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Does Whipped Cream Go Bad?

by Kelly McCoy

Whether it's a mixing bowl of half-eaten whipped cream or several barely used aerosol cans, we are usually left with more whipped cream than we know what to do with. Don't let it languish in the refrigerator until the next pie comes along. Whipped cream, like any dairy product, does not last indefinitely. Knowing the shelf life of whipped cream, in its various forms, will help you plan accordingly.

Shelf Life of Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Store-bought whipped cream in an aerosol can will last up to 3 weeks past the date marked on the can. Unopened whipped topping in a tub, usually found in the freezer case, will last up to 2 weeks past the date printed on the tub or up to 10 days after opening.

When to Discard

Despite the shelf life guidelines above, if you suspect your whipped cream has gone bad, don't hesitate to throw it out. Signs that homemade whipped cream has expired include separation into a liquid and flat, white cream or an off-putting or sour odor. Store-bought canned whipped cream or whipped topping will turn from a white or cream color to yellow and may develop a paste-like consistency.

Proper Storage

To maximize the shelf life of your whipped cream, keep it refrigerated until ready to use and return it to the refrigerator as soon as possible. If you must leave it out, store it on ice. Storing homemade whipped cream in an airtight container will keep out contaminants and moisture. Homemade whipped cream can also be frozen for up to 2 months. An opened tub of whipped topping can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months. Do not attempt to freeze whipped cream in an aerosol can.

Creative Substitutes

If you find your whipped cream has gone bad, there are alternatives you can try. One interesting method is to chill a can of coconut milk, then scoop out just the solidified coconut fat from the top and whip it as you normally would, adding vanilla and sugar to taste. Note that this will result in coconut-flavored whipped cream. Another substitute is whipped evaporated milk, but be sure to chill the evaporated milk before attempting to whip it. Sweeten it with powdered sugar and vanilla, as desired.

About the Author

Kelly McCoy has been writing for lifestyle blogs and online publications since 2010, specializing in recipes and techniques for the home cook. She holds a B.A. from Boston University and J.D. from the University of Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco.

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