There is very little that you cannot do with sour cream. From dips to sauces and even baked dishes, sour cream is one of the most versatile ingredients you can have in your kitchen. This dairy product is not only healthy and nutritious, but also adds a lot of texture and flavor to many types of dishes. In most cases, you will find that recipes only call for moderate amounts of cream. So, what do you do with the rest of the jar? Do you toss it out or can you freeze sour cream?
If you are wondering whether sour cream can be frozen to extend its shelf life the answer is—yes. You can freeze sour cream and, normally, you should be able to keep it in the freezer for up to six months. Sour cream that has not been frozen will last for one to two weeks while freezing will extend this shelf life to up to six months. However, it is important to note that the freezing process may alter the smooth texture of your cream. This change in the consistency makes it less suitable for making sour cream dips and other recipes that call for a smooth consistency like garnishing a baked potato.
How To Freeze Sour Cream
When freezing dairy products, there is always a risk that they will separate after thawing. This means you need to be careful how you store your sour cream to make sure it does not separate after the thawing process. For best results, you can follow this process when freezing your leftover sour cream.
- If you want to preserve an unopened can of sour cream, simply place it in the freezer in its original container.
- For sour cream that is already opened, take your leftover sour cream and scoop it into a bowl.
- Whip it using a whisk to distribute the moisture evenly in the cream. This will ensure that the texture is smooth before you freeze it and reduce the risk of separation during the thawing process.
- Once your cream is whipped, you can then transfer it into an airtight container. You can also choose to freeze it in a freezer bag. The storage container should be airtight. If you are using a resealable bag or a freezer bag, remove any air in the bag before storing the sour cream in it.
- If you have a lot of sour cream to freeze, it is best to do it in small portions. This will be convenient when you only need to use a bit of cream because you will be able to thaw only the portion that you need at the time.
- An ice cube tray makes a great freezing container if you want to have your frozen cream in small portions. Simply pour the sour cream into the water cube trays and allow it to freeze for two to three hours. Once frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag and put them in the freezer.
- Label the date on the storage container. This will help you when you need to know how long the sour cream has been in the freezer. The frozen sour cream can keep for up to six months.
How To Thaw Sour Cream
Sour cream can easily get bacterial contamination if left out at room temperature for extended periods. This means that you cannot thaw your cream by leaving it out at room temperature. To keep your cream safe, you can use any of these techniques for thawing.
- Transfer your sour cream to the fridge: The best way to defrost sour cream is to transfer it to the refrigerator and allow it to thaw over time. This reduces the risk ofbacterial contamination since the cream will still be in a cold environment.
- Defrost in the microwave: If you do not have time to wait for the cream to defrost in the refrigerator, you can use a microwave. Take the frozen sour cream and defrost it in intervals of 20 to 30 seconds. Defrosting at intervals helps to prevent heating which can affect the texture and flavor of the sour cream.
- Add it directly: Depending on your recipe, you may be able to add the frozen cream directly to the dish. If you had frozen your cream in an ice cube tray, simply take the frozen cubes and pop them into the stew or whatever dish you are making. The sour cream will defrost as the food cooks. However, this will only work if you froze the cream in small recipe-sized portions.
Will Sour Cream Change after Freezing?
Frozen sour cream tends to be different from fresh cream. Here are some of the changes you can expect after freezing and thawing your leftover cream.
Freezing alters the creamy texture of sour cream and makes it thinner and, in some cases, grainy. After you thaw the cream, you can whisk it to make the texture more consistent and creamy. However, frozen sour cream will not be thick enough for dips or sauces.
It is best to use frozen cream in baked dishes or for cooking soups and stews where the texture will not affect the end product. If your sour cream is too runny after thawing, adding some corn starch can help you achieve a thicker consistency.
The taste of sour cream will not be altered by freezing. This means that you can use it in all your favorite sour cream dishes without worrying about getting an off-taste flavor. If you choose to thaw your cream using a microwave, avoid overheating because it can alter the flavor of your sour cream. However, if you defrost by leaving the frozen sour cream in the refrigerator, there will be no change in the flavor.
Uses Of Frozen And Thawed Sour Cream
If you are not sure how to use frozen sour cream after it has been thawed, here are some dishes that will taste just as great when made with frozen and thawed cream.
If you have a baking recipe that calls for sour cream, frozen and thawed cream will work just as well as fresh cream. Simply thaw it in the refrigerator or use a microwave—then add it to your recipe as directed. If the cream seems like it has separated after thawing, whisk it for a while to get a smooth consistency.
Some delicious baked dishes that you can try include:
Frozen and thawed sour cream will still work great in cooked dishes such as stews, soups, and more. The thinner texture of frozen sour cream does not affect its flavor. This means you can use frozen cream for cooked dishes that will not be affected by the texture. Some delicious cooked dishes that you can make with frozen and thawed cream are:
There are plenty more dishes that can be made using sour cream that has been frozen. Just avoid using it in recipes that require a very smooth or thick texture (like sauces and dips).
Tips for Freezing Sour Cream
- You should only freeze freshly opened sour cream. If your cream has been open for a week or more, it will have already started to deteriorate, so storing it in the freezer is not recommended.
- When thawing sour cream, it is best to allow it to defrost in the refrigerator. Leaving your cultured cream out at room temperature to thaw makes it more susceptible to bacterial contamination, which can make it unsafe for use.
- You should never put sour cream that has been thawed back in the freezer. Once you have frozen and thawed the cream, use it and discard any leftovers. Refreezing is not safe as it may lead to bacterial contamination.
- Always freeze your fermented cream in recipe-sized portions to ensure that you only thaw as much as you need for any given recipe.
- The quality of leftover cream will deteriorate over time. Even though the cream will still be safe to use after freezing for six months, the taste, texture, and consistency will change over a long period. Use the frozen cream as soon as possible to get the best results in your recipes.
- Whisking the sour cream after thawing can help fix the grainy texture you get after thawing. You can also add some corn starch to the cream after thawing to improve the texture.
The depth of flavor and texture that sour cream brings to a recipe can turn even the dullest meal into a feast. However, with dairy products like sour or fermented cream that tend to go bad easily—food wastage is always a concern. This is why it is important to know how to freeze and thaw leftover cream to avoid such waste. Frozen and thawed sour cream is great for baked goods and cooking so you should never shy away from using it in your recipes.