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Mar 25, 2006 10:42 PM

How long do you keep sour cream, once it's been opened?

  • d

I feel like this is one of those products, like milk or eggs, that pretty much stay good, regardless of the date on the package, until, well, it goes bad, and you can tell. But with the sourness natural to sour cream, I'm wondering if I'm being too cavalier about the subject.

Right now I have a container of sour cream in the fridge that's been open about two weeks. It tastes okay, and doesn't expire until April 10th. But I'm wondering how that expiration date is affected once you've opened the product. Should I eat it?


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  1. In our house, unless it's looks like a cure for a disease (or smells like it) it's good to go!

    I'm sure your sour cream is fine. It will probably be good for at least a week or two after the expiration date, imho.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cls

      Exactly--until I see mold, it's good enough.

    2. This is what Wikipedia (my source for everything) says:

      Sour cream may be refrigerated in its container for up to a week after the date stamped on the bottom of the container. If any mold forms on the cream's surface, the entire container should be discarded immediately.

      -there is no comment on whether the package can have been opened for some period of time prior to this, but I think if you're sure there's no mold, you're safe for a while.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Adrienne

        I have to disagree with Wikipedia -- that basically sounds like the FDA policy, and not anything based on experience.

        "Expiration dates" on different food products mean different things -- for dairy products, the date is supposed to indicate they will be good for one week after the date, but that doesn't mean that the product will definitely be bad then ... it means it should be good *at least* until then (if stored properly). It really doesn't mean anything to consumers at all -- it's a "pull date" for retailers and distributors beyond which they won't guarantee the saleability of the product.

        Like the other poster, I keep mine until it has mold on it -- several weeks at least -- and I've been known spoon the mold off the top and use the rest (for my own consumption only, of course!).

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          Ditto. As they say about yogurt, how can it go bad when it's already spoiled? LOL

          Along with eggs, I've used previously unopened sour cream WAY (, way) past the date and do the same as you once it's opened. Between the pasteurization of the original milk and then innoculation with "good" microbes, the lower moisture content and the acidity, it's not a very hospitable environment for pathogens.

          As for Wikipedia, it's a cool concept but dangerous in that most people believe everything they read, at least superficially. One MUST remember that any idiot can post anything they want to Wikipedia and it'll only be corrected if someone else makes the effort to do so. It's a convenient place to start, but all its information is suspect until to otherwise verified.

      2. Why on earth are you keeping sour cream around?
        Use what you need for your recipe and if there's any left, add a
        bit of sugar, a dash of vanilla, and go at it with a spoon :)
        No more problem.

        1. I don't throw it out until the mold forms as it keeps a long time. That said, I'll use it way before that happens in chicken or veal paprikas, or Hungarian cucumber salad, or throw it into mashed or twice baked potatoes, or stir into a soup for added depth and richness.

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