It’s easy to stock up on non-perishables for your pantries, such as canned chicken, tuna, or vegetables. But what about dairy products such as sour cream? If you do a lot of cooking with sour cream and can find it on sale, stockpiling it can definitely save you a bundle. But sour cream has a limited shelf life in the refrigerator. You need a way to keep it fresh until you are ready to use it. But can you freeze sour cream until you need it?
Can You Freeze Sour Cream?
The answer is that you can freeze it if you hit a good sale at the store and want to stock up on it. In fact, you can also freeze a partial container of sour cream if you don’t think you will use it before it goes bad. It’s always better to freeze it while it’s fresh because this essentially stops time and the sour cream will be just as fresh when you thaw it out as when it went in.
But freezing sour cream doesn’t make sour cream fresher than it was originally. So, if you do have a partial container that you want to freeze, do it as soon as possible before the expiration date. Once you freeze sour cream, it’s best to use it within about 4 to 6 months of when it was frozen. When you thaw out a partial container of sour cream, simply leave it in the refrigerator for 24 hours or so and then use it up quickly.
What’s the Best Way to Freeze Sour Cream?
Most sour cream containers are not made to be used in the freezer. You could store an unopened tub of sour cream in the freezer if the vacuum seal inside the lid has not been broken. But freezing the plastic container may make it brittle and it could crack when the sour cream expands.
For this reason, the ideal trick to freeze sour cream involves a zip lock freezer bag. Simply spoon the sour cream into the freezer bag and then squeeze the top closed to get as much of the air out as possible. Zip the bag closed and lay it flat in the freezer. It’s good practice to write the expiration date from the sour cream container onto the freezer bag so that you will know the expiration date when you take it out of the freezer.
Does Sour Cream Change When You Freeze It?
When you freeze sour cream and then thaw it in the refrigerator, you may take one look at it and think it’s gone bad. But it’s important to know that freezing sour cream will transform the appearance and texture. It will look different than normal when you thaw it back out, but it’s still fine. The frozen sour cream will take on the appearance of cottage cheese and may be thinner or runnier after it’s been frozen. This is because freezing it causes the moisture to separate.
To use it, simply thaw it out in the refrigerator and then give it a stir or two to remix it. If you’re going to use the frozen sour cream for a soup or something like beef stroganoff, you can even add it in while frozen and let it thaw while your dish is cooking. For baking, it’s probably best to thaw it first and then give it a stir. But the good news is that freezing sour cream doesn’t impact the acidity of the sour cream which is what is normally needed for baked recipes.
Can You Use Frozen Sour Cream for a Dip?
If you want to freeze sour cream and then use it to make a chip dip, you need to be aware that it won’t ever be as creamy in texture when thawed as it was before it was frozen. For this reason, freezing sour cream to use for a dip isn’t the best idea unless the texture of the final recipe isn’t critical to you.
It will work great for making something like sour cream mashed potatoes or sour cream pancakes. Some people have had luck using sour cream for dips by using a blender to smooth it out and make it creamy again. Another suggestion is to add a couple teaspoons of cornstarch to the sour cream to thicken the liquid part of it before making the dip.
Can You Freeze Sour Cream Recipes?
After reading about what happens to sour cream when you freeze it, you may be curious as to whether recipes containing sour cream freeze well. The good news is that if you make a dish for dinner that uses sour cream and you have leftovers, you can freeze it without any problems. It is best to cook your casserole or other dish containing sour cream before freezing it as this is what will prevent the sour cream from separating when frozen.
Simply follow the method above for freezing and then thawing your sour cream or sour cream recipes and pay close attention to the sell by or expiration dates on the original containers. You’ll get the best results when cooking by using a frozen sour cream for soups, hot dishes such as casseroles, and for baking. If you do decide to use sour cream for a dip after it’s been thawed, try the suggestions above to determine the one that works best for your preferences.
So, there you have it. The next time your local grocery has a sale on sour cream, feel free to pick up several extra containers so that you will have them on hand. This is an especially great strategy during the holiday season or any period of time when you know you’ll be doing a lot of cooking. You can even stock up on sour cream just before the snow falls, so you don’t have to run out to get some when you want to make your favorite sour cream recipe during a period of bad weather.