freezing and thawing your sour cream, there won’t be changes in its taste. The flavor will remain the same as it once was.
  2. The creaminess of the sour cream before it was frozen will drastically decrease after it’s thawed. The sour cream will become thin and runny, with a grainy, soupy texture. This is why it’s better to use it for cooking or baking after it’s frozen and thawed. The sour cream’s texture will not be ideal to use for dips and sauces.

How To Thaw Sour Cream

You may want to reconsider things if you’re thinking of thawing your frozen sour cream by leaving it on your countertop. Here are the 3 different methods to safely defrost it:

  • Thaw overnight in the fridge. Take only the amount of frozen sour cream you’re going to use out of the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator. It may be a lot faster to let it defrost at room temperature but leaving it there will cause your sour cream to build up bacteria. Hence, place it in the freezer instead to thaw your sour cream at a slow and steady pace for a safer way of defrosting.
  • Heat in the microwave at intervals. If you need to use your frozen sour cream immediately, place the amount of sour cream needed in a microwave-safe container. Heat it in the microwave for 25 to 30 seconds at a time until it’s completely melted. Do not overheat your sour cream to avoid compromising its texture, taste, and especially its safeness to use.
  • Add it frozen directly when cooking. In some cases like if you’re going to use it for soups and stews, you can toss it in while cooking and let the portion of a frozen sour cream thaw in there.
Tip: After the sour cream is defrosted, it becomes runny. Mixing in a little amount of cornstarch will help it get thicker.

Note: In thawing sour cream, make sure to only get the amount you’re going to use. Do not put thawed sour cream back in the freezer. Once you get it out, you should not refreeze it again for food safety reasons.

Uses Of Frozen And Thawed Sour Cream

As mentioned earlier, it’s not advisable to use defrosted sour cream for dips and sauces. However, using it for cooking and baking is highly recommended. For some recipes that use fresh sour cream, using thawed sour cream might not work that well. But don’t worry, there’re still a lot of recipes that it works amazingly great with. Here are some sour cream recipes where you can use your thawed sour cream effectively:

Sour Cream Apple Pie

delicious sour cream apple pie

This apple pie recipe calls for sour cream that creates a well-balanced flavor with the pie’s fruitiness and sweetness with the sour cream’s tanginess.

Sour Cream Chicken Casserole

sour cream chicken casserole

Thawed sour cream also works well with casseroles. Try this easy chicken casserole recipe that you can whip up in under an hour. It is layered with mushrooms, noodles, and chicken. 

Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes

slow cooker mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes served on a saucer with leaves on side

Baked potatoes go perfectly with sour cream toppings. But since you can’t do that with thawed sour cream, try to add more flavor to your usual mashed potatoes by following this slow cooker mashed potatoes recipe.

White Chicken Enchiladas

White Chicken Enchiladas Recipe

A hearty chicken casserole recipe that’s loaded with beans, chicken, and a sauce that’s sure to satisfy your tastebuds. Try out this filling white chicken enchiladas recipe with your thawed sour cream and see how good it will turn out.


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