Can You Microwave Sour Cream? (Things you should know)

Sour cream is a dairy product similar to yoghurt but is made by fermenting cream instead of milk. From using it as a basic ingredient in your recipes to topping your dishes, sour cream has its value in almost every food item.

While you might prefer to eat it cold, there may be times when you might need to heat or microwave it. You may even wonder if it can be microwaved or not?

The answer is yes. Sour cream can be microwaved, but there’s a great chance of it getting separated or curdled.  So there are a few things you need to make sure of before you start heating your cream.

Types of sour cream

Based on the fat content present in it, sour cream can be classified into 3 types. 

  • Cream containing 18% or more milk fat is considered as full-fat sour cream. 
  • If the fat content is reduced by 25% it is known as reduced-fat cream. 
  • And lastly, fat-free sour cream that has less than 0.5g fat in one serving.
  • The vegan sour cream made up of soy or other non-dairy material

Can Sour Cream be Microwaved?

Can you microwave sour cream

Since sour cream is made by fermenting dairy cream and contains lactic-acid-producing bacteria, it makes it a bit tricky to heat it. There is a chance that you overheat and the bacteria die resulting in the separating and curdling of your cream. 

Despite all this, you can microwave sour cream. But for this, you have to be very careful about the time and amount of sour cream you are heating. Another thing that affects how you heat it is its fat content. 

Fat-free sour creams can curdle easily and you have to be very careful while microwaving such types of cream. Full-fat and reduced-fat sour creams, on the other hand, are far easier to heat. 

Is It Safe To Eat Warmed Sour Cream?

According to the USDA guidelines on food temperatures, dairy products should be kept cool and returned to the refrigerator within 2 hours or they can get spoiled.

Of course, no one would want even small amounts of sour cream going to waste, which is an absolute delight to your taste buds and the most irresistible component of most foods.

Things to Know Before Microwaving Sour Cream

  • Your first option should be to not microwave sour cream, scrape it off your dish if it’s possible before microwaving your food.
  • Since it is not a heat-stable product, it can make your food soggy.
  • Sour cream should only be heated once. Do not microwave it if you have heated it before.
  • Even after taking all the precautions, there is no guarantee that the cream won’t get separated or curdled.
  • Microwave small amounts of cream at a time. Heating large amounts together may cause it to overheat.
  • Transfer the contents in a microwave-safe bowl before you heat your sour cream. Microwaving in the same container is not safe as chemicals might leach into the cream and make it poisonous.
  • Bring the sour cream to room temperature before you microwave it. Do not microwave cream that has just been out of the refrigerator.

How to Safely Microwave Sour Cream?

  • Take out the sour cream from the refrigerator and transfer it to a microwave-safe container.
  • Use a paper towel to cover the cream and prevent it from splattering inside.
  • Set the microwave at medium heat 
  • Start heating it for 15 seconds per tablespoon and stir it after 5 seconds interval to ensure uniform heating
  • Avoid microwaving large amounts together, do only 1-2 tablespoons at one time
Can you microwave sour cream?

How Long Can Sour Cream Last?

Sour cream is available at almost all grocery stores. It comes in Small packets or pouches with the manufacturing and expiry date printed on them. Make sure to keep it refrigerated. 

Unopened sour cream can last up to 1-2 weeks after its expiry date. But if you have opened it, finish it within 10 days after its expiry.

What does the Science Say about Heating Sour Cream in a Microwave?

Cultured cream, commonly known as sour cream is a product similar to yoghurt. Yoghurt is made by adding lactic acid producing bacteria in milk whereas to produce sour cream, these bacteria are added to dairy creams. 

The process of fermentation is used in the manufacture of sour cream. Dairy cream that contains at least 18% fats is homogenized at low temperatures. And lactic acid producing bacteria such as lactis biovar diacetylactis are added to it. Rennet enzyme is also used to further thicken the cream.

Microorganisms such as lactis biovar diacetylactisare heat sensitive. When exposed to heat, their activity changes.

In simple words, we call that process spoiling of the food they are present in.  Sour cream turns yellow when it is excessively heated through flame or microwaves.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you microwave sour cream on a potato?
  • Yes! You can microwave sour cream on a potato. However, your first preference should be to scrape off as much sour cream as you have on the potato and then begin heating the potato. In case you are unable to scrape it off, microwave it in small intervals to avoid curdling and spoilage.

  • Is it safe to heat up a burrito with sour cream in it?
  • Yes! It is totally safe to heat up a burrito with sour cream inside it. It may turn a little soggy which of course is less appealing to your taste buds but it can still be consumed.

  • Does the taste of sour cream change after you microwave it?
  • If you heat sour cream properly, it won’t curdle and be good to consume, however, real sour cream eaters say that it doesn’t taste as delicious as it would when served cold and fresh.

  • How can you tell if your sour cream is spoiled?
  • There is a fair chance of your sour cream spoiling if you do not store it keeping all precautions in mind. You may see molds indicating the growth of bacterial and fungal colonies growing on it. It becomes decolorized and also gives off an unpleasant rancid, tangy, and sharp odor.
    Sour cream can also spoil while heating it. If you see the texture becoming grainy, you know it has curdled and is not suitable to eat.

    Conclusion

    Sour cream is one of the favorite dairy products all over the world and is consumed with almost every food item. It tastes the best when used cold; however, if you need to microwave it for any reason, it is safe to do so.

    You just need to be careful and take precautionary measures to prevent it from getting spoiled.

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    Emily will happily recount the days of her childhood, gleefully helping her mother in the kitchen making lunch for the entire family. These days, when she’s not treating her husband and kids to her newest cooking experiment, Emily writes for zayconfoods.com, sharing her first-hand experiences using kitchen appliances, enlightening both our team and our audience of the intimate knowledge she brings to the table.

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