Can You Freeze Sour Cream? Here’s What You Need to Know

published Nov 28, 2023
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Spoonful of sour cream dipped from bowl.
Credit: Maria Do

Sour cream is a versatile dairy product that can be used in many ways. It helps make eggs fluffier, add richness to cakes and breads, thicken soups and sauces, and is used as a topping for tacos and baked potatoes. But sometimes when we’re making a recipe, we only need a dollop and we end up not finishing the whole container. 

Quick Overview

Can You Freeze Sour Cream?

Yes, you can technically freeze sour cream, though we recommend only doing it on some occasions. The reason is that the taste and texture of sour cream changes after it’s frozen. That in mind, there is a way to freeze and thaw sour cream for consumption later.

Say there is still a lot left and the sell-by date is within the week, and you’re going to be away. You ask yourself: “what should I do with it?” You may be tempted to freeze it so it doesn’t go to waste. But is freezing sour cream safe since it contains dairy? Yes, it’s safe to freeze sour cream, but it won’t taste the same once it’s properly thawed

How to Freeze Sour Cream  

If you have a lot of sour cream left and don’t want to get rid of it just yet, you can freeze sour cream at its freshest state. Make sure the freezer has an optimal temperature, which is 0°F (or -18°C) to keep frozen foods safe. 

There are a few ways to freeze sour cream. You can portion it out into a clean, freezer bag or glass container, or use a piping bag and transfer it into a silicone ice cube tray. Whichever you use, whip the sour cream first to evenly distribute the liquid.

When using silicone trays, once the sour cream is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to another container for long-term storage. These individually portioned cubes can then be added to soups and stews later on. 

When using plastic or glass containers, label and date the container before placing it at the back of the freezer. Remove any excess air to prevent freezer burn. Make sure the container is tightly sealed to prevent sour cream from absorbing other odors. 

The Best Time to Consume Sour Cream

Fresh is best, as they say, so this applies to sour cream. Once opened, it should be kept refrigerated between 32°F to 38°F, and it can be consumed for up to three weeks

Like with most dairy products, you can freeze sour cream but its silky and smooth texture will turn lumpy or grainy once it’s thawed, according to Healthline. In fact, sour cream manufacturers like Daisy suggest not to freeze as it can adversely affect the creamy texture and all-natural flavor of the product. 

You can, however, freeze dishes made with sour cream, such as baked goods and soups, without affecting their texture and taste. 

What Happens When You Freeze Sour Cream?

When you freeze sour cream, it curdles and alters the texture and flavors. 

First, let’s tackle texture. After thawing safely in a refrigerator, it may become more liquid and the fat from the milk may separate from the liquid. This leads to a coagulated texture making it look unappealing. Its texture will also appear grainy, giving you a very icky mouthfeel. 

Next, the flavor. Sour cream’s flavor gets affected after freezing by losing some of its tanginess, so you may have to adjust how you use it in dishes. More on that below.  

How Long Should You Freeze Sour Cream?

There aren’t any specific guidelines as to how long you should freeze sour cream, but the Food and Drug Administration recommends storing yogurt in the freezer for up to two months. Since sour cream is a similar product, storing sour cream in the freezer for up to two months is a safe bet, as quoted in Healthline.  

You can add the frozen sour cream directly to recipes like soups and stews. Don’t use frozen sour cream in recipes that call for a fresh dollop to be added on top, say chili or baked potatoes. 

How to Thaw Sour Cream and Where to Use it

Transfer frozen sour cream to the refrigerator and store it there overnight until it’s fully thawed. Sour cream should be stored in a refrigerator with a temperature between 32°F to 38°F.

Once thawed, do not re-freeze sour cream and don’t mix thawed and fresh together. Thawed sour cream that hasn’t been used within three days should be discarded. 

Thawed sour cream, even with an altered texture, can be used in casseroles, soups, and stews for a richer, creamier texture. Avoid using thawed sour cream in dips and dressings as the texture may not be as creamy.