What is Bitter Cream? – Why the Unexpected Tanginess!

What is Bitter Cream

Freshly whipped cream is an essential ingredient for any mouth-watering dessert or many recipes. Whipped cream has such a rich, creamy, and delicious texture and taste. 

Yet, sometimes our whipped cream tastes more bitter than normal taste. Why and how does it happen? 

However, if the whipped cream isn’t made properly or for poor storage, and additional many reasons behind it. When your whipped cream tastes bitter, probably the dessert you’ll make with it won’t turn out well enough. 

So, in this article, I’ll try to elaborate on much information about what is bitter cream, the reasons behind it, and if you can use it or not! So, let’s dig in!

What Is Bitter Cream? 

Usually cream is a thick combination of sugar and milk, so basically, it should taste sweet. However, when your whipped cream tastes bitter, then it’s bitter cream! 

The sugar and milk in fresh cream tend to get fermented if it’s not stored properly for a long period, so storing it in the right manner is the most important way to ensure the taste. Otherwise, the fermented process will make the cream bitter tasted. 

You can make fresh whipped cream in your home or you can simply buy it from any store and then store in it your refrigerator. You can use the cream until it hits the expiry date. So, if you’ve stored your fresh cream for a long time, don’t forget to take a sniff and taste it before using it. 

Why Does My Whipped Cream Taste Bitter?

At first, when your whipped cream tastes or smells bitter, then it’s a sign that the cream has gone bad. Here are some culprits behind the bitter taste of your whipped cream-

Reason 1: At first check for any additives, because sometimes if stored for a long period, the additives can create chemical reactions and create a bitter taste. 

Reason 2: Then, again if you use fresh cream which is out of date, it’ll look not only dense and clumpy but also taste bitter. Throw out anything expired milk or cream because the lactic acid and other chemical substances reaction isn’t anything to consume. 

When the whipped cream is about to go expired, then all the preservatives or additives begin to act as their own and then the certain dairy product loses its usability.

Reason 3: I’ve already mentioned that whipped cream is made of sugar and milk, they’re whipped rigorously, and then this thick cream forms. If you don’t store the cream properly, without care, the milk and sugar will begin to form together.

The lactic acid in milk and protein in sugar breaks down and makes the taste bitter. Later, the milk fat begins to oxidize and during oxidization, the bacteria in lactic acid begin to ruin the milk. That’s why in the end the cream tastes bitter. 

Reason 4: Lastly, if your heavy cream or whipped cream is stored in a refrigerator close to a temperature below 40°F or 40°F, then not only your cream but also all of your food will begin to die. 

So, to check the cream before using it, just dip your one finger into the cream and have a taste. The original whipped cream has a milky smell with a mildly sweet taste, whereas bitter cream will smell and taste bitter as the bacteria began to feast on the milk components. 

How Long Can Whip Cream Last? 

How Long Can Whip Cream Last?

How long does whip cream last depend on the type of whipped cream. There are two types of whipped cream. 

  • Home-made Whipped Cream 
  • Store Canned Whipped Cream 

According to these two forms, the lifespan of whipped cream differs. Though the universal method to store whipped cream is by freezing them. The freezing method keeps the fresh cream edible for a long time and extends its lifespan. 

Home-Made Whipped Cream

If you have made whipped cream at home, in the proper ways and following proper instructions,  then it’ll be fresh for 2-3 days. Don’t forget to keep the box in the refrigerator with the lid closed, so the smell of other foods doesn’t get absorbed into the whipped cream. 

Store-Bought Whipped Cream 

If you have store-bought heavy cream in a can, then without opening the seal, you can store it for 1-3 weeks or before 1 week of it expires. As mentioned before, when the whipped cream starts to expire, in the refrigerator or not, the acid and bacterias in milk begin to act as their own. So, if it’s unopened, it’s safe to store it until 1-3 weeks. 

Then, if your canned heavy cream is opened, don’t use it for more than 10 days. Even if you store it in the refrigerator, it can still downgrade the taste after 8-10 days. After opening the can, always remember to store the cream in an air-tight box. 

However, we can understand that freezing is the only way to expand your whipped or heavy cream life. One point to remember, you can freeze the whipped cream and while using you can thaw it. Yet, if you freeze heavy cream, after thawing you can’t whip it to make the cream thicker and use it for any dessert. So, be careful about this point beautiful ladies and gents! 

Ways to Check If My Whipped Cream Is Fresh or Bitter

Before you use any store-bought or homemade whipped cream, don’t forget to have a taste before using it. Even if it’s not expired and you stored it properly, have a taste by just dipping one finger. Here are some ways to find out if your cream is okay or not-

1. Check The Expiry Date

For store-bought canned cream, you store them in your refrigerator, and before each use check the expiry date. I want to give you an amazing fact which is, you can still use the dairy product even after the expiry date but it must not exceed 1 week. However, if in the meantime, the cream tastes different, make sure to throw it away. Plus, as mentioned before, be careful about the refrigerator temperature. 

For homemade cream, there is no expiry date, just use it within 2-3 days as it has zero preservatives. 

2. Check How It’s Stored 

I’ve already said multiple times, but again, the only method of storing any cream whipped or heavy is freezing them. So, your whipped cream can be fermented and bacteria can roam on them if it’s not stored properly. You for sure don’t want to consume a handful of bacteria so make sure to store your fresh cream properly, in an air-tight box, and proper temperature in the refrigerator. 

When talking about storing whipped cream, you may need another article – How to measure whipped cream. You can read the article by clicking the link.

3. Check For The Smell & Taste

The fresh whipped or heavy cream has a mild, milky smell and taste which is pretty delicious. After freezing properly the whipped cream, also smells and tastes like it. If you haven’t stored it properly and exceeded the expiry date, then potentially your whipped cream has gotten bad. 

Can I Use Bitter Cream? 

Nope, you can’t use the bitter cream in your dessert as dessert is supposed to be sweet. As, in bitter cream, there are already bacteria roaming around, so you don’t want the bacteria to find a way into your stomach! Anyways, you can use the bitter cream, in small quantities in dishes to bring out a rich and kind of sour flavor. Bitter cream can go well with-

  • Ice- Cream
  • Custard 
  • Soups 
  • Stews
  • Oatmeals
  • Potatoes
  • Burritos, etc. 

Now before I get into the FAQ part, here is another related article for you – Serving size for whipped cream.


What If You Use Bitter Cream? 

You get an upset stomach, simple! In bitter cream, the milk fat oxidizes, and the bacteria in lactic acid begin to gulp on the milk components. So, if you consume this rotten stuff in huge quantities, for sure get ready to run into your powder room. 

What Can I Use to Substitute For Whipped Cream? 

If you have unsalted butter and milk within your reach, then it’s the best substitute you can use. Just whisk vigorously these two ingredients until you get the proper thickness and there you go! 

Is There Any Solution To Bitter Cream? 

It depends on the level of the cream bitterness. If the bitterness is mild, then just throw some fresh cream into it and whisk it. It’ll bring back the milky flavor and get rid of the bitterness. If the bitterness is too high, you can’t add anything milk or cream, just throw it into the trashcan. 

Final Verdict 

Lastly, I can conclude by saying that, bitter cream forms when your fresh cream begins to spoil. According to the level of bitterness, you can still use the cream. To prevent the cream from getting sour or bitter, just store it properly and use it before the shelf-life ends. So, store it in a refrigerator at over 40°F and have your happy fresh cream! Good luck! 

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