Heavy cream is essential for whipped cream, creamy Alfredo sauce, and many Indian-inspired dishes.
But most recipes won’t call for the whole carton, leaving you with leftover heavy cream destined to the back of the fridge.
When you’re finally ready to use it again, this common question comes to mind: Is it still good? How long is heavy cream good for?
Unopened heavy cream is good for up to a month with proper storage in the refrigerator. Once it has been opened, heavy cream will last for 5-7 days. Ensure the heavy cream is in a sealed container toward the back of the fridge where temperatures remain consistent. Heavy cream can also be frozen for up to three months.
Keep reading to find out how long heavy cream is good for, as well as some other essential information like how to store it and how to tell if it’s gone bad.
- How Long is Heavy Cream Good For?
- How Long Does Heavy Cream Last in the Fridge After Opening?
- How to Store Heavy Cream in the Fridge?
- How Long is Heavy Cream Good for at Room Temperature?
- How Long is Homemade Heavy Cream Good For?
- Can You use Heavy Cream after Seven Days?
- Why Do You Have to Use Heavy Cream Within 7 days?
- How Long is Heavy Cream Good for After Expiration Date?
- Is There a Difference Between Heavy Cream and Heavy Whipping Cream?
- Can You Freeze Heavy Cream for Later Use?
- How Do You Know When Heavy Cream is Bad?
- Final Thoughts
How Long is Heavy Cream Good For?
Like any dairy product, heavy cream has a definitive shelf life before going bad. However, heavy cream lasts a lot longer than most people think it does.
How Long Does Heavy Cream Last in the Fridge After Opening?
Heavy cream – opened and unopened – is good for up to a month in the refrigerator.
As long as it is stored in a sealed container and placed in an area where the temperature remains consistent, such as the back of the fridge, it will be perfectly fine for up to 30 days.
How to Store Heavy Cream in the Fridge?
Whether your heavy cream is opened or unopened, it needs to be stored in the refrigerator (or the freezer for a more extended period). Proper storage is critical for longevity.
Some containers of heavy cream come with a resealable lid. If so, you don’t have to worry about swapping for a different container.
Simply store the heavy cream in the original container in the fridge or freezer.
If your carton does not come with a resealable lid, you will need to move it into an airtight container or sealable bag.
When storing in the refrigerator, it is essential to keep the heavy cream in the back of the fridge rather than on the side door.
The temperature in the back of the refrigerator remains consistent, ensuring a longer shelf life for your heavy cream.
How Long is Heavy Cream Good for at Room Temperature?
Heavy cream is perishable and should not be left at room temperature for longer than two hours or one hour if temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
This is true for unopened and opened containers of heavy cream.
If you’re planning to use your heavy cream at a later date, it is essential to store it properly in the fridge or freezer.
How Long is Homemade Heavy Cream Good For?
If you decide to make homemade heavy cream from scratch, the shelf life is altered immensely.
It is recommended to make a fresh batch of homemade heavy cream only when you need it, using just the right amount of ingredients to cater to your recipe.
If you make more than required, it will only last one or two days in an airtight container in the fridge.
Can You use Heavy Cream after Seven Days?
Some articles share that heavy cream can only be used within seven days after opening.
And while the heavy cream might be at its peak of quality during this timeframe, there is nothing wrong with using it beyond the seven-day mark (if stored properly).
This is all thanks to the combination of a high-fat content and Ultra-High Temperature processing.
This procedure pasteurizes the heavy cream, ensuring it is safe to consume and has a longer shelf life.
That said, if you have heavy cream that has undergone “light” pasteurization (such as Mill-King brand), it may not last the full 30 days.
Double-check for any signs of spoilage (see next section for further explanation).
Why Do You Have to Use Heavy Cream Within 7 days?
You do not necessarily “have” to use heavy cream within seven days. This advice is given, so you use the heavy cream while it’s at its highest quality.
After seven days, the heavy cream’s quality can deteriorate – but not so much that it has gone bad entirely.
How Long is Heavy Cream Good for After Expiration Date?
Heavy cream comes with an expiration date. Although, most of the time, heavy cream remains edible for up to a week past the expiration date.
Consuming heavy cream weeks and months beyond the expiration date is a definite no-no.
Is There a Difference Between Heavy Cream and Heavy Whipping Cream?
If you have heavy whipping cream instead of heavy cream in your arsenal, you may be wondering if the same rules apply. And they do.
Heavy whipping cream and heavy cream are pretty similar. However, the fat content is slightly different. Whipping cream tends to have a bit less fat and is “lighter” than heavy cream.
So, does that mean they have the same shelf life? Technically, yes.
As long as heavy whipping cream is stored in an airtight container in the back of the fridge, it’s OK for up to 30 days in the refrigerator or three months in the freezer.
However, it may spoil a pinch sooner than heavy cream since it has a slightly less fat content.
Before consuming, perform a visual, scent, and flavor test to be on the safe side.
Can You Freeze Heavy Cream for Later Use?
If you are not planning to use your heavy cream within the 30-day timeframe, then it is recommended to freeze it instead.
Frozen heavy cream can last up to three months in the freezer when stored properly.
You can keep the heavy cream in its original container for freezing, as long as it has a sealable lid.
If your heavy cream has the more traditional pop-open carton style, you must transfer it into an airtight container before storing it.
If you use heavy cream solely for creating whipped cream, it is suggested to whip it before placing it inside the freezer for the best results.
Does Freezing Heavy Cream Ruin It?
Freezing heavy cream will not ruin it. However, the flavor and texture may be altered a bit.
Thawed heavy cream tends to have a looser consistency that will work fine in baked and cooked dishes.
It won’t revive enough to create whipped cream for your sundaes, pies, and other baked treats. That’s why whipping before freezing is crucial.
How Do You Thaw Out Heavy Cream?
Thawing is a cinch. To thaw heavy cream, simply place it in the refrigerator overnight. Short on time? Leaving on the counter for around an hour is fine, too.
If your heavy cream is whipped before storing in the freezer, you won’t want it to thaw completely.
Let it thaw halfway, then use. Otherwise, it will melt with a loose consistency that won’t work as a topping for favorite treats.
How Do You Know When Heavy Cream is Bad?
Some people are wary of dairy products, and that’s okay. It is common knowledge that expired dairy products are disgusting to taste and can make you quite ill.
So, whether you’ve had your heavy cream in the fridge for two or six weeks, it’s essential to know whether or not it’s good before consuming.
Here are the top four tall-tell signs to toss your heavy cream and buy fresh:
Take a good look in your container of heavy cream. Has it changed color? If the color is anything but the traditional “white” shade of heavy cream, it’s best to toss it. Mold has likely begun to form, which can make you severely ill.
Another clear indicator of heavy cream past its prime is a soured smell. If your heavy cream smells like a container of sour cream rather than the sweet, delicate scent of the cream, it’s best to get rid of it.
Put a small amount of the heavy cream on your finger and give it a taste. If it is no longer sweet and has an odd flavor, it’s gone bad.
Are you struggling to turn your heavy cream into whipped cream? Heavy cream that’s no longer good won’t be able to whip correctly.
Is it Normal for Heavy Whipping Cream to be Chunky?
Heavy cream is less prone to curdling due to the high-fat content. So, unlike other dairy products such as milk, curdling should not be used to indicate whether or not it’s still edible.
In fact, heavy cream can have chunks that are safe to consume. Rather than curdles, the chunkiness is caused by bits of butter in the container.
As long as the heavy cream does not have any signs of discoloration or an off scent or smell, it is safe to consume.
Will Spoiled Heavy Cream Make You Sick?
Consuming spoiled heavy cream can make you sick. Healthy individuals will likely experience an onset of symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
The symptoms are far direr for individuals with compromised immune systems, infants, and the elderly.
The bacteria in spoiled heavy cream can cause severe illnesses that require medical treatment.
Heavy cream is at its peak of freshness within seven days after opening, but you can keep unopened and opened containers of heavy cream for up to a month in the fridge or three months in the freezer.
Proper storage is vital, and double-check for any signs of spoilage before use.
My name is Keren Tayler. I am a stay-at-home mama to three lovely girls, Sarah + Rachel + Hannah. Prior to becoming a mom, I had a successful career in the accounting field, steps away from becoming a CPA. I decided to give up on my career in order to raise my own kids (as opposed to letting a nancy do it, no judgment here) I learned a lot and I love sharing it with other moms. Along the way, I also became a Certified Food Handler.