Can You Freeze Sour Cream?


Sour cream is a popular dairy product commonly used in recipes like dips, soups, and baked goods.

It doesn’t last too long in the fridge, and it’s often sold in large containers, leading to spoilage and food waste. This leaves sour cream lovers scrambling for ways to extend the shelf life of their favorite ingredient.

Fortunately, there are ways to preserve sour cream safely for longer periods of time.

This article explains whether you can freeze sour cream.

Fresh sour cream can be safely kept in the refrigerator at or below 40℉ (4.4℃) for up to 2 weeks (1).

Like with most dairy products, you can freeze sour cream. However, freezing sour cream is not typically recommended, as doing so affects its quality.

Some people report unpleasant changes in the product’s texture as a result of freezing. In fact, sour cream manufacturers themselves even warn against freezing this product due to negative effects on its texture (2, 3).

That said, it’s perfectly safe to freeze sour cream.

Summary

Even though it’s safe to freeze sour cream, freezing the product will change the product’s texture, which most people find undesirable.

Fresh sour cream has a soft, creamy texture and tangy taste. This silky texture makes it the perfect choice for folding into soups, dips, and salads and bringing richness to cakes and bread.

Unfortunately, frozen sour cream won’t have the same texture as fresh sour cream.

After defrosting frozen sour cream, it’ll have a lumpy or grainy texture, unlike the smooth texture of fresh sour cream.

This is because the sour cream separates during the freezing and thawing process, meaning the fat separates from the liquid part of the cream. This leads to a coagulated texture, which may be unappealing (4).

However, products made with sour cream, such as baked goods and soups, can typically be frozen without negatively affecting their texture or taste.

Summary

The freezing process causes sour cream to take on a grainy texture. However, it can still be used in some recipes.

Even though freezing sour cream is not typically recommended due to adverse effects on texture, it can be done if you’ve found yourself with excess sour cream that you don’t want to spoil.

However, it’s important to only freeze fresh sour cream that’s still safe to eat.

To freeze sour cream, simply portion it out into plastic or glass containers and stick them in the freezer.

Some people recommend using silicone ice cube trays to freeze sour cream. Once frozen, you can transfer the cubes to another container for long-term storage. These individually portioned cubes can then be conveniently added to soups, smoothies, and more.

Keep in mind that freezer temperatures should be around 0°F (-18°C) to keep frozen foods safe (5).

While there aren’t any guidelines regarding how long sour cream lasts in the freezer, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends storing yogurt in the freezer for up to 2 months. Since sour cream is a similar product, using frozen sour cream within 2 months is a safe bet.

To thaw the sour cream, store it in the fridge overnight until it’s fully thawed. You can also add the frozen sour cream directly to recipes like soups and stews.

How to use frozen sour cream

In general, food experts only recommend using sour cream in cooking or baking. This means that frozen sour cream should not be used as a topping or to whip up your favorite salad dressing.

Using sour cream that has been frozen and thawed in a recipe that calls for fresh sour cream can result in an undesirable texture and is not recommended.

However, frozen sour cream can be used in a number of ways in the kitchen, including:

  • adding frozen or frozen and thawed sour cream to soups and stews for a creamy texture
  • incorporating frozen and thawed sour cream into pancakes, cake, or muffin batter
  • adding a bit of frozen sour cream to casseroles before baking
  • tossing frozen sour cream into smoothies for a boost of satiating protein and fat

After defrosting frozen sour cream, refreezing is not recommended. Thawing and refreezing can lead to bacterial contamination, making the sour cream unsafe to eat (6).

Summary

Store sour cream in plastic or glass containers in the refrigerator. Use frozen sour cream as is, or let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

If you have extra fresh sour cream and don’t want to waste it, you can freeze it.

While freezing it will result in undesirable changes to its texture, you can add frozen or frozen and thawed sour cream to a number of recipes, such as baked goods and soups.



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