Heavy cream is the high-fat part of fresh milk. It consists of 30-40% fats and is famously creamy and rich in texture compared to its counterparts.
Heavy cream has a variety of uses, right from adding it to desserts and sauces to main course recipes. If stored right, it can be a great addition to your pantry. But then how long does heavy cream last? And is there any way to make it last longer?
Keep reading to find out!
How Long Does Heavy Cream Stay Good For?
Like all other milk products and perishable items, heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) has a definitive expiry date. Heavy cream has a shelf life of 2-3 weeks in the refrigerator. Beyond that, you risk affecting its quality and structural integrity.
Although heavy cream, among other creams, has a relatively short life span in the refrigerator, there are ways to optimize it. When stored right, it can stay good for weeks, even months!
But before you go about buying gallons of heavy cream, let’s first look at all the necessary shelf life information.
How Long Can Heavy Cream Last In The Fridge after opening?
As I said, heavy cream may last for 2-3 weeks in the fridge. But once you open the packaging, you get an even shorter shelf life.
If once opened, it has to be consumed immediately. In my experience, heavy whipping cream will stay good anywhere from 5-7 days. But the longer you wait the more it loses its original texture.
How Long Can Heavy Cream Last In The Freezer?
Get this, heavy cream can stay intact for up to 3 months in the freezer! While a lot of people do not know this, freezing heavy cream is not all that complicated. You just need to follow a few precautions and you have a good batch of whipping cream with a surprisingly great shelf life!
Before I tell you how to freeze heavy cream, let’s first look at some useful information regarding what you should do while freezing it.
- Always store the cream at the very back of your freezer. This is where the temperature will be the most stable and it will ensure that your cream stays fresh for longer.
- If your heavy cream is unopened, store it in its original packaging.
- If the product has been opened before, make sure to properly seal the packaging container before freezing. Do not leave any gaps for moisture/water droplets to enter or it will lead to bacteria or a foul smell.
How to Freeze Heavy Cream?
Lots of people around the world resort to freezing heavy cream and other dairy products for a better lifespan. It’s good to have it handy.
There are 2 ways to freeze heavy cream. Since frozen-and-thawed cream does not fare as good as fresh cream, you need to keep in mind how you’ll want to use your heavy cream once thawed.
Heavy cream may separate once thawed. It is also likely that it won’t hold up its shape when whipped. If you’re going to cook with it, this way shouldn’t be a problem.
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To freeze heavy cream for cooking:
- Transfer your carton of heavy cream to a plastic bottle or container. If you have enough freezer space, consider directly freezing the carton.
- Leave enough space for the cream to expand once frozen.
- Heavy cream stored this way will have a shelf life of about 1-2 months. Check out this video for any further doubts!
If you wish to freeze it to whip it later, however, you won’t have much progress there. Instead, there is a way to better store it.
To freeze heavy cream for baking:
- Instead of freezing heavy cream on its own, internet users have come up with a way to better store it for whipping! This includes whipping the cream before freezing it.
- Depending upon your preference, either pipe it into small lumps on a baking sheet or use a nozzle for decorative swirls.
- Let them flash freeze for an hour or until they’re firm.
- Transfer these swirls to a Ziploc bag and freeze!
- You can add these swirls to your coffee, hot chocolate, and other desserts whenever you want!
Refer to this video to know more about making whipped cream and storing it!
Does Heavy Cream Go Bad? How to Tell?
Yes, like any other milk or dairy product, heavy cream does go bad. And making sure that your cream is healthy and safe is very important before you consume it.
According to food safety guidelines, milk products that have gone bad will almost always spot rancid smells. If it smells odd, even in any minor way, discard it.
One important thing to check is the carton for its shelf life. Heavy cream cartons beyond their package life point tend to separate. If you see a layer of water separated from the cream, it is probably best to throw it away.
While creams may not develop visible mold or fungus, they can still have bacteria growth beyond their shelf life. Bacteria growth can be dangerous and its production may lead to serious cases of food poisoning.
Look for signs of spoilage, deteriorated quality, or bacteria growth before you decide to use it. If not, rely on your instincts for this kind of stuff.
How to Use Leftover Heavy Cream?
If you’re someone who does not want to depend on container storage or temperature factors, you can simply use up the leftover cream instead of freezing it.
- Make a decadent pasta sauce using heavy cream instead of eggs.
- Add a dollop to any soup recipe. Find my favorite Cream Of Mushroom soup recipe here.
- Make caramel sauce to store! I like to use this one.
- Use this recipe to make homemade sour cream!
- You can even make ice cream and store it in the fridge or at a low fridge temperature setting. Let it rest overnight and voila!
How to thaw heavy cream?
To thaw it, leave it in the fridge overnight or for 48 hours, depending upon the amount of frozen cream. Shake it up before use.
How to store homemade whipping cream?
If storing homemade milk products, your best option is to use a mason jar or a tall Tupperware container. Make sure there are no gaps for moisture or bacteria development.
Now that you’re aware of everything there is to know about the temperature, freezing choices, and storage options for heavy cream, you can rest assured. You can successfully utilize your leftovers and store some cream ahead of time!
There’s so much you can do with heavy cream! And you should definitely try all the top recipes and meal options mentioned in this article. If you have any further doubts or need an answer to a specific question, feel free to ask away!
Eva M. Smith is the owner of this website. She is a 4 year old mother of two and a professional chef. Eva loves to cook for her family, but being a working mom has a lot of challenges. From squeezing in time to do the groceries to make three meals for the day. Eva knows how challenging cooking can be without a kitchen gameplan.
That’s why she perfected techniques of preserving staple ingredients and several foods so that you have something pre-cooked or pre-baked to use for an array of meals. And they do not come short in flavor! And she does not want to sacrifice flavor with convenience. That’s why she is the best person to ask.