How to Tell If Heavy Whipping Cream Is Bad

Updated February 21, 2017

Double cream contains 36 per cent or more of butterfat making it perfect for cream fillings or decorating cakes. If you want to get a custom flavour, colour or consistency, make toppings and fillings yourself with store-bought cream. Before beginning the recipe, check the freshness of the cream. If you use soured cream, your product will separate and have a bad taste. While heavier creams do have a longer shelf life than milk, they still have the potential to sour.

Look at the outside of the cream carton for the expiration date. If the current date is past the expiration date, do not use the cream.

Open the carton and look at the cream. The cream should be white or slightly yellow. Creams that are sour will turn grey, brown or dark yellow. Swirl the cream in the container. It should be smooth, not lumpy or oily.

Smell the cream for sour notes. The cream should smell milky, slightly sweet. If the cream smells off, throw it away.


Heavy whipping cream has a shelf life of two to three weeks when refrigerated.

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As a former senior sales director with Mary Kay and the co-owner of a renovation company, Monica Patrick has firsthand knowledge of small business operations. Besides start ups, she has extensive skills in recruiting, selling, leadership, makeup artistry and skin care.