Q. I accidentally bought more sour cream than I can eat before the best before date, and I don’t want to have to throw it out. Can you freeze sour cream?
A. Yes, you can freeze sour cream, but be aware that the consistency of thawed sour cream will not be the same as the original. Thawed sour cream loses the smooth consistency it started with, and instead it will have a lumpier consistency, more like cottage cheese. This is because the fat separates from the other ingredients during the freezing process. Not to worry though, despite the change in consistency, sour cream that has been previously frozen is still safe to eat and will taste the same.
Before freezing sour cream, mix or whip it vigorously to make sure that all components are evenly distributed. This will help to minimize separation during freezing. Place the sour cream in an airtight, freezer safe container or a freezer bag with the excess air squeezed out and lay flat in the freezer to save space. Sour cream will expand during the freezing process, so freeze it in a flexible container or allow some space for expansion. Label and date the package for reference, and use within 2-4 months.
To thaw frozen sour cream, remove it from the freezer and defrost it in the fridge for several hours or until thawed completely. Do not defrost sour cream on the counter, as it may thaw unevenly, allowing bacteria to grow in the warm pockets that defrost first.
Once thawed, sour cream will resemble cottage cheese, as it will have separated into smooth and lumpy bits. Some of the original texture can be restored by adding a small amount of cornstarch to it and then mixing it vigorously. This won’t completely restore it to its pre-frozen smoothness, but it will improve the texture quite a bit by helping to thicken and smooth it.
Sour cream that has been frozen is best reserved for use in recipes in which a completely smooth consistency is not needed, such as for use on a baked potato or a in a dip. Instead, thawed sour cream is best used in baked goods such as muffins, pancakes, or cakes.
Sour cream freezes extremely well when already part of a prepared dish, and won’t change consistency, so don’t worry about putting prepared dishes containing sour cream in the freezer. They will freeze and defrost without any changes in consistency or flavor.