By Melanie Fincher

The answer might surprise you.

If you've ever thrown out a half-used container of sour cream, you were probably irritated by the waste of food and money. You might have even wondered: can I freeze sour cream? By taking the proper steps and precautions, sour cream can be safely frozen and thawed for use in a variety of baking and cooking needs. The texture will change once it has thawed, which means it's best not to use frozen sour cream in dips or on a baked potato. But it's perfectly fine to use in cakes, casseroles, and soups. Read on for our tips on how to freeze and thaw sour cream.

Photo by Getty Images

What Is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is commonplace in the kitchen, but fans of this everyday dairy product rarely know what it's made of. Sour cream is produced when lactic-acid culture is added to cream. This gives you that tart, jiggly substance you know and love (especially when it's on Mexican food). It's used in everything from dips and sauces to baked goods. And of course a dollop on a baked potato is always a good idea. It's similar to yogurt or Créme fraîche in that they're all pretty much forms of curdled milk and are often used interchangeably.

Tips for Freezing and Thawing Sour Cream

  • Make sure it's fresh when you put it in the freezer. Avoid putting sour cream in the freezer that's been open for more than three weeks.
  • Use it sooner rather than later. Sour cream continues to deteriorate over time, even while frozen.
  • Try to store it in the smaller portions, so you don't have to divide up what you need from one huge frozen chunk.
  • Don't put sour cream back in the freezer after thawing, to prevent bacteria growth.
  • Since the texture does change with freezing, it's best to use frozen sour cream in cooking or baking, rather than as a dip or baked potato topping.

How to Freeze and Thaw Sour Cream

Freezing dairy products can be tricky, as they may separate after thawing. Try following these steps to achieve a smooth result.

  1. Using a whisk, whip the sour cream to distribute the moisture throughout the container.
  2. Either store sour cream in its original container, or transfer it to an air-tight storage container or freezer bag (be sure to squeeze any excess air out).
  3. Write the date on the container and place in the freezer. Sour cream can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
  4. To thaw, simply transfer the amount of sour cream you need to the fridge and allow it to thaw for several hours. You'll notice the texture will be a bit watery and separated. Simply whip it with a whisk to reach a smooth consistency. You can also add a teaspoon of cornstarch and whip it again to reach your desired consistency.

Sour Cream Recipes to Try:

1. Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake

"This was one of the most delicious coffee cakes I've ever had...Sent it to work with my husband, and it disappeared in a day, then I spent a week getting copies of the recipe to all his co-workers," says reviewer Tracy.

2. Banana Oat Muffins with Sour Cream

"This is absolutely the best muffin recipe I've ever come across. The flavor is outstanding, and I've never even used the crumble topping," says reviewer Crystal Dawn.

Photo by swon

3. Enchanted Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas

Reviewer Trynacook says, "Sooo easy to make and my eight-member family of picky eaters all ate it up."

4. Twice-Baked Cheesy Potato Casserole

Reviewer Kim says, "I cheated and used instant potatoes due to time. Everything else the same. Easy and delicious. Family loved it. I will try it again with real potatoes. I know it will be fantastic!"

Photo by Yoly
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