How Long Can Sour Cream Sit Out?

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Sour cream has a long shelf life and seems to last forever in the fridge. But how long is it safe to sit out?

Sour cream can sit out up to two hours at room temperature without spoiling and no longer than one hour above 90°F. After that, it should be refrigerated. If sour cream is left out for more than two hours, spoilage bacteria will multiply quickly, which can lead to food poisoning.

Here is a closer look at leaving sour cream out and what you should do if you forget to put it in the fridge.

How Long Can You Leave Sour Cream Out?

According to the USDA, dairy products like sour cream can sit out at room temperature up to 2 hours before they need to be refrigerated. This time frame applies to both unopened and opened containers of sour cream.

However, room temperatures can vary, and if you’re cooking in a hot kitchen, the time and shelf life in which it spoils drastically reduces.

And if you have a sour cream dip or spread, the time in which it can be left out is likely much shorter.

So, the best way to handle sour cream or similar products is to put it in the fridge after using it.

But what if you can’t remember when it was taken out? Here is my guide on how to tell if sour cream is bad to help you if you’re unsure.

Does Sour Cream Go Bad If Left Out?

Yes, sour bad will go bad if left out. Once bad, it should not be consumed on its own or in a recipe. You should throw it out in the garbage.

Consider diluting bad sour cream with water and flushing it in the toilet so that you can recycle the plastic container it came in. Or freeze it until garbage day.

If you dump it in your regular trash, it will rot, and the smell of spoiled dairy will overpower your entire kitchen and outside garbage area.

Does Sour Cream Need To Be Refrigerated?

Yes, sour cream needs to be refrigerated even though the cultured cream is a fermented product.

The good bacteria responsible for fermentation will be out-competed by spoilage bacteria, making it dangerous to consume.

Can You Get Sick If You Eat Sour Cream That Was Left Out Overnight?

Yes, you can get sick if you eat sour cream that was left out overnight. It might smell and look okay to use, but it can contain bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus that cause foodborne illness.

Staphylococcal food poisoning symptoms from consuming bad sour cream can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

These symptoms may appear between one and six hours after eating the spoiled food and last for up to two days. If you experience these symptoms, contact a doctor immediately. So next time you’re reaching for the sour cream, remember to put it back in the fridge after use!

Written By Justin Micheal

Justin is not just the creator but also an author and editor for KitchenSanity. He does the majority of the cooking at home with his wife. His friends and family look forward to eating his delicious creations, which often leads to many questions about how they can replicate his meals at home. In his writing, he shares his passion and knowledge as a home chef from his kitchen to yours.