You may wonder, can you free sour cream? Well, just like freezing cream cheese, it’s incredible how many things you can freeze that are usually unthinkable.
Sometimes you buy a container of sour cream but only use a little for a recipe and don’t have an immediate plan. In that case, you may wonder if it’s safe to freeze or will it hold long enough to be worth all that trouble. Does freezing affect the quality and taste of the sour cream? Or should you just throw it away?
This article will answer all your questions about freezing sour cream.
What Is Sour Cream?
Sour cream is a common ingredient in the kitchen. To make sour cream, first you have to make ice cream. Then, bacteria called lactic acid culture is added to the cream to create the solids we are accustomed to.
Lactic acid bacteria increase sugar and lactose to make it thick. It also gives you the tarty taste. This food is called “sour cream” because of its sour taste. Many applications are dips, sauces or baked goods.
Store-bought sour cream often contains additives and gelatin to make the texture more solid.
You can also make sour cream at home. Watch the below video to find out how.
Can You Freeze Sour Cream?
My favorite question is can I freeze sour cream? Yes.
Because it is made from dairy products, sour cream does not hold well in the refrigerator. If you want your batch of sour cream to last for a long time, you need to freeze it properly.
When frozen, the texture of the sour cream does change. One of the characteristics is that the structure collapses when cooled, and when you defrost frozen sour cream, it will thicken quite a bit.
However, freezing sour cream if you have leftovers is still the best option. The texture will change but you won’t really notice it, and with proper method, it’s very easy to thaw and use.
I will give you some tips to help restore the original structure of sour cream, but first, let’s look at how to freeze sour cream.
How To Freeze Sour Cream?
You may need to be careful about freezing dairy products because they may separate after thawing. For smooth results, follow these steps:
Step 1: Use a whisk to whip the sour cream and disperse the moisture throughout the container. Whisk until all the liquid is spread evenly.
Step 2: Store sour cream using the store-bought container. You can also opt to transfer the leftovers to a hermetically sealed container or dedicated bag for freezing purposes (always squeeze out excess air) if there is not much sour cream left in the original container.
A good option is to use vacuum sealer bags as it is airtight, and you don’t have to use much force to push the air out like with a regular freezer bag.
Step 3: Label the container with the date of freezing and put it in the freezer.
Step 4: Store the container of sour cream in the freezer. Remember to put it behind the freezer door. Do not store it on the freezer door because it will get hot every time you open the freezer. This reduces the quality.
What Happens If You Freeze Sour Cream?
There are a few things to keep in mind before you go ahead and freeze the extra sour cream. Sour cream can be frozen, but unlike some foods, it’s not an easy process.
Taste After Freezing
Thankfully, it tastes the same after you freeze and thaw the sour cream. This is why freezing sour cream is an excellent way to prevent food waste.
Unfortunately, the texture of frozen sour cream changes significantly after thawing. Sour cream separates after thawing and becomes sticky like cottage cheese.
How To Defrost Frozen Sour Cream?
Like defrosting any other products, you should move the frozen sour cream to the refrigerator to let the temperature increase gradually. When thawed, as I mentioned before, your sour cream might have a thicker texture. By whipping some cornstarch in, you can restore the original texture.
Depending on the amount of frozen sour cream, it may take 2 ~ 8 hours to thaw in the refrigerator. You’ll notice there’s a little separation, but don’t worry. This is perfectly normal.
Placing frozen sour cream on the countertop speeds thawing but exposes it to temperatures that promote bacterial growth.
If you need to defrost frozen sour cream quickly, you can use a microwave. Turn on the microwave every 30 seconds. This allows the sour cream to thaw gradually and retain some texture.
Do not just throw it in the microwave and leave for a few minutes. It will get too hot, and the end result won’t be pretty. Instead, heat it in intervals of 30 seconds until melted.
The good news is frozen sour cream can be used in soup-based dishes, stews, and other similar dishes. When making stews or soups, defrosting can be skipped altogether. Instead, when you cook your plate, just throw the frozen parts into the pot.
How To Use Frozen Sour Cream?
Frozen sour cream is suitable for use in cooked dishes and baked goods. However, I do not recommend putting frozen sour cream in cheesecake and parfait, which should have a smooth texture. It may taste good, but the appearance is very important too, especially for desserts. Some recipes can be spoiled by the brittle surface of the defrosted sour cream.
Also, do not use it for dips or sauces. For example, do not use it for creamy garlic aioli sauce.
Many great recipes are using frozen sour cream. This is a list of foods to try with frozen sour cream.
- Cake, especially coffee cake
- Mashed or baked potatoes
- Pie made in the slow cooker
Some dishes require fresh sour cream, and in that case, you may not want to use thawed sour cream. But don’t worry. There are plenty of recipes out there that work surprisingly well. The following is a recipe for sour cream that can be used effectively with thawed sour cream.
Recipes For Frozen Sour Cream
If you put sour cream in your apple pie recipe, you will have a wonderfully fruity and sweet pie with a tiny bit of balanced tang.
Chicken Noodle Casserole
You can’t go wrong with this recipe. Use some defrosted sour cream with mushrooms, chicken, and some noodles. It’s very easy and can be made in less than an hour.
Use this recipe with a slow cooker. Adding sour cream will make your mashed potato become more flavorful.
White Chicken Enchilada and Baked Beans
If you want a filling dish, go for this voluminous white chicken enchilada. It calls for a lot of beans (I recommend using canned baked beans to lessen cooking time) and chicken with tasteful sauce. Throw some defrosted sour cream in to add a note of pungent sweetness.
You can try out more recipes with sour cream, as explained in this video.
Store Sour Cream Outside Freezer
If you don’t have too much sour cream to store or you plan to use it in the upcoming few weeks, another option is to freeze sour cream in the refrigerator. Just remember never leave the cream outside for more than 2 hours, because the bacteria will grow uncontrollably.
Similar to storing in the freezer, you should put the sour cream in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag, so that it is tightly sealed. When stored properly, the cream can last about 2 weeks in the fridge. For store-bought sour cream, consult the expiration date.
Here are some signs that you should throw the cream away. Most alarming is the appearance of mold and strange smell. If it just has a layer of liquid, you can fix it by stirring the cream one more time because usually it’s just liquid from the separation.
Here I answer some questions about freezing sour cream in general
Additional Advice And Tips
I have told you almost everything to know about freezing and defrosting sour cream. Now, to make the process more smooth and the result better, I will give you some extra tips.
- Only freeze fresh sour cream. If the cream is more than 3 weeks old, then you’d better throw it away. Food waste is bad but your health matters more.
- Although it can last in the freezer for as long as 6 months, if you can, you should use it as soon as possible. Freezing will dramatically lower the deteriorating speed but it is not magic.
- Once defrosted, you should never freeze the cream again because bacteria might grow.
- As I mentioned before, freezing will change the texture so only use fresh sour cream for frosting and frozen one for baking or dips/sauces.
- Using an ice tray to freeze the cream in small pieces so you don’t have to defrost the whole thing later.
I hope that this article has provided you with the answer to the questions, can you freeze sour cream and how to freeze it properly. Let’s store up fresh food and never be exhausted!