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How To Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad?

How To Tell If Sour Cream Is Bad?

Sour cream is known for its tangy flavor.

But how can we know if a tub of sour cream’s tangy flavor is because of its natural flavor or because it’s going bad? What are the signs that show the sour cream in your fridge has gone bad?

If you notice mold growth, an off smell, or yellow or orange discoloration, there’s a good chance your sour cream has gone bad. Eating bad sour cream can put you at risk of food poisoning, so double check before you eat it!

4 Indicators That Sour Cream Has Gone Bad

Here are some of the common signs that show the sour cream in your fridge is bad:

Smell: Sour cream has a tangy and milky smell naturally, but when it goes bad, the tangy smell will change to a putrid one. Depending on the amount of mold spores in the sour cream, the cream might also smells moldy.

Taste: Another way to tell if sour cream is bad is that its taste will change to as if someone poured a fizzy drink and mixed it with the cream.

Color: The color of sour cream should always be white. If you see any other color except white, that means there’s mold building. If it’s not mold, then it could be dangerous bacteria.

Thick Chunks: Sour cream should be just that, creamy. When the sour cream rots, it may begin forming chunks of clotted sour cream, much like how a jug of milk becomes chunky after sitting for too long.

Bad sour cream

What Happens If You Eat Bad Sour Cream?

The effects of the rotted sour cream on your body depend on the amount you ate. If you only had a small taste, then you should be fine.

The unpleasantly tangy taste may linger in your mouth longer than usual, but that’s all.

If you had a spoonful or two, you may be in four or one or two hours of nausea. If you do experience nausea or a bit of heartburn after eating rotted sour cream, drink a lot of water.

However, if you had spoonfuls of rotten sour cream and you never noticed the flavor change, you may end up with food poisoning.

Also, if someone with lactose or dairy issues eats rotten sour cream, they could experience stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting for the next few days, more so than someone without lactose issues.

Is It OK If Sour Cream is Watery?

Have you ever taken out a spoonful or two of sour cream, placed it back in the fridge, and then went back to get more, only to see a small puddle of slightly yellowish water pooling around the tub?

What is that liquid, and is it bad?

No, that liquid isn’t a sign that sour cream has gone bad. Sour cream will separate into solid cream and liquid. Separation doesn’t mean the sour cream is rotten.

It does that naturally. Just grab a clean spoon and mix the liquid back into the cream.

However, if the sour cream rots, the taste of the watery substance will drastically change.

How Long Does Sour Cream Last When Opened?

Sour cream lasts longer than milk. When you bring home a tub of sour cream from the store, it will last about a month after it is open. Also, sour cream will generally last about 2 to 3 weeks past its sell-by date.

This time frame assumes that the refrigerator the sour cream is stored in is set at 40F, as this is the temperature that prevents bacteria from growing.

If the refrigerator is at 45F or 50F, the sour cream will grow mold and rot faster.

Because remaining in the cold is the best way to preserve the sour cream, you should only take it out when you are about to use it.

When making a recipe, remove the sour cream from the refrigerator right when you need to add the ingredients and then immediately place it back in the fridge.

If you find you can’t consume the entire tub of sour cream before it rots, consider buying smaller tubs so you waste nothing.

Conclusion to When Sour Cream Goes Bad

Sour cream is white and should always be white. Any other color means that there are bacteria or mold growing inside it.

Also, if the sour cream has chunks in it, or you notice a noticeable smell, then it’s probably time to get new sour cream and not eat what you have in the fridge.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.