How Long Does a Heavy Cream Last – (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 2 hours

Heavy creams are often used as a recipe in various dishes. However, they become rancid quickly, and often, many people get rid of it. When stored properly, heavy cream has an excellent shelf-life; however, when stored at room temperature, their shelf life decreases.

We shall be discussing how long does a heavy cream last and why in today’s article.

How long does a heavy cream last?

Heavy Cream StateLifespan
Room Temperature2 hours
Refrigerator1 month
Freezer4 months

Just like other highly perishable goods, the method of preservation profoundly affects heavy cream’s shelf life. Heavy cream shelf life is approximately one month when refrigerated.

Once opened, the high concentration of fat helps in preventing the cream from going rancid quickly. The USDA claims that heavy cream can be stored in the fridge, either open or unopened for one month. When left for two hours or less at room temperature, heavy cream will be rotten.

This is because the high temperature favors the growth and development of microbes. At this point, the cream is said to be unsafe for consumption. Furthermore, frozen heavy cream has a shelf life of about four months.

This is often because of the low temperature in a freezer inhibits the growth and development of microbes responsible for the cream spoilage.

Why does heavy cream have a short shelf life?

As previously stated, the method of preservation used in heavy creams will affect its shelf life. However, the high concentration of fat in heavy cream helps in extending its shelf life.

Using milk that has undergone ultra-high temperatures in making heavy cream will help in extending its shelf life as well. The method of preservation and production often interfere with the shelf life of heavy cream.

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By following the above method of storage, you will be able to extend its shelf life significantly.

How to identify a spoilt heavy cream

Since the heavy cream is a perishable commodity, it will spoil quickly and become unsafe for consumption. Identifying a heavy cream that has gone rancid is easy.

Often, it develops an unpleasant odor, which is very strong that you can tell it is spoilt once you open the refrigerator door. Apart from the awful smell, the cream will become chunky and curdles. You should ensure you pour some in the sink to assess if it is safe for consumption or not.

Moreover, when the cream has gone rancid, its color will change from the original white. Once a heavy cream becomes spoilt, it is highly advisable to get rid of it since it can be hazardous to your well-being.


Freezing heavy cream is considered as the best method of preservation. This is because it not only prevents the growth of microorganisms but also main the cream’s flavor.

If you cannot freeze your cream, then refrigeration is the best way to go. You should always avoid leaving your cream at room temperature, especially during summer, when temperatures are slightly higher than usual.

High temperatures often encourage the growth and development of microbes, especially on creams where moisture content is high.


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