I originally purchased packaged fresh cream to make butter chicken, but then cooked a normal chicken curry in a pressure cooker and after it cooled, added around 200ml of the cream to it. But after one and a half days in the fridge, the chicken curry got spoilt (could make out from the smell). I assume this happened due to bacteria in the cream.

I kept the remaining cream in the freezer and plan to add it to some freshly purchased chicken before closing the pressure cooker lid to start cooking. I'm worried that the cream will curdle. So what is the general rule of thumb when using milk, cream or even coconut milk to thicken the gravy? At what stage of the cooking can it be added and does it need to be heated before adding? Can the curdling really be prevented? I've added milk while making mixed vegetable curry in a pressure cooker, but couldn't make out if the milk curdled.

  • 1
    I know this isn't your question, but...while helpful, smell is not a useful indicator of food spoilage. How long between the time that the food was cooked and it was refrigerated? I doubt that food which was cooked and chilled appropriately, then stored in the refrigerator, spoiled in a day and a half.
    – moscafj
    Aug 16, 2019 at 15:54
  • I dont remember exactly, but I may have left it outside the fridge for an hour or less to allow for cooling. The food was not cooked and chilled. After opening the pressure cooker it was left on the counter for half hour and then the cream was added.
    – Nav
    Aug 17, 2019 at 3:52
  • 1
    By packaged fresh cream - was it Pasteurized? If so it is unlikely that the spoilage came from the cream, it is more likely that it was accidentally contaminated. Rancidity of the fats in the cream can make it smell bad, these can result from heat and/or acids altering the chemical composition.
    – bob1
    Aug 18, 2019 at 16:11
  • 2
    Are you asking about curdling or spoiling? Because curdled milk products can be unpleasant texture-wise, but it's not necessarily spoiled in the sense that consuming it will not make you sick. Spoiled means that it contains dangerous levels of bacteria or other contaminants.
    – user141592
    Aug 19, 2019 at 14:01
  • My question isn't really about spoilage. It's just about whether it's ok to add cream on top of the chicken pieces before closing the lid of the pressure cooker, and allowing it to cook until 2 whistles. The packet mentions nothing about pasteurization. It just says it's medium fat cream. 40% milk fat.
    – Nav
    Aug 20, 2019 at 5:38

1 Answer 1


You don't want to pressure cook with the cream added. You should add the cream at the end after it's done cooking (in pressure cooker), and then let it cook for a few minutes to incorporate.

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