2 wooden spoonfuls of sour cream on a wooden table

I made tacos yesterday for lunch and they were delicious! My favorite part about tacos is dousing them in sour cream! Might not be the best for my health, but it’s excellent for my soul. And it’s such an incredibly versatile condiment.

But I caught myself wondering, can you microwave sour cream? And what happens if you do microwave sour cream? Will it go bad? Well, good news. You CAN microwave sour cream! But you should only microwave it once. Never reheat it.

Read on for the answers to all your burning questions about microwaving sour cream.

What is Sour Cream?

Sour cream is a dairy product that’s made from cream that has been fermented with bacteria. The bacteria causes the cream to thicken and gives sour cream its signature tangy flavor. Sour cream is often used as a condiment or as a topping for savory dishes like chili and tacos. It can also be used in baking to add moistness to cakes and muffins. 

Fat Content in Sour Cream

The fat content in sour cream can range from non-fat to full fat, usually containing up to 14% milk fat. And this can determine how you should microwave your sour cream.

Full-fat and low-fat sour cream heat up more evenly in the microwave than their counterpart, non-fat sour cream. The less fat the sour cream has in it, the more moisture it loses when being microwaved.

Can You Microwave Sour Cream?

Yes, you can microwave sour cream! And the way we teach you how to it will prevent it from overheating and curdling.

Is It Safe to Eat Warm Sour Cream?

It’s also perfectly safe to eat warm sour cream. But only when using a heating source like a microwave. Not because you’ve left it out on the counter for a few hours. The USDA says bacteria (and not the good kind) can grow rapidly on the food when left on the counter at temperatures between 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it is not safe to eat warm sour cream that has just been left out. But if you’ve microwaved it, it’s perfectly safe!

How to Microwave Sour Cream

Microwaving sour cream should be treated like a delicate, gentle process. You never want to microwave large batches of sour cream. We recommend a couple tablespoons at a time to avoid curdling.

Here’s your step-by-step guide on microwaving sour cream:

Step 1: Transfer the sour cream from its original container toa microwave-safe dish, such as something Pyrex or glass. Stay away from plastics and Styrofoam.

Step 2: You can place a paper towel over the microwave-safe dish just in case it splatters.

Step 3: Use the lowest setting on the microwave. This will help prevent overheating, especially if you’re using a low-fat sour cream. This will also help prevent curdling.

Step 4: Microwave for 15 seconds, then in 5 second intervals per tablespoon of sour cream. If you have no choice but to use high heat, microwave for 10 seconds, then in 5 second intervals per tablespoon of sour cream.

Step 5: Check the sour cream after each interval to make sure it hasn’t overheated or curdled. This might seem tedious and redundant, but it’s very crucial. You can use this time to make sure it hasn’t overheated or curdled.

Step 6: Stir at each interval. Just like milk, sour cream won’t heat evenly in the microwave. Stir so that the heat is evenly distributed. This will also help prevent curdling.

Step 7: Check temperature with food thermometer. You don’t want the temperature to go above 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This can cause it to spoil, go bad, and overheat.

Step 8: You are ready to take it out and enjoy on your food! Once the sour cream has reached your desired temperature, is warm enough, and has not curdled, you are ready to enjoy it!

Note: Discard any excess sour cream you do not eat after microwaving. Do not put back in the refrigerator and do not reheat later.

Can I Heat Up Leftovers Containing Sour Cream?

You may make a casserole or a burrito that you’re going to save for lunch the next day. And you certainly don’t want to eat it cold. So now you’re wondering, can you microwave sour cream in leftovers?

You can probably get by with doing this once, but sour cream shouldn’t be reheated. You will risk overheating the sour cream trying to get your food hot enough. This can lead to your food getting soggy or your sour cream curdling.

Here’s what we recommend you do instead:

  • Prepare the food without sour cream.
  • When the food is ready, scoop out the exact amount of sour cream you need and add it.
  • Refrigerate any leftover food and discard any excess sour cream.
  • When you’re ready to heat up your leftovers, scoop out the sour cream you’ll need and microwave it.

It’s that easy!

Tips for Microwaving Sour Cream for the Best Quality

  • Never microwave sour cream in the original container it comes in. I say this for two reasons. One, Sour cream typically comes in a plastic container. Certain plastics should never be microwaved. When exposed to heat, chemicals can leach into the food. Stick to Pyrex or glass and stay away from plastics and Styrofoam. Two, you should only heat up the amount of sour cream you need at that time. Any excess should be discarded and never reheated.
  • Use the low-medium setting on your microwave. Because sour cream is a dairy product, exposing it to too much heat at one time can cause it to curdle. When you use a lower heat setting, you can mitigate this from happening.
  • Never reheat sour cream you have already microwaved. Only microwave the exact amount of sour cream you need and discard any excess. Do not re-refrigerate.
  • Do NOT microwave sour cream that has been sitting out on the counter for more than 2 hours. This should be discarded immediately, as bacteria could’ve form on it already.
  • Place a paper towel over the microwave-safe dish when microwaving sour cream to minimize splattering.
  • Only microwave small portions or sour cream at a time. Divide larger portions of sour cream into smaller batches.
  • Always use the lowest setting on the microwave when heating up sour cream. This will help prevent overheating and curdling. Lower fat sour cream does better with lower heat.

Final Answer for Can You Microwave Sour Cream

Our final verdict is yes, you CAN microwave sour cream both safely and effectively! Please be sure to follow the directions we have outlined above though! Always microwave sour cream in small batches and use the lowest setting possible on the microwave. Never reheat sour cream that you have previously heated and discard any excess you end up not using!

When you spend a little extra time on these steps, you will have a great experience with your sour cream!

FAQs for Can You Microwave Sour Cream

Can You Microwave Sour Cream on a Potato?

Having warm sour cream can make your hot baked potato even more enjoyable, but we highly recommend that you microwave or bake the potato separate from the sour cream if at all possible.

If you are in a situation where you refrigerated a potato with sour cream on it, not all hope is lost. Scoop as much of the sour cream as you can off of the potato and discard it. Microwave the potato. Add fresh sour cream. If you want warm sour cream, microwave a tablespoon or two at a time on the lowest setting in 5 second intervals.

Can You Heat up a Burrito With Sour Cream?

Reheating a burrito that has sour cream on it can quickly turn into a soggy mess. And it’s not a good idea to reheat sour cream for a second time.

So, if you have a burrito you want to heat up with sour cream, this is how you do it. Scoop out the old sour cream, as much as you can. Discard immediately. Heat up the burrito. Microwave the sour cream separately. Only heat up 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time using the lowest setting in the microwave. Heat up in 5 second intervals to avoid overheating.

What Happen if You Eat Curdled Sour Cream?

Spoiled sour cream is not the same as curdled sour cream.

Spoiled sour cream is sour cream that has gone bad and has bad bacteria inside it. Sour cream can spoil because you accidently left it out on the counter longer than 2 hours. Do NOT eat spoiled sour cream.

Sometimes, when microwaved on too high heat or too long, sour cream can curdle. The protein content starts lumping together and detaching from the water content. You’re left with a cottage cheese looking substance instead of the smooth cream.

If the sour cream has curdled due to overheating, it is generally safe to eat immediately after. If the sour cream has curdled due to being old or spoiled, do NOT eat it.

Can You Freeze Sour Cream?

According to the USDA, sour cream doesn’t freeze well. So, if you freeze it follow these simple guidelines.

  • Freeze unopened fresh sour cream for no longer than 2 months.
  • Freeze leftover sour cream that has been opened for no longer than 2 weeks.

Related Post: Can You Microwave Milk? Is it Safe?

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *